Who are we?

The center of the Traditional Anglican Communion; adhering to the Holy Bible (KJV) in all matters of Faith and Doctrine, a strict reliance on the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, The two Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, the Two Creeds, and the Homilies and formularies of the Reformation Church of England.

Verse of the Day

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hymns of the Church – Taps – 25 May 2017, Anno Domini

If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!
I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.  (Exodus 15:1-3)

            With Memorial Day waiting in the wings for our reverential observance, I will present this short devotion on a little jingle (and hymn) that every American soldier, since 1862, has either slept in security at the hearing, or been laid to rest in the eternal shrouds of his Lord – Taps. I cannot count the times that the bugler (and they had REAL buglers in my days) played Taps in Central Area as we prepared for lights out. Most soldiers and seaman know the tune, but not the words. They may never have heard the words sung to this bewitching melody of Taps. But there are, indeed, words that qualify Taps to be a hymn. Today, the jingle is more often played by screeching loudspeaker thereby losing much of its character. Taps was first employed (and composed) by General Daniel Butterfield of the Army of the Potomac. It rapidly spread throughout the Union, and even Confederate, Army.

            The Bugle call has its origins in the War Between the States, or the Civil War to those north of the Mason Dixon Line. According to Jari Vilanueva of the Arlington Bugle Exhibit, the lyrics are as follows:

Taps

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

            Though I most often heard this bugle call as a cadet, I have heard it as well on many far-flung shores from Japan to Chiangmai; and Robinson Barracks (Stuttgart) to Brussels, Belgium. It almost always has had a quieting effect on my soul; but there were other times when its haunting notes brought grief and sorrow as when a good soldier was laid to rest – including my younger brother. The notes echo and re-echo from the surrounding ridges and hillsides; and creates the most melancholy of emotions.

            Day is done, gone the sun, From the hills, from the lake, From the sky. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.” There is no better time than at the closing of the day for one to reflect on his mortality. Every day is really a short life, and perhaps all that we can claim as ours. The light fades and the shadows lengthen, and our work is finished. It is then time for rest – either of the body, or the final rest of the soul. We may forever feel secure knowing that we are under the watchful eye and protection of God our Father whatever the venue.

            Go to sleep, peaceful sleep, May the soldier or sailor, God keep. On the land or the deep, Safe in sleep.” How hardly does a little child fight the gathering sands of sleep before finally surrendering to its inevitable advance. So do many fight the advancing hand of death as if that would herald the end of their existence for all time and eternity – but it does not. We all have made a bed to sleep in someplace and that is either Heaven or Hell. God has numbered the hairs of the soldier’s head just as He has numbered those of the old widow. Wherever the soldier, seaman, or airman finds himself, God is there over-watching. He is able to keep our souls in the mud trenches of Meuse-Argonne or the depths of the seas of Guadalcanal.

            “Love, good night, Must thou go, When the day, And the night Need thee so? All is well. Speedeth all To their rest.” This line illustrates the heart-breaking moment when the loving homemaker must say goodbye to her valiant soldier. Though her valor is not exceeded by his, she comes to the moment when “the silver cord is loosed, and the golden bowl be broken.” There is a temporary finality of good-bye that always seems eternal for love makes it so. But remember, that we must all go to our rest at the timing and discretion of our Maker. To quote the Family Prayer of the Book of Common Prayer for Night: “O LORD, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.”

            “Fades the light; And afar Goeth day, And the stars Shineth bright, Fare thee well; Day has gone, Night is on.” At the moment of our falling to sleep, the light dims and vanishes, and our souls may rest from its labors. The same is true of the sleep of death. The imitation lights of the world fade and our souls are drawn inextricably to a far greater Light beyond the Gates of Splendor. The Great Night of the Soul is our final sleep, and one from which we have only one awakening if we are secure in our election in Christ. Even in the darkness of the sleep of death, we have that Bright and Morning Star as our Guiding Star to safe lodging.

            Thanks and praise, For our days, 'Neath the sun, Neath the stars, 'Neath the sky, As we go, This we know, God is nigh.” May I begin this explanation with a question? What do you truly own? Do you own your home, your day, your very body? No, you own nothing at all. Our only possession lies in Christ our Maker. So we must be thankful for every good gift from the Father of Lights. That means, EVERYTHING! Having God as the repository of that which we cannot, of our own accord, possess, is a guarantee of our continued use and possession of it. Our treasures are in Heaven, else we have no treasures. THANKFULNESS is the key to joy and happiness. A thankful heart is full of praise to God for everything that comes his way.


            When the bugler sounds Ta[ps at your Memorial Day celebrations, consider the words as well as the plaintive notes. It will make the Bugle Call much more meaningful to your heart; and it will prepare you to stand muster to the Call from the Bugler on High when He summons.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fifth Sunday after Easter, commonly called Rogation Sunday - AOC Sunday Report!

The AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

The AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

Happy Rogation Sunday, also the Fifth Sunday after Easter.  Wonder what that means, read the AOC Sunday Report, it is the very first item!

There are really good sermons today from Bishops Jerry and Roy, as well as Revs Jack and Bryan.  You will enjoy each of them.

Do you wonder what the picture is about?  Read the Epistle!

There are a lot of people who would really appreciate your prayers.  Start with Kurt, Shamu, Jimmy, Mary, Bob and Michael, work out from there.

A lot coming up this week, Thursday is Ascension Day; next Monday is Memorial Day, more on that next Sunday.

Godspeed,

Hap
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, CA


Sermon Notes - Rogation Sunday - St. Andrews Anglican Church - 21 May 2017, Anno Domini

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

The Collect for The Fifth Sunday after Easter,
commonly called Rogation Sunday.
The Collect.

O
 LORD, from whom all good things do come; Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

T

hen will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. 31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. 33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. 34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. 36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it. 37 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. 38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.  (Ezek 36:25-38)

     Have you ever tried to clean a really filthy basin by starting on the outside? Which is more important for our health, the cleanliness of the outside of the basin or the inside? If we start by cleaning the outside first, we may find that the outside will become just as soiled as before when we begin cleaning the inside later. If a plumbing fixture in our house is clogged, do we clean the outside and surrounding environment first, or do we unclog the fixture first and then clean the outside? 

     God works in the same way – he cleans our hearts so that the outside may be cleaned with the sprinkling of water. By the outward sprinkling of water shall the outward sign of cleansing be made. That inward, spiritual grace of the Sacrament occurs in the heart. The whole being of man, as well as his eternal destiny depends more on the condition of his heart than does the life of his body.  When God abides in our hearts, there will be left no room for idols or perversions.    25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. The old, malicious and legal heart of stone must be replaced by a heart of tender flesh. What does this mean to the Christian? How do we receive this new Spirit and this new Heart?

     We receive this New Heart by genuinely professing a true faith and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must know, by faith, that He has died in payment of our sin debt, that He was buried and rose again on the third day, and that He sits on the right hand of God the Father to make constant intercession on our behalf.  It is our faith and our believing that will open the DOOR (Jesus Christ) of the Sheepfold to us. Our faith cannot be fickle if it is to be saving. It must be a somber and earnest faith that Christ is Savior, Redeemer, Lord, and King of our lives. He will be a God of the Sunday Lord’s Day only, but the Lord of the continual seven-days-a-week Sabbath.   27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Wherever Christ is, there will also be the Holy Spirit. If Christ is in our hearts, the Holy Spirit will take possession and drive out the spirits of lust, greed, and deception.  We come to obey God, not through the compulsion of legality and Laws engraved on Tables of Stone, but out of that Law of Love that is written in Crimson on the soft sinews of our hearts. Not only will we avoid doing evil (keep my judgments), but we will not commit, as the General Confession states, sins of omission by seeking good to do toward others. 

     28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. Which land…Canaan? No, not at all. He will give us that land which Moses entered from atop the heights of Mount Nebo. Moses looked over into Canaan, but was taken to be with God instead of going to Canaan. The next time Moses appears in Scripture, he is on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and Elijah. This is a beautiful illustration of the complete Word of God. Elijah represents the Prophets and Moses the Law. Both together represent the whole of the Old Testament. Christ represents the consummation of the long thirsted after Purpose of God by crowning both the Law and the Prophets with the Grace and Mercy of His Person. The Law and the Prophets are not separate from Christ, but are an integral part of His revelation in the fullness of the Scriptures. The old school was given to teach us to know our frailty and depravity. They both prepared the hearts of man for the coming Savior who would redeem us from those frailties of a sinful nature.

     29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Do you, or do you not belief, that Christ is the Lord of the Harvest? We cannot wash our robes as the NIV version claims in Revelation 22:14 - Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. (Rev 22:14) (NIV) Only God can wash us, and only Christ can provide that White Robe of Righteousness typified by the returning prodigal’s father.  God will call for the Harvest and increase our yields by the same Voice that spoke Light into existence on the first day of Creation. He will forestall the famine and pestilence from afflicting our fields. He will make our way straight and not narrow. 

     31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. This is the dawn of first-light in the soul called to God – to recognize, with tears of repentance, their true natures that have been at enmity to God. It is important – very important – that we remember from what swamps of sin from which we have been drawn out. It is important that we despise our sins and our complicity with it. We have looked at the murderous Cain, the adulterous and murderous King David, the treachery of Judas, the profligacy of Herod – and we have seen ourselves as if by looking in a mirror. That mirror is the Word of God. It reveals our total hopelessness without a Redeemer. 

      32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. God does not act to amend our characters and redeem our souls for the benefit of the sinful soul that we are at the Calling, but of the virtuous character that the former thief, robber, liar, murderer and adulterer may acquire through the efficacious working of God’s Holy Spirit. Thankfully, god never beholds us as what we currently are, but what we may become under the comforting and gentle influence of His Holy Spirit.

     Though these passages have a reference to that fallen Israel of the Old Testament, it has an even more relevant meaning to that new Israel of Promise expressed in Romans, Galatians, and other parts of New Testament Scripture. That new Israel is the same Israel to which Abraham laid claim all the way back in Genesis.

     33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. 34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Though the Jewish nation-state of modern Israel has reclaimed land that has lain in waste for centuries, the state does not meet the descriptive marks of the Israel of God – neither racially nor nationally. There is no place on earth today that can compare with the Garden of Eden. The desolate and ruined cities are still desolate and lie in ruins. The miracle of that nation which claims God as its Lord will certainly produce a greater wealth of faith and virtue than that war-torn little acre in the Middle East. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Psalm 33:12) If we attempt to force any description of the people of God other than those who have believed and accepted the Promise, we labor in vain. God’s people are not a people of a certain race or nationally, but those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.  Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. (1 Tim 1:4) and But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. (Titus 3:9)

      In the process of blessing His people, either nationally (as in the great history of the once-Godly nation), or individually, the unbelievers are always amazed at our resilience and joy in peace as well as in moments of trial. 36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.  He blesses always, without distinction of race, that nation bearing the fruits of righteousness. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Psalm 33:12) All peoples of the earth – Jews, Gentiles, blacks, whites, Asians, Indians, men, women – all have had the DOOR opened to the redeeming blood of Christ.

     37 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. It is to be prayed and hoped for that God will bring the modern Jewish nation into the fold of believers. But it is not consistent with the nature and Word of God to bring them into God’s fold as a people who cling to the legal system of ancient days, or sacrifice lambs and bulls for a remission of sin. When they ACCEPT, and not REJECT, Christ, they have assurance of being reconciled to God. In remonstrating with the rulers of Israel in the Temple, Jesus was clear in His warning to them: Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (Matt 21:43) What nation? ANY nation that bears the fruits of the Gospel faith.


      38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD. Thus shall the Lord bring to pass His Kingdom in the Latter Day.  The waste cities shall, indeed, be filled wherever the Gospel of Christ is preached and received by the people of that land.  The vast stretches of prairie and meadow of America lay in waste for centuries until a people, bearing the cross of Christ, came seeking religious liberty. Then were the waste places filled and the land knew the Lord. Such a prosperous people were never before known in the world, nor since that Godly nation dominated the continent. Can we restore the Bright Hope of Liberty? The same can happen to any people until such time as the Lord draws the curtain of time down on our human undertakings.