07 May 2018

Rogationtide: Rogation Monday

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In a church of my childhood, the priest's vestments for Rogationtide were a dark violet with dark green trim.  There is, of course, a more technical name for the trim, but right now I am thinking of how appropriate it was to mix the two hues in the vestments for these days.


Today is Rogation Monday.  There is no appointed Collect in The Book of Common Prayer, 1662, but Bishop Cosin proposed a most excellent Collect for Rogationtide:

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, in whom we live, move and have our being, who doeth good unto all men, making thy sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sending rain on the just and the unjust; favourably behold us thy people, who do call upon thy name, and send us thy blessing from heaven, in giving us fruitful seasons, and filling our hearts with food and gladness; that both our hearts and mouths may be continually filled with thy praises, giving thanks to thee in thy holy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Collect for Rogation Monday in The Book of Common Prayer, 1979 (USA) is a collect for fruitful seasons:

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that thy gracious Providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labour to gather them, that we, who constantly receive all good things from thy hand, may always give thee thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Although few Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist churches and chapels still observe Rogation Monday, we can certainly observe it at home by praying the Collect and a Litany (such as The Litany on page 188 in The Book of Divine Worship) and by especially thanking God for the abundance of the earth as well as praying for God's blessing upon those whose labour gathers in God's bounty for us to enjoy.


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02 May 2018

The Narrative is the Thing

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Robert Jenson: https://www.firstthings.com/article/1993/10/how-the-world-lost-its-story

"Late antiquity suffered and lamented the same blindness with which postmodernity is afflicted, the same inability to see any Fulfillment up there before us. Gradually, as the church worked out the theology, the church made herself a place of such seeing. She did this with the icons of the East and the windows and statues of the West. Protestantism supposed that folk in the civil society already envisioned glorious Fulfillment, and needed no specific churchly envisioning, and therefore Protestantism for the most part eliminated the images and even where it retained them forgot how to use them. Protestantism’s reliance on the world was here too an illusion, but here too an illusion it got away with for modernity’s time. That time is over.

"If we are in our time rightly to apprehend the eschatological reality of the gospel promise, we have to hear it with Christ the risen Lord visibly looming over our heads and with His living and dead saints visibly gathered around us. Above all, the church must celebrate the Eucharist as the dramatic depiction, and as the succession of tableaux, that it intrinsically is. How can we point our lives to the Kingdom’s great Banquet, if its foretaste is spread before us with all the beauty of a McDonald’s counter?"  — Professor Robert Jenson


Fr. Stephen Freeman:  https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2018/04/24/do-you-ever-think-about-being-a-hobbit/

"We live in a story that calls itself the “modern world.” It is about the “time” we live in. It invented terms such as the “Classical Period,” the “Dark Ages,” and the “Middle Ages,” naming history in such a way that it inevitably yielded modernity. It is the story of progress and evolution, not the unfolding of a divine plan, but the successive work of increasing understanding, science and compassion.

"It is not surprising that the “modern” world plays host to a growing number of people who identify as atheists or non-religious. The narrative of modernity has no place for religion, other than a condescending tolerance for people who “like that sort of thing.” Religion is frequently cast as the villain of the “Middle Ages,” and, thus, something that does not belong to our own day and age.

"Of course, the narrative that is the story of modernity is fictional. It’s power and strength come from repetition. Modernity did not end war; human suffering has changed but not disappeared; prosperity has come to some but very unevenly; democracy has created universal suffrage to little or no effect; human dignity is a popular slogan, but largely without content. Has the world truly left behind superstition and ignorance in an ageless march towards a consumer paradise?

"Modernity is only a story: it is a narrative disguised as history. The emptiness and pointlessness of the modern narrative begs for questions. I suspect it’s why our hearts ache from time to time and dream of Hobbits. The narrative of Middle Earth, though fictional, has a transcendent meaning and purpose, something that calls for the deepest courage and makes every sacrifice to be significant. That Mordor and Isengard both embody elements of the industrial revolution, endangering even the Shire, are not accidental. They intentionally represent the flaws of modernity. Tolkien’s mythology imagines that such forces can be defeated."   — Fr Stephen Freeman

17 April 2018

A Coptic Prayer at the Offertory

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Receive, O Lord, the gifts of thy servants; 
the rich and the poor, 
the hidden and the manifest, 
those who offer much or little,
and of those who desired
and had not wherewithal to give; 
Grant unto them things incorruptible
in place of things corruptible, 
things heavenly for things earthly, 
things eternal for things temporal, 
and fulfill in them all manner of good
through Christ our Lord. 
Amen.

16 April 2018

A Prayer for the Mission of the Church

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Swiebodzin, Poland


LORD JESUS CHRIST  
who didst stretch out thine arms of love
upon the hard wood of the Cross,
that all men everywhere might come
within the reach of thy saving embrace:
So clothe us with thy Spirit
that we, reaching forth our hands in love,
may bring those who do not know thee
to the knowledge and love of thee;
for the honour of thy Name. Amen.


a prayer by Dr. Charles Henry Brent
The Episcopal Church  USA

John Donne: RESURRECTION (an unfinished poem)

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The Resurrection by Louis C. Tiffany

Sleep sleep old sun, thou canst not have repast
As yet, the wound thou took’st on Friday last;
Sleep then, and rest; the world may bear thy stay,
A better Sun rose before thee today,
Who, not content to enlighten all that dwell
On the earth’s face, as thou, enlightened hell,
And made the dark fires languish in that vale,
As, at thy presence here, our fires grow pale.
Whose body having walked on earth, and now
Hasting to heaven, would, that he might allow
Himself unto all stations, and fill all,
For these three days become a mineral;
He was all gold when he lay down but rose
All tincture, and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is
Of power to make even sinful flesh like his.
Had one of those, whose credulous piety
Thought, that a soul one might discern and see
Go from a body, at this sepulcher been,
And, issuing from the sheet, this body seen,
He would have justly thought this body a soul,
If not of any man, yet of the whole.


an unfinished poem by John Donne