September 7, 2017
This morning our lessons lie in stark contrast to each other. David's sin and then his deception to try and cover up his wickedness is heartbreaking and unattractive, even in contrast with Uriah's faithfulness to his king. Then we have the risen Christ.
Christ walks with two unknown followers, and teaches them, opening their eyes to the gospel truth. They didn't see or understand until they broke bread him.
How often do we let our obliviousness and sin keep us from seeing the goodness of God? Or worse yet, how often do we cover it up with further sin. Instead, we are invited into his fold, to dwell in the word of God, and to break bread with him. So let us faithfully seek to do this, not cloaking our sins in lies, but confessing, repenting, and running back to him daily.
September 6, 2017
How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? ~ Psalm 137:4
I have had a soft spot in my heart for the melodic lament of Psalm 137 for much of my Christian life. I first heard it when I was playing music in a pit band for Godspell. There was something so eerily moving about the song.
As I grew in my faith, it became an important reminder to me that we are to carry everything to the Lord in prayer, our laments, our sorrows, our complete anger, our joys, our happiness, every last emotion. We give them to the Lord, and he rescues us out of Babylon, he brings us into the kingdom of heaven.
This rescue may take more time than we'd like, but we can be confident that he is beside us, even in the pit of despair and the valley of death. So we needn't fear the evil. Take heart, cry out to the Lord and carry on.
September 5, 2017
EXCEPT the LORD build the house, * their labour is but lost that build it. ~ Psalm 127:1
As a new rector of a small church, I have been thinking a lot about church growth. We often think if we do the right thing, get the right pastor, preach a good message that many will come.
But the key is that the Lord must build the house, not me, not the members of the church, not some new fangled program. The only way the church will grow is if the Lord builds it. So we preach the word of God, partake in His sacraments and pray always.
This Psalm is as mucha bout the family household, for eventually, the psalmist turns his attention to the home and baring of children. The same rule applies. The center and core to all we do is to let the Lord do his work and give ourselves over entirely to his workin in our life.
September 4, 2017
"THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS" ~ St. Luke 23:38
The Roman soldiers were mocking Jesus and the Jews in one fell swoop. Their mocking would upset the Jewish leadership, but it points to something very important.
The Apostles expected a Jewish king, even in his humble entry into Jerusalem less than a week before, they saw a great hope. They'd hoped Jesus would drive the Romans out establishing a new Jewish kingdom. But the kingdom Christ established wasn't an earthly rule, instead, he was ushering in the kingdom of heaven.
While the Romans were mocking, they point to what we know Jesus Christ is the Lord of lords, and we are invited to dwell with Him. Once the apostles realized they were willing to serve him even unto death. Let us seek to boldly proclaim that the kingdom of heaven has come.
September 3, 2017
But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. ~ St. 23:21
I would like to think that I wouldn't have been amongst the crowd yelling crucify him, crucify him! That I would have been protesting this innocent man's execution, but the reality is, I would have been. Too often I prefer my own security, my own devices over the peace of the Lord that he gives freely. I suspect if we search our souls we would all see the same within ourselves.
Jesus had done nothing wrong except upset the establishment, and the establishment wanted to calm the masses and regain their tenuous control.
It is often hard to take a step out in faith, to trust that the Lord will provide, keep you safe and sustain you through what he is calling us to. It is through His death and resurrection that we can live and walk with Him and so even the evil read of today was used for good, but let us learn to trust more faithfully in that goodness. Trust that in the end, He will work all things for good.
August 31, 2017
But the LORD is my refuge, * and my God is the strength of my confidence. ~ Psalm 94:22
No matter where we go, or how we end up, this is our hope and our strength, that God alone is our refuge, a port in the storm. No matter what people may say about us, good, bad, or ugly, God alone is our refuge.
No matter what storms, trials, or frustrations we face - God is our refuge.
No matter what joys, sorrows, or heartaches we have - God is our refuge.
Let us take heart in that great joy, and let him watch over and protect us no matter what the day brings and pray that he leads us safely to the next.
Please continue to pray for Texas. There is so much hurt and need right now in the panhandle state. My bishop has asked that we give to the Samaritans Purse or another reputable cause. I know ACNA has a fund set up as well that you can find through their site. A friend of mine is involved with these folks as well: https://www.hisgracefoundation.org/Donate.aspx
If you are in Texas or on the gulf coast, please stay safe.
O GOD, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; Graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant the people of Texas help in this Their time of need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
August 30, 2017
I have spent so much time reading morning prayer alone; it is like fresh water to my soul on a hot afternoon to have people to pray the daily office with. It has been since college that I was able to regularly open the office and worship the Lord with other people.
Some mornings we have five or six, other mornings it's just two of us. Either way, it is refreshing and joyful.
This morning, it was just two of us, and what a joy it was. There were some awkward pauses along the way and some bumps. But it is good to worship with others. It is a good thing to lift each other up in prayer.
Let us learn to walk alongside one another in prayer and praise, even when it's bumpy, even when it doesn't go quite as planned, for it is a very good thing.
August 29, 2017
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. ~ II Samuel 1:26
I think as a culture we have downplayed the importance of friendship - the importance of caring for someone who we like because they simply walk along side of us. A friendship between two men or two women plays a different roll in our life than the element of a loving, romantic relationship between a husband and wife and as such is vital for the spiritual and emotional health of a human being.
A friend is one who walks along side of you and helps you work out the problems that you are facing, helps you find solutions and helps you to walk with God. We saw this with David and his friend Jonathan.
When Jonathan died David deeply mourned for Jonathan was a companion and a guide, one to whom David confessed his fears and sought guidance. May we all be given a friend whom we lament the loss of when the Lord finally brings them home.
August 28, 2017
But it is good for me to hold me fast by God, to put my trust in the Lord GOD, * and to speak of all thy works in the gates of the daughter of Sion. ~Psalm 73:28
The Psalmist this morning reminds us that our labor for the Lord can often seem lonely, discouraging, and frustrating. It can appear that we preach to and serve rocks, and nothing ever changes, or worse the wicked prosper and grow more corrupt. Negativity towards our situation can fester and make us grow weary losing sight of what is important.
Often our prayers can feel like the Psalmist listing off frustrations, pains, and anxieties. Looking over the fence and thinking that the grass is greener if only this or that changed. But is it?
The Psalmist ends with an important reminder - it is a good thing for me to hold fast to God, to put my trust in the Lord God. Holding fast is the greatest good; we are learning to trust in the Lord fully. Life may be lonely or discouraging or frustrating. I write these things, not as a
I want you to know that I write these things not as an eternal optimist, but as reminders to myself. If you are lonely or frustrated, I have been there. Persevere dear friends and carry on. It is good to hold fast to the Lord.
August 27, 2017
I recorded this last podcast incorrectly, so we are recycling today because I am tired. Have a bless'd Monday all.