Month: October 2015

Order Of St. Luke

Order Of St. Luke

st_luke_500The Order of St. Luke will have it’s second meeting on Sunday, November 8 after 10:30 am Mass. This will be the second meeting held and is open for those who are interested in entering this vital spiritual exercise of prayer. man praying at sundown

The Communion of Saints

The Communion of Saints

Madonna-and-Child-Enthroned-with-Angels-and-Saints-Duccio-di-BuoninsegnaIf you are new to historic Christianity and our ancient liturgical worship, then you may have noticed something very unique about what we say, do, and believe concerning those Saints who have gone before us.

For example, in our creed, which is the summary of what we believe to be true, we speak of our faith in the Communion of Saints. By this we do not mean only that we are in communion with Christians who are gathered together in this place. Nor are we saying merely that we are one with all Christians living everywhere today. Rather, we mean that we are in communion (perfect union) with all Christians, everywhere, and throughout time. Most especially, we mean that we are in communion, sharing the same Lord and giving the same offerings of worship as the Saints throughout the world and in Heaven itself.

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All Saints/All Souls’ Day November 1

All Saints/All Souls’ Day November 1

imagesstormy dark with cross in backgoundThe Feasts of All Saints and All Souls are two of the major feasts of the Anglican Church and are honored as an Octave celebration, meaning they are observed liturgically for 8 days. The purpose of these Feasts is for us to honor all the Saints of God, known and unknown, and to grasp hold of the hope of eternal life which is promised to all those who have faith in Christ.

Anglican Moment: Why Use Archaic Language?

Anglican Moment: Why Use Archaic Language?

IMG_3724In our worship we use a form of English that is rooted in the Elizabethan era and which has changed very little in the last 400 years. It is full of these and thous, vouchsafes, beseeches, verities, charities, and properties. It even uses words like concupiscence. Who knows what that is?

There are dangers in using an archaic form of English in our worship. One danger is our tendency to forget things we don’t use often. Another danger is our tendency to ignore things we don’t easily understand. We can easily find that we have just worshipped for an hour and a half without remembering a thing that happened. Listening carefully would have required too much concentration, so we just check out.

There are also advantages to using the old English. For one thing, older English tends to be more poetic and more literary. Old English was a language created for storytelling and thus for communicating deeply and richly. English was born in the telling of Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, and Hamlet, each of which would suffer if translated into modern English.

The liturgy is a poem. It is a song sung antiphonally between God and his Beloved, between the Bride and the Bridegroom. It is only natural then that the Liturgy is composed in English of poetry.

When we attend a Shakespearean play, it takes a few moments to enter into that language. But concentration soon pays off with gorgeous wit and wisdom expressed in magnificent and memorable beauty. The same is true of the English of our Liturgy. It takes some concentration but it repays a rich and sumptuous feast of meaning.

One example of this feast is found in our confession of sin from Morning Prayer Rite I when we pray, “Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep.” Such language is full of imagery and truth. How impoverished we would be if we simply translated this, “God, we have sinned against you.” Then, we would never be drawn to contemplate the idea of erring and straying, and the concept of the shepherd coming to recover his lost sheep. Our image of ourselves would be changed. More importantly our image of God would be impoverished.

So, the next time you wonder why this archaic English persists take a moment to concentrate on the elegance of the language, and to contemplate the depth and richness it lavishes on our worship. You will be glad you have maintained this heritage.  (Written by The Rev. Bradley Cunningham) 

All Saints/All Souls’ Day, November First

All Saints/All Souls’ Day, November First

3 candles burningOn November 1, we will observe the Feasts of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day with special prayers for our loved ones who are with the Lord. If you would like to have a family all-saints-day-crossmember or friend commemorated during the Eucharist, please fill out the form included in this week’s bulletin and either place it in the offering plate or drop it off by the parish office.

Anglican Moment: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

Anglican Moment: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

man praying at sundownIf you want to know what a Presbyterian believes you will need to read the Westminster Confession of Faith, a lengthy treatise on Presbyterian doctrine. For Lutherans, you will turn to the Augsburg Confession. Dutch Reformed have the Heidelberg Confession. Baptists have the London Confession and “The Baptist Faith and Message.” But what about Anglicans?

Someone once said, “If you want to know what we believe as Anglicans, listen to what we pray.” At the center of Anglican faith and practice is the Prayer Book because her heart is prayer.

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Anglican Moment: St. Francis of Assisi

Anglican Moment: St. Francis of Assisi

Anglican Moment: St. Francis of Assisi

Francis, the son of a prosperous merchant of Assisi, was born in 1182. His early youth was spent in harmless revelry and fruitless attempts to win military glory.

Various encounters with beggars and lepers pricked the young man’s conscience, and he decided to embrace a life devoted to Lady Poverty. Despite his father’s intense opposition, Francis totally renounced all material values, and devoted himself to serve the poor. In 1210 Pop Innocent the Third confirmed the simple Rule for the Order of Friars Minor, a name Francis chose to emphasize his desire to be numbered among the “least” of God’s servants.

Francis never wanted to found a religious order – This former knight thought that sounded too military. He thought of what he was doing as expressing God’s brotherhood. His companions came from all walks of life, from fields and towns, mobility and common people, universities, the Church, and the merchant class. Francis practiced true equality by showing honor, respect, and love to every person whether they were beggar or pope.

Francis’ brotherhood included all of God’s creation. Much has been written about Francis’ love of nature but his relationship was deeper than that. We call someone a lover of nature if they spend their free time in the woods or admire its beauty. But Francis really felt that nature, all God’s creations, were part of his brotherhood. The sparrow was as much his brother as the pope.

The order grew rapidly all over Europe. But by 1221 Francis had lost control of it, since his ideal of strict and absolute poverty, both for the individual friars and for the order as a whole, was found to be too difficult to maintain. His last years were spent in much suffering of body and spirit, but his unconquerable joy never failed.

Not long before his death, during a retreat on Mount La Verna, Francis received, on September 14, Holy Cross Day, the marks of the Lord’s wounds, the stigmata, in his own hands and feet and side. Pope Gregory the Ninth, a former patron of the Franciscans, canonized Francis in 1228, and began the erection of the great basilica in Assisi where Francis is buried. Of all the saints, Francis is the most popular and admired, but probably the least imitated; few have attained to his total identification with the poverty and suffering of Christ. (Sources: The Proper for the Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 1997 and the website: Catholic Online)

Anglican Moment: Vestments

Anglican Moment: Vestments

Just like the worship of the Hebrews in the Old Testament, our worship is accompanied by certain sacred clothing called “vestments.” Everyone who has a special part to play in our liturgy wears a certain kind of vestment including the choir and acolytes. These vestments help us to remember that what we do during this time is important. The vestments also focus us away from our individual selves and on the role that we are playing as part of the worship of God.

This biblical principle of wearing sacred clothing is found not only in the Old Testament but also practiced in the worship of heaven.  Those who serve before the Lord in worship wear garments to reflect His presence.  They wear distinct clothing.  Specifically, the vestments of heaven and earth are Christ-centered, meaning they are all designed to remind us of some aspect of the presence of the Living Lord.  The vestments of the priest all derive from the clothing of a 1st century Roman, and have special symbolism attached to each piece. The vestments of the priest are visually appealing and based on the liturgical color of the day or season to help us reflect on the theme of the celebration at hand.

The first and most basic vestment the priest wears is the white alb. This was the most common garment in Palestine in the first century. It is to this garment that our Lord is referring when he speaks of the “coat” in Matthew (“If a man ask of thee thy cloak give him thy coat also.”) Being of white linen, the alb represents the purity of Christ and; therefore, symbolizes innocence, chastity, purity, and joy of those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Savior.

Just like the worship of the Hebrews in the Old Testament, our worship is accompanied by certain sacred clothing called “vestments.” Everyone who has a special part to play in our liturgy wears a certain kind of vestment including the choir and acolytes. These vestments help us to remember that what we do during this time is important. The vestments also focus us away from our individual selves and on the role that we are playing as part of the worship of God.

This biblical principle of wearing sacred clothing is found not only in the Old Testament but also practiced in the worship of heaven.  Those who serve before the Lord in worship wear garments to reflect His presence.  They wear distinct clothing.  Specifically, the vestments of heaven and earth are Christ-centered, meaning they are all designed to remind us of some aspect of the presence of the Living Lord.  The vestments of the priest all derive from the clothing of a 1st century Roman, and have special symbolism attached to each piece. The vestments of the priest are visually appealing and based on the liturgical color of the day or season to help us reflect on the theme of the celebration at hand.

The first and most basic vestment the priest wears is the white alb. This was the most common garment in Palestine in the first century. It is to this garment that our Lord is referring when he speaks of the “coat” in Matthew (“If a man ask of thee thy cloak give him thy coat also.”) Being of white linen, the alb represents the purity of Christ and; therefore, symbolizes innocence, chastity, purity, and joy of those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Savior.

The second vestment the priest wears in the cincture with which the alb I girded. It holds the stole in place and represents the rope with which Christ was bound to the pillar during flagellation. It symbolizes chastity, temperance, and self-restraint. “Spiritually, the cincture reminds the priest of the admonition of St. Peter: “So gird the loins of your understanding; live soberly; set all your hope on the gift to be conferred on you when Jesus Christ appears.  As obedient sons, do not yield to the desires that once shaped you in you ignorance.  Rather, become holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, after the likeness of the holy One who called you” (I Peter 1:13-15).”

Over the alb and around the neck of the priest is the third vestment is a colored stole that matched the color of the Church season. It represents the yoke of Christ referred to in the Gospels (Matthew 11:29); the yoke was an instrument that kept an ox in harness.  The stole therefore reminds the minister that he is to be doing Christ’s ministry and work. Therefore, the stole is a symbol of the office and work of a priest.

The final vestment is the chasuble. Derived from the Latin word casula meaning “little house.” Originally, the chasuble in the Graeco-Roman world was like a cape that completely covered the body and protected the person from inclement weather. This was the outer coat issued to Roman soldiers in cold weather. It represents our Lord’s coat without seams for which soldiers at the cross cast lots and the purple cloak Pilate ordered placed on Christ as King of the Jews. Spiritually, it represents protection and charity. Thus, the chasuble reminds the priest of the charity of Christ: “Over all these virtues put on love (charity), which binds the rest together and makes them perfect” (Colossians, 3:14).  The clergyman inside the chasuble (i.e., “little house”) reminds the people of Christ in the midst of His house, for at the Holy Eucharist, Christ comes to be really present with His people (sources: “An Instructional Commentary for the Order of Holy Communion” by The Rt. Rev. Ray R. Sutton; website article from the Church of the Holy Comforter in Cleburne, TX;  Catolicstraightanswers.com)

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