QOTD (with reflections): “We are the religion of the Incarnation…”

“We are the religion of the Incarnation. God became man, the invisible God became visible, he sanctified the material world and elevated these visible, tangible signs to communicate invisible graces and to convey eternal truths.”

— Canon Michael Stein, ICRSS, rector of St. Joseph’s Oratory (Roman Catholic) in Detroit

Amen!

https://anglophilicanglican.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/54278695_10156989555243798_5843947526180306944_o.jpg?w=910&h=681

Photos of the traditional religious procession in Detroit were widely shared on social media

Source: Vintage-style photo of St Joseph’s Day procession goes viral | Catholic Herald

Canon Stein noted, in reference to the St. Joseph’s Procession (pictured above) in particular,

“It only takes a quick glance around the world to see a fatherless society, and to see either a slothful or workaholic society, or a lack of an appropriate understanding of manliness. It’s neither brute nor effeminate, it’s faithful, it’s steadfast, it’s courageous and gentle. And we find all those things in St. Joseph, so I think that’s another part of the power of that picture.”

All very true. But, he goes on to add,

“We are body and soul, all these spiritual truths are meant to be communicated through our senses. We get to see our faith, hear our faith, taste our faith, etc., and that just appeals to us so much,” he said.

“Truth needs to shine in beauty…we’re not angels, we’re not just pure intelligences, we need to see, touch, hear; and that’s something the traditional liturgy has always done. That’s something that a reverent Mass or procession can do, these visible signs that the Church has used throughout her history to excite devotion and promote devotion.”

Again, amen. Amen, and amen!

One of my reasons for concern when we as Anglicans veer too far to the Protestant / Reformed side of the Christian spectrum is the accompanying tendency to get uncomfortably close to a quasi-gnostic devaluation of the physical, the material, the sensory – Creation itself – in favor of the cerebral, the theoretical, the (narrowly-defined) spiritual. “Spirit good, matter bad” is a common view in Christian circles. But, it’s a heretical one! Continue reading “QOTD (with reflections): “We are the religion of the Incarnation…””

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Ember Days | For All the Saints

The Ember Days are four groups each of three days in the Church year that have been observed as days of fasting in the Churches of the West.

Source: Ember Days | For All the Saints

Today is Ember Saturday in Lent: the last day of Lenten Embertide, which runs from Wednesday through today (although Thursday is not not considered an Ember Day. But it’s a question worth asking: what are Ember Days, exactly, and what’s their significance? For All the Saints has a typically good and interesting treatment of these days, but here is some additional information on the subject: Continue reading “Ember Days | For All the Saints”

Ash Wednesday | Anglican Pastor

Christians have been preparing for the celebration of Easter by walking through a “Holy Lent” since ancient times. This is patterned after Jesus temptation in the wilderness…

Source: Ash Wednesday – Anglican Pastor

If you happen to be wondering what this “Ash Wednesday” thing is all about, anyway, here’s a pretty good place to start. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, and

Lent is a season of repentance, fasting, and self-reflection. Of course, all of this happens with the sure knowledge of God’s love and grace to us through Christ. Lent and Ash Wednesday are in no way about condemnation. They are a time in which human beings, given a pronouncement of forgiveness and absolution through Christ, can be honest with God, with ourselves, and with each other. With the terror of judgment removed, we can speak the truth.”

He goes on to explore the themes and customs of Ash Wednesday, in particular. Well worth a read if you’re new to this observance, or even if you are familiar with it – a fresh take, or perhaps a “refresher course,” is never a bad thing!

Propers (Lessons and Collect) for Ash Wednesday, with links to the Litany and Penitential Office

Propers for the First day of Lent, commonly called Ash-Wednesday.
The Book of Common Prayer 1928.

[With additional devotions.]

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we,worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness. may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

¶ This Collect is to be said every day in Lent, after the Collect appointed for the day, until Palm Sunday.

For the Epistle. Joel ii. 12.

TURN ye even to me, saith the Lord, with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

The Gospel. St. Matt. vi. 16.

WHEN ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

[Then Follows]

The Litany

or General Supplication

¶ To be used after the Third Collect at Morning or Evening Prayer; or before the Holy Communion; or separately.

[and / or]

A Penitential Office

For Ash Wednesday.

¶ On the First Day of Lent, the Office ensuing may be read immediately after the Prayer, We humbly beseech thee, O Father, in the Litany; or it may be used with Morning Prayer, or Evening Prayer, or as a separate Office.

¶ The same Office may be read at other times, at the discretion of the Minister.

Morning Prayer for Ash Wednesday, 2019, with Litany and Penitential Order

I don’t show myself off on here all that often; but this being the first day of Lent – commonly called Ash Wednesday – I did want to provide anyone who might wish to observe this holy day, but didn’t have a place to go to do it, with the opportunity to do so.

This is the Order for Morning Prayer according to The Book of Common Prayer 1928, with the addition of the Litany, or General Supplication, and A Penitential Order for Ash Wednesday. This is a particularly suitable service for those who may not be able to get to a church that is offering the imposition of ashes, as its focus is not on ashes, but on the classic penitential Psalm, Psalm 51.

Wishing all my Christian readers and followers a holy Lent!

Of your mercy, pray for me, a sinner.

Shrove Tuesday – its meaning

 

 

While we’re eating our pancakes or doughnuts, let’s not forget that the real reason for Shrove Tuesday is to prepare for a holy celebration of Lent: it’s not only about pancakes, but about penitence for one’s sins! The doughnuts or pancakes were made in order to use up the fat and eggs from which folks would be abstaining during the Lenten Fast (this is also the origin of “Fat Tuesday,” or “Mardi Gras”).

As the images above point out, “shrove” is the past tense of the archaic English verb “to shrive,” meaning to be absolved of and receive pardon from one’s sins through confession and penitence, again in preparation for a holy Lent – the time of penitence and self-examination leading up to Good Friday and Easter, the commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Or, as the Prayer Book exhortation puts it,

“… if there be any of you, who by this means [prayerful self-examination, and repentance before God on one’s own] cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other Minister of God’s Word” – another Anglican source refers to “a discrete and understanding priest” – “and open his grief; that he may receive such godly counsel and advice, as may tend to the quieting of his conscience, and the removing of all scruple and doubtfulness.”

The traditional Anglican standard for this sort of private confession to / with a priest is that “all may, some should, none must.” That seems, to me, a good approach.

Wishing everyone a holy, as well as a happy, Shrove Tuesday!

 

Aslan Is Not a Tame Lion: The Serious Mistake of Casual Worship | Jonathan Aigner

I fear we aren’t just guilty of domesticating the one true God, itself a grave error. In our petulant insistence on me-worship, we have shown where our ultimate allegiance lies. Scarier still is my suspicion that most of the church doesn’t even recognize what the hell we’ve done.

Source: Aslan Is Not a Tame Lion: The Serious Mistake of Casual Worship | Jonathan Aigner

In contrast to the pop-worship industry, Jonathan Aigner describes one example of what proper, traditional worship can look like, and why:

“Worship at Advent differs from common liturgical practice in the contemporary American church, to say the least. It is exceedingly beautiful, sublime even, evoking a sense of transcendence that seems strikingly out of place, even in one of the most historic cities in the country. Continuity and communion with the universal church is palpable.”

He goes on to quote The Church of the Advent’s Liturgical Customary:

“While the foregoing may seem excessively fussy, particularly in an age when manners are out of fashion and seminaries are apparently intent on turning the Mass into a rock-‘n’-roll show, remember that Divine Service is not a casual activity. The Lord’s Supper is a heavenly banquet, not a drive-thru lunch from a fast food shop. Lack of attention to deportment at Mass is as inappropriate as wearing torn jeans to a formal dinner. Sloppiness of appearance, movement or behavior will not show forth ‘the beauty of holiness and the holiness of beauty,’ which is what we seek to present.”

Now, there are times when a more casual (although still not sloppy, or careless) approach to worship may be appropriate. Summer camp comes to mind! Or outdoor services in general. But even in this more informal context, I believe, we still have to keep in mind the solemnity of what we are doing, and the majesty of the God we are serving.

In the words that used often to be found inscribed on the chancel arch or elsewhere in Episcopal churches of the more Anglo-Catholic persuasion (quoting Genesis 28:17),

“This is the very house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven.”