25 February 2010

Mars is Back on the Table

So I wake up this morning to eat my Bran Flakes, and lo-and-behold, we are going to Mars... sorta...

Upon further investigation, it's not so much that there is a plan in place as it is that an 'evolutionary' plan will be put into place to facilitate a Mars mission. In rocketeering terms, the old plan is being replaced by a new plan, one that will probably follow at least some tenants of the basic Constellation profile. I mean, you don't send folks to Mars before you test the life support, radiation shielding, and other critical systems in low earth orbit, high earth orbit, lunar orbit, etc. It would be tantamount to playing a two-year-long game of Russian Roulette, with the lives of astronauts being held to the barrel.

So, now that the Constellation program has been put out of its misery, we have a new program to look forward to... one that, though probably relying on more private enterprise than Constellation, will ultimately - I predict - wind up looking very, very similar. Drop the Lunar Base, perhaps, but otherwise...

I have to wonder if the backlash to killing Constellation was that strong on Capital Hill; the public didn't seem to care (if they even knew what the Constellation program was). If it was, of course, the new question becomes, is this yet another stunt to give NASA's human spaceflight program some token funding for a few years? After all, Mondale wanted to shut NASA down back in the 60's (and could well have done so after the Apollo 1 disaster), arguing that the monies used to fund lunar flights would be better spent on human need at home. Obama strikes me as the heir-apparent to Mondale with regard to such matters, so it comes as an absolute shock to me that he would suggest funding this kind of a program, especially after the review panel he recommended (The Augustine Commission) recommended ditching the program designed to lead to Mars in the first place.

Now, don't get me wrong. While the Constellation program was visionary in some respects, it was a political beast and had as its initial centerpiece a rocket (the Ares I) that suffered from serious doubts in the professional spaceflight communion (as well as among armchair astronauts like me). Nevertheless, I can almost promise you that, shorn of a Moon base, something like Constellation is bound to reappear in Obama's new plan... because its the only logical way to go to Mars.

Above all, those of us concerned with spaceflight must hope that the mission profile is something more than a one-shot publicity stunt. Going, collecting a few rocks, and then blasting back is a useless waste of taxpayer money and NASA's skills. Give a real mission to them, Mr. President... and give them the means to do it. (And hey, if you happen to have to take a couple of billion dollars out of Defense spending to accomplish it, so much the better.) 

23 February 2010

John Calvin on the Eucharist - Suprise!

Compliments of my recuperating bishop, an interesting summary on the part of John Cosin, an Anglican bishop, of the 'Protestant Catholic' teaching on the Lord's Supper... by John Calvin.

Click here to read this brief but interesting collection of Calvin's statements.

Among my favorite snippets:
...we most firmly believe that receiving the signs of the Body, we also certainly receive the Body itself.


We must therefore confess that the inward substance of the Sacrament is joined with the visible sign, so that, as the bread is put into our hand, the Body of Christ is also given to us. This certainly, if there were nothing else, should abundantly satisfy us, that we understand, that Christ, in His Holy Supper, gives us the true and proper substance of His Body and Blood...

Sounds far more Lutheran and Catholic than Zwinglian to me... given my very basic studies of Calvin, I have to admit that reading such quotations suprises me a bit. While I have known there were nuances that divided Calvin and Zwingli over the Eucharist, I always felt that Calvin himself held a much lower view of the Sacraments than it appears he did.

You learn something new every day...

What is the Chief Purpose of the Christian Worship Service?

Rev. Paul McCain, an LCMS pastor, posts the following timely thoughts on the purpose of Christian worship.

What is the Chief Purpose of the Christian Worship Service?

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20 February 2010

Divine Service for the First Sunday of Lent

As observed at St. Boniface Church, Bargersville, Indiana:

Hymn of Praise 
  Trisagion (Hurd)

Collect of the Day
  Almighty God, your blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan. Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weakness of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading
  Romans 10: 8b-13 (NLT)

  Psalm 3a from The Book of Psalms for Worship (Tune: Amazing Grace)

Gospel Reading
  Luke 4: 1-13 (NLT)

Offertory Hymn
  The Glory of These Forty Days (Gather Comprehensive II - Hymn 379)

Sanctus (Schubert)

Agnus Dei (Agnus Dei XVIII, Vatican Edition)

Communion Hymn
  Shepherd of Souls (Gather Comprehensive II - Hymn 818)

19 February 2010

CPH's Treasury of Daily Prayer

As many of my readers know, up until early last year, I was practicing in the Syriac Rite before returning to the Western liturgical tradition. As I confessed last July, I am a liturgical junkie and I would call myself today a recovering Liturgical Schitzophrenic. I have settled into using the Book of Common Prayer (albeit an interim edition) of my Synod, with only minimal adaptations (as permitted in the BCP itself). With the beginning of Lent, however, I elected - for my Morning Office, to pick up Concordia's "Treasury of Daily Prayer", which is - in essence - a Lutheran breviary. 

Though I am not a Lutheran, I tend to find that I have more in common with the Lutheran Church than I do with the Reformed or the Latin camps. My faith life is, thus, a synthesis (it seems) of Anglican and Lutheran, with a deep love for the Syriac thrown in for good measure (good thing that there is an option for some Syriac stuff in the BCP, such as Betrothal, the rite for Marriage in the context of a Eucharist, and the option to use the Aramaic Words of Institution from time to time). 

For those looking for a comprehensive, single volume Breviary, TDP is the hands down winner in all but one category. The blasted thing is a brick. it is the same size as my Altar Book of Lutheran Worship and my copy of the LSB Lectionary. You don't need a Bible, Psalter, Hymnal, nothing to use this book. Patristic and Lutheran Confessional documents (as well as Lutheran Confessional writings) are all found within the book. It is an outstanding resource, and I highly recommend it. 

03 February 2010

Interesting Take on the Verba and the Epiclesis

Pastor Peters over at Pastoral Meanderings has put up a post today concerning the use of the Verba, comparing and contrasting Roman, Lutheran, and Reformed (and, to some extent, Eastern) usages of the Lord's Supper.  It is an interesting article worth reading, but I quote a snippet here for consideration:

For Lutherans the Spirit always works through the Word (written, spoken, or visible). Therefore, the words of Christ always include the agency and effect of the Spirit. The Spirit is at work in the presence of Christ's body and blood in the Sacrament because the Spirit works in and through the Word. The Spirit is partner in this Word as He is always partner in the work of the Word (such as creation when the Word speaks and the Spirit effects what the Word proclaims -- working together). In the end this is surely very Trinitarian.
- Pastor Peters
Now, I am still not the biggest fan of having no explicit epiclesis; I believe strongly that the Liturgy needs to catechize people, and confessing our belief that the Holy Spirit descends upon ordinary bread and wine to effect the Sacramental Presence in the context of the worship service only serves to reinforce both that reality, as well as reinforce the entire concept of the Incarnation and the doctrine known as the Hypostatic Union. That being said, Pastor Peters makes an excellent point on the Word of God itself - that it is never devoid of the Spirit when it is rightly proclaimed.

Interesting post!

02 February 2010

Saint Boniface Logo Complete

As we move closer to the first public information meeting for St. Boniface Church, our logos came in today from our graphic designer. All I can say is "WOW!"

The image was designed based on our responses to ten questions from Gange and Associates in Ontario. In short, we told them we wanted something that illustrated the use of the Word of God and the Means of Grace so central to our worship life and to the ancient nature of our beliefs and practices that also illustrated our commitment to bringing those traditions to bear in a contemporary mission field. This was the result... The Cross of Christ as the Source, the Waters of Baptism and the Cup of Communion illustrating our faithful usage of the Sacraments, and the Word of God giving rock-solid proof to and hope for believers.

Our new website went live as well... www.primitivecatholic.org points to it, as does www.sbcjc.org. Check 'em out!

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

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