When a person is studying the history of Christian liturgy, you spend some time on the texts of what is called the “Gothic Missal.” FYI: “The Gothic Missal is the only surviving source of many rites and commemorations that characterize the specific liturgical tradition of late antique and early medieval (Merovingian) Gaul” – taken from www.brepolis.net. In simple English, what we’re reading are the texts of services and specific prayers going back to the Church community in what would someday become France.
As Anglicans, we “pray what we believe.” So as an uplifting Easter message, allow me to share with you the prayer of that ancient community so many, many centuries ago, as they gathered in vigil in the darkness before each Easter morning in anticipation and celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection. Why is this feast of such importance? What do we articulate in prayer? Read on:
O Almighty God
Hear your people
who are this day met to glorify
the Resurrection of your Son Our Lord;
And guide them from this festival to eternal gladness from the exulting joys of this solemnity to the joys that have no end.
For this is the day of man’s Resurrection,
the birthday of eternal life;
in which we have been satisfied with your mercy in the morning
in which the Blessed One who comes in the name of the Lord and who is our God,
has shone upon us. AMEN
A blessed Easter to Each of You!!!!
Rumor has it that “Spring” has arrived. At least from the cosmic and meteorological relationship of our “island earth” and its angle to the sun, it is now spring. And yet I see snow, and feel the cold. Even Abby, the most snow enthusiastic speed demon, sort of mumbles under her breath as she chugs over hard old snow that isn’t fun to race through anymore.
We’re all tired of the winter. It cannot die soon enough. We need to feel the warmth (and not just the pale chilled brightness of a “winter sun”). We need to be able to don light jackets, walk in the park, on the tracks, in the woods or on town sidewalks. We need to throw a baseball, catch a Frisbee, ride a bike, or play fetch with our family canine companions. I want to trade in jeans and six layers of sweatshirts for a tee shirt, shorts and sneakers! I would love to feel young again – one more time!
The feelings that Spring raises up in me each year are “sacramental” – by which I mean that those rites and events are “outward signs of an invisible spiritual reality” – for those of you who remember the catechism’s definition. And I am not merely speaking of trying to feel better about myself as if I could relive my adolescent years. I would NEVER want to relive those years. (I suspect most of us, if we’re truthful, would admit to that.)
This is more than about physiology or psychology. It is about “life in the spirit.” It is about, as the Greek Orthodox say: “being divinized.” For believers, the events we will celebrate in our HOLY week bring to mind that in Christ, life (true life, life eternal) is ever given to us – ever young for us. We arrive at Easter reminded that the feast is not about sunshine and warmth and flowers and color and the “stuff” of the season’s change. Easter is about even more than the resurrection of the Incarnate One who “lived and died for us and our salvation.” It is a reminder that in Him, we all rise to new life. We are, in him, ever young – ever entering into the springtime of a spiritual forever. And the cold pale death of spiritual winter will ultimately have no hold over us.
Me: So when will we finally get it?? (yesterday)
– Fr. Joe
You would think that it would be easy to create a weekly reflection during the season of Lent. After all, why not condemn this sin or that sinner (and the media gives us so many from which to choose) and point out the flaws in those all around us?
Ever sit in a room at night typing, as I am doing right now? An interesting thing occurs. You sit in the light and stare out a window into the darkness (you know: where all those sinful persons, places or things live) and yet the strongest image you will encounter is your own reflection!
It is an understatement to point out how pathetic this world of ours has become and how steeped it is in self-righteous hypocrisy from those all too ready to judge and condemn others with whom they disagree. If Lent has become an opportunity to practice the Christian disciplines of prayer, fasting and giving to charity, and so many refuse to do so or feel they are above such quaint customs, well, I can look for those types of hard-hearted individuals and expose them. Could I not? And yet, when trying to see beyond my window this evening, all I can see is my own reflection.
As I look to expose the weaknesses in my sisters and brothers, why is it I can’t see beyond the one staring back at me?
|I picked up on this scripture reflection last week – but what a wonderful way to initiate the spiritual growth and reflection that the season of Lent should bring us. So – everyone, here are some powerful thoughts for a Holy Lent. Fr. Joe
Has anyone ever taken a hard look at the “facts,” legends or traditions we seem to put our faith in? Question the usefulness of such a “fact,” and one might be branded either heretic or “you’re no fun at all.”
A week ago, sophisticated and educated humans descended upon innocent life forms such as gophers, groundhogs, etc., focused intense camera lighting upon them, picked them up without their permission, thank you very much, and infallibly declared that the predetermined outcome (seeing the creature’s shadow) will have meteorological consequences for determining the onset of Spring! Although I have not seen this other “scientific” experiment recently, there is allegedly a captive octopus or squid at some university that has a higher percentage of picking both Super Bowl and Presidential Election winners than the gambling elite of Las Vegas who do so for a living! And do you believe in the chicken who allegedly can tap out the tune of our national anthem on a keyboard – (the Opening ritual of Puppy Bowl XIV)?
I’ve been told that people need something “to believe in” – even when logic dictates that the event or “truth” never happened or at times is downright silly. And I get that. Our lives are becoming so frenzied and hectic that we’d like to have some stable element that anchors us.
And why not? We can all use a silly tradition or three to put, if not our “faith,” then at least our feelings in! What I find so curious is that for a culture that has so many questionable things to believe in (UFO’s have landed and their inhabitants now own stock in New Mexico; reality TV is actually real; only my political party tells the truth; our best days are behind us – whatever myth you firmly hold), we deem ourselves either too busy, involved, educated or exhausted to believe in the one Being – who is life … who is BEING and who desperately wants to have a place in our lives. Take God out of our lives, and humans will replace God with other idols in which to put their faith. Kind of goes back to a question I’ve posed before: In whom do you trust? Whom do you serve? Who do you believe loves you? What do you believe in and if not Our Lord, then how is that working for you?