Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Feast of the Resurrection

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord's resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Good Friday

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Maundy Thursday

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for Wednesday of Holy Week

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Collect for Tuesday of Holy Week

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Passion Week

Last Sunday, during the parish notices, I offered an exhortation to be present for as much of Holy Week as possible. The various liturgies that comprise the Church’s observance make the final week of Jesus’ life, and the events that lead to his death, come alive. We experience and appropriate the drama of salvation as we follow our Lord in his story. In the following, it becomes our shared story.

One of my favorite aspects of Holy Week is the liturgy of the hours from noon to 3pm. After each of the meditations, a series of collects is prayed. Many of the collects come from the proper Good Friday liturgy found on page 276 of the BCP. The collects are from among the most ancient collects the Church possesses. For a bit of history related to the Solemn Collects, click Solemn Collects.

My favorite Solemn Collect follows. I think it captures the heart of Holy Week and the heart of the Gospel.

“O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Part of Something Bigger

My brand of piety is marked by an appreciation of timelessness and continuity. I remember standing in Arches National Monument and having a profound sense of being, at the same time, connected to the world and being but a small piece of it. The feast of All Saints’ does a similar thing to me. I know I am part of something bigger, taking my place, and following a long train of faithful disciples.

At Morning Prayer today, we read a portion of chapter 11 from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. It contains the “Words of Institution,” Jesus’ words from the Last Supper. The formula is embedded in our eucharistic prayers.

Jesus’ words echo in my head, reminding me that I am united with people across the ages. My obligation is the same as Christians past. I gather with Jesus’ present followers and remember. Jesus is made known to us in the breaking of the bread, and always will be. Our charge is to live, shaped by Jesus’ risen life.

“For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Cor 11:23-26

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Christian Community

The main aspect of Resident Aliens that resonates with me is the robust view of the Church. Hauerwas and Willimon reject a vision of Church confined to making good citizens. The Church gathers around the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, not simply to remember, but to live it. The Church is the Kingdom community. Hauerwas and Willimon implore the Church to embrace her unique vocation.

Their view is rigorous. Below is a quote on the nature of Christian community.

“Christian community, life in the colony, is not primarily about togetherness. It is about the way of Jesus Christ with those he calls to himself. It is about disciplining our wants and needs in congruence with a true story, which gives us the resources to lead truthful lives. In living out the story together, togetherness happens, but only as a by-product of the main project of trying to be faithful to Jesus.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

From Resident Aliens

So much of the journey of faith is thought to be movement from the abstract to the personal. Growth is not about understanding a principle or a set of beliefs. Faith is about seeing yourself within a living, developing story. A few weeks into Lent, I offer this quote to consider.

“Early Christians, interestingly, began not with creedal speculation about the metaphysics of the Incarnation-that is, Christology abstracted from the Gospel accounts. They began with stories about Jesus, about those whose lives got caught up in his life. Therefore, in a more sophisticated and engaging way, by the very form of their presentation, the Gospel writers were able to begin training us to situate our lives like his life. We cannot know Jesus without following Jesus. Engagement with Jesus, as the misconceptions of the first disciples show, is necessary to understand Jesus. In a sense, we follow Jesus before we know Jesus. Furthermore, we know Jesus before we know ourselves.”
                                                                                  (pg. 55)