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

Sunday, November 27, 2022

AOC Sunday Report - First Sunday in Advent - Thanksgiving Day



Happy First Sunday in Advent and we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

The AOC Sunday Report can be downloaded RIGHT HERE!

Today we have Bishop Jerry's comments on Thanksgiving Day as well as sermons from Bishops Jerry and Roy, as well as Revs Jack and Bryan.  Rev Jack brings the Propers together today.    His sermon can be viewed on video here -> https://youtu.be/VGKAeJE66Jg

 

The Collect, Epistle and Gospel tie together, laying out, detailing and reinforcing the same message ultimately. The Collect asks God change our hearts that we might put away our old selves and move into a world of light show that we might follow His will. In the Epistle Paul encourages us to not just avoid the don’ts of the 613 Mosaic Laws, but to positively love our neighbors as ourselves. A much harder task, but far more rewarding. The Gospel documents Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Sunday before his death. The most important part of all of this is that when Jesus came into this world, he knew how he would leave it. I think you’ll enjoy the manner in which all of this comes together.


There are always a lot of people who need your prayers, I know that I say that every week, but that is because it is true. Please start with Tricia, Jim, Laurie, Shamu and work out from there.


There's really a lot to think of as we approach Christmas, the color of the season in the liturgical year, more in the report, is purple, there's a reason for that. There's both happiness and sadness as Christmas approaches.  Stop to think for a minute of Jesus coming into this world, knowing exactly How he would leave and yet coming anyway, because it was the will of His Father.  If you're having trouble appreciating it, consider opening your heart to the Holy Ghost.

Have an epic week ahead,

Godspeed

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

First Sunday in Advent - Propers and Exhortation with explanation – Rev Jack’s Sermon– With Video

 



Rev Jack brings the Propers together today.    His sermon is below the propers and can be viewed on video here -> https://youtu.be/VGKAeJE66Jg

 

The Collect, Epistle and Gospel tie together, laying out, detailing and reinforcing the same message ultimately. The Collect asks God change our hearts that we might put away our old selves and move into a world of light show that we might follow His will. In the Epistle call encourages us to not just avoid the don’ts of the 613 Mosaic Laws, but to positively love our neighbors as ourselves. A much harder task, but far more rewarding. The Gospel documents Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Sunday before his death. The most important part of all of this is that when Jesus came into this world, he knew how he would leave it. I think you’ll enjoy the manner in which all of this comes together.


Today, the propers for today can be found on Page 90-92:

 

The First Sunday in Advent

The Collect.

 

A

LMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

 

¶ This Collect is to be repeated every day, after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Day.

 

The Epistle for today comes from Paul’s letter to the Romans, starting at the Eighth Verse of the Thirteenth Chapter.  Paul tells us to be self sufficient, but love and care for one another, do not commit adultery, do not murder, steal or lie.  But more than that, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”  For, if you love your neighbor, you will do no ill to him.  “Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”  We need to do this today, because the time of “our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”  We hear often “The end of the world is near.”  And it may well be.  But for each of us, this world’s end comes when we leave for the next.  Have we treated our fellow beings as Jesus commanded us in God’s name?  Because in the answer to that is hidden the key to our next life.

 

O

WE no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

 

Today’s Holy Gospel came from the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, the Twenty-First Chapter, beginning at the First Verse.  It is the story of Palm Sunday when Jesus came triumphant into Jerusalem.  Jesus sent “two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”  This was done that the prophecy of years gone past might be fulfilled of a triumphant entry of the Messiah into Jerusalem.  The people expecting a Prince of this World, “spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest, And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”   Rather than assuming the crown of this world, “Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”[1]

 

W

HEN they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.  And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

 

THE EXHORTATIONS.

¶   At the time of the Celebration of the Communion, after the prayer for the whole state of Christ’s Church, the Priest may say this Exhortation. And Note, That the Exhortation shall be said on the First Sunday in Advent, the First Sunday in Lent, and Trinity Sunday.

 

D

EARLY beloved in the Lord, ye who mind to come to the holy Communion of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ, must consider how Saint Paul exhorteth all persons diligently to try and examine themselves, before they presume to eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. For as the benefit is great, if with a true penitent heart and lively faith we receive that holy Sacrament; so is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily. Judge therefore your- selves, brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord; repent  you truly for your sins past; have a lively and stedfast faith  in Christ our Saviour; amend your lives, and be in perfect charity with all men; so shall ye be meet partakers of those holy mysteries. And above all things ye must give most humble and hearty thanks to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the world by the death and passion of our Saviour Christ, both God and man; who did humble himself, even to the death upon the Cross, for us, miserable sinners, who lay in darkness and the shadow of death; that he might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life. And to the end that we should always remember the exceeding great love of our Master, and only Saviour, Jesus Christ, thus dying for us, and the innumerable benefits which by his precious blood-shedding he hath obtained for us; he hath instituted and ordained holy mysteries, as pledges of his love, and for a continual remembrance of his death, to our great and endless com- fort. To him therefore, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, let us give, as we are most bounden, continual thanks; submitting ourselves wholly to his holy will and pleasure, and studying to serve him in true holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. Amen

 



[1] Sometimes quoted as a reason for the church not to have rummage sales, the sellers were thrown out as they were cheating the people, selling the one legged sparrow in the morning as a “perfect specimen of an unblemished dove” without fault for a sacrifice, then reselling the same sparrow in the afternoon.  They were indeed making the temple a den of thieves rather than a place of worship.


Sermon - Rev Jack Arnold

Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California

Rev Jack brings the Propers together today and can be viewed on video here -> https://youtu.be/VGKAeJE66Jg


Todays sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together because as is always the case there is a unifying message in the Scripture for this Sunday. 

 

The First Sunday in Advent

The Collect.

 

A

LMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

 

¶ This Collect is to be repeated every day, after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Day.

 

Today’s Collect, like almost all of them, starts out asking God’s Grace, His Help, His intervention to allow us to turn our backs on evil and our own desires that we might make His Desire our desire. This theme is constant through ought most of the collects for the simple reason that it is truth.  And it is the truth that without God’s intervention in our lives through the help of the Holy Ghost we are doomed to fail. If you will understand how short we fall in our “natural” desire, you will understand to cast off the works of darkness and don the armour of light, we must turn to Christ, who came to visit us, born in a simple and humble inn in Bethlehem.  As His manner of birth, we must be humble as well, not boastful and proud like the rich[1], but meek and lowly, to embrace light and cast off the works of darkness.  We have to let go of our pride in order to be humble and be able to cast off the works of darkness. Though He came in a rather humble manner, He shall return in a glorious and majestic manner, a rather stark contrast to His original incarnation, leaving no doubt who has come to lead us.   

 

The whole point of the Collect, Epistle and Gospel is that we must embrace light and reject the darkness. We do this by allowing the Holy Ghost into our hearts, to shine the light in our hearts and expel the darkness. It is like the light Galadriel gave Frodo in Lord of the Rings, a light to shine in the darkest of times and places and will cleanse our hearts of the inner darkness and will send the darkness scattering like insects. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit can we cleanse ourselves of that inner darkness and allow pure light to come in and drive it out. We cannot do it ourselves, but we need His Help and Guidance in order to do so. We cannot do it ourselves as we do not have the resources to cleans ourselves of our inner evil, but with the Help of the Holy Ghost, we will have the resources needed to brighten our hearts.

 

This brings us straight to the Epistle. Paul tells us we need to live the life we aspire to.  He wastes little time on the don’ts which the Jews were famous for getting around, but goes right to the dos; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. By going through the dos, Paul is saying we need to let in the light and allow the Holy Spirit to expel the darkness. We cannot hope to accomplish any of the dos if we do not have the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Following God requires us to reject the dark and cling to the light. 

 

One of the best examples I can think of loving thy neighbor as thyself was when Lt. Thomas Hudner crash landed his F4U Corsair next to Ensign Jesse Brown’s downed Corsair in an attempt to save his fellow pilots life. In his valiant actions to attempt to save his wingman and his friend, Lt. Hudner truly showed what it means to love thy neighbor as thyself. Even though it was risky and cold, Hudner did all he could to save his friend. If all of humanity would follow the example Thomas Hudner set, this world would be a far better place.

 

Paul cautions us to not borrow for what we do not need that we might owe others nothing but our love.  To know the difference between want and need.  This sound advice is sorely needed in this country these days.  If we do, we are ensuring that we will not have a worldly obligation to any who might hold that over us to influence our path away from that Christ set out for us. We ideally owe no man anything but that of our love.  Paul asks us to love our neighbors, by love he means to take care for them as we would for ourselves or our own close relations.  Not necessarily to “give” them money, but to help them to attain self-sufficiency that they might prosper both in soul and body. 

 

This takes us right into the key theme of the Gospel.  We must not be for God in speech only, but in deed.  The Collect and Epistle and Gospel’s key theme is action. Acting to remain in the light rather than the darkness is the overall message. When Jesus came into this world, He came knowing the true purpose of His coming, He came knowing how He would leave, He came knowing the cost at which our souls would be accounted as perfect. He knew what He had to do to save our souls for eternity.  His whole ministry, including his death and resurrection, can be best summed up in one word; action. He consistently backed up His Message with actions and not just diction. This is a pattern for us to follow as believers; we are called not just to say good words, but back those good words up with actions. Jesus expects us to not just say we believe Him, but to actually believe Him and the best way to accomplish that is through our actions.

 

Contrast this to those who are like the Pharisees, who have not kept the Word of God in their hearts, though they may shallowly profess it with their lips. Sadly there are many in the churches world wide today that are this way, both in the laypeople and in the clergy. They know how to speak the right words, but they do not match their words to their actions. It is action, not diction, that counts! It is easy to profess it with your lips, it is harder to put your words into practice. That will show the world where your heart truly lies.

 

We must not be like them.  We must put on the great Armour of Light and so reject our former lives of sin and vanity. We must switch from our old selfish lives to a new unselfish, Christ filled life.  It is something we always struggle with, but God never gives up on us. We can be comforted by the assurance He will never give up on us. We just have to never give up on Him and do our very best to follow what He says. As long as we repent from our sin and turn back to God in our private prayers and devotions, he will wipe our slate clean. I know I have a hard time keeping on the straight and narrow path, so I am glad He left the Scriptures to guide us.

 

Through following His Word and Instructions, we shall be given a greater reward than anything existent on the Earth; past, present or future, that gift of immortal life, life for all eternity, that will outlast this physical world. We have to utilize our full complement of weaponry with the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit as our main weapons to which we fight this battle for souls. We must never never ever give up but keep going. Even when it seems hard, we must press on for all will be worth it in the end.

 

Make no mistake, we are engaged in a World War with the Prince of Air, the Prince of This World, for the souls of men, starting with our own, a World War which has been going on since the beginning of time. But we know the ending is in our favor for certain, for the Book of Revelation tells us so.

 

As individuals we may not experience victory here on earth. We may struggle with problems in this world and our own, our whole lifespan on this planet. We may not see and savor that victory here on earth; but we know in the end He will be victorious as we know the Savior.  We will win, for we are on His Side.

 

Cast off the dull worn robes of darkness, which lack luster, give no warmth, protect not from heat or cold and put on the shining glorious armour of light.  So kitted up, we walk in light, not in darkness where we may stumble and fall.   Unlike moths, for us light is life, not the destruction of darkness.

 

Come, put on the Armor of Light and go forth to destroy that last enemy, death!

 

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

 

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] It is not that worldly wealth is, in and of itself, bad, but rather the attitude it can bring, one of self-worth beyond that which is correct.  Wealth often brings to us a “better than thou” attitude, which soon turns to “Holier than thou.”  The kind of thing that was referred to when Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”  Mark 10.25

Sermon Notes - First Sunday in Advent - Sacred Use of Sunday - Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide - 27 November 2022, Anno Domini

 

The First Sunday in Advent

The Collect.

 

A

LMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

 

 This Collect is to be repeated every day, after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Day.

 

The Royal Box Was Empty

On a visit to Venice many years ago, that city prepared an elaborate performance at one of the principal theaters for Emperor William of Germany. The performance was set for Sunday evening. When the Emperor was informed of what had been done and was asked to honor the assembly with his presence, he replied, "Since I have become Emperor, I have made it a principle of my life never to attend any place of amusement on the Lord's Day." King Humbert followed the Emperor's example. As both Emperor and King were expected, the theater was crowded from floor to ceiling, but the royal box was empty. The brilliant gathering learned a lesson on the duty of keeping holy the Lord's Day. --Topical Illustrations (see poem below) 

 

No pelting rain can make us stay

When we have tickets for the play;

But let one drop the pavement smirch,

And it's too wet to go to church.   

                                                                         --Author Unknown


 

Matthew 25: the parable of the ten virgins

     1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

 

This parable refers to the Church itself – the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

The Bridegroom is Christ, and He has prepared a great Marriage Supper for His Friends (you and me).

 

It illustrates the difference between a virtue based on works and one based on Grace. Ten Virgins (good moral young ladies). Five were virtuous in their physical being (works) and five were virtuous in body and soul.

 

The parable speaks to this matter,--If there be true faith in the heart, there will be active obedience in the life:.

 

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

 

Lamps represent the love and direction they seek in Christ, their Bridegroom.

 

2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

The Ten were not all of the same heart. How were they different?

 

3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

 

The end of the evening, unable to cope 

Unique entertainment no longer a joke 

The close of the picture, the end of the show 

Merciless torment, torturous blow

 

New lamps for old 

Bright shiny gold 

Innocent youth 

Falsehood for truth

 

The eye of the needle, the loss of the thread 

Triumphant victor, glorious dead 

The cause becomes duty; duty's the blow 

Which kills the picture: death of the show

-       Keith Reid

 

The Cause is Christ! When the Cause becomes anything else besides Christ, the prize is lost.

 

Too many are attending church and calling themselves Christian out of a sense of Duty and not a Love for Christ.

 

Duty is a result of that Love, not the Cause  (Christ).

 

The old lamps of the Gospel are often discarded for the new ones of apostacy. These new lamps are shiny and bright, but the old are dignified by wear and time. The Old is perhaps not so pretty to look upon, but are filled with the Light of the Holy Spirit.  The new ones are bright and pretty on the outside, but are filled with darkness.

 

Here is an illustration from a story my mother used to tell me from Arabian Nights.

 

Aladdins Lamp is a fantasy story that contains much true of genuine merit. From Arabian nights. Setting is a western city in China. The story is actually an addition to 1001 Nights added by Antoine Galland.

 

Aladdin has found a Lamp that contains great power to the owner. In safe-gauarding the Lamp, he leaves it in the care of his betrothed, the Princess. She knows not the quality of the Lamp. So, a magician who has coveted gaining the Lamp for himself, goes about the streets offering to trade new lamps for Old. 

 

This is happening today in the publication of so-called Bibles that are new and shiny, but dark inside their covers.

 

“New Lamps for Old,” cries the magician. If we are wise, we will keep the Old Lights and reject the new false lights.

 

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

 

The foolish virgins only wanted the appearance of having Light, the Wise Virgins wanted the Light itself.

 

Notice that all slept which is normal. We cannot remain vigilant at all hours. 

 

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

At Midnight – this has come to be known as the Midnight Cry!

 

It is based on the Gospel account of the return of Christ:

 

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  (1 Cor 15:52)

 

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (1 Thess 4:16)

 

It is also based on the betrothal customs of ancient Israel, Korea, and China. 

 

When this cry is given, it is very much like the Fountains of the Deep being broken up in the account of Noah. At that moment, there will be no time to acquire righteousness. We must be ready then and there to meet Christ.

 

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

 

Our salvation in Christ comes directly from His Hand. We must all alike tap that Boundless Resource for our salvation. We can not grant it to others, it must come from Christ directly.

 

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

 

When the last righteous soul enters into the gates of Heaven then, like the Ark of Noah, the gate will be closed. No others will gain admittance.

 

The other five virgins came late but were not received:

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

 

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7)

 

Be ready for Christ always….Amen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Bishop's Letter Thanksgiving Day 2022

 


 

24 November 2022, Anno Domini

 

Thanksgiving Day

2022

 

B

LESSED is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance(Psalm 33:12)

 

O

FFER unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: 15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.  (Psalm 50:14-15)

 

            There are some Christians, even ministers of the Lord, who aver that there cannot exist a Christian nation. Either those who aver such nonsense are wrong, or the leading text above is wrong. If there is no nation whose God is the Lord, then to what nation does God refer in Psalm 13:12? Is it simply a hopeless goal posited by the Lord? I think not. I believe there was such a nation blessed above all others upon the face of the earth.

 

            Long ago – perhaps so long ago that few readers will remember – there did, indeed, exist a nation whose God was the Lord and whose founding was guided by the very Author of Liberty. There was a time when most homes in America had a room set aside for daily prayers. The Bible was revered and read daily to the family by the Master of the house.

 

            Christopher Columbus believed the Lord Himself directed him across the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean to discover the continent upon which that nation would take root. The pilgrim fathers braved the hazardous journey by sea to found the early colonies of that nation. Later, the Founding Fathers of these United States sought the leading of God Almighty in composing our founding documents – the principal of which was the Declaration of Independence that asserted that all rights of mankind descend from God.

 

            The yeoman farmers and merchants of the new nation paid humble obeisance to the God of their fathers. The masculine temper of her men, and the gentle, feminine influences of her mothers, forged a nation to be emulated by all others. The guiding Light of Heaven was their focus for many decades of their early founding

 

            As often happened in ancient Israel, the greater blessings that flow from Heaven, the less inclined are the people to recognize their debt and obligation to God. The greater the wealth grew of the nation, the greater the greed and profligacy. Those inclinations grew into an unrestrained hedonism. A nation that once revered God and His moral Code became a nation that welcomed perversions in marriage, the murder of innocent children in, and out, of the mother’s womb. Drugs and misery grew as the nation has drawn nearer and nearer the abyss of no return.

 

            Thankfully, the Lord God of Mercies and Restoration has preserved among the citizens of America a remnant unto Himself whether for the purpose of restoring the Godly standing of the country, or, else, to light the darkness through the times of God’s Judgment.

 

            We have much to be thankful for in America – in fact, EVERYTHING. Let us remember this Thanksgiving Day that the arm of the Lord is never shortened to forgive. Let us heed the oft-repeated and seldom heeded words of the ancient prophet of God  – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14)

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and remember – the Day is THANKSGIVING, not the demeaning day of the vulgar class, Turkey Day!

 

A Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving!

Jerry L. Ogles

Presiding Bishop

 

Watchman, Tell Us of the Night – 22 November 2022, Anno Domini

 


W

ATCHMAN, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night.  (Isaiah 21:11-12)

 

T

ELL ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. (Matthew 21:5-11)

 

            This being the week just before Advent Sunday, it is proper to remember and old Advent hymn composed by John Bowring (1792-1872). The hymn was written in 1828. The tune, entitled MASON, was composed by Lowell Mason in 1830.

 

            After the darkness of ages, from Malachi to the coming of John the Baptist (400 years), there was no spiritual light or word from Heaven. A smothering spiritual darkness filled the land as a prelude to the coming of that brilliant Light of Christ at Christmas. This hymn sets the stage for our Advent and Christmas expectations.

 

Watchman, Tell Us of the Night

 

Watchman, tell us of the night,

What its signs of promise are.

Traveler, o’er yon mountain’s height,

See that glory beaming star.

Watchman, does its beauteous ray

Aught of joy or hope foretell?

Traveler, yes—it brings the day,

Promised day of Israel.

 

Watchman, tell us of the night;

Higher yet that star ascends.

Traveler, blessedness and light,

Peace and truth its course portends.

Watchman, will its beams alone

Gild the spot that gave them birth?

Traveler, ages are its own;

See, it bursts o’er all the earth.

 

Watchman, tell us of the night,

For the morning seems to dawn.

Traveler, darkness takes its flight,

Doubt and terror are withdrawn.

Watchman, let thy wanderings cease;

Hie thee to thy quiet home.

Traveler, lo! the Prince of Peace,

Lo! the Son of God is come!

 

1 Watchman, tell us of the night, what its signs of promise are. Traveler, o’er yon mountain height: see that glory-beaming star. Watchman, does its beauteous ray aught of joy or hope foretell? Traveler, yes; it brings the day, promised day of Israel. The watchmen and prophets of ancient Israel had proclaimed God’s promise of a coming Savior describing even the time and place of His coming. The signs of the watchman was simply revealed in Holy Scripture. The dawning Light burst over the eastern mountains to lead the way, not only to the Wise Men, but also to you and I to the glorious event. The effulgent Light of that Bright and Morning Star burst upon a world bathed in smothering darkness – so much so, that many men were blinded by its message. This coming would fulfill the promise of God to His people – and ALL of faith in ?Christ are His chosen people.

 

2 Watchman, tell us of the night; higher yet that star ascends. Traveler, blessedness and light, peace and truth its course portends. Watchman, will its beams alone gild the spot that gave them birth? Traveler, ages are its own; see, it bursts o’er all the earth. As that Star approached ever nearer, its beams grew more intense in beauty and wonder. How could the King of Glory deign to live among those who were His enemies, and even give His life in redemption of their sorry souls? The Bright and Morning Star arose in the East in like manner of that Sun of Righteousness to arise at the last day. Thought that Star of Bethlehem stood still over Bethlehem, its warm beams spread across the western and easter continents of thew world. This was the Coming of the Ancient of Days prophesied by Daniel the Prophet during the first year of Belshazzar in Babylon (see Daniel 7:9)

 

3 Watchman, tell us of the night, for the morning seems to dawn. Traveler, darkness takes its flight; doubt and terror are withdrawn. Watchman, let thy wand’rings cease; Hie thee to thy quiet home.. Traveler, lo, the Prince of Peace, Lo, Emmanuel has come! The dawn of the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ was an eternal dawning of Light upon those of faith. For the traveling pilgrim who traversed land and sea seeking that Kingdom promised in ancient days, the dark forebodings of power of the Serpent’s blinding darkness had passed as Light was shown upon those who walked in darkness. “14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:14-16), and  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.  (Isaiah 9:2)

 

There are still yet pockets of darkness in the world for want of that same Light that blessed the hearts of the faithful so many years ago. It is not a darkness of the absence of light, but a self-imposed darkness of the soul that prevents the light from penetrating the morass of darkness and sin that has engulfed societies and even nations. Wherever that Light shines freely, there is Liberty, for Christ is the Author and grantor of Liberty.