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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

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Way of Cain – 3 March 2021, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)



 

A

ND Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. * And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him(Genesis 4:1-8)

 

W

OE unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. (Jude 1:11)

 

            The first man upon the earth was Adam. By hum came a general death sentence upon all his progeny – including you and me. By the second Adam, eternal life has been granted to all by grace and faith. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Corinthians 15:45-49)

 

            God, in His infinite wisdom, has presented His word to us by both example and explicit measure. Throughout the Bible, the first son has been entitled to the blessing; but in most cases recounted in the Bible, it is the second son that gains the blessings of the father. Adam was the first man (first son of God – Luke 3:38) from whom all physical humanity is descended. As such, Adam became the federal head of all in the flesh: however, the Lord Jesus Christ is the second man and Son of god by whom the elect are born anew in the new creation. Our Lord is the spiritual head of all who are redeemed in Christ. If we skip several generations, we come to the second son of Abraham, Isaac, who received the promise of his father, Abraham. He was the promised son and therefore the only begotten of both Abraham and Sarah.  Then came Esau and Jacob of Isaac and Rachel. The blessings descended upon Jacob instead of the firstborn. So, what point am I making?

 

            Cain was the firstborn of woman (Eve) and Abel was the second. Abel was called of God as a prophet. . . . . the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.  (Luke 11:50-51) Cain was cursed in two ways – for his failure of obedience to God in offerings and later for the murder of prophet-brother, Abel. Cain was the first rebellious child born on earth. He was rebellious in the same sense as Korah before Moses.

 

            Why did God reject the offering of Cain? It seems innocent enough to bring the fruits of one’s labor from the earth, right? Wrong! God had already demonstrated the necessity of a blood-offering in covering sins. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them(Genesis 3:21) That animal (likely a lamb) slain was a precious and innocent creature in the Garden – Adam no longer was. That innocent animal whose life God had to take to cover the nakedness (sin) of Adam and Eve must have caused much sorrow for the Lord. It reflected an even greater sacrifice, determined from before the foundation of the world, of God’s only Son – the Lamb of God. The toil and sweat of farming represented an effort to appease God by good works, but good works will never suffice. A blood sacrifice of the living must be made to cover sin – for without the shedding of blood, there is not remission of sin(see Hebrews 9:22) By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh(Hebrews 11:4) 

 

            Cain proudly rejected God’s commandment in offering a sacrifice from a cursed source –  . . . . cursed is the ground for thy sake. (Gen 3:17)

 

            Just as in the case of David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba that led to murder, so the prideful reaction of Cain at God’s rebuff led to the murder of innocent blood in the killing of Abel. Cain could not bear the notion that the offering of Abel, his younger brother, was well received by the Lord while his own was rejected. His bitterness and jealousy led to outright hatred, and hatred leads to murder. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him(1 John 3:15) So all who hate their brothers and sisters in Christ are bound for the same destiny and darkness as Cain.

 

            Even in many churches there exists this jealousy, bitterness and hatred of other servants of God who are devoted to His service. When entertained for more than a short period of time, these seeds of evil germinate and turn to vile hatred that will terminate at the abyss. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. (Jude 1:11)

 

            Abel was righteous and he was persecuted by the unrighteous (Cain). We often look at this condition and believe the cards are stacked against the righteous in this world. Such an assumption is more than speculation – it is real. We have a perfect example of this condition and relationship in politics today. Those who are willing to lie, cheat and steal always bear a great advantage over those who are honest and forthright in politics. It has become brazenly evident that this projection of moral turpitude has egregiously grown into a profound model of political deception in our day.  Both friend and foe at the top of the political spectrum understand the lies, but are unable to reveal truth effectively owing to the intrenched establishment which does all to hide the truth from the general public. 

 

            In our day, our social and political practices are well on the way of Cain.

 

            The way of Cain will always lead to misery and deprivation.  But, since our Lord Jesus Christ is the WAY, the TRUTH, and LIFE, we would all fare so much better if our values were attuned to that path rather than that of corruption, embezzlement and educational indoctrination of children in the failed systems of the past.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Devotion on Lenten Hymns - Lord Jesus, Think on Me - 2 March 2021, Anno Domini



 

Just the thought…2 March 2021

Rev. Geordie - AOC England

 

The words of hymn from my childhood have been wandering through my mind.

 

Lord Jesus, think on me,

and purge away my sin;

from earth-born passions set me free,

and make me pure within.

 

It was a hymn often sung during the Lenten season as a child it seemed rather dirge- like.

 

But as I revisit this hymn two things strike me the import of the words and its history.


Let’s begin with its history poor old Synesius over time grudgingly accepted the post of Bishop

 

“He was born c. 365 at Cyrene, "a Greek city of ancient fame," but then already in decay, and superseded by Ptolemais as the capital of Pentapolis. He was of good family, inheriting an ample fortune, with considerable estates in the interior of the country. In his early years he served in the army and was passionately fond of field sports. Leaving the army, he commenced his studies at Alexandria, where Hypatia then lectured in philosophy. …”

 

He did his best to avoid the appointment as Bishop of Ptolemais which was certainly due to his humility but he would also have to set aside his wife!

 

“Synesius, in 410, wrote to the presbyters of the diocese of Ptolemais: "Since God has laid upon me not what I sought but what He willed, I pray that He Who has assigned me this life will guide me through the life He has assigned me."(B)

 

Now to the verses of the hymn which make an excellent Lenten prayer.

 

Lord Jesus, Think on Me

 

Lord Jesus, think on me,

and purge away my sin;

from earth-born passions set me free,

and make me pure within.

 

Lord Jesus, think on me,

with care and woe oppressed,

let me Thy loving servant be,

and taste Thy promised rest.

 

Lord Jesus, think on me,

nor let me go astray;

through darkness and perplexity

point Thou the heavenly way.

 

Lord Jesus, think on me,

that, when the flood is past,

I may eternal brightness see,

and share Thy joy at last.


Source: 
1940 Hymnal #417- https://hymnary.org/hymn/HPEC1940/page/490

 

For me as a former Roman Catholic verse one brings home the reality that I enter heaven only by the merits of Christ. Not by the masses I once would’ve had said, of the decades of the Rosary and the candles I would have lit.

 

It is Christ and Christ alone!

 

The second verse is most comforting as life in a fallen world can be difficult to say the least.

 

Lord Jesus, think on me,

with care and woe oppressed,

let me Thy loving servant be,

and taste Thy promised rest.

 

The third verse is a source of assurance and protection unto eternity.

 

I was training for the Catholic priesthood and would often be waylaid by ardent Protestants asking” Are you saved?” I felt at that time that to be certain of salvation is rather arrogant! But I have before me eternal rest Christ Jesus!

 

It is Christ and Christ alone!

 

The fourth verse reinforces the assurance I now possess.

 

Lord Jesus, think on me,

that, when the flood is past,

I may eternal brightness see,

and share Thy joy at last.

 

I will the eternal brightness see and share the joy at last! 

 

By Christ and Christ alone!

 

I hope you will find this hymn by the reluctant Bishop an encouragement and springboard to prayer.

 

Every blessing to you and yours.

 

Rev. Geordie - AOC England

 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

AOC Sunday Report - Second Sunday in Lent

 

Happy Second Sunday in Lent!

The AOC Sunday Report can be downloaded RIGHT HERE!

There are excellent sermons today from Bishops Jerry and Roy, as well as Revs Jack and Bryan.  Each is different, each is outstanding!

Like every day, there are many people who need your prayer, please start with Debbie and Jerry, Tracy, Shamu, Tricia and Mrs. Kay, work out from there.

There is an awesome week ahead, a tense one for Debbie and Jerry as Debbie undergoes cardiological testing, we all need the help of that Third God Guy, the Holy Ghost, to let us find the week God has for us, this week in particular.

Have an Epic Week!

Godspeed,

Hap
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, California
United States of America

Second Sunday in Lent



 

Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion

Descanso, California

Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

 

Consider these words from the Collect:

 


… we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul …

 

In the Collect, we acknowledge to God that we cannot direct our own lives; if we listen to our own selves we are without guidance.  Consider the airplane flying, it orders its movements according to Polaris, the Pole Star of True North.  If a pilot flies guided by his “inner self” he soon knows only where he is: at the controls, and little else.  Like the pilot who needs to know where the True North is so he can orient himself, we need God’s guidance to move towards our goal of eternal life with Him. While flying my aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions or IMC , I have to rely on the aircraft instruments as our bodily senses lie to us about our aircrafts true altitude. So too do we have to rely on Scriptures for our guidance on the path towards heaven as our natural inclinations will also lie to us on our true performance. And we also need the help of the Holy Ghost to be our infalliable co pilot and help guide us on the narrow uphill path towards heaven.

 

We have to let Him into our hearts in order to let Him guide us. If we do not do this, then how can we expect to have Him guide us, if we are not open and ready to receive Him and His Guidance? We have to be willing and ready in order to receive His Guidance, then we have to act upon the information His Guidance gives us.

 

Thus, when Paul tells us to keep our bodies under control of our minds and our minds to be guided by God only, He helps move us on course. This ties in very well with the collect’s request for God to keep us outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls. It links the theme of both spiritual and physical moderation extremely well.  We are to be true and honest in all our dealings, both physical and fiscal and to live our faith.  His Epistle ties in well with the theme of the collect to keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls. To do this, we must live the faith. Living the faith requires us to restrain our bodies and our minds from doing foolish/evil actions which hinder our walk towards heaven. This is a very difficult task, one we will slip up from time to time on, but as long as we repent and return back to the course God has set, all will be well.

 

Being honest with others and especially ourselves is one of the most important things we can do. If we are not honest with ourselves to start, how can we be honest with others?  For only by living our faith can we demonstrate that we in fact have faith.  For professed faith with no action when you are able to act is not real.  You must actualize what you claim to believe. We are called to be as God wants us to be, not as we would be without His guidance and help.  God does this, not that we would miss fun, but rather that we would enjoy true happiness.

 

Keeping evil thoughts under control can be a difficult task, but we do not have to face it alone, we have the Holy Ghost in our lives and other Christians and friends that support us and guide us, that can help us battle evil thoughts.  Of course we need to be willing to talk to our good friends within the Church about our problems and evil thoughts and listen to their advice, and more importantly to the Holy Ghost’s advice to combat these evil thoughts and drive away the temptations of the devil.  As we have discussed before, Christianity is not a hermitic religion, but a social one. Christianity did not flourish because its followers were hermits, it flourished because its followers evangelized the religion throughout the known world. It is an active religion and it requires its followers to actively participate in it by spreading the Good news. 

 

Matthew gives us a fine example of faith that demonstrates how we must be guided by faith in our Lord.  The woman who cries unto Jesus is a Gentile, just like us.  Just like us she longs for His Mercy.  In her case, she asks only for the mercy rejected by others, the crumbs of the Master’s Table[1].  This is the essence of our faith, we are not worthy to dine at His Table, no more than dogs are meet to dine at our table.  Yet, what is left over is more than enough for us.  And we are content with that, knowing what miserable creatures we are.  And, even more important, even knowing what miserable creatures we are, Jesus offers to share His Table with us.  He is not content for us to grovel for His crumbs. If He offers His love for us, should we not love Him back, by acting upon our faith?  If you truly believe, you are compelled to act upon the faith you have. Action is the key principle, the cornerstone of the faith of Christians.  Christ set this example for us by doing, that is action.  This is seen throughout Scripture, but nowhere is it as clear as His Action of sacrificing Himself for our sins on the Cross. This is the prime example of action not just diction. Action is far more important than diction only. Diction is nice, but it needs to be paired with Action in order for it to have any sort of meaning.

 

It is also important to understand if one loves God, He still has the exact same amount of love available for any other person or group.  His love is infinite, even if it wasn’t, love multiplies in use! We do not have to worry about God running out of love at all. There is more than enough to go around!

 

Recognize how poorly you do with your own guidance, accept His Guidance, stay on course and accept the fruits of that action.

 

There is but one way to heaven.

 

That easy to find, easy to follow, easy to hike path does not lead to the summit where eternal life in the real world awaits.  Open your heart to the Holy Ghost, use His Power to follow our Lord to God who awaits in heaven.

 

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

 

It is by our actions we are known.

 

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

 

 



[1] Sound familiar?  Check out the Prayer of Humble Access, Holy Communion, BCP Page 82.

Sermon Notes - Second Sunday in Lent - Saint Andrews Church - 28 February 2021, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)

 

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect.

 

 

A

LMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

And due to the rubric, the Collect for the Day is followed by the Collect for Ash Wednesday, which is found on Page 124:

 

The first day of Lent, commonly called
Ash Wednesday.

The Collect.

 

A

LMIGHTY 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.


 

One great acknowledgment stands out in today’s Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent: Since our father Adam partook of the ill-natured tree in the midst of the Garden, Man must still find himself constantly relying upon that OTHER Tree in the midst of the Garden at Eden which he rejected – the Tree of Life. Because of that rejection, we are full of sin and incapable of helping ourselves. We even return to, stop and listen to that unholy voice, and partake of the ill-fated fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is only the Mercy and Grace offered by the Tree of Life that keeps us from constantly appealing to the serpent of the other tree. This Collect originates in the Gregorian Sacramentary. For a fuller study and brief meditation on the Collects, I recommend The Collects of Thomas Cranmer, by C. Frederick Barbee and Paul F.M. Zahl. (Erdmans, 1999)

 

J

ESUS went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.  (Matthew 15:21-28)

 

            Jesus has just been confronted by the scribes and Pharisees (blind leaders of the blind) who have come to Him with a petty complaint involving hand-washing. These men ruled their charges by red-tape and the jot and tittle of the law, and not out of love. There is one cardinal principle is preaching that may be the most neglected, not only by the former Pharisees but the contemporary ones as well. That principle is clearly elucidated in 1 Peter 5:2. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3. Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:2-4) So Jesus, wearied of the harassment from the mean fellows, resorts to the far-reaching coastline of Tyre and Sidon (Phoenicia on the Mediterranean) for a time of peace and quiet. There is also a certain woman in His thoughts that needs to see Him and is awaiting His arrival there. This dear soul has no idea that the Son of David will travel to her distant home, but the Son of David knows, and He comes.

 

            The beauty and comfort of God’s providential care for us, even while we were yet strangers, knows no limits on time and distance.  Perhaps, ere you came to Christ, you, too, were a great distance away among a people of Godless character; yet, Christ was aware of your plight and His Holy Spirit, swift as a Dove, came to you and answered your great need. He knew you LONG before you knew Him – even while you were yet in your mother’s womb where He MADE you! Such a wonderful visit of Christ the great Healer and Physician was beyond the realm of possibility in the imagination of the Syro-Phoenician woman. Yet, there was something in her heart that made her believe that God would provide. Already, she had more faith as a Gentile than the Jewish rulers had as the lost sheep of Israel. The reassuring thing about faith in God is this: We need not understand the ways and means of God’s answering our prayers, but only to know that He certainly WILL! The ear of faith, to, is very keen to hear every whispered detail of the Way of the Lord’s Coming whether it be on the road from Galilee, or from Jerusalem. The direction is not so important, but the fact that He will come after all. There is a parallel account of this event in the Gospel of St Mark 7:24-30.

 

            We look in upon Jesus immediately after His confrontation over hand-washing with the Pharisees: 21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. Please do not argue that Christ knew not whom He would meet at His destination for I will not believe it. Christ always knew whom He would meet and whom He would heal in every case. He knew a woman of Samaria would come to Jacob’s Well at the noonday hour long before the woman experienced her thirst. So He waited there while the disciples went for bread. You may be the most incorrigible and egregious of sinners, judged so by infidel and Christian alike, but Christ may have already established a point in time when He will seek you out in a land far removed from the familiar people of God. This woman may not be an egregious sinner. In fact, I believe that she is a good and faithful mother to the treasure of her bosom, but she has not yet met Christ – and that meeting will make all the difference in her life. Now He is coming. The news is whispered about the villages and among travelers along the dusty roads. His fame has even reached the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, and the woman has heard with bated breath. HOPE is the dominant quality that informs her germinating faith in a Figure see has yet to meet. The Gospel of St Mark tells us that Jesus went into a house to rest near the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, but “could not be hid.” (7:24)  No truer statement can be uttered about Jesus – He cannot be hidden from the searching eye, for all that seek Him shall fid Him. (Luke 11:9 et al) There is a Syro-Phoenician woman that is seeking, and she shall find Him at all costs. This is always the cause that brings us to Christ – NEED! Many need, but fail to satisfy that need in coming to Him.

 

            22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David. There are three important points to be made in this one statement: 1) The woman did not casually call out for help as if her need, or her expectation, was minor. She CRIED out because her NEED, motivated by a mother’s love for a dear little girl, was GREAT! “my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil” . 2) She named no great need in her cry – only a request for mercy. If she has mercy from Christ, she has all else of her need. 3) She recognized Jesus as the Messiah. That is the meaning of her expression “O Lord, thou Son of David.” She did not call Him ‘a’ son of David, but the prophesied Son of David. When we go to Christ in prayer, do we fully realize He is? This woman KNEW before ever she met Christ. She knew out of NEED and FAITH. Perhaps feeling so much so unworthy as the publican who came with the Pharisee to the Temple that day and would not approach so near, she called from a distance unto Christ. Actually, our first call to Christ is always from a distance, for we call out of our bondage and need. It is just as the hymnist, William Sleeper, has written in the hymn we sang today:

 

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,

Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;

Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,

Jesus, I come to Thee;

Out of my sickness, into Thy health,

Out of my want and into Thy wealth,

Out of my sin and into Thyself,

Jesus, I come to Thee.

 

            23 But he answered her not a word. Was Jesus being unkind to this precious mother? Of course, he was not! Jesus showed nothing but the deepest compassion for others in need. Jesus does not answer for two reasons: 1) He desires to allow the woman’s faith to increase, by and by, through her persistence. If we pray ceaselessly and, yet, have not gotten an answer, do we cease to call upon the Lord? God would have us pray with persistence. As we pray continually, our eyes are opened more and more to the Mind of God – our prayers thereby become more and more in accord with His own Will to grant. Do you recall in our previous studies how those who are closest to Christ often prevent those who need Him most from coming? And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. Do we value our comfort and leisure so highly that we forbid others who have a great need from coming to the source of that comfort we have? Are we too cozy in our little buildings of stone walls and high spires? The salt that is not often shaken will harden so that it cannot be dispensed from the shaker.

 

            24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Every Word of Christ is with power yet this is one of those ‘BUTS’ which deserve heeding. This woman is from the Canaanite race of Gentiles that the Jews despise. Christ is drawing out of a deep well, the refreshing waters of faith this woman has.  He does it not only for her own benefit, but for the benefit of his Jewish disciples to learn of compassion.  He is saying to the poor mother, “Look, I know you have a need, but I am not sent to any other than the lost sheep of Israel. If you become a child of the Promised Seed, you, too, shall be in the fold of Israel.” The statement of Jesus is looked upon with particular interest by His disciples. Jesus is slowly drawing the woman closer to Himself, and to His Love-Brimmed Heart. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. Yes, we see that the Love of Jesus does draw her nearer, don’t we? She finally is not afraid to worship the Savior of her soul. She asked for the deepest desire of her heart, and that desire derives from a love that is inexpressible for her daughter. 

 

            Please note thoughtfully the kind and loving response of Jesus to the woman: 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. At first glimpse, this may sound a bit harsh to such a loving mother, but it is laden with love. The word Jesus uses here to describe her relationship to the children of God (Israel) is not the term for the cursed and hated dog of the ghettos, but the Greek word, κυνάριον, pronounced ‘koo-nar’-ee-on’, meaning ‘puppy’ or ‘pet-dog.’ The puppy dog is a pet and is fed by the children by secretly dropping crumbs of food down to them. Perhaps we, as children of God, fail too often to drop these crumbs of the Bread of Life down to those who are starving for love and nourishment. Jesus, from eternity past, has loved this woman and her little daughter; but He needs to show her the manner in which she must come to Him. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. These words were evoked by Christ for the benefit of those standing nearby. He already knew these words were written in the red blood of love on the woman’s heart for her daughter. Had she not needed a healing for her daughter, she may never have sought Christ out.

 

            28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. What has Jesus told the woman? He has told her (in other words): “Woman, you have known who I am. You have come seeking me out of a faith born of love. You have persisted in your prayers, so much so, that YOUR will is precisely the Will of God. It is by THAT latter Will that your faith has healed your daughter. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.  God is Light, and His Finger travels with Light Speed. There was no lingering spirit-possession of the daughter – not at all. She was healed that very hour (moment).

 

            So what valuable lessons have we learned from this most blessed mother of ancient Phoenicia? 

 

1)     Love will call us into a higher place – even to a seeking after God.

2)     We must seek the Lord diligently even in places that are perceived unlikely such as the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

3)     We must call out in earnest to Christ not holding back. 

4)     We must clearly state our need in prayer. 

5)     We must be persistent in prayer even if we only hear silence at first from the Throne of God.

6)     We must not only petition, but listen for the Will of God to be 

7)     We must worship God even while we are pleading our cause as did the distraught mother.

8)     We must give evidence of our Faith to both God and man.

 

            Have we exercised this example in prayer? Put it to the test. God is faithful always to answer if our wills are consistent with His Own.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Second Sunday in Lent - Propers with explanation - Rev Jack's Sermon



 The Propers for today are found on Page 127-128, with the Collect first:

 

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect.

 

 

A

LMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

And due to the rubric, the Collect for the Day is followed by the Collect for Ash Wednesday, which is found on Page 124:

 

The first day of Lent, commonly called
Ash Wednesday.

The Collect.

 

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LMIGHTY 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.

 

The Epistle for today comes from the Fourth Chapter of Paul’s First letter to the Thessalonians beginning  at the First Verse.  Apparently the Corinthians were not the only church founded in a Red Light District.  In this letter Paul is telling the people to refrain from random sex and get married.  Paul is starting into the beginning of his New Man concept.  We are called to be as God wants us to be, not as we would be without His guidance and help.  God does this, not that we would miss fun, but rather that we would enjoy happiness.

 

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E beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit.

 

This morning’s Gospel comes from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, the Fifteenth Chapter, beginning at the  Twenty-First Verse. 

 

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ESUS went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

 

This story surfaces again in the Book of Common Prayer in the Prayer of Humble Access, in the Book of Common Prayer, Page 82:

 

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E do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.

 

Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion

Descanso, California

Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

 

Consider these words from the Collect:

 


… we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul …

 

In the Collect, we acknowledge to God that we cannot direct our own lives; if we listen to our own selves we are without guidance.  Consider the airplane flying, it orders its movements according to Polaris, the Pole Star of True North.  If a pilot flies guided by his “inner self” he soon knows only where he is: at the controls, and little else.  Like the pilot who needs to know where the True North is so he can orient himself, we need God’s guidance to move towards our goal of eternal life with Him. While flying my aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions or IMC , I have to rely on the aircraft instruments as our bodily senses lie to us about our aircrafts true altitude. So too do we have to rely on Scriptures for our guidance on the path towards heaven as our natural inclinations will also lie to us on our true performance. And we also need the help of the Holy Ghost to be our infalliable co pilot and help guide us on the narrow uphill path towards heaven.

 

We have to let Him into our hearts in order to let Him guide us. If we do not do this, then how can we expect to have Him guide us, if we are not open and ready to receive Him and His Guidance? We have to be willing and ready in order to receive His Guidance, then we have to act upon the information His Guidance gives us.

 

Thus, when Paul tells us to keep our bodies under control of our minds and our minds to be guided by God only, He helps move us on course. This ties in very well with the collect’s request for God to keep us outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls. It links the theme of both spiritual and physical moderation extremely well.  We are to be true and honest in all our dealings, both physical and fiscal and to live our faith.  His Epistle ties in well with the theme of the collect to keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls. To do this, we must live the faith. Living the faith requires us to restrain our bodies and our minds from doing foolish/evil actions which hinder our walk towards heaven. This is a very difficult task, one we will slip up from time to time on, but as long as we repent and return back to the course God has set, all will be well.

 

Being honest with others and especially ourselves is one of the most important things we can do. If we are not honest with ourselves to start, how can we be honest with others?  For only by living our faith can we demonstrate that we in fact have faith.  For professed faith with no action when you are able to act is not real.  You must actualize what you claim to believe. We are called to be as God wants us to be, not as we would be without His guidance and help.  God does this, not that we would miss fun, but rather that we would enjoy true happiness.

 

Keeping evil thoughts under control can be a difficult task, but we do not have to face it alone, we have the Holy Ghost in our lives and other Christians and friends that support us and guide us, that can help us battle evil thoughts.  Of course we need to be willing to talk to our good friends within the Church about our problems and evil thoughts and listen to their advice, and more importantly to the Holy Ghost’s advice to combat these evil thoughts and drive away the temptations of the devil.  As we have discussed before, Christianity is not a hermitic religion, but a social one. Christianity did not flourish because its followers were hermits, it flourished because its followers evangelized the religion throughout the known world. It is an active religion and it requires its followers to actively participate in it by spreading the Good news. 

 

Matthew gives us a fine example of faith that demonstrates how we must be guided by faith in our Lord.  The woman who cries unto Jesus is a Gentile, just like us.  Just like us she longs for His Mercy.  In her case, she asks only for the mercy rejected by others, the crumbs of the Master’s Table[1].  This is the essence of our faith, we are not worthy to dine at His Table, no more than dogs are meet to dine at our table.  Yet, what is left over is more than enough for us.  And we are content with that, knowing what miserable creatures we are.  And, even more important, even knowing what miserable creatures we are, Jesus offers to share His Table with us.  He is not content for us to grovel for His crumbs. If He offers His love for us, should we not love Him back, by acting upon our faith?  If you truly believe, you are compelled to act upon the faith you have. Action is the key principle, the cornerstone of the faith of Christians.  Christ set this example for us by doing, that is action.  This is seen throughout Scripture, but nowhere is it as clear as His Action of sacrificing Himself for our sins on the Cross. This is the prime example of action not just diction. Action is far more important than diction only. Diction is nice, but it needs to be paired with Action in order for it to have any sort of meaning.

 

It is also important to understand if one loves God, He still has the exact same amount of love available for any other person or group.  His love is infinite, even if it wasn’t, love multiplies in use! We do not have to worry about God running out of love at all. There is more than enough to go around!

 

Recognize how poorly you do with your own guidance, accept His Guidance, stay on course and accept the fruits of that action.

 

There is but one way to heaven.

 

That easy to find, easy to follow, easy to hike path does not lead to the summit where eternal life in the real world awaits.  Open your heart to the Holy Ghost, use His Power to follow our Lord to God who awaits in heaven.

 

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

 

It is by our actions we are known.

 

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

 

 



[1] Sound familiar?  Check out the Prayer of Humble Access, Holy Communion, BCP Page 82.

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Word of God – 26 February 2021, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)


 

 

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N In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men . . . . 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.    (John 1:1-4, 14)

 

            The WORD of God – a subject barely able to breach in human terms for its majesty and reverence – is best summarized in these few introductory verses of the Gospel of St. John. Not only does the Apostle John best summarizes the Word of god in these five verses, but the Mind of God as well as expressed in the Holy Bible. More than the description of a masterpiece of art that the observer can only express in terms of clumsy language, the Word of God is beyond our feeble vocabulary to even nearly approach human expression. This devotion can only touch on the more brilliantly illumined surfaces of that WORD of which the Bible paints a picture in terms intended to be conveyed to mortal ears.

 

            When we take the Holy Bible into hand, do we fully know what treasure we hold. The very words – EVERY Word – is Holy, for it is part and parcel of the personification of our Lord Jesus Christ for He is the WORD INCARNATE. The LORD Jesus Christ has existed from time immemorable, in fact, from the unbounded limits of Eternity Past as the central Person of the Triune Godhead. He conceived of all Creation before He spoke the Words of institution. He saw the world fully inhabited and furnished with life long before His Holy Spirit moved upon the face of the Deep. He knew YOU as well before the world was made and concurred in the Council of Heaven to come, in the fullness of time, as our Redeemer, Savior, and Lord. One who suffered the loss of all property, loved ones, and personal health, ere all was restored at the last, was given the grace to know that Mighty Redeemer perhaps more than four thousand years ago23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (Job 19:23-27) Of course, Job knew that his Redeemer lived during his own time in His pre-Incarnate Person.

 

            In the entry foyer of our Church of St. Andrews, there is a large pencil drawing measuring 4ft X 6ft entitled The WORD. It is a full-bodied representation of Christ in charcoals of light grey and darker greys. From a short distance, it appears to be of line drawings; however, when one gets very close to examine the drawing, he will find that it is the complete Book of the Gospel of John written in lighter and darker letters of grey. While it is true that the Book of John is a manifestation, in letters, of the Word of God in Christ, it is also true that every letter of the Bible itself is a full revelation of the Word Incarnate. The drawing is the artful work of Elder Kwak of Korea. It took two years to complete. The drawing is priceless – not owing to its obscure artist, but the object of the art (the Lord Jesus Christ).

 

There is no book equal in antiquity to the Holy Bible that preserves and presents the Word of God in more languages and to more people. It not only has changed lives but nations and cultures. It has inspired scientists, poets, and leaders of all stripes. Perhaps the greatest Premier of Great Britain was William E. Gladstone. Read the words of praise and commendation for the Bible:

 

            If asked what is the remedy for the deeper sorrows of the human heart, what a man should chiefly look to in his progress as the power that is to sustain him under trials and enable him to confront his inevitable afflictions, I must point him to something which in a well-known hymn is called, ‘The old, old story,’ told in an old, old Book, which is the greatest and best gift ever given to mankind – the Holy Bible.

 

            There are many examples of the Word given in Scripture:

 

1.     Light.

2.     A Fisher’s Net

3.     Gold

4.     Milk

5.     Honey

6.     Fire

7.     Others

 

1.     LIGHT

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path(Psalm 119:105) Jesus, being the Light of the World, is that Word that gives Light and Direction to His people. Light is a constant – the only absolute known to physical science. Christ is our Bright and Morning Star of hope and promise during the hours of worldly darkness, and our Day Star and Sun of Righteousness to arise with Healing in His wings at the break of eternal day.

 

2.     A FISHER’S NET

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  (Matt 13:47-50) God’s Word draws like a magnet. The Church is founded on Christ as the WORD. Like the Fisher’s Net, it is cast at seeming random but draws those whom the Lord would choose to adopt into His kingdom. All sorts and kinds of fish are caught in the Fisher’s Net. God choses those with whom He is pleased to keep, and casts out the bad.

 

3.     GOLD

Gold is a rare metal of enduring properties. Pure gold is unchanging in character and appearance. Like the Word of God, it must be mined from the natural veins in which it has formed. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb(Psalm 19:7-10)

 

4.     MILK

Tragically, there are infants who are deprived of milk at birth due to poverty of resources. Their little bodies develop with health deformities owing to the malnourishment that can seldom be remedied. God’s Word is like that milk which the baby needs from birth. It provides an early spiritual nourishment of the soul which strengthens character and faith. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby(1 Peter 2:2) Having the latent fingerprints stamped on its heart, the young infant has a heart receptive to the teachings of the Word. Seldom will one find a four-year-old that will respond in the negative if asked if he believes in God. Train up a child on the word and he will abide in it when old. 

 

5.     HONEY

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.  (Psalm 119:103-104) A devoted study of God’s Word leads one to think with that same Mind that is in Christ Jesus. We learn to hate every falsity and evil way.

 

6.     FIRE

A tiny faith derived from the Word can build into an all-consuming fire just as a tiny beam of light projected by the sun through a tiny dew-drop can burn down thousands of acres of forest. For our God is a consuming fire(Heb 12:29) But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay(Jer 20:9) and Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces(Jer 23:29) Indeed, it is that intense FIRE that shall bring the present world to an end with all its false facades and wicked works. 

 

7.     These are other comparisons but, by all means not all: Hammer (Jer 23:29); Sword (Eph 6:17 & Heb 4:12); LEAVEN (Matt 13:33); and SEED (Luke 8:11) See if you can find many more such comparisons. It might even be fun in addition to edifying.