Prayer Requests -St Martha’s and OEF
In our Anglican tradition, we use the phrase “the three legged stool” often when we refer to our system of doctrine, belief, and exploration of Faith. The three legs represent these; reason, tradition, and scripture. The seat of the stool is where our system rests, or sits, and these three legs are the foundation that supports us in our pursuit of truth and of God.
Now, to be sure, no one wants to sit on a wobbly stool, and a stool with only two legs is useless, because it can’t stand upright. This is my reflection today. Our traditions, holy pages, and the reasons why we practice faith are all tied together. It is imperative that when one sits on the stool of faith, that all three legs are working together properly. God said it like this in one passage, “come let us reason together, says the Lord Almighty…”
I cannot immagine the scripture without intelligence, (well, I can, but choose not to, anyway!). Nor can I imagine living again with just pure reason and no Scripture. Not to say the least, tradition alone would be pointless. In fact, most of our tradition is rooted in some form of the bible that has been adpapted, such as the priestly garments, the passover meal, and many rites.
None of these would have any purpose without the cohession of reason and scripture. Balance, then, is the key, and a well balanced stool kept in good condition will serve the owner well for many years.
We must never presume tradition, reason, nor scripture can stand alone, and we must never use any of them without the other in play. Yet, there are some in life who never read the Bible at all, and there are others, who can not see past the KJV and red letters. It is no wonder that Apostolic tradition has slowly become less attractive to folks, and faith in the hearts of humanity wanes when it does. The stool must be strengthened, and each leg carefully examined. If one is weak, then we need to repair it. A good balance serves a stool well! Here is the balance of Faith and Reason. “the just shall live by faith..” and “come let us reason together, says the Lord…”
May God radicalize your life this week with love and power!
Back To the Holy Fire pt 19
“15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father…” Ephesians 5:15ff
Pentecost is quickly approaching, the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit into the believers, as Christ had promised. The story behind Pentecost goes to Jewish tradition. There where five main yearly feasts, (not to mention the lesser ones), each calendar year in the Hebrew system. At the time that Jesus entered Jerusalem to be tried and Crucified, it was the feast of Tabernacles, where they all camped about the city, to remind them of the time in the wilderness when God fed them with manna. Then, came the seven-day feast of Passover, the highlight of course, was when Christ was crucified and then resurrected the third day, (the first day of the new week following Passover). Then, the fifty-day countdown began to Pentecost, the feast of the Harvest. This was the time when the High Priest was to make a grain offering to God, signifying “first fruits” that are given to the most high.
All of this is very symbolic of the coming of the messiah and His redemptive accomplishments in our lives. The coming of the Spirit in essence was the beginning of the Harvest of humanity, the Divine nature of God taking up residence in the hearts of people to bring them into His dynamic presence. It is quite significant.
In our passage today, it begins with the word “therefore…” meaning that the preceding text is a precursor of the important admonishment about to come. What we have read and learned so far is foundational to what is to come. As on country preacher once said, “when I see a ‘therefore’ in the scripture, I always go back and see what it is there for!’ Paul suggests that he has just given us a lesson in wisdom, and that we need to decide to “walk” in wisdom, to choose to be wise. The days are evil, he says. Now, as I read the history of his time, I understand that he was referring to the building anti-Christian climate of Rome, and the impending persecution that would come. Nevertheless, our present day is no different from his when it comes to iniquities of this world. With Ben Laden on the loose, the wars in the Middle East, fascism on the rise, honor killings of innocent women, hedonism running rampant on television, and so on, we all should remain awake; we should walk with wisdom. The admonishment is this: make the most of your time. In other words, use your God-given talents and ever-growing knowledge of Him for purposeful pursuits in the Kingdom. Be aware that the Spirit of God is given to each of us to be present in every moment. Jean-Pierre De Caussade, and 14th century mystic wrote that each moment is a “sacrament.” We are to live in the “Sacrament of the present moment.” In this way, we can accomplish more, and bring ultimate Glory to our Father in Heaven. This passage of scripture contains a lot of meat, and I could spend many pages just on the Spirit, and what it means to be “full” of the Spirit, however I have chosen three sentences that point to living in the moment, and they ultimately lead to continuous infilling of the Spirit. I will say this about the phrase, “be filled” with the Spirit. The Greek text actually states, “be filled and keep being filled…” There are two main reasons for this. One is that we simply run low in life sometimes, and need refreshing, on a regular basis. The other is, we should be running over with living water, as artesian wells, for others to drink from. If we keep giving to others, then we must keep receiving from the Father fresh waters of the Spirit.
How do we get there?
First, Paul says to “understand what the will of the Lord is…” Now to be sure, no one can fully understand the mind of the Almighty, who is infinite, since we are finite. Paul is not speaking metaphysically here, he is speaking on a practical level, which he does most of the time. He is saying, “Seek to understand God in your own life, get to know the Father, and what He wants you to do each day. Read the word and apply it to your emotional well being, and practice the goodness of it toward others…” In other words, understand how to live. So the, one step toward being filled with the Spirit is seeking.
The second statement that helps us is simply “be… filled with the Spirit.” Sounds too easy, huh? Shakespeare is quoted “to be… or not to be…” Paul is giving an imperative here. It is not an option for successful living as Christians. Simply Be… Receive. Jesus made a promise that the Spirit would come to the children of God. (See John 12, 13, 14, 15) I do not think that the Son of God is one to lie, so simply receive.
Finally, there is this: “…’Giving thanks always for all things…” A heart that is cultivated to be gracious and grateful will invoke the presence of God. The key is that we must learn to be thankful for all things. No matter what comes our way, when we make a choice to give praise and adoration to God for what we have, and for one more day, and for the present moment, we can begin to realize the dynamic presence of God in our lives.
Recap: Understand… Be… Give Thanks…
For this and all things, we give you thanks, O God…
For our children who are graduating form high school. For never leaving us alone. For Linda and our family. For the blessings of 36 years with my soul-mate, for 6 children and 4 grandchildren. for all God’s gifts. For all the cleaners and gardeners who came to sweat and pull weeds and till the ground so that the front of the church can be replanted with flowers. For the patience of people who can use a pressure washer to clean years of dirt of the deck… board by board. For tears of joy and tears of sorrow, people who understand and puppies who misbehave. And for the most amazing story of God’s grace among us.
“I was sitting at a stop light waiting to turn onto Man O War. I was singing to myself the St. Columba hymn, The King of Love my Shepherd Is. It’s one of my favorites and I find myself humming or singing it often.
A car on Man O War turned left into the path of another car and they collided right in front of me, and then went out of control in different directions to either side of me. The one car spun and hit the car next to me and then spun off it and hit the car behind me and then went up over the curb. It happened so fast that it was just amazing, but all through it I’m sitting there with nowhere to go and just waiting to get hit and they kept missing me. In all, 5 cars collided all around me; lots of shaking people and some cuts and bruises, but nobody seriously hurt.
I do believe I was being watched over. I highly recommend Hymn 645!”
Thanks be to God!
Please keep the following people in your prayers…
Rose Carol Alice Bays Jean Owens Liz Letton Joshua Morrow Melissa Powers Pauline Bayes Ed Bayes Bill Batsel Leslie LeBlanc Brian Cox Ruby Powers
Georgie Powers Betsy Nowland-Curry Eunice Fairchild Geneva Bays-Cox Lt. John W. Lancaster V Jacob & Brett McClellan Jacqui Lancaster Katheran Wasson Becky & Kelli St. Michael’s Church Jolyn McClure Norma James Shiloh Williams Willie Boddie Amy Haney Jeff Hatfield Dora Sharp
Readings for the 7th Sunday of Easter
Acts 16: 16-34
Revelation 22: 12-14, 16-17, 20-21
John 17: 20-26
Till all the jails are empty and all the bellies filled;
Till no one hurts or steals or lies, and no more blood is spilled;
Till age and race and gender no longer separate;
Till pulpit, press and politics are free of greed and hate;
God has work for all of us to do.
Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.To you alone, Most High, do they belong,and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name. Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,especially Sir Brother Sun,Who is the day through whom You give us light.And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,Of You Most High, he bears the likeness. Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair. Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,by which You cherish all that You have made. Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,So useful, humble, precious and pure. Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,through whom You light the nightand he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong. Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,Mother Earth who sustains and governs us,producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardonfor love of You and bear sickness and trial.Blessed are those who endure in peace,By You Most High, they will be crowned. Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,from whom no-one living can escape.Woe to those who die in mortal sin!Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.No second death can do them harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,And serve Him with great humility. Heavenly Father,You gave Your servant Francisgreat love for each of Your creatures.Teach us to see Your design in all of creation.We ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.