Worship

Worship is more than the repetitive rituals we do at our churches but another way of carrying out the Great Commission set forth by Jesus Christ.[1] This was not the only class I took this summer.  I had the pleasure of taking Pneumatology and Pre-Modern History.  These classes framed a great deal of my understanding and points throughout the eight weeks.  In my Pre-Modern History class, I focused my paper on the movement of Quietism which ran alongside the Reformation.

Then Pneumatology assisted me in understanding the aspects of the Holy Spirit and how it functioned in our communal worship practices. This summer has been a very difficult summer. I hope through this reflection paper I can show how worship is more than the communal rituals we do but something we must live and breathe for it to have a true impact on the world. I lack sometimes the words to adequately describe the situation so throughout the paper you will find images during the time and previous to get a sense of either joy or emptiness that is felt.

Background of the Summer

To understand the appreciation the class had on me this summer, I will make to what this class has done for me it is important to share what was going on in my world outside of the academic arena. Right after Holy Week, the Bishop relieved our Priest from his duties at our church.  My husband and I had spent four years at the church.  I was an active member of the Vestry, in Alter/Flower Guilds, and a postulant to become a deaconess.  I was going to be the first deaconess set aside for CANA West.We were a traditional church, many of the women wore head coverings. I loved my head coverings I love the traditions it was the first place I can honestly love God. It was this church where I found my love of taking care of people as a servant. The church had supported us through the loss of our children to their mother, they saw my husband I get married. This was our family. Because of everything that had happened my husband decided to leave the church because of the politics that had resulted in less than honorable people being allowed back into the fellowship of the church.

We wondered around for a couple of months looking for a new congregation.  My husband is a former Episcopalian and me being a mutt of Protestant faiths decided he would go back to the Episcopal Church. Finding a church was extremely important because I had to get working on an internship for the Fall to graduate in December. Once we found one it took us less than a month to leave it due to it being a social justice warrior congregation. They were considered a High Mass church but their respect for the worship style was below anything I had ever seen.  For example, couples breastfeeding their child during a homily in front of everyone. No one welcomed us except the priest’s wife. So, we went to find another church.

I had a lady I knew that used to be a member of a group I used to belong to who went to an Episcopal Church.  I decided to go check out their Wednesday Evening Prayer/Holy Communion/Healing service. Everyone was great but was really a low mass type of service.  I decided at least the people were nice and so I asked my husband if we could try going on a Sunday.  He liked the Sunday service. It was radically different from our services at our Anglican Church and even the first Episcopal church we attended. It was a low mass service people sat in a circle around the Holy Table. There was no stained glass and they sang modern songs like ones you can find on KLOVE.

 

My husband decided to fill out a membership form that day and transferred our membership to there. After a couple of weeks, I asked the priest if I could do an internship at the church and he said yes. Excited to have a way to graduate I took hold of the opportunity. However, as excited as that was, I lost something in the transition from the Anglican to the Episcopal Church. I lost my home.  I found Peterson’s and Saliers books impactful.  They identified what was missing and why I miss my old church so much and why I have had problems incorporating myself in the Episcopal Church we currently attend. Peterson discusses individuals who have spent a lifetime in the church and by adding something new and unfamiliar can be like stealing the opportunity to worship away from congregants.[2] Saliers discusses the senses and how a worship service is supposed to resonate with someone on some or all the senses described. I used to have the sense of awe at my church. Saliers mentions that we should have a sense of awe in the presence of God.[3] The essence, the organ, the call and response and the beauty of the vestments and traditions it was the place I wanted to be all the time. The two days I was not at church were too much for my soul to take. I had no problems sitting in the church for hours just to feel the awe and closeness with the Lord.

It had been the one place where my Amazing Grace and I Need Thee Every Hour, sounded beautiful.[4] [5]This is awe. The feeling one feels when God enters a place and individuals feel the need to sing.[6] When words fail they just give utterance. I pray for the opportunity to have the boldness to either sing or share with others about the wonderful grace and love our Lord gives us.[7]

Worship in A New Place Through the Lens of WSHP 527.

Upon being in your class and reading Saliers and Peterson, I began to try to appreciate the differences in worship styles. I tried to open myself to be ok with the low mass concept. However, I just could not replace the sense of awe and delight that the Anglican church provided me. So now I sit in conflict trying to understand what has happened and how can I get it back. We are called to be living blocks that become a royal priesthood where we are to give spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ.[8]

While studying in Pre-Modern History this summer I began looking at the Quietism movement.  Some interesting points about the movement stuck out with me which I think is important to observe.  We all lose our senses at some point and while we search in the dark and suffer a loss we are commanded to continue to worship the Lord as we prepare for the way of ministry.[9]  The joy of the Lord is personal and different for everyone. As worship leaders, we must not just “wing it” when we plan our worship services but make a concerted and prayerful effort to invite the Holy Spirit in.[10]

The bigger question becomes how are we to worship the Lord in his perceived absence?  In all honesty, I can’t answer that question. In the past two years, I have more reasons to wonder and doubt if God is even there. When I started this degree program here at Walden I had no doubt.  I had no fear. Today at this moment I cannot say that. I continue to pray but sometimes I wonder who.  I understand that even in our times God uses the circumstances for his divine will. While I logically understand this, I doubt. Like the centurion, I beat my breast plate and say help me Lord in my unbelief.[11] So I continue, I put one foot in front of the other. If I cannot make the place where I worship the place where I find God, then I need to out and continue to search the world around me.

The week when we were discussing the church calendar I was reading my bible and praying. I have a deep passion for the church calendar. I love how the colors change, how we are always different people each year so while the readings are always the same how we see them is always different. We grow and our church congregations grow so we all move closer to being united with God through Jesus Christ. I had difficulty understanding why students would not appreciate the routine certainty that the church calendar provides.

Then I realized through the reading of Matthew 22, that God’s intention was never for the church to have the number of rules that it does.[12] The rules restrict individuals from being part of the priesthood of all believers. We are all called to minister to the sick and to the poor.   We are all called to read and share the good news. Most importantly we are all called to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ mentions when there are two or more gathered he is there.[13] The holdup becomes when we view that the church should have no ordained priest from the apostolic succession we lose the order and ritual that worship has.

It is not the degree the individual how obtains a degree in ministry is fit for being a preacher but is the calling of God. I often will ask myself as the church struggles to get Millennials into their doorsteps will they continue to be tight about who can administer the sacrament?  I guess it is what theological stance you make on the matter.  Roman Catholics will remain true to their beliefs that only ordained men can perform communion. This is because of the concept of transubstantiation.[14] The individual who performs Holy Communion must be like Christ. Zwingli challenged that idea which became known as the memorialist point of view.[15] The importance of this view is that the believer remembers the sacrifice by Christ and through grace acknowledge the presences of Christ in our hearts so we can share that with others.[16] If the theological mindset is like Zwingli does this mean anyone can perform the worship service of Holy Communion?  If this is the case, is this what will be the end of the theological discussion on the Eucharist?  So, I am left with the thoughts of the Christian faith ever must go underground again, who will perform the Holy Communion service in no priest is available?  This class has made me take a long look at the concept of a priesthood of all believers.

This summer has been challenging. Part of me would love to open my own church separate from any denomination but instead be open to anyone who has been called.  I would use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  We would hold morning and evening prayer every day. We would call the Holy Spirit to fill our worship space. Most importantly though we would love one another. We would have quiet contemplative time where people could come in and just sit to be in God’s presence. At every meal, we would offer up a sacrifice to the Lord and call upon the Holy Spirit to transform our sacrifice into the body and blood of Jesus Christ and to renew our souls. Then there is that part of me still holds faith there is a church that is like that somewhere that is meant for me. A place where they do not sacrifice each other in times of trial but instead lift of their hands to the Lord and worship him.

I have often cried reading the books in this class. Trying to find how the new worship service I experience relates to the senses talked about by Saliers or the importance of the theology of worship talked about by Peterson. To be honest, I am still struggling. As I am two weeks away from starting an internship maybe this is where I can connect with the worship and love of the church. The books have been difficult to read because it continues to drive home what points of worship are important for me and remind me of how God wants me to worship him. The books and discussions we had on the forum boards and even including the worship service visit remind me while visiting and discussing new age forms of worship are interesting I will always be in my heart am orthodox Anglo-Catholic.

Conclusion

So, this summer I am on a less stable footing that I was in the spring. I have been reminded through this class who I am and what I value and crave in a worship service.  I have also been reminded that Worship is not something we do in the confines of four walls and a roof but it is something we take outdoors. Worship is an activity that must be done from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep.  If we are to believe that we carry the love and light of Jesus Christ within ourselves there is no need for doors, walls or a roof. We need people and love.

People and love are important for worship. While worship can be done without anyone present it can be lonely and solitary in nature.  Therefore, finding someone to worship with becomes key to the impact of worship on our day to day life. It has been often said that like Jesus men should lead our households.[17] Our primary place of worship should be in our homes. If we overlook the importance of worship in the home with our families. We miss out on experiencing the awe in living our day in worship and in prayer.[18] Peterson focused a great deal on the mechanics of worship and its impact on the community of the church but failed to address the private individual small group worship that should occur daily with others. The closest an author got to addressing this was Saliers. His descriptions of senses were a personal experience and an individual’s responses to the ritual orthodox traditions of a service as described in Peterson section on sacraments.

This course assisted in defining who I am and what forms of worship are important to me. The daily ritual of writing my ritual practices at the end of the day helped me identify that I am still connecting with the Lord in new ways. While I am still in search for a new home and a new family.  My hope is to find myself continuing my growth and development in various worship styles so I can have a deeper understanding of who I am as a worshiper. So even after this class and after my experience with getting my degree in Practical Theology, I will continue to search for a place where I can call home.  This means I will know what I expect and understand who I am and what I desire in a community of like-minded believers who take the time to worship the Lord together as a community to me.

[1] Matthew 28:16-20

[2] Peterson, Brent D. Created to Worship: Gods Invitation to Become Fully Human. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2012. 21.

[3] Saliers, Don E. Worship come to its senses. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996. 20.

[4] https://www.spreaker.com/user/8714222/amazing-grace

 

[5] https://www.spreaker.com/user/8714222/i-need-the-every-hour

 

[6] Ibid. 23.

[7] Ephesians 6:19. KJV.

[8] 1 Peter 2:5. KJV.

[9] 2 Corinthians 1:4. KJV

[10] Peterson, Brent D. Created to Worship: Gods Invitation to Become Fully Human. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2012. 64-65.

[11] Mark 9:24. KJV.

[12] Matthew 22:36-40. KJV.

[13] Matthew 18:20. KJV.

[14] Peterson, Brent D. Created to Worship: Gods Invitation to Become Fully Human. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2012. 176.

[15] Ibid. 177.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ephesians 5:22-24. KJV.

[18] Acts 6:4. KJV.

Authority of Our Creeds and Confessions

Authority is the right to give orders, make final decisions, and enforce individuals to obeying decisions and orders. Often authority is passed down through family lineage or given to one that is tested to meet the qualifications of leadership. As we have discussed in the past creeds and confessions are statements of faith and beliefs that unite individuals together through a proclamation of common ground. The question then becomes where the authority of the creeds and confessions come from? There can be an argument that can be made that the authority comes from the church.

The church developed the creeds and confessions we have today. The churches authority exists because, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven upon the rock that the church is built that hell should never prevail.[1] The church then ordains individuals who are faithful to leadership levels who then become shepherds of flocks. These shepherds unify to determine what the laity actually believe. In the beginning, the authority rested with the Roman Church saying that it was the teacher and mother to every church that existed.[2]  However, after the protestant reformation, The Westminster Confession of Faith states that it is man’s chief end is to glorify God through obedience to the Word of God.[3] Therefore, the protestant church proclaims that authority is the Word of God. Thus, all authority of the creeds and confessions must come from the Word of God. This means that God puts the authority into the creeds and confessionals that the church creates. Then how does the church make a decision on who has the authority on how much pay the electrical company or even what to post on social media?

The Word of God gives guidelines on how individuals should spend their money and how they should act with one another but does not get into the fine details of the everyday life decisions everyone makes. Thus, the relationship must be more direct and personal. Confessions must unit smaller groups while creeds unite many smaller groups together. The authority might be separate but equal. For example, in the Thirty-Nine articles of the Church of England, was not applicable to those Anglicans that can from Europe to the United States.[4] Thus, American revised the Thirty – Nine articles to better suit the American government and beliefs. While the Church of England and the Anglican Church both follow the authority of the creeds established in the original church the confessionals are different because they are set up to represent the individuals in their community and the life God has provided them. However, this still does not answer the question of the authority to make the day-to-day decisions in our lives that we will confess and believe.

This leaves only one place for the authority to come from in the creeds and confessions. It must reside in the hearts of sheep that sit in the pews. In the Shema, it states “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” These where the word God spoke to Moses to deliver to the people of Israel. It then continues on to instruct people through its generations the prayers and traditions that are found in the Torah.[5] This one line makes a direction connection between you and the Lord. Thus, it becomes a personal investment and understanding making it easy to teach and to understand.[6]  The decisions and actions you take in the day-to-day life must glorify and honor that God is one Lord. So the question then when faced with a decision to make comes does this honor and glorify the one Lord? Therefore, creedal and confessional authority is based on the people that implement them into the church. It is implemented through the organization of church life, regulation of their worship, administer their organization, staff their programs and pay their bills.[7]  Thus, the authority of the creeds and confessions rests on the individuals who implement the ins and outs of the church. Therefore we are each the authority of the creeds and confessions. We guide and instruct ourselves with others like ourselves to serve and honor the Lord.

 

[1] Matthew 16:17-19, KJV.

[2] Pelikan, Jaroslav. Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003. 280.

[3] Ibid. 281.

[4] Ibid. 323.

[5] Deuteronomy 6:4-9, KJV.

[6] Pelikan, 331.

[7] Ibid. 245.

Trinity, Divinity, Death, and Faith

 

The four chapters I will be discussing from The Spirit of Early Christian Thought by Robert Luis Wilken are chapters 4-7.[1]  The primacy of the scripture in the early church was rudimentary at best. The beliefs of individual churches varied in doctrine due to the lack of an organized structure of texts and beliefs that was universal to the entire Christian body. The Roman Church accepted their Canon of Bible Scripture in Damasine Council of Rome in 332 A.D. and the rest of the western church in the third Council of Carthrage in 397 A.D.[2].

As society grew more advanced in their interpretation and application of Christian theology, the growth and development of concepts of the Holy Trinity began to emerge in the Church.  The discussion and debate over the belief in the Trinity occurred in 325 at the Council of Nicaea.[3] Before the Council of Nicaea theologians had been debating over the validity and description of the Trinity. Theologians would try justifying their position based on scripture readings and adding philosophical logic to gain acceptance.  At the end of the second general council in Constantinople in 381, the church’s acceptance of the Trinity is documented in the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed.[4]

Terrullian contributes to the debate of our likeness to the Lord as like having a fully developed conversation with one’s self.[5] While this debate is adequate to discuss the psychology of one’s self.  It does not adequately discuss the relationship of the separate and unique features of the God and human beings made in his likeness. Terrullian purpose was to discuss how we are like God because we are made in his image and likeness.[6] The failure to establish a secondary object to which we can relate makes Terrullian’s argument weak in selecting conversations with one’s self because there is no unique distinct voice that is completely separate from the other person in the conversation.

Augustine argues in his writings that the Holy Spirit is what can only be described as connecting agent to the Father and Son.  That it is the unifying peace that makes the Holy Trinity possible.[7]  I would argue to say that the Trinity in its unique and separate forms in shown throughout the New Testament. That they work together to create the events we use to define us as Christians.   From the virgin birth the Holy Ghost is said to have been to doer of the conception[8], God presents himself to the wise men in a dream and warns them not to go back to Herod[9], and Jesus is the primary focus of the virgin birth.  This occurs again during Jesus’s baptism when God speaks This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.[10] The Holy Spirit descends upon the Lord during his baptism by John the Baptist like a dove[11]. Jesus is the receiver of the action. This continues during Jesus’s ministry, healing, and death.  The final time we see the trinity working together is in his ascension into heaven, which occurs 40 days after Easter.

Wilken continues to discuss the divine nature of Christ. At the Council of Chalcedon the acknowledgement by most Christian churches was that Jesus was the perfect man and Godhead in one person.  Being perfect man was separate and unique to the Godhead, which was also separate and unique; however, both existed in Christ and thus belonged to the Trinity.[12]  In Lateran 649 the reason for this acceptance of the dual nature of Jesus was so important was that it was able to finally define specific times in Jesus’s life that the various natures where shown.[13] The dual nature is important for understanding who the Christian is and strives to be.  In the Bible we are told that we are made in the image and likeness of God, therefore, we are like Jesus and must strive for his ultimate perfection.  This is an advanced development of thought for the Christian Church.  The concept of the spiritual nature and human nature of Jesus provides us with a model that we can try to obtain. This goal is what we aim for as Christians to set ourselves towards in regards to morality and character.

Chapter 6 focuses on the concept of the physical body. That Christians set goals and live our way towards those goals.[14]  For example, as Christians we affirm that Jesus will come back to defeat our advisory the devil, we prepare ourselves that our souls will be ready for this when it occurs. Therefore, Wilkins discusses how as humans how we take care of our dead because they are the part of the nature of man according to Augustine.[15]  In Matthew 25:31-46 it discusses that when Jesus comes back his followers known as lambs will be placed in his right hand while the goats, or non-followers, will be in his left.  Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, to take care of the dead is to take care of the body of God, for some believe that we will be risen up and reunited with our bodies to share in the Glory of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. [16]

The final chapter discusses the concept of the importance of faith and its importance to the Christian belief.  Faith is a unique perspective in Christian thought because it is contrary to modern thinking and understanding of the world in which we live.  Faith requires an obedience and understanding that the Bible contains the truth and is our only way to salvation and eternal life.[17]  Fr. Rogers discusses that everyone has two forms of belief.  They are referred to doctrine and dogma.  Doctrine he defines as those things that have evidence and reasoning.  That when presented the information there is evidence providing its concept. [18] Dogma on the other hand is the fundamental assumptions that we make because of the reality in which we exist. [19] Faith, like dogma, exists based on trust and fundamental assumptions that it is all part of God’s purpose.

The primacy of scripture in the early church is important to recognize.  Like the growth and development of individuals and Jesus, the church grows and develops in its understanding of our Lord and Savior. In the beginning, it was rudimentary as the church has matured so has the primacy of scripture.   Every individual and generation has to build upon and rediscover the knowledge provided by the scriptures.  The scripture is still as it was in the beginning.  It contains the truth and knowledge of God.  Therefore, while the book remains static and constant in its content, the interpretation it provides us individually makes it a living and breathing document.  The bible provides guidance and wisdom just as it did in the beginnings of the Church, and we must remember that while one might read and see a passage differently, we must understand for us, it will contain a different message, made purposely for us in the proper time.

Psalm 23 a Hermeneutic Study

  1. Starting To Interpret a Text

“Hermeneutics must start from the position that a person seeking to understand something has a bond to the subject matter that comes into language through the traditionary text and has, or acquires, a connection with the tradition from which it speaks.”[20] The text in which I will be discussing is Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. [21]

The passage is important to me because I have made it part of my daily beginning of my devotional prayer time.  After I put on the full armor of God, I lead into praying this in chant. I use the St. Dunstan’s Psalter to provide me with the cords. This psalm is also chanted in evening prayer on the fourth day in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) 1928 edition.  The passage reminds me that while I pray for others and intercede for them that He will provide and protect me from the attacks from the evil one.  That as long as I stand for the rightness of the Lord and serve those as if I am serving Jesus I will always live in the house of the Lord forever.

In my spiritual path like most in my teens and twenties I walked away from the church and doing so lead me to dark places and loneliness.  It was not until I returned to the Church did I find a purpose for my life again.  After going through deliverance ministry I know assist in spiritual healing and prayer for those being attacked spiritually by demons.  This Psalm reminds me that while turmoil might surround us in the world that there is hope and salvation through Jesus Christ.

While studying this text I realize that I have prejudices that due to life circumstances and belief cause me to fail in being able to separate my belief in Jesus as our savior and the Bible being the book of ultimate truth and it is the only way to truth and salvation. These prejudices prevent me from viewing the passage in a historical-critical method because it removes God and replaces him with doubt. I am, however, able to view the text in a more academic and historical manner that will allow me to see the passage from a different perspective due to life experiences of individuals who also interpret this scripture. I am able to take and view the piece in a manner that can allow me to share with others and connect with others by understanding their beliefs and experiences. Gadamer reflects upon this and discusses it as the historical horizon and the superseded understanding horizon merge for a real connection to occur.[22]  This connection allows me to view the text in a different manner and provides me with an opportunity to connect with another individual through a biblical message and spread the word of God.

II In the Process of Interpretation

In Murphy’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Psalms, the psalm is described in its poetic form by describing the psalm in two lines phrasing that is calm and rhythmic.  They discuss the importance of David when he was writing this Psalm as he had just completed his pastoral life. [23] The book describes each of the psalms in the exact same manner.  The focus on Psalm 23 in this book was the literal translation of the text and its importance on being taken care of and sheltered by the Lord.  It also focused on the food and drink aspects of the passage, which for the time when this article was written anti-slavery was beginning to take effect.  This was an important time in history because farmers in the south used slaves to gather food to support their ways of life.  With anti-slavery taking off the emphasis on food and drink becomes more relevant in the passage.

I was unable to find a commentary that showed it through the centuries however I was able to find a commentary on all the Psalms through the entire centuries, however, the library only had a physical book and nothing online available for this. This is not to say that the psalms and their uses have not been changed over the course of the various centuries.  Currently Psalms are rarely used any more except when teaching children or in high orthodox masses as in the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions.  The psalms where used to instruct the Jews and Christians about history and the Lord and the trials and tribulations of the Jews.  Today in the Anglican tradition, we still chant our Psalms in morning and evening prayer.

Psalm 23 provides us with an affirmation that the Lord protects us and as long as we follow him, he will provide us with what we need.  He is always with us as we lie down and as we drink from the river of life.  He cares for us and leads us to good things that honor and glorify him.  However, we will have tribulation and trials in our life, but not to fear these issues because like in the pasture the Lord remains with us in all that we do.  The Lord will come and collect us if we stray from him and we are comforted in his leadership because he is Lord. He will prepare a feel for us and bless us in the presence of our enemies before their judgement and my love for him will endure forever. As the Lord as my leader and protector I shall be shown goodness and mercy forever as long as I remain a faithful servant to the Lord. [24]

III Concluding the Interpretation

The sacred real of this text has provided me with the understanding that I have to hand off my control and power need to the Lord.  In the world of today, with logic, science, and methods I often will focus on those instead of allowing the Lord to accept and deal with the issues that I try to resolve.  The Lord is our Sheppard we are not.  We are his sheep.  Sheep do not sit on the thrown but instead bow lowly to our Lord and rejoice in his praise. While the Lord will test us and give us tribulations, it is our responsibility to bring it to the Lord in prayer because only when we ask for it shall we receive it. [25]

Agreement with this text that if I wish to endure in happiness I must be allowed to give the Lord the throne and keys to heart and soul.  Failing to do so prevents me from dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.  I agree that tribulations occur and that I must remember that the Lord is there with us by our side.  When he comes for us, we shall be given a feast and blessed by him before our enemies.  The difficult part with the agreement is the fulfillment of the action.  As a problem solver we often will spend, our times take charge and resolve issues for people.  However, when we do that we rob people of the opportunity to serve God and steal from God the opportunity to show is power to others.

While historically, the psalm has been used to provide comfort for the afflictions that individuals experience including those in the past who feared for their ways of living.  Today we are a culture of fear. Fear is the work of the devil.[26]  We are quick to fear something and rush to solve problems instead of lifting our afflictions to Jesus Christ.  The Lord protects those who surrender themselves to him, therefore we must remember that when we are caught in the valley of the shadow of death, that we are not alone and we shall not fear for the Lord is bless us and keep us so we can dwell with him in glory.

As a classical text, I see myself in Psalm 23 as a map to understanding and peace.  That while we experience tribulation and tragedy it is not for nothing but serves a purpose for the Glory of God.  Not allowing the Lord to be our savior we fail to bring him alongside us as we go out into the world. In 1 Peter, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.[27] To ensure we do not fall prey to the devil we must surrender ourselves to the Lord and ensure he is in our thoughts, our lips and hearts.

The text address me personally because while I read and use this text every day in my daily routines.  This is probably the first time in a long time that I have actually read the text, which draws me in a relationship with the Holy Ghost and the Lord.  I have failed to give up my seat on the thrown in various areas and he can only be Lord if I surrender it all to him.  It is important that I acknowledge that now before I am set aside as a deaconess because if I cannot model how a Christian woman is to give herself to the Lord, I have no business expecting woman of the church to do it when I cannot do it myself.

Those that go into ministry we are both shepherds and sheep. We lead others to Christ or assist in their trials and tribulations reminding them of the great shepherd, Jesus Christ. It is important as those who lead others to protect and guide them into communion with the church and with God. Failing to do so weakens the Church and fails in our obligations to become more Christ like in our human nature.

 

[1] Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

[2] Towns, Elmer L. What the Faith Is All About: A Study of the Basic Doctrines of Christianity. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1983.

[3] Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 83.

[4] Ibid., pp. 84.

[5] Ibid., pp. 99.

[6] Ibid., pp. 99.

[7] Ibid., pp. 102-103.

[8] Matt 1:18 (KJV)

[9] Matt 2:12 (KJV)

[10] Matt 3:17 (KJV)

[11] Matt 3:16 (KJV)

[12] Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 133.

[13] Ibid., pp. 133.

[14] Ibid., pp. 158-159

[15] Ibid., pp. 160

[16] 1 Cor 15:52 (KJV)

[17] Wilken, Robert Louis. The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 133.

[18] Rogers, Homer F., and Mary Patricia. Tuck. The Romance of Orthodoxy. Dallas, TX: Publisher Not Identified, 1991, pp. 2.

[19] Ibid., pp. 2.

[20] Truth and Method. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013, pp.306.

[21] Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV)

[22] Gadamer, Hans-Georg, Truth and Method. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013, pp. 317.

[23] MURPHY, JAMES G., and James G. Murphy. 1875. “A CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL COMMENTARY ON THE BOOK OF PSALMS.” In Critical & Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms, 1-712. n.p.: 1875. American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Historical Monographs Collection: Series 1, EBSCOhost (accessed April 30, 2016).

[24] Psalm 23:1-6 (KJV)

[25] Matt 7:7 (KJV)

[26] 2 Tim 1:7 (KJV)

[27] 1 Pete 5:8 (KJV)

Historical-Critical Method adds complexity to the Word of God

Glory to God in the Highest.  Hallelujah He has risen! Welcome to the church season of Easter.  After a difficult and trying Lent, I am excited to say Hallelujah in church again.  I realize it has been over a month since my last posting and I apologize for that.  I have been busy with starting seminary, vestry, and sharing services from my church on iTunes.  However, today, I am going to discuss what I have been studying in my Hermeneutics class about the historical-critical method of doing scholarly biblical research.  The concept of historical-critical research is to insert doubt and probability in various beliefs of the origins of the Bible and the accuracy of what is being said in the Gospel.  The primary core belief is that the Bible has been written a multitude of authors who gathered resources of the stories and miracles of Jesus Christ and copulated them into one book.  Essential in lay person terms it’s like Aesop’s fables and contain universal truths and some of the stories are more believable that others.

Academics and the scientific method has invaded our religious thought and study in the seminary.  While Christian monks founded the primary scientific method it has been diluted into a logical pattern of probability and statistics.  There is no mystery or wonder to it any longer.  The issue with religion is that it provides for the opportunity for the impossible.  It allows for a belief in something we cannot explain.  It allows for Faith.  The bible is the reason we have faith.  The truth allows us to believe.  It allows the faith to exist and thus have churches exist. Without the knowledge and acceptance that no matter what human wrote the bible, it is still the word of God.  It contains the truth about God and the path for our salvation.  It is a part of a greater understanding of truth about God. The bible is essentially like the cliff notes to the understanding and knowledge of God.  It provides us enough for us to accomplish and understand in order to reach salvation.  If we have questions then the answers are contained in the Bible we just need to look for them.  It is the truth.  You must have faith to believe that.

Failure to over analyze and bring in logic and the scientific method into faith is that basic human processes and understanding do not allow miracles to occur.  Even chaos has a mathematical anomaly, which can at times be predicted through statistics.  Faith is a belief because of what it is not because of any evidence that we can prove it.  Failure of the scholarly academics to understand this has resulted in an over analysis of the basics.  Believe because we have faith.  Understand because you believe.  Share because you understand. Sometimes we must remember individuals do not need the complexities of our faith because it justifies it through numbers but they need the simple understanding because everything else in our world is so complex.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:1-3 KJV)

Devotion Time – Mark Of A Christian

The readings being examined is chapter 45 in Genesis. As Joseph was the head of the disbursement of grain in Egypt, his brothers came to visit him.[1]  He kept the revelation of being their kin from them as a secret.[2]  Until they came to eat with him in the Pharaoh’s house.  He wept openly as he reviled the truth to them.[3]  Forgiving them for selling him to the Egyptians. [4] The revelation he gave to his brothers is prophetic and important.  God was the reason for his position and status.  All the reasons and explanation for everything was because it was part of God’s divine plan.   In Job, it says to Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. [5]

Fr. Homer Rodgers discusses in The Romance of Orthodoxy, how it is only when we have no answers to the question, we fall back on God made it that way as our response.[6]  This response is a result of the questioner finding a personal dogma of ours.  Dogma is a set of thoughts and principles presented by an authority as an incontrovertible truth.[7]  These personal dogmas can periodically change throughout our life. [8]  They change because we develop more knowledge and seek further understanding to having a deeper insight into what we accept to be undeniable.

The growth of Joseph and final acceptance that it was God’s divine plan is the reaching of his personal dogma.  He could not explain why his brothers sold him to the Egyptians other than the divine acceptance that it was God’s divine plan.  With that acceptance he found peace and comfort crying loudly reveling himself to his brothers as a member of their kin.  [9]

How do we wear the mark of a Christian today in modern times?  How to show that we accept that it is, just the way it is, because God made it that way? This revelation has forced me to force myself to look and sometimes just accept my situation because it is part of God’s divine plan.  I can also go back into my life and my experiences and understand why God had me go through those experiences.  It assists me in helping others in those same struggles and showing them that God is there no matter how bad life gets.  I want to know more and have a deeper understanding of what leads people to the situations they are in and to provide them a sense of comfort in the basic explanation through science or reasoning for their situations.  However, that is not the mark of a true Christian.  The mark of the Christian is the acceptance of life’s trials and praying with those in despair for peace and understanding.[10]

Our constant and consistent dogma should be because it is the will of God.[11] No further explanation should be needed if we accept the word of God because it is through the word of God and understanding of God we can find a true sense of peace as found in Job.[12]   Fear is not the will of God but of Satan.[13]  Fear to show your mark as a Christian is on that believes the lies of the enemy.  The Lord protects His people for His divine purpose.[14]  Therefore believing in his word is the only true facet of peace, just as Joseph found peace in speaking his revelation to his kin in Egypt.

Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth,

Thank you for your Word and for making me an instrument in your divine plan.  Please provide me with the strength, understanding and will to show my Christian mark as a symbol of honor and glory to you.  Although we might not always understand your plans or the reasons for our circumstances, may we make them a glory and honor to you in however they fit for your purpose.  Please allow me to find peace like Joseph in this great understanding of your divine nature and that nothing I do is without purpose or reason to your ultimate guide and plan.  In your name we pray, world without end.  Amen.

 

[1] Gen. 42:6 (KJV)

[2] Gen. 42:8 (KJV)

[3] Gen. 45:1 (KJV)

[4] Gen. 45:5 (KJV)

[5] Job. 22:21 (KJV)

[6] Homer F. Rogers, The Romance of Orthodoxy, ed. Mary P. Tuck (Dallas, TX: Mrs. D. Rogers/ St. Francis’ Episcopal Church], 1991), 6.

[7] Rogers, 2.

[8] Rogers, 4.

[9] Gen. 45:14 (KJV)

[10] John 17:21 (KJV).

[11] Rogers, 6.

[12] Job. 22:21 (KJV)

[13] 1 Cor. 10:13 (KJV), 1 Pet.5:8 (KJV)

[14] Ps.37:38-40 (KJV).

A Calling To Our Lord To Serve

When religious strife it is our duty and responsibility as Christians to remain quiet and pray.  God will speak to you when He is ready.  Last Thursday I was walking outside to my car at work because I had left a canned soda in the car.  It gets so hot here that it would have exploded leaving sticky residue all over my car.  So in haste I went outside to get my soda can.  I was not even five steps outside the door when I heard the bells calling the Carmelite nuns to prayer.  I just stopped and closed my eyes and listened.  At that moment I was at peace.  I was calm.  I knew what I needed to do again in my life.  Where God wanted me.

I ran back inside when the bells stopped.  I began to google Anglican nuns.  Know give you some back story when I think nuns I think catholic school teachers with rulers.  I remember failing Latin and being told I was failing Latin because Satan had a hold of me.  But then I knew nuns to be fun because I remember the show about the flying nun.  Which interesting side note, she was playing a Daughters of Charity nun which is dedicated nuns of the Catholic faith.  They used to wear those traditional large white habits as their uniform in the 1960s.  But the question became doe Anglicans have nuns?  There are episcopal nuns but was the Anglican Church able to have a group of nuns as well?  The answer to the question is yes.  These nuns can be married as well.  These women often do not do the monastic life but go out into the public and provide charity to those in need.

When I was five I ran up to my parents and told them I wanted to be a priest.  I enjoyed the idea of wearing black and the collar.  I realize women in the priesthood is wrong on multiple levels of the Anglican Church but there must be some way to serve in that kind of function.  Just like me at age five I give everything to everyone that I have even if it leaves me with nothing because we are here on this life to serve and help others.  Before getting married to my husband, I lived with few items.  A table, books, and bed.  I had a computer for work and a TV which I used to play music but there was nothing.  I sat on lawn furniture in my living room for years.  I only got the lawn furniture in the living room so my mother and dad could sit somewhere instead of being on the floor.  I found peace with the clarity and cleanliness.  I would read the Bible and study.

There is a position women can be appointed to in the Anglican Church which is deaconess.  I will be writing about that next week because it is an amazing and honorable position that a women can be bestowed with through God and the Church.  I cannot say how God spoke to me through Church bells.  He just did.  He reawakened that desire of my five year old wanting to take care of others as my primary responsibility and showing individuals how great and good God is.  That it is not about the great large acts of charity but the small every day activities we do to be nice.  The miracles Jesus performed were great and magnificent but also he performed small unselfish acts every day for those society saw a least deserving. Being a Christian is not just something we do on Sundays but something that we must do every day.  It make take me several years before I can spend every day at Church performing ritual and taking care of others.  However at least there is a new end.  I am not stuck in what I am doing now but it is instead just something to move me closer to reaching the position where God wants me to go in this life. It is important though not to lose hope or faith because God will talk to everyone who accepts and desires Him.

Till next week may God bless you and keep you forever.  In Christ Alone.

R. Send out Thy light and Thy truth, that they may lead me.

V. And bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling.

R. O let us live.

V. And we shall call upon Thy name.

R. Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts.

V. Show the light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole.

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty and Merciful God, that Thy Holy Spirit may come unto us, and dwell in us, and make us to be a worthy temple of Thy glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wedding Ritual In Latin – Importance of Language In Our Rituals

End of the 30 day morning and evening prayer challenge.  It has been over a month since I started this challenge.  I wanted to see if I could incorporate a new ritual into the ritual of what is my life.  I found in the beginning not so easy to give an average of 18 minutes of my morning and 19 minutes of my evening to do morning and evening prayer consistently.  I found myself wanted to look at my Book of Common Prayer when I did it so I could read it.  Driving and reading the BCP is not a recommended action due to the safety of yourself and others.  Do not get me wrong I missed some evening or morning prayers on occasion due to the selfish nature of myself getting busy.  However, I have found that I know can do most of the morning and evening prayer by memorization.  I do not need to read the BCP.  Now I can do the Psalms yet but the prayers and responses can be provided without the need of the book.  I am still not sure why when doing morning and evening prayer why the psalms are not read in numerical order.  It skips around a bit.  That being said.  I have developed my own ritual of doing morning and evening prayer in the car on the way to work and on my way home from work.  Unless I have the children in the evening and then we do it as a family.  My youngest loves doing evening prayer because afterwards we listen to the Christian children’s songs on CD.  There is definitely something powerful about starting your work day and ending your work day with morning and evening prayer. I am now wanting to listen to it in Latin. Something about hearing it in the original language intrigues me.  I was not great in Latin but I can remember saying the Hail Mary in Catholic school in Latin.

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Then doing the sign of the sign of the cross. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen

The nuns and I might have not gotten along in my Catholic High School but I did pick up some Latin that has proved useful during my every day studies.  Now I do not pray the rosary as an Anglican we have other prayers we do however, something about me wants to see the Mass done in Latin.  There is something powerful about it.

This Friday I will taking the sacrament for matrimony known as the Solemnization of Matrimony.  The following is the sacrament in Latin. I might be off in my translation it has been a while since I have done English to Latin translation and I am not the best at conjugation.  I really need to take Latin again. There is something about getting back to the roots of the original language of the ritual.  In Labrador Canada my Grandfather served at a US installation there and attended a masonic lodge on a regular basis.  There at that lodge they spoke Gallic.  He once told me that of all the lodges he visited the lodge in which they did the ritual in the native tongue was the most impactful to him a Master Mason.  It begs to question if part of the connection we have with the ritual is in the language it was originally done? Does the changing of the language of the ritual change the impact of the ritual on those performing the ritual?

I will explore that question next week.  Peace be with you and remember praying no mater what the language God will understand it.

Forma formarum

Huiusmodi solemnisacione matrimonii

¶ In die illa pro tempore matrimonii solemnitas personae corpus Ecclesiae intrabitis nuptiis aut ex propriis parata domus cum omnibus amicis et vicinis consistens et homo a dextris et a sinistris: Mulier, Minister dicet

Dilectissimi hic congregati coram Deo et coram huius multitudinis etiam hunc virum et hanc mulierem in sacro Matrimonio coniungere; nesta quae institutae a Deo ut Unione mystica nobis significant inter Christum et Ecclesiam, quae primo aspectu et ornatus et ornatum sacrum statum signum Christi fecit in Cana Galilaeae et commendatur Sancti Paulum honor potest apud omnes: et idcirco non temere ineundum quispiam vel leviter; sed reverenter, dis-lloso ex deliberatione, sobrie, et in timore Dei. Venio nunc ad illam sanctam societatem aderant istis duobus praedium iungi. Si potest aliquis iustam causam ostenderit, cur non legitime conjungi, jam dicturus, aut in aeternum taceat.

¶ Et qui loquebatur ad personas nubentur dicet

Vos postulo causam, sicut iudicium iudicii dies respondebimus corda secreta detegantur, si nosti vel impedi ment-quid enim non matrimonio legitime copulavit, et Nunc edepol confiteor. Vos enim scitote, quod si aliqui aliter conjunguntur enim Verbum Dei exspectant, matrimonium non licet.

¶ ministro auctoritatem habebit propositae rationi dubitandi Matrimonium postulet refectione sufficientem securitatem suam si fuerit impedimentum iudicationem aut suspectis Minister dicat ad virum

  1. vis habere hanc mulierem in tuam legitimam uxorem, Dei ordinationi resistit post instauratam vitam communem in sacro statu Matrimonii? Amabis, consolare, honorare, ac custodire sanum et infirmum se; et relictis ceteris eius tantum te quamdiu vixerimus ambo?

¶ The Man respondebit,

Volo

¶ Deinde Minister dico mulierem

Hunc virum in tuum legitimum N. vis vivere in sacro statu Matrimonii post Dei ordinationi resistit? Amabis ei opem ferat illi honorem, seruabis nos inducas in tentationem; deserta omnia mandata illi soli adhærere, quamdiu vixerimus ambo?

¶ respondebit mulier,

Volo

¶ Deinde Minister dicere

Mulier nupta hoc homo dat?

¶ Et hoc modo se habent adinvicem dent. Ministri accepta in parentis, in amici manibus Mulier dabit homo sumere dextra dextram manum mulier et post eum ut sequitur.

  1. accipio te N. in legitimam uxorem meam, ut te ab hoc die habeam et teneam, quoniam expedit, sive ditiorem sive pauperiorem, sanum et infirmum, amare et fovere, donec mors nos partem faciunt, secundum Dei Quæs; et ad hoc do tibi fidem.

¶ tunc laxent manus; et mulier dextera sua dextra accipiens homo aeque post Minister,

  1. eidem accipio te N. habere et tenere a die hac, quia expedit, sive ditiorem sive pauperiorem, sanum et infirmum, amare et fovere, donec mors nos partem faciunt, secundum Dei Quæs; et ad hoc do tibi fidem.

¶ tunc iterum solverent manus; Annulum mulier et hoc modo hominis vobis dabit Ministro redde accipiens homo Annuli committimus, ut in quarto digito mulieris sinistram. Et respondit vir annulum habens, et docetur a Minister, dicet

Wed HOC annulo te in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

¶ Et anulus apud hominem liberaret, Minister dicat ut sequitur.

Benedico Domine Annulum istum, qui portat qui dat et maneat in tua pace disponas, in voluntate tua praestitisti prosequitur usque ad finem vitae suae; per Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

¶ Deinde vir annulum in quarto digito mulier relicto sinistram, Minister dicat,

Oremus.

¶ Deinde Minister et Populus stantia dicant Orationem Dominicam.

PATER noster, qui es in caelis, Sanctificetur nomen tuum. Cae. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Quia tuum est regnum, et potestas, et gloria in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

¶ Deinde Minister Addunt

Aeterne Deus, Creator et conservator humani generis, dator gratiae spiritualis auctor vitae aeternae Mitte benedictionem tuam super hos famulos tuos, hunc virum et hanc mulierem, quos in tuo Nomine benedicimus; ipsi fideles simul implere votum et conventionem inter eos certo præstent et facta sunt (cuius signum est et pignus datur et recipitur Annulo) dilectione et pace et in aeternum permanes, et vivunt secundum patratione leges tuas; per Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

¶ precibus sequenti Minister alterutri addere.

OMNIPOTENS Deus, conditor humani generis, qui solus fons vitae; Tribuere super hos fámulos tuos, si volueris, donum et patrimonium liberis et praesta, ut videant filios enutrivi et fidem tuam in timore, ad laudem et gloriam nominis tui; per Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

DEUS, qui repraesentatur in supellectili statum conjugii spiritualis matrimonii et unitatis inter Christum et Ecclesiam; Respice propitius super hos famulos tuos, ut diligere, venerari, et foveat unusquisque cum proximo suo veritatem et sic una in patientia autem pietatem veram sapientiam, ut in statione patrie benedictionis et pacis; Per eúmdem Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti aeternum Deus, per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum. Amen.

¶ Deinde Minister jungere dexteras, et dicat

    Quos Deus coniunxit, homo non separet.

¶ Deinde Minister loquor elit.

Quia tuarum N. et N. consenserint in sacrum Matrimonium et hoc coram Deo et hac congregatione testati et dederunt manus suas, et dederunt ei hercle ad alterutrum, et hoc idem Annulum datis acceptisque , et per conjunctionem manus; Pronuntio sunt viri et uxoris, In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

¶ Vir et Uxor laudabiliter dicitur benedictionem Minister addat.

Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus Spiritus Sanctus, conservet, et custodiat te misericorditer respexit Dominus vultum suum ad te, et repleat vos omni benedictione spirituali et gratia; simul ut sic vitam habeatis in saeculo venturo vitam aeternam. Amen.

¶ Leges de matrimonio, in ecclesiis vel Banns evulgaret vel Licentia, diversitate Civitatum singularum singuli versus relinquitur Minister leges in omni re, quae ad civilem contractum inter partes.

¶ Cum Banns publici iuris erit in hac forma: Matrimonium inter N. quosnam edo – et N. de -. Si quis autem vestrum sciunt, vel iusto impedimento sancta haec duo coniunguntur in matrimonium non estis indicare. Hoc primum [secundarum aut tertiarum] petitione.