Saturday, January 30, 2010

MY Time!!!

C.S.Lewis in his creative book, The Screwtape Letters, writes a great truth about our feelings of time. Screwtape, a senior devil is writing to Wormwood, a junior devil, about deceiving the human's mind regarding time:

"Zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption 'My time is my own.' Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of 24 hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. ...You have a delicate task. The assumption which you want him to go on making is so absurd that, if once it is questioned, even we cannot find a shred of argument in its defense. Man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift. ... Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend's talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tete-a-tete with the friend), that threw him out of gear. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen."

I admit to having that 'feeling' many a time. 'Time is mine to give and waste', so goes the lie. It often leads to feeling that people rob me of my time, or waste my time. Frustration, impatience, lack of love, unkindness, harshness, and all manner of vice can stem from this lie that time is mine! But time is not mine. When I embrace eternal life I find that I do not get lost in the lies of having 'my' time wasted. Living for the LORD is to enter into 'His' time, and to look for the fullness of it.

St. Paul says to Timothy, "But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time." (1 Tim 6.11-15)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Self-fulfillment vs Self-sacrifice

We live in a world with a self-fulfillment mentality, and an unfulfilled life is a wasted life, or at least a tragedy. All of us fall into the trap of this thinking, and I say trap because this is NOT Christian thinking. I see the miseries of this thinking in elderly people who feel that their debilitated condition has rendered them useless, unwanted, unneeded, and a burden: in middle aged people who feel that their lives are slipping away from them and they have not been able to fulfill their dreams in meaningful ways; in young people who selfishly pursue their interests with disregard, and disrespect of those around them.

The life of Christ, and the saints displayed nothing with regard to any modern notion of self-fulfillment. Indeed just the opposite: self-sacrifice. I like to say, “No life, or act given in selfless love is a waste.” I think of all those people who sacrificed the ‘best’ years of their lives to care for a disabled child, or a bedridden relative. No self-fulfillment there. No self-fulfillment in Jesus going to the cross, or the martyrdom of saints and missionaries of days gone by. No self-fulfillment in loving your enemies or turning the other cheek. No self-fulfillment in giving until it hurts, or being a servant to others. The false dream of self-fulfillment thinking leads to frustration with others who are interfering with our dreams which leads to our impatience, intolerance, bitterness, regret, and despair.

There is much that could be said here but I think we Christians need to transform our own thinking to that of Christ and the ancient witness of the Church. We need to embrace the ways of humility and self-sacrifice. I believe this can only be done with the Spirit of Christ being our daily guide, and through intense, intentional prayer.

Blessed LORD, who putteth down the mighty from their seat and exaltest those of low degree: Save us, we beseech Thee, from pride and vainglory, from self-seeking and false ambition. Give us a humble and contrite spirit, that we may think less of ourselves, more of others, and most of all of Thee, who art our mighty God and Saviour; to whom with Thee and the Holy Spirit we ascribe all praise and glory, now and for evermore. AMEN
(A prayer by Frank Colquhoun)

LORD have Mercy, Brian+

Prayer is a Matter of Love

Man expresses love through prayer, and if we pray it is an indication that we love God. If we do not pray this is indicates that we do not love God, for the measure of our prayer is the measure of our love for God. St. Silouan identifies love for God with prayer, and the Holy fathers say that forgetfulness of God is the greatest of all passions, for it is the only passion that will not be fought by prayer through the Name of God. If we humble ourselves and invoke God's help, trusting in His love, we are given the strength to conquer any passion, but when we are unmindful of God, the enemy is free to slay us. Archmandrite Zacharias, 'The Hidden man of the Heart"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Celtic Website

I was sent this website,

Faith and Worship

by a Christian friend. It is a wonderful resource of Celtic Christianity.

Enjoy, Brian+

Just Do It


IF you wish to save your soul and win eternal life, arise from your lethargy, make the sign of the Cross and say:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Faith comes not through pondering but through action. Not words and speculation but experience teaches us what God is. To let in fresh air we have to open a window; to get tanned we must go out into the sunshine. Achieving faith is no different; we never reach a goal by just sitting in comfort and waiting, say the holy Fathers. Let the Prodigal Son be our example. He arose and came (Luke 15:20).

However weighed down and entangled in earthly fetters you may be, it can never be too late. Not without reason is it written that Abraham was seventy-five when he set forth, and the labourer who comes in the eleventh hour gets the same wages as the one who comes in the first.

Nor can it be too early. A forest fire cannot be put out too soon; would you see your soul ravaged and charred?

In baptism you received the command to wage the invisible warfare against the enemies of your soul; take it up now. Long enough have you dallied; sunk in indifference and laziness you have let much valuable time go to waste. Therefore you must begin again from the beginning: for you have let the purity you received in baptism be sullied in dire fashion.

Arise, then; but do so at once, without delay. Do not defer your purpose till "tonight" or "tomorrow" or "later, when I have finished what I have to do just now." The interval may be fatal.
From "Way of the Ascetics" By Tito Colliander

I'm going to say my prayers NOW!

LORD in your Mercy, Brian+

Paying Attention

I think it was Frederick Buechner who said, in reply to a question as to how people can find God in today's world, that we need to pay attention. Pay attention to what is happening to you and those around you. Jesus said, "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. Mark 13.33 (New King James Version)

Paying attention to God means allowing the beauty and wonder of Creation to speak to our hearts: it means allowing the beauty and mystery of God's revelation in Christ to dwell in our heart: it means seeking, knocking, and asking: it means allowing for the answers of God to come in unexpected ways.

But it also means being attentive to the enemy, who would rob us of the day by day, minute by minute encounter with the source of all love, joy, hope, and peace.

Watch yourself with all diligence, lest the enemy steals near and robs you, depriving you of this great treasure, which is inner peace and stillness of soul. The enemy strives to destroy the peace of soul, because he knows that when the soul is in turmoil it is more easily led to evil. But you must guard your peace… An advance of the enemy is a self-reliant thought. Make it a rule to regard as clearly coming from the enemy every though which tends to decrease your conviction that all good comes from God, that you can succeed in nothing without the help of His grace.

~St Nikodemos the Hagiorite and Lorenzo Scupioli Unseen Warfare

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Saint John Chrysostom

Today is the day we remember St. John Chrysostom

As Anglicans we know him best for the concluding prayer of Morning and Evening Prayer in the BCP

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us grace
at this time with one accord to make our
common supplications unto thee; and dost promise
that when two or three are gathered together
in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests: Fulfil
now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy
servants, as may be most expedient for them;
granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth,
and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.

Here is a bit of a biography from Religion.wikia

John Chrysostom (c. 347–407, Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος), Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek surname chrysostomos, meaning "golden mouthed", rendered in English as Chrysostom.[1][2]

The Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches honor him as a saint and count him among the Three Holy Hierarchs, together with Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzus. He is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a saint and Doctor of the Church. Churches of the Western tradition, including the Roman Catholic Church, some Anglican provinces, and parts of the Lutheran Church, commemorate him on 13 September. Some Lutheran and many Anglican provinces commemorate him on the traditional Eastern feast day of 27 January. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria recognizes John Chrysostom as a saint (feast days: 16 Thout and 17 Hathor).[3]

John is known in Christianity chiefly as a preacher, theologian and liturgist, particularly in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Among his sermons, eight directed against Judaizing Christians remain controversial for their impact on the development of Christian antisemitism.[4][5][6]. He was also active in destruction of pagan symbols and places of worship, including the temple of Artemis at Ephesus.


A quote from the Saint: "Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved."

Contemplating Beauty

When we contemplate Divine wisdom in the beauty of the created world, we are at the same time attracted still more strongly by the imperishable beauty of Divine Being as revealed to us by Christ. The Gospel for us is Divine Self-Revelation. In our yearning to make the Gospel word the substance of our whole being we free ourselves by the power of God from domination of passions. Jesus is the one and only Saviour in the true sense of the word. Christian prayer is effected by the constant invocation of His Name: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy upon us and upon Thy world.

~Archimandrite Sophrony -His Life is Mine

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Path of Beauty

In Psalm 23 we hear of the LORD leading us in 'paths of righteousness.' Paths are interesting things if you have ever noticed. How is it that designers set out their concrete sidewalks for pedestrians only for the pedestrians to take their own shortcuts, thus creating paths? We like our own paths, but the LORD has laid out for us the paths that are life and love. Often I thought that staying on the LORD's path involved alot of not doing the NO-NOs. Unfortunately this required too much thinking about the NO-NOs. I think it was Mark Twain who said something like, "If you spend all your time doing the do's of the Bible you would not have any time to do the don'ts." Another way to say that is if you learn to obsess on the beauty, love, joy, and hope of the LORD you will not stray from the paths of righteousness. St. Paul says this in Philippians.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Phil 4.8,9 New King James Version

May you walk the Path of Beauty today.

LORD in your Mercy, Brian+

Monday, January 25, 2010

Do the Laundry

Laundry is one of those Sisyphean tasks (always there). It never seems to be all done. I mean you can work all day, get it all washed, dried, and even ironed, and when you crawl into bed the laundry hamper will contain the dirty cloths you wore during the day. That's the way it is with Laundry.

I like to compare the laundry with salvation. I mean when does laundry become laundry? Dirty cloths in a hamper are dirty cloths in a hamper, but the dirty cloths become 'laundry' as soon as there is the intent to clean the cloths. Likewise, "To be saved" begins with intent to come to the LORD. And just as the laundry is not complete until the job is done, neither is our salvation 'done' until the Day of Christ Jesus. So one way we could look at our salvation is that it is found in a life of repentance: of constantly bringing our fouled and broken hearts to the LORD for healing and restoration. Doing the spiritual laundry.

"...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ"
Philippians 1.6 New King James Version

Collects for the Conversion of Saint Paul

From the Book of Common Prayer

O GOD, who, through the preaching of the
blessed Apostle Saint Paul, hast caused the
light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world:
Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful
conversion in remembrance, may show
forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same,
by following the holy doctrine which he taught;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Book of Alternative Services

Almighty God,
by the preaching of your servant Paul
you caused the light of the gospel
to shine throughout the world.
May we who celebrate his wonderful conversion
follow him in bearing witness to your truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Collects for 3rd after Epiphany

From the Book of Common Prayer

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, mercifully
look upon our infirmities, and in all our
dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right
hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.

From the Book of Alternative Services

Almighty God,
by grace alone you call us
and accept us in your service.
Strengthen us by your Spirit,
and make us worthy of your call;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Struggle of Heart Prayer

I have many wonderful times of very heartfelt prayer, but in honesty my mind is easily distracted. Over the years I have used quite a variety of means for entering into deep prayer. I have fasted, sought silence and solitude, and used devotional tools such as prayer ropes and Icons. But I am flighty and restless. But I refuse to give up. The LORD IS, even if I am a wriggly child in His arms. If this is your sturggle here are a few words from Henri Nouwen's book, The Way of the Heart (Available from Amazon here)

The literal translation of the words "pray always' is "come to rest." The Greek word for rest is Hesychia, and hesychasm is the term which refers to the spirituality of the desert. A hesychast is a man or woman who seeks solitude and silence in the ways of unceasing prayer. The prayer of the hesychasts is a prayer of rest. This rest has very little to do with the absence of conflict or pain. It is a rest in God in the midst of very intense daily struggle. Abba Anthony even says to a fellow monk that it belongs :to the great work of a expect temptations to his last breath." Hesychia, the rest which flows from unceasing prayer, needs to be sought at all costs, even when the flesh is itchy, the world alluring, and the demons noisy. Mother Theodora, one of the Desert Mothers, make this very clear:" should realize that as soon as you intend to live in peace, at once evil comes and weighs down your soul through accidie [sense of boredom], faintheartedness, and evil thoughts. It also attacks your body through sickness, debility, weakening of the knees, and all members. It dissipates the strength of the soul and body, so that one believes one is ill and no longer able to pray. But if we are vigilant, all these temptations fall away."

With that thought in hand, I am going to rest in some prayers,

LORD in your mercy, Brian+

The Wonder of God

‘There are many things I simply wonder at, but without fear, such as the beauty of Columns, a fresco, a body in the flower of youth. Again we wonder at the extent and unfathomable depth of the sea, but with fear , when we lean over its depths. It is like this when the prophet leans over the immense and unbound lake of God’s wisdom, and goes dizzy, amazed, he recoils with great fear, and cries out saying, ‘I confess to you that you have amazed me fearfully, your works are marvelous.’ And again, Your knowldge of me has amazed me: it is too strong for me, I cannot attain it’ (Psalm 138:6).
- St. John Chrysostom From The Wisdom of the Greek Fathers compiled by Andrew Louth

Friday, January 22, 2010

C.S. Lewis on Humility

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed. From Mere Christianity

May God's grace give you the necessary humility. Try not to think - much less, speak - of their sins. One's own are a much more profitable theme! And if on consideration, one can find no faults on one's own side, then cry for mercy: for this must be a most dangerous delusion. From Letters to an American Lady

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Do Hermits still exist??

A Wonderful article about a hermit from England.


Thanks to Rev. Everett Hobbes

Struggling with Prayer

We should not be surprised that many, if not most of us struggle with prayer. The fallen nature that affects us all desires to do its own thing, and submitting to and communing with God is not a desire of the flesh. It is a battle ground, and often we must discipline our wills, mind, and body to do prayer. Most of the time, thankfully, prayer is a delight, but lets not pretend that it is always easy.

The brethren asked Abba Agathon, "Amongst all our different activities, Father, which is the virtue that requires the greatest effort?" He answered, "Forgive me, but I think there is no labour greater than praying to God. For every time a man wants to pray, his enemies, the demons try to prevent him; for they know that nothing obstructs them so much as prayer to God. In everything else that a man undertakes if he perseveres, he will attain rest. But in order to pray a man must struggle to his last breath."
The Saying of the Desert Fathers

LORD, in your mercy, Hear our prayer. Brian+

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Discipleship - Toughen up

I was a bit of a basketball player in my university years. A bench warmer on the junior varsity to tell the truth. I remember that our coach worked us so very hard during the practices. We were in shape, we knew the fundamentals, and we were a team. We could often beat teams that had far more skilled and experienced players simply because we kept those basics. It was hard work, but we did it together.

Discipleship, being a follower of Christ is no different. It requires work, and yes the closer you want to get to the LORD the more you will have to work. Some of the basics of that work are time tested and true - prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. Prayer, both private and public are fundamentals. All disciples of Christ must be people of prayer. Fasting is out of vogue today especially as a corporate discipline, but we can at least learn to fast during certain times of the Church year, from foods and or pass times in order to free our minds and bodies to worship and serve. Fasting also has the benefit of teaching our wills to be able to say 'no' to our desires. Finally alms-giving: practicing giving helps us to be more giving. The more you practice giving the easier giving will become.

So do you want to be a more committed disciple of Christ?? Then toughen up a bit. Start in on those basics, and get some 'exercise' advise from your priest.

As the Scriptures testify -
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 The Holy Bible, New King James Version.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Making a comment

I know that some of you who are reading this Blog might like to make an occasional comment on something you read.

To make a comment
1) Click on the comment link under the item.
2) Enter your comment
3) Under 'Comment as: SELECT PROFILE" click on Name/URL
4) Enter your name in the box
5) Leave the URL box empty
6) Click on "continue"
7} Click on "Post Comment"

Hope this helps. I'd love to hear from you.



It can happen easily enough. A few years ago our computer got a virus. How it happened I do not know, suffice to say that we lost partial control of our computer. It could have been far worst. For us, whenever we connected to the internet we were constantly rerouted to a gambling site. As long as we stayed off of the internet we could use the computer, use the wordprocessor, download pictures from the camera, listen to the music, play games, etc. But going on the internet was useless. We tried to remove the virus, but to no avail. In order to get rid of it we would have to reboot the entire computer - essentially we’d have to start with a clean slate, going back to the day the computer arrived at out home. All the files, pictures, emails, everything accumulated since owning the machine, gone!
I set out to back-up all the files I could.

I had never re-booted a computer before and to say the least I was anxious. What if I got it wrong? Would the computer ever work for us again? Would we have to buy a new one altogether? Fortunately I was able to reboot the beast and get on with life again. We lost all of our email addresses and saved messages, but everything else was fine! Whew! In order to prevent a virus takeover from ever happening again we installed an anti-spyware program along with an updated virus checker. No problems since.

The spiritual analogy is obvious. It is all to easy for the viruses of the world (sin) to creep into our hearts and take over. We to need to install a ‘virus check’ and keep it updated. The Lord invites us to accept Him into our hearts, and to walk in His ways. The install program is accepting Christ’s work upon the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. The activation button is the confession of your sins, and an earnest resolve to walk in newness of life. The virus check is the Holy Spirit in our hearts working with our conscience and will. To keep the system in top operating order we need to add knowledge of Scripture, prayerfulness, fellowship with other ‘rebooted’ people (committed Christians), and frequent participation in receiving the mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Have you been rebooted? - Give you life to the Lord Jesus Christ!
Have you had your system updated lately? - Come to worship and fellowship.

YE that do truly and earnestly repent you of
your sins, and are in love and charity with
your neighbours, and intend to lead the new
life, following the commandments of God, and
walking from henceforth in his holy ways: Draw
near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to
your comfort; and make your humble confession to
Almighty God, meekly kneeling upon your knees.


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Ego-less Christ

To the question: “Why did the Son of God appear on earth in a human body and not in another form of creation?”, the brilliant St. Athanasius replied in this manner: “If they ask why did He not appear in some other better form of creation, for example: as the sun or the moon, or the stars or fire, or the wind but just as a man? Let them know that the Lord did not come to show Himself but to heal and teach sufferers. For, to reveal Himself only to amaze the viewers would mean to come for a show. It was necessary for the Healer and the Teacher, not only to come, but to serve for the benefit of the suffering ones and to reveal Himself as such so that this revelation would be bearable for the sufferers. .... What is, therefore, so unbelievable in this, that the Logos [The Word - The Son Of God] appeared as a man to save mankind?” Indeed, even as we ask the unbelievers of our day: In what form would you wish God to appear, if not as a man?

~St Athanasius

Thanks to Christ in our Midst

Not My Ego

I recently came across the following quote as posted on Christ in our Midst!

When you overcome one of the grosser passions, such as gluttony, unchastity, anger, or greed, the thought of self-esteem at once assails you. If you defeat this thought, the thought of pride succeeds it.

~Saint Maximos the Confessor,
The Philokalia, Vol. 2, p. 92.

I find that when I honestly plunge the depths of my heart that this struggle of purity exists. Pride (which is egocentric) reveals its ugly head. Pride/Ego wants its way. It is the source of all my conflicts with others, And it is the source of all my self-righteous thoughts (I'm nicer than you, I am smarter than you, I am kinder than you, I am humbler than you, I serve more than you, I am less broken than you, etc, etc.). Pride/Ego is contrary to humility. Christ did not come for himself, he came for us. He did not come to satisfy and patch up the broken honour of the Father, He came to heal us, to restore us, to make us whole. He did not have any ego needs. And because he didn't, (which in my opinion is perfect love), he shows us that we too are to surrender our egos. To save our life, we must lose it. For me this means letting go of my shallow pride/ego needs, and living entirely for Christ, with Christ, and in Christ. I think this is the more excellent way of love that St. Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13. Here again I say, "although we are unworthy."

LORD in your mercy, Brian+

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pretending I have Something

My brother has a drawing of an obviously poor person, hung in his home. Underneath is a quip that says, "I have nothing, therefore everything is mine." It is paradoxical of course, but it matches the words of Christ during the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Luke, "Blessed are the Poor, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven." The poor possess all things in Christ. "The rich, He has sent empty away." Compared to the people of Haiti in all of the tragedy that is occurring there, not to mention large portions of the world, I am very rich. Great spiritual caution is set out for us wealthy. It is NOT wrong to be wealthy, but it is just a dangerous thing to ones spiritual health.

In the great Anglican offertory Sentence,
"...All the heavens and the earth are Thine, all things come of thee and of Thine own have we given Thee,"
we are confronted with the spiritual truth that we actually possess nothing. We are stewards; stewards not just of material things, but also of those we are blessed to love as family, those we are called to love as friend and stranger, AND stewards of our own bodies and souls.

In reality, (that is Truth) I possess nothing: I only think I do, I only can pretend to have something. All is the LORD's.

LORD in your mercy, Brian+

A Prayer from Parish Prayers, by Frank Colquhoun

O Thou, in whom we live and move and have our being: We offer and present unto Thee ourselves, all that we are and have, our thoughts and our desires, our words and our deeds, to be a living and continual sacrifice. We are not our own; therefore we would glorify Thee in our bodies and our spirits, which are Thine; through Jesus Christ our LORD. AMEN (William Knight)

Friday, January 15, 2010

We MUST be Humble

We often speak of the humility of Christ, but it is not a popular attribute. I/we would rather assert our opinions and get our way if at all possible. Lack of humility among the household of faith is the primary source of conflict, dissension, and general dysfunction. If Pride is the seed of all other sins, then humility is the seed of all virtue. I find that being genuinely humble to be a difficult undertaking, yet it is the call of Christ upon my life.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2.5-8

God has a particular way of acting. There is a certain pattern to His behavior. When we look at the history of God’s actions from the beginning of the Old Testament to the end of the New, what do we see? God diminishes Himself. Everywhere and at all times, God reduces Himself; He makes Himself small. He humbles Himself and does whatever is necessary so that we might be saved.
In the person of Christ, we can see that humility is a quality of God. God is not God if He is not humble. And neither can I be like God unless I am humble. Indeed, without humility, I’ll become a demon. Humility must therefore be a condition of my being. I must embrace humility, knowing that, when I live in humility, I live in God.
What is humility? It is the life of God, the form of divine life, and we see this clearly in the life of Christ, who descended from heaven to extreme lowliness. In everything that concerns Him we find lessons of humility. He was born in a cave, and placed not in a crib but in a trough. He grew up in the house of a poor carpenter. He was subject to His mother and Joseph. He was taught, and applied Himself to lessons He did not need to learn. He accepted baptism from the hands of John His servant. When He was slandered and arrested and threatened with death, He did not make use of His marvelous powers (Mt. 26:53). He subjected Himself to temporal authority. He was brought before the high priest as if he were a common criminal, and then led to the governor. He silently bore insults and false accusations, and in silence He submitted to His sentence, although with one word He could have refuted the false witnesses. He was spat upon by the lowest and vilest of men. He surrendered Himself to death on the cross, the most shameful form of death known to man.
From His birth to the end of His life, He displayed humility in all things.
Following the example of Christ, humility is the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian life, and the foundation for our relation with God. The more humble we are, the more God will reveal Himself to us. And the more we know about God, the more humble we become. We need all the virtues, but without humility they achieve nothing. Even fasting, prayer, and love itself can do nothing without humility. But when prayer and fasting are joined with humility, we become the companion of God, and enter the divine environment in such a way that we become “gods” ourselves. We must not seek to know God, or anything else from or about God. We must rather humble ourselves. God will then come to us and give us that which we desire.

~The Way of the Spirit: Reflections on Life in God by Elder Aimilianos, Abbott of Simonopetra Monastery

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Marriage - We are not our Own

A thought prompted by the reading for this Sunday - John 2.1-11

Marriage is more than your love for each other. It has a higher dignity and power, for it is God's holy ordinance, through which he wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time. In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to his glory, and calls into his kingdom.

In your love, you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal—it is a status, an office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man.

As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of marriage above the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "A Wedding Sermon from Prison"

A Prayer for the Holy Estate of Matrimony

O LORD Jesus Christ, who by thy presence and first miracle at Cana of Galilee adorned and beautified the holy estate of matrimony: We beseech thee to sanctify the marriage bond in the life of our people, and to bless our homes with thine abiding presence; for the honour and glory of Thy Name. AMEN

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Prayer for the People of Haiti

God of all Creation,

Again we hear the wailing of mothers who have lost their children;
Again we hear the screams of injured people,
And the silence of those being pulled from the rubble, from the mud.
Again we catch a glimpse of the poverty
So many in this world live in;
Again we see families without food and water,
In a world with so many resources.

God, embrace those who suffer,
Give them solace and
Support them in their grief.
Keep our eyes and our hearts open.

Keep us from turning away.
We are called to witness the Crucified Christ
As we are called to witness to the
Pain and poverty of these victims.

Help us to your agents of healing,
Bringing the Light of your justice and peace
To all darkened regions of this earth.
Have mercy on us all, God of Heaven
And of Earth. Amen.

Prayer for Victims of the Mudslides and Earthquake
By: Education for Justice HERE

I Weave a Silence

I weave a silence...
I weave a silence on to my lips,
I weave a silence into my mind,
I weave a silence within my heart.
I close my ears to distractions,
I close my eyes to attractions,
I close my heart to temptations.
Calm me, O LORD, as you stilled the storm.
Still me, O LORD, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease.
Enfold me LORD in your peace.
A Prayer from the Celtic Tradition

Remembering the Saints

I was intrigued with the arrival of the new Church Calendars in that they have included many of the Saints of the Church. Today is the Feast Day of Saint Hilary of Portier. For those of us worshipping at St. Martin's here in Gander, it was Saint Hilary who taught our Patron Saint Martin the basics of the Faith.

Saint Hilary of Portier

Hilary of Poitiers, Saint (hĭl'ərē, poitērz', poi'tyā), c.315-367?, bishop of Poitiers from c.350, Doctor of the Church. A convert from paganism, he distinguished himself as a supporter of Athanasius against Arianism. For his zeal he was exiled (c.356). After his return (360) he aided Pope Liberius in the attempted purge of Arianism in the West. He wrote many theological works, mostly against the Arians, including the historically invaluable De synodis and the De trinitate (tr. by Stephen McKenna, 1954). He composed allegorical interpretations of the Bible and sacred poetry. His hymns were important in the early development of that form. Feast: Jan. 14; in England, Jan. 13 (Hilarymas).


And a prayer:

O Lord our God, who didst raise up thy servant Hilary to be a champion of the catholic faith: Keep us steadfast in that true faith which we professed at our baptism, that we may rejoice in having thee for our Father, and may abide in thy Son, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; thou who livest and reignest for ever and ever. AMEN

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Praying with the Heart

When we hear of a person praying from the heart, we usually are meaning that they are praying without the use of written words. The words they are praying are ‘found within.’ I get the impression that we usually feel this type of praying has more value than praying written prayers. I confess that I am comfortable praying without written words, but then as a priest I am use to finding words. But trust me when I say that both written prayers and unwritten prayers can come from inattentive hearts. It distresses me when I hear a person say, after hearing me pray extemporaneously (without a book) that they wish they could pray like that.

The heart of true praying, which all people can do, is that we take time to make sure that the words we are lifting up to the LORD are sincere, and we are being attentive to those words.

Given that preamble, I am one growing in a deeper appreciation for the ancient prayers of the Church, because I can trust them for being theologically correct, that they have been prayed by the Church for centuries, and that my efforts can be directed to simply praying the words with sincerity – thus praying with the heart.

I am sure many of us have favourite prayers from our prayer books, or other sources, some of which we have written in the back of our prayer books. Here is one of mine:

Almighty God, who has shown us in the life and teaching of Thy Son, that the path of love may lead to the cross, and the reward of faithfulness may be a crown of thorns: Grant us grace to take up our cross and follow Christ in the strength of patience and constancy of faith, and to have such fellowship with Him in His sorrow that we may know the secret of His strength and peace; through the same Jesus Christ our LORD. AMEN (By C.J.Vaughan)

Perhaps you might like to share some of your favourite prayers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

God in the Little Things

From “The Way of the Pilgrim”

The love of God gives grace a thousandfold more than human actions deserve. If you give Him the merest mite, He will pay you back with gold. If you but purpose to go to the Father, He will come out to meet you. You say but a word, short and unfeeling – “Receive me, have mercy on me” – and He falls on your neck and kisses you. That is what the love of the Heavenly Father is like towards us, unworthy as we are. And simply because of this love He rejoices in every gesture we make towards salvation, however small. It looks like this to you: What glory is there for God, what advantage for you, if you pray a little and then your thoughts wander again, or if you do some small good deed, such as reading a prayer, making five or ten acts of reverence, or giving a heartfelt sigh and calling upon the name of Jesus, or attending to some good thought, or setting yourself to some spiritual reading, or abstaining from some food, or bearing an affront in silence – all that seems to you not enough for your full salvation and a fruitless thing to do. No! None of these small acts is in vain; it will be taken into account by the all-seeing eye of God, and receive a hundredfold reward, not only in eternity, but in this life. St John Chrysostom asserts this, “No good of any sort,” he says “however trifling it may be, will be scorned by the righteous Judge. If sins are searched out in such detail that we shall be given an answer for words and desires and thoughts, then so much the more for good deeds, however small they are, will be taken into account in all detail, and will be reckoned to our benefit before our Judge, who is full of love.”

May the LORD continue to strengthen you and me in those small steps towards Him who loves us. LORD in your mercy, Brian+

January 11 - Holy Innocents

Collect from Book of Alternative Services

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
whose children suffered at the hands of Herod,
receive, we pray, all innocent victims
into the arms of your mercy.
By your great might frustrate all evil designs
and establish your reign of justice, love, and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Collect from Book of Common Prayer

O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths
of babes and sucklings hast ordained
strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by
their deaths: Mortify and kill all vices in us,
and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the
innocency of our lives, and constancy of our
faith, even unto death, we may glorify thy holy
Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It is easy to catch the primary emphasis of our two prayer books in reading these collects for Holy Innocents. The BAS emphasizes social justice while the BCP focuses upon personal transformation.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Baptism of the LORD

Collect from the Book of Common Prayer

HEAVENLY Father, whose blessed Son
Jesus Christ did take our nature upon him,
and was baptized for our sakes in the river
Jordan: Mercifully grant that we being regenerate,
and made thy children by adoption and
grace, may also be partakers of thy Holy Spirit;
through him whom thou didst send to be our
Saviour and Redeemer, even the same thy Son
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect from the Book of Alternative Services

Eternal Father,
who at the baptism of Jesus
revealed him to be your Son,
anointing him with the Holy Spirit,
keep your children, born of water and the Spirit,
faithful to their calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. AMEN

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Beauty of the LORD (and you)

I have found great healing from recent encounters with the spirituality expressed in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Indeed I find it wonderfully rich and insightful in being human in relationship with others and in relation to the LORD. Some months ago I heard a wonderful Podcast from Fr. Stephen Freeman about "establishing" the existence of God through the argument of the existence of beauty. It was an intriguing concept - proof using beauty. Today I found this comment from one of my favourite Blogs, Pithless Thoughts by Steven Robinson. I removed the reference to the Blessing of the Waters service because we Anglicans do not have anything that relates to such a liturgy. None-the-less, the Orthodox concept of 'beauty' can bring much healing in our hearts and minds, in our relationships with each other, and in our relationship with God.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

"Unless we look at a person and see the beauty there is in this person, we can contribute nothing to him. One does not help a person by discerning what is wrong, what is ugly, what is distorted. Christ looked at everyone he met, at the prostitute, at the thief, and saw the beauty hidden there. Perhaps it was distorted, perhaps damaged, but it was beauty none the less, and what he did was to call out this beauty." Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

We have no time to meditate on darkness or on the evil that lives in this world. That is the work of the devil. We have the heart only to see goodness and to rejoice in it. This is the meaning of the scripture that says, “To the pure all things are pure.” Impure hearts rejoice in darkness. Let that not be so of us.

Let us participate every moment of our lives in the calling out of the beauty of creation, of our neighbors, of our friends and our enemies and yes, even our own beauty. “How glorious is God’s Name above all the earth!”

Friday, January 8, 2010

We Never Pray Alone

When going through a difficult trial a number of years ago, my heart was encouraged when a fellow priest reminded me that I never pray alone, nor was I ever without prayer, for the Church prays with me and for me. Recently, I found these words...

Prayer is by nature common. Prayer is by the power of one Holy Spirit which is drawing all creation towards its redemption in Christ and by which Spirit alone we can recognize Jesus as LORD. Prayer is the act of the Body of Christ which offers itself to the one God and Father of all through His Son Jesus, the Head of the Body and great High Priest. Because the whole Body prays through its one Head, "All prayer is the prayer of the whole Church. There isn't any other sort." (Dewi Morgan, But God Comes First) In prayer we are not alone, we are with each other and the LORD.

The multitude with whom and for whom we pray is so great that it cannot be numbered. ....The angels pray with us. Those round the throne are ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands (Rev. 5.11) They never cease to cry Holy, Holy, Holy, and our prayer is joined with theirs.

After evoking our presence with the angels in prayer, the Te Deum (p. 7-9 BCP) brings to our consciousness the company and fellowship of the saints. Common prayer has an historical continuity which serves to unite our prayers with those of the noble army which has gone before and this dimension we must not lose or forget.

Finally, we come to the saints now upon the earth, "the holy Church throughout all the World" prays with us. ...Dewi Morgan remarks that, "This is of intense personal significance for it means that at every moment everyone of us is being prayed for by the Church. Nowadays you can never pray alone. You can only pray at the same time as, and therefore in union with, the Church."
(From Common Prayer: A commentary on the Prayer Book Lectionary, Volume 2, St Peter Publications, Charlottetown, PE)

Why not take some time to read the Te Deum on pages 7 to 9 on the BCP and spend a few minutes reflecting on this wonderful truth - you are never alone, we pray together no matter where we are.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Making a comment

I know that some of you who are reading this Blog might like to make an occasional comment on something you read.

To make a comment
1) Click on the comment link under the item.
2) Enter your comment
3) Under 'Comment as: SELECT PROFILE" click on Name/URL
4) Enter your name in the box
5) Leave the URL box empty
6) Click on "continue"
7} Click on "Post Comment"

Hope this helps. I'd love to hear from you.


God Exists

As a young person I would often wonder about the existence of God. I would love to read all manner of books and articles relating "proofs" of the existence of God. The folly of such thinking is that God's existence and any walk of faith was determined by my feelings of His presence, and/or my assent to intellectual rationalizations of that existence. This would be like expecting a broken vessel to hold water. I found this quote a number of months ago which sums up something of a more mature approach.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

hat tip: Holy Theophany Orthodox Church ~ The Sunday Bulletin

Whether we believe or not, we belong to God. Whether we understand it or not, or feel His presence or not, or rejoice in that presence or not, He exists. He is my God. He is my Lord. Even during moments of darkness and terror, when God doesn’t exist for me, He still exists. When I feel I’m a failure, when all my efforts seem fruitless, when my life seems to have passed in vain, Christ is still my Christ. He is there for me no matter what happens. He exists irrespectively of my capabilities, capacities, and comprehension. I might imagine that God is small. But God is great. I might think that God doesn’t hear. But He does. And He has given Himself entirely to me, so that there’s only one possibility of failure: for me to break off my relationship with the “I Am” (Ex. 3:14).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Anglican Collects for the Epiphany

From the Book of Common Prayer

GOD, who by the leading of a star didst
manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles:
Mercifully grant, that we, who know thee
now by faith, may be led onward through this
earthly life, until we see the vision of thy heavenly
glory; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ,
who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and
reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

From the Book of Alternative Services

Eternal God,
who by a star
led wise men to the worship of your Son.
Guide by your light the nations of the earth,
that the whole world may know your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Feast of Epiphany

Epiphany coming from the Greek word epiphaneia, meaning appearance or showing is much older than Christmas. It began to be celebrated in the Eastern Church in the 3rd C. when four manifestations of Christ were commemorated: to the shepherds, to the kings or magi, at His baptism and in His first miracle at Cana. Later the first manifestation of Christ became known as Christmas in the Western Church and its date was fixed in 440, and Epiphany celebrated the coming of the Magi to the Christ-Child. The Baptism and the first miracle are commemorated on the two successive Sundays after Epiphany. So in fact the Epiphany has been extended by two weeks in the modern Roman missal.
In this celebration we observe the ancient keeping of the four showings of Christ.

From Here

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Recipe for the Priesthood

I sent this to some clergy friends several months ago. I read it again this morning because sometimes I fall short in the call of being a priest.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

From The Hidden Man of the Heart by Archimandrite Zacharias.

Priesthood is a difficult task, and it is a marvel to see a priest dying in the same state of inspiration as the one which he began. Normally, priests die in states of much less grace, because all their ministry is to take upon themselves the death of their people.

Whatever a priest gathers when he is alone before God, he spreads to the people when he is with them. He takes upon himself their death and he gives them his life, the life of God which he receives.

But how are we to do this? When we inspire the people to love the salvation of God and to fight against sin, when we give them a word which comes from the eternal kingdom, and when their hearts receive that word, it provokes in them desire for eternal life. In fact, everything we do is done in the hope of regenerating the people.

I often say to the faithful who come to our monastery on Sundays: ‘Do not burden the priest unnecessarily with the trivialities of this life. Go to them and ask for a word for your salvation and be very attentive to what they tell you, because then you will make them prophets, and your life will be enriched.’ I do not have a recipe for that.

I remember once, a spiritual father from Cyprus came to our monastery and he said to me, ‘I have been made a spiritual father, but I do not know how to deal with people. Can you please give me some advice?’ I said to him, ‘There are no recipes for this ministry. When you become a spiritual father it is as if you have been thrown into the ocean. You have to swim and come to shore.’ That is to say, you have to cry to God continuously and hope for the best.

I always feel pity for priests because I know how difficult this ministry is. We are priests, in other words, we are partakers of the Priesthood of Christ, and if all the reproaches, all darkness, all evil fell upon Christ, threatening to annihilate His life if it were possible, as the Prophet said, the same happens to every priest who partakes of the Priesthood of Christ. This means that the priest has to assume the suffering and difficulties of his people, and to bring to them consolation from above, and give wings to their hope.

There is no recipe, only this attitude of wanting to help, to promote Christ in their lives, that Christ be magnified in their lives. And I am sure that there is a great reward for the priest whose ministry is done with fear, because he is on the receiving end of every evil and the attacks of the enemy finally concentrate on him. That is why it is a marvel not to be content with the reality of this present age, and not to abandon the inspiration and hope we had when we started our ministry. We all started with great furvour, and we must not let that life of the heart die away, or else our hope will be stolen from us. We must rather be like Simeon the Righteous who waited steadfastly until the last moment to receive Christ in his arms, and then said, ‘Lord, now lettest thou they servant depart in peace’ (Luke 2:29).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christ is Our All

In this modern day of add-ons and apps, and consumer products we acquire to 'improve' our lives, we are prone to, and tempted to, think of our relationship with the LORD in much the same manner. This is a materialistic trap that reduces the LORD to a consumer product, or a business partner. We must fight this temptation and work very hard at letting Christ be our everything.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Behold, how St. Tikhon of Zadonsk speaks in detail of how Christ is all to man in the form of a conversation between Christ and man:

“Do you desire good for yourself?
Every good is in Me
Do you desire blessedness?
Every blessedness is in Me.
Do you desire beauty?
What is more beautiful than Me?
Do you desire nobleness?
What is more noble than the Son of God and the Holy Virgin?
Do you desire height?
What is higher than the Kingdom of Heaven?
Do you desire riches?
In Me are all riches.
Do you desire wisdom?
I am the Wisdom of God.
Do you desire friendship?
Who is a kinder friend than I Who lay down My life for all?
Do you desire help?
Who can help except Me?
Do you seek joy?
Who will rejoice outside of Me?
Do you seek comfort in misery?
Who will comfort you outside of Me?
Do you seek peace?
I am the peace of the soul.
Do you seek life?
In Me is the source of life.
Do you seek light?
‘I am the Light of the world’ ” (St. John 8:12).

From Christ in Our Midst

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Preparing for Sunday

20. For the Right Observance of Sunday.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given a day of
rest to thy people, and, through thy Spirit
in the Church, hast consecrated the first day of
the week to be a perpetual memorial of thy Son’s
resurrection: Grant that we may so use thy gift
that, refreshed and strengthened in soul and
body, we may serve thee faithfully all the days
of our life; through the same Jesus Christ our
Lord. Amen. (BCP)

A Call to Stewardship

I love the offertory sentences and prayer of the Book of Common Prayer. (see pages 72-74 BCP) The inspiring words of scripture remind us of a couple of important elements of our faith and rational for Christian Stewardship.

First they speak of the ‘sacrifice of thanksgiving.’ This concept of sacrificial thanksgiving is an echo of what I consider one of Anglicanism’s greatest prayer, the General Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving to the Lord for all His ‘goodness and loving kindness’ and His ‘inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ’ is the first and greatest reason for us to become sacrificial stewards of our time, talent, and money. Indeed the very act of Eucharistic worship, so essential to Christian spirituality and formation is a ‘sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.’

Secondly the Sentences remind us that the offering is born out of a heart that is ‘stirred up’ and ‘made willing.’ True Christian stewardship springs up from generous, compassionate hearts. I think thankfulness and the stirred-up, willing heart are the fundamental marks of the mature Christian. And the mature Christian will be a generous faithful steward of their time, talent, and money. Such giving is not connected to keeping the building up, paying the church, looking good in the eyes of others, or even trying to win brownie points with the Lord, but simply because one loves the Lord for His goodness, and His mercy. The parable of the unforgiving Servant helps us see that our attitude towards others and our stewardship is directly connected to our understanding of God’s goodness, especially in the goodness of Christ’s sacrificial death, the means of grace and the hope of Glory.

Thirdly, the Sentences remind us that we are to be responsible stewards for the care of the poor and needy. This is not just the call of the Church formally such as our offerings to the PWRDF, but also informally when we as individuals support the local food bank, bring some food to a grieving neighbour, sponsor a child through the Foster Parents Plan, or many other ways. Care for the poor and needy in our midst is an essential part of our Christian response to God’s commandment and love.

Finally I love the BCP Offertory Prayer which is another quote from Scripture: ‘…all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.’ The mature Christian realizes that their time is not really their time, their talent is not really their talent; and their money is not really their money – it is all the Lord’s! The prayer at the offering reminds us to let go of our possessive attitudes and to surrender our entire life to the Lord. In a sense we are to possess only the love, the grace, and the mercy of God. Everything else is to be used for His glory. In that way, I am not called to be a generous steward of MY time, MY talent, and MY money. Rather I am called to be a generous steward of God’s time, God’s talent in me, and the God’s money. It is after all for His glory, not mine.

LORD have mercy, Brian+

Fun With Graphs

From Pithless Thoughts, a blog by Steven Robinson

LORD have Mercy, Brian+

New Year's Messages

Archbishop Fred Hiltz

Archbishop of Canterbury - Rowan Williams

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Rule of Life

Every Christian man or woman should from time to time frame for himself a RULE OF LIFE in accordance with the precepts of the Gospel and the faith and order of the Church;
wherein he may consider the following:
- The regularity of his attendance at public worship and especially at the holy Communion.
- The practice of private prayer, Bible-reading, and self-discipline.
- Bringing the teaching and example of Christ into his everyday life.
- The boldness of his spoken witness to his faith in Christ.
- His personal service to the Church and the community.
- The offering of money according to his means for the support of the work of the Church at home and overseas. (Page 555, BCP)

For the New Year.

IMMORTAL Lord God, who inhabitest
eternity, and hast brought thy servants to
the beginning of another year: Pardon, we humbly
beseech thee, our transgressions in the past, bless
to us this New Year, and graciously abide with
us all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen. (Page 115, BCP)

Welcome to 2010

'I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
(Methodist Church Covenant Service)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12.1,2

On a lighter side, I am giving up sugar in my coffee for the year.

LORD have mercy, Brian+