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From The River Thames Beach Party: “Times of Sickness & Mortality”

April 7, 2020

Charles Bartlett has written an excellent essay, titled Times of Sickness and Mortality, in the blog River Thames Beach Party.  He compares the prayers found in the 1662 BCP and the 1928 BCP for such times as these, and I pretty much agree with his thoughts.  Indeed, I commend the essay to you.

I will add that in our household we pray the prayer for “In the time of any common Plague or Sickness” from the 1662 BCP every evening, and here is its text:

O Almighty God, who in thy wrath did send a plague upon thine own people in the wilderness, for their obstinate rebellion against Moses and Aaron; and also, in the time of king David, didst slay with the plague of Pestilence threescore and ten thousand, and yet remembering thy mercy didst save the rest; Have pity upon us miserable sinners, who now are visited with great sickness and mortality; that like as thou didst then accept of an atonement, and didst command the destroying Angel to cease from punishing, so it may now please thee to withdraw from us this plague and grievous sickness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

If you would, please join in this and beseech the Lord to “withdraw from us this plague and grievous sickness”.

The Rev. Dcn. Andrew Brashier: “Monastics, Every One of Us”

April 6, 2020

Writing for The North American Anglican, Andrew Brashier has penned an essay titled Monastics, Every One of Us that gives some very sound and helpful counsel on staying faithful and disciplined in these troubling times.  He asks these questions:

One of the unintended results of COVID-19 is that it has made us all monks. Frankly, were always called to the monastic vocation within our daily lives and routines but it is far easier to live life distracted and to limit our spiritual formation to an hour or two on Sunday instead of a daily practice. No wonder we North Americans make for lousy Christians (much less lousy Anglicans). Do we really expect to be disciples of Jesus Christ if we do not discipline ourselves by reading His Word and praying for His will daily? You don’t diet and exercise for only a couple hours during the week and then wonder why you haven’t lost any weight. Why then do we expect anything different if we do the same with our worship and spiritual disciplines? If we are not people of the book (the Bible first, and then the prayer book), then how do we expect to disciple to all nations – much less our neighbor whose-name-I-forget living across the street?

Fortunately he gives us answers to them as well, and I think his recommendation of using one of the Daily Office sites is excellent – so much so that I am listing three sites below that I think are helpful, two of which I believe Deacon Brashier mentions:

I commend Deacon Brashier’s essay to you and hope you will take his counsel to heart.

 

 

 

For Palm Sunday: a reading from “The Epistle to Diognetus”

April 5, 2020

From Faith and Life, here is a reading for Palm Sunday that comes from the “Epistle to Diognetus.”  It is not known who wrote this, but the Epistle to Diognetus is an early example of Christian apologetics – along the lines of the writings of Justin Martyr.

When our unrighteousness was consummated, and full proof was given that punishment and death were to be looked for as its reward, and the time was come which God had preordained for the manifestation of His own loving-kindness and power, (for the love of God, which proceeds from His transcendent benignity, is peerless,) He did not hate us, nor repel us, nor did He remember evil, but showed His long-suffering, bore with us, Himself took upon Him our sins,—gave up, of Himself, His own Son as a ransom for us, the Holy for the lawless, the Innocent for the wicked, the Just for the unjust, the Incorruptible for the corruptible, the Immortal for the mortal. For what else but His Son’s Righteousness was able to cover our sins? Wherein was it possible for us, the lawless and impious, to be justified, save in the Son of God alone? O that sweet Substitution! O that unsearchable plan! O those unexpected benefits! That the transgression of many should be covered by one Righteous, and the Righteousness of One should justify many that were unrighteous.

–Anonymous Epistle to Diognetus, c. 9 (early in the second century).

It is remarkable how beautiful are the writings of so many from this time – and this one is as beautiful as those by Melito of Sardis.  Truly, God was and is so merciful, that “the transgression of many should be covered by one Righteous, and the Righteousness of One should justify many that were unrighteous.”

This month’s FREE audiobook from christianaudio: “Don’t Lose Heart” by Jason Meyer

April 4, 2020

This month’s free audiobook from the folks at christianaudio is Don’t Lose Heart by Jason Meyer.  This book looks to be quite promising as Rev. Meyer is a pastor at John Piper’s church, Bethlehem Baptist.  The notes for the book say:

A fallen world is full of reasons to lose heart. From the large-scale tragedies of war, famine, and natural disasters, to the more personal tragedies of broken relationships and broken dreams, it can be difficult to avoid discouragement-even for the believer. And yet, Scripture calls us to a life of hope, based not on wishful thinking or avoiding our problems but based on who God is, what he has done, and what he is still doing. In this short, giftable book, pastor Jason Meyer shows you that though the reasons for discouragement seem strong, the reasons we have to take heart and hold on to hope are stronger yet. Through biblical truth and personal stories, Meyer encourages the weary and anxious believer by shining light on the nature of reality, the nature of God, and the intersection of the two in our daily, rubber-meets-the-road lives. The result is a book that lifts our spirits in a world that too often seeks to drag us down.

This sounds like a really timely book for this year of Covid-19!

From The Pastor’s Heart: Phillip Jensen on how COVID19 changes evangelism

April 2, 2020

The Pastor’s Heart continues to give us truly relevant videos and podcasts to ponder in this time of coronavirus.  Their latest effort is an interview with Phillip Jensen on how COVID19 changes evangelism, and their notes say:

This week on The Pastor’s Heart we talk big COVID changes: individualism and community, autonomy and submission, free press & censorship, materialism, wealth and its assumptions and the seriousness of life.

Plus the massive advantages for ministry and evangelism in a society which has much more time on our hands and is much more aware of the reality of death.

Plus we ask Phillip how Christian leaders can honour Jesus, loving the flock and reach the lost in the Corona season.

If you are pondering how to reach people in this time, this is very much worth watching, and Dominic Steele does his usual great job.

 

Fr. Bart Gingerich: the next in a series of “Fireside Chats”

March 31, 2020

Recently I came across a new series of “Fireside Chats” on Soundcloud and here is the second episode, with Fr. Bart Gingerich of St. Jude’s Anglican Church (Richmond, VA).  The notes to this episode say “These unique days draw out of us some of the most important questions that we can ask: Why? Join Fr. Bart Gingerich in pondering the dilemma and the answer.”

 

Looking for a livestreamed church service? Try this one from Providence REC

March 29, 2020

If your church is not meeting this Sunday and you are looking for a livestreamed worship service, you might try this one from Providence Reformed Episcopal Church in Texas:

https://www.facebook.com/ProvidenceREChurch/

They are doing a service of Morning Prayer at 10:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada) and you can access a PDF of the service here.

 

Archbishop Glenn Davies on a special Day of Prayer on Sunday, March 29

March 29, 2020
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Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney in Australia is calling for a special day of prayer this Sunday, March 29 – and I think this is a good idea, wherever your church may be.  He speaks about praying through the Coronavirus pandemic: “Prayer is our best weapon against the forces of darkness, and this virus, as part of the fallen world, is exactly that. God’s in control, but this virus is doing a deadly work around the world.” The Archbishop encourages us all to devote ourselves to prayer (Colossians 4:2) – and to be specific in our prayers.

Dr. Albert Mohler: “Obedience to God and Love of Neighbor in the Face of a Coronavirus: A Christian’s Mandate”

March 27, 2020

From Dr. Albert Mohler, here is a thoughtful essay on “Obedience to God and Love of Neighbor in the Face of a Coronavirus: A Christian’s Mandate“.  He makes some excellent points, including this one:

Actually, endangering ourselves also endangers others. We regard our own lives, so we must regard the lives of others. We protect our lives, so we protect the lives of others. In the context of this pandemic, if we do not comply with the government’s guidelines and fall ill, then someone will have to take care of us. We will tie up resources, time, and put others at risk of catching what could be for some people a deadly virus. Furthermore, we are not able to contribute to the commonweal—to the larger community.

This is certainly worth a read.

From The Pastor’s Heart: Archbishop Glenn Davies speaks about the COVID-19 crisis

March 25, 2020

Here is another excellent video from The Pastor’s Heart, featuring Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies, who joined Dominic Steele to answer questions on how we can lead our churches through the COVID-19 crisis.