26 January 2009

A Missionary Vision

Pastor William Weedon, a LCMS pastor, has put up an interesting post on his blog concerning his 'dream' mission Church. It's worth a look.  You can click HERE to read it.

22 January 2009

Which Church Father are You?

Just found a neat little quiz, and while I am not much for these things usually, I couldn't resist comparing myself to a Church Father...

You’re St. Justin Martyr!

You have a positive and hopeful attitude toward the world. You think that nature, history, and even the pagan philosophers were often guided by God in preparation for the Advent of the Christ. You find “seeds of the Word” in unexpected places. You’re patient and willing to explain the faith to unbelievers.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

02 January 2009

January 2 - Office of Readings

From time to time I'll continue posting reflections drawn from the Office of Readings for visitors to the site.  Today, reflecting on the opening passage of the Book of Genesis, I present portions of Gregory of Nyssa's treatise "On Baptism".

Scriptural Reading: Genesis 1:1 - 3:24

Patristic Reading: From the treatise "On Baptism" by Gregory of Nyssa.

Too long have you rolled in the mire; hasten - not at the voice of John, but of Christ - to Jerusalem.  For indeed the river of grace flows everywhere.

Jerusalem does not rise in Palestine to disappear in some nearby sea.  It spreads over the whole earth and flows into paradise, flowing in the opposite direction to those four rivers which come from paradise and bringing in things far more precious than those which come forth.  

Those rivers carry perfumes, the fruit of the culture and germination of the earth.  This river brings in men and women, begotten of the Holy Spirit.

Wherever you draw water, you will find this river flowing; it is diverted throughout the earth, and it does not consume its water in those places into which it is divided.  For it has a rich source, Christ, and flowing out from him it inundates the enitre world.

This river is delightful and drinkable, attracting nothing that is salty or unpleasant.  It is rendered sweet by the Spirit's coming, like the fount of Marah by the touch of wood.

It can easily be crossed by those who are devout, but it is too deep for those who are focused on this world and it cannot even be approached by them.  

Imitate Jesus, bear the Gospel as he bore the ark.  Leave behind the desert of sin.  Cross the Jordan, and hasten to life according to the commands of Christ. 

Hurry to that land which brings forth fruits of joy; where, as promised, milk and honey flow.

Overturn Jericho, your former way of life; and do not allow it to be rebuilt.

All these things constitute types for us; and they all prefigure the truths that have now been revealed.

Ordinary Time - Year B

Today we enter into Ordinary Time on our calendar, having completed the Octave of the Nativity yesterday with our celebration of the Theophany (Baptism) of our Lord.  In the coming year, at least in this little portion of Christendom, we'll be looking at Mark's Gospel in depth, as well as doing a spiritual study in Saint John Climacus' "The Ladder of Divine Ascent".

For most Christians, 'ordinary time' doesn't resume for a week or two, but, in the meantime, I would like to take a moment to challenge you to delve more deeply into some form of spiritual study that can be, for you, a spur to a deeper, more intimate life with our extraordinary God.

01 January 2009

The Solemnity of the Baptism of our Lord

Today concludes the Nativity Octave with the Solemnity of the Baptism of our Lord. Today we hear from Gregory of Nazianzen on the deep and rich meaning of this capstone to our Christmas celebration.

From a Sermon of Gregory of Nazianzen.
Christ is bathed in light; let us also be bathed in light. Christ is baptized; let us also go down with him, and rise with him.

John is baptizing when Jesus draws near. Perhaps he comes to sanctify his baptiser; certainly he comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters. He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us; he who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water.

The Baptist protests; Jesus insists. Then John says: I ought to be baptised by you. He is the lamp in the presence of the sun, the voice in the presence of the Word, the friend in the presence of the Bridegroom, the greatest of all born of woman in the presence of the firstborn of all creation, the one who leapt in his mother’s womb in the presence of him who was adored in the womb, the forerunner and future forerunner in the presence of him who has already come and is to come again. I ought to be baptized by you: we should also add, “and for you”, for John is to be baptized in blood, washed clean like Peter, not only by the washing of his feet.

Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with him. The heavens like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open. The Spirit comes to him as to an equal, bearing witness to his Godhead. A voice bears witness to him from heaven, his place of origin. The Spirit descends in bodily form like the dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honor to the body that is one with God.

Today let us do honor to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received - though not in its fullness - a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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