Verse of the Day

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fifth Sunday in Lent, commonly called Passion Sunday

Passion Sunday
Passion Sunday is the fifth Sunday in Lent, and the first Sunday in Passiontide, the last two weeks of Lent, beginning on Passion Sunday and ending on Holy Saturday (the Saturday before Easter).

All crosses, pictures, images are covered with opaque purple veils and Gloria Patri is omitted during this period. Passion Sunday is so-called because in the gospel for that day (John 8: 46-59) Jesus begins his sufferings by being stoned out of the temple.  Under the old calendar, Passion Sunday was also known as Judica Sunday, after that day's Introit: "Judica me, Deus" ("Judge me, O Lord") from Psalm 42 (43), and was called Black Sunday in Germany. This alternate name originates from the fact that after Passion Sunday, the Judica Psalm was not said again until Easter; the German title comes from the old practice of veiling the crosses and statues in the church on that day.

The Roman Catholic Church has completely suppressed Passiontide and eliminated Palm Sunday during the course of abandoning much of the Christian history and doctrine.  They now refer to Palm Sunday as “Passion Sunday.”  Traditional catholics[1] still observe Passiontide as well as its rites and ceremonies.  Passiontide is observed in the Anglican Communion.

The Propers for today are found on Page 132-133, with the Collect first:

The Fifth Sunday in Lent, commonly called
Passion Sunday.
The Collect.

E beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

And due to the rubric, the Collect for the Day is followed by the Collect for Ash Wednesday, which is found on Page 124:

The first day of Lent, commonly called
Ash Wednesday.
The Collect.

LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

¶ This Collect is to be said every day in Lent, after the Collect appointed for the day, until Palm Sunday.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle for today, which came from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, starting at the Eleventh Verse of the Ninth Chapter.   Paul summarizes both the symbolism and the substance of the Lord’s sacrifice on our behalf.  Paul opens the secret of the One Perfect Sacrifice, One Time, for All Time and All Mankind.  Paul is clearly appealing to the sense of the Jews when he asks them if the blood of goats will set aside or atone for sin, how much more can be done by the Perfect Sacrifice made on our behalf?

HRIST being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Hap Arnold read this morning’s Gospel which comes from the Gospel of Saint John, starting at the Forty-Sixth Verse of the Eighth Chapter and tells the story of Jesus’ confrontation with the Pharisees in the temple.  Like much of John it is filled with deep explanation of Jesus and His purpose here. 

Knowing them looking to find the worst in Him, Jesus asked, “Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?”  In a point central to Christianity, he went on, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”  When we hear the term Jews here, we should hear the world in general, for He spoke to all who would not hear.  When they would not hear, He pointed out He sought not glory or praise from them, but only from the Father whom in reality they knew not.  Here He offers the singular benefit of Christianity, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”  This concept being foreign to them, they asked if He thought He was greater than Abraham.  That brought the crowning touch, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day.”  Knowing He was only in his early 30s, they could not grasp how he could have seen Abraham.

In a demonstration of the non-linearity of God’s time, He said, “Before Abraham was, I am.[2]”  As might be expected, this offended the Keepers of The Law.

ESUS said, Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words:  ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you; but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

Sermon – Reverend Deacon Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

 Consider these words from the Collect:

… thy people; … by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul …

In the Collect, we ask God to let us allow us to look to Him for leadership and direction that we might be saved, both our physical bodies and souls.  For, if we do not look to God for our guidance and direction we are surely lost like a man in the wilderness without a compass.

If we look to Him for guidance, we then look to Him for safety.  Pretty clearly the Mosaic law with its 613 rules did not really work to save mankind.  The constant sacrifice of animals could not make us accounted for perfect in God’s eye. After all, an animal would never work to cleanse our sins and let us enter into heaven, as Christ’s death did for us. An animal is a poor substitute for a divine being that is our pillar from heaven to earth, and visa versa.  We were always destined to fail.  We could not make the grade on our own.

Our only means of being accounted as perfect when we come before God is to rely on the sacrifice and intermediary priesthood of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ to account us as perfect before God on that final day.  While if we follow His Word, we will be better than we will if we do not, we will not be perfect.  Thus, without the sacrifice of His Son, we will not make the cut.  We will end up in the pit.  We need that one sacrifice, at one time, for all mankind, for all time. If we did not need that sacrifice, then we wouldn’t be seeing all the troubles in the world today, but clearly the troubles in the world today, showed that we do need the sacrifice that He made for us, the one time for all time. Unlike the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which required multiple sacrifices a year, this sacrifice was made on one year, for all time.

In the Gospel, Jesus reminds us that if we believe in Him and keep His Word (keeping g His Word meaning acting upon it), then we shall make our seamless journey from the Shadowlands to His Home.  The Pharisees, for the most part, could not conceive, or would not conceive, that God would send His Son to this world for us. They did not even believe that He had a son, they were looking for the Messiah figure that they thought couldn’t be Him. The Messiah was Him, as he came to save, as the Old Testament prophecies spoke, but not to save just the Jews and Israel, but to save the whole wide world. The Pharisees were not big picture people, and as Calvin and Hobbes said, “We big picture people rarely become historians.” I would say that also applied to the Pharisees though they were not “big picture people”. They misinterpreted the prophecies of the Messiah. Regardless,  even though some people chose to misunderstand the prophecies, He came and He made that one sacrifice, at one time, for all mankind, for all time. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life[3].

Who is Jesus?  Our Savior?  Indeed.  But, more He has been since before the beginning of the world, for He is one with I Am.

Through His Actions, we are saved.

Do ye likewise:


It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Bishop Dennis Campbell’s Sermon
Bishop Dennis is a brilliant speaker.  He is able to take biblical precepts and make them perfectly understandable, even to me.  Oft he provides the text of his sermons and I take the utmost pleasure in passing them on:

White as Snow
Psalm 51, Isaiah 1:10-20, 1 Peter 4:12
Passion Sunday
March 17, 2013

Isaiah 1:18 contains some of the most famous words in the world, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow."  When I hear these words I think of Nathaniel Hawthorn's story, The Scarlet Letter.  He probably got the idea for the scarlet colour of the letter from Isaiah, for, in the story, Hester Prynne was forced to wear a red letter "A" for committing the sin of adultery.  Of course, in reality, we are all adulteresses, all branded with a scarlet letter.
We understand this when we look at the people outside of Christ.  We see their carousing, chasing pleasure, reveling in drunkenness, debauchery, and fornication.  We see them giving themselves to power, position, material possessions, physical pleasures, and self-indulgence.  We understand that they have made these things their gods.  They are their first loves.  They receive the devotion and love God deserves.  They covet these things, and "covetousness," as Paul wrote in Colossians 3:5, "is idolatry."  What is idolatry but adultery of the soul?  They have left their true Husband to commit adultery with things that are not even gods.
But, I have noticed something that is very important; when the Bible talks about spiritual adultery, it almost always refers to those who claim to be the people of God.  I don't know of a single place where the word is used of those outside of the visible Church.  There  may be, but I don't remember any.  The reason it is used of the Church is because it is we who have taken vows to love and serve God as our God, and to keep ourselves for Him alone.  Thus, the Bible calls the Church the "bride of Christ" (Rev. 21:9).
We seldom think of ourselves as spiritual adulterers, but I wonder, when we are honest with ourselves, if we do not see that our sins are as scarlet as Hester Prynne's?  Who has not become aware that our very best efforts fall far, far short of God's perfection?  Who is not aware that pride, greed, jealousy, lust, and a general spiritual laziness still live in us, even after years and decades of trying to follow Christ?  What parent reprimanding a child does not remember committing the same offense?  What minister preaching the word is not aware of the sin still dwelling in him?  I read once of a young minister leading a catechism class and being stricken with the awful truth that he had not carried the burden he was now asking others to bear.  St. Augustine is reported to have prayed for purity and chastity, but not today.  Even St Paul admitted his own continuing battle with sin.  "I am carnal, sold under sin," he wrote in Romans 7:14. "[T]o perform that which is good I find not" says Romans 7:18.  Then there are those famous words in Romans 7:19, "The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."
But it is not just what we do that is sin, it is what we are.  If it were possible for us to peel back the layer of God's grace that hides our sinfulness from us, we would shudder at the writhing mass of evil that is in us.  Once in a while it breaks out.  Then we act in the most unGodly ways.  That is the real you coming out.  You are able, by God's grace, to keep it under some control most of the time, but sometimes it breaks out.  Truly our sins are as scarlet.  How shall they be white as snow?  White of course means pure and clean.  In spiritual terms, red symbolises wickedness, white stands for good.  Red is ungodly, white is Godly.  How can we go from red to white?  It can only come to us as the gift of God.  And that happens in three ways.
First it happens when God forgives our sins.  By that I mean God simply stops holding our sins against us and starts treating us as though we were not sinners.  This happens only because Christ paid the price of our sins for us.  He suffered  the wrath of God for our sins on the cross.  There was nothing we could have done to make up for our sins.  But God forgives our sins.  Our sins were scarlet, now they are white as snow.
I know I say this often, but that is because it is the primary message of the Bible.  The Bible addresses many things, good government, marriage, home, family, child rearing, work, economics, war, and peace.  I hope to talk about some of these things this summer. From the Bible we learn that kings and presidents are not supreme any more than bishops or churches.  God is supreme, and all rulers, civil and ecclesiastical, rule properly only when they rule under God and according to His will.  From the Bible we learn that people have rights.  Thou shalt not kill means you have the right to life, and you have the right to defend your life.  Thou shalt not steal means you have the right to own property and to enjoy the fruits of your labours.  Thou shalt not commit adultery means other people are not your sexual toys.  All of these things are addressed in the Bible, but they are not the theme of the Bible.  Redemption is its theme.  God is Redeeming for Himself a nation which will inherit a new Kingdom that is Godly and righteous.  In it we will serve and glorify God perfectly and forever.  Those who enter into this Kingdom are only allowed in because God has forgiven their sins through the cross of Christ.
Second our sins become white as snow when, in the grace of God He accounts us as righteous.  This is due to the righteousness of Christ accounted to us; credited to us, credited to our account.  Christ has taken our unrighteousness upon Himself and suffered for it on the cross.  He has given His righteousness to us, so that God now sees us as righteous and good and holy.
We need to remember here that righteousness is credited to us, not achieved by us.  The old sinful ways of thinking and responding to life still remain strong in us, and have to be denied and crucified moment by moment and day by day every day of our lives.  Progress is slow and painful, but does happen, so keep at it.  Remember that doing the will of God goes against your natural impulses and desires, and the more you give in to evil and spiritual laziness, the easier it becomes.  "Thou shalt find," wrote Anglican Bishop Joseph Hall in the 1600s, "that deffering [spiritual things] breeds an indisposition to [them]; so that what was before pleasant to thee, being omitted, to-morrow grows harsh, the next day unneccessary, afterward odious.  To-day thou canst but wilt not; to-morrow thou couldst, but listeth not; the next day thou neither wilt nor canst."
But this is what I want to emphasise today.  Your sins are white as snow in God's eyes because He sees you covered with the righteousness of Christ.  Do not fear that you are not going to Heaven because you battle sins and temptation.  Do not fear that God does not accept you because you still sin.  God accepts you because He has placed the righteousness of Christ in your spiritual account.  Because of that, you are righteous in His eyes.
Third, your sins will be white as snow because one day you will be fully purified.  The day will come when the tendency to sin, that is now so much a part of you, will be gone forever.  The day will come when your will, emotions, mind, and every aspect of your being will be completely righteous.  The process of fighting against your sinfulness will be over because your sinfulness will be gone.  You will be pure.
 God, who has made our sins as white as snow through the redeeming work of Christ; grant that we may live in holiness and peace through Thy grace.  Amen.
+Dennis Campbell

Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia
Roy Morales-Kuhn, Pastor - Covenant of Grace Anglican Chapel - Anglican Orthodox Church, USA Sermon for Passion Sunday

Today is the feast day of Saint Patrick. For centuries there have been depictions of  Patrick as having been a Roman Catholic saint, the fact being his life predates the ascendancy of the church in Rome. He was active in missionary work in Ireland in the middle 400 Anno Domini.    Most of what we know about Patrick can be summarized in a few short sentences. In our understanding of the saints who have gone before us, as Christians and as Anglicans, let us properly look at the lives of those who set an example for us as modern day believers:

1.     We are not to worship them;
2.     We do not ask them to intervene for us with the Father; only Christ can do that;
3.     We are never to ascribe any special powers or favor granting ability to a saint, such as helping us find lost keys, or intervening for us during times of illness, calamity or chaos.

Again, we seek help in times of distress, illness or other major and minor crisis through Christ. Weekly we recite prayers from Morning Prayer and the Holy Communion that implore us to see His face during these times of problems.  Now that being said, we should, as I stated earlier, look to the saints ALL the saints departed in faith, for an example as to how we should live our lives.

We can incorporate the scripture for today into an understanding of what it means to be a saint. To eschew the things that cause us to sin, to step away from evil, avoid it at all means. As St. Peter writes in his first letter, we can also understand that this life changing way of living will bring trials. There will be trying times and tribulations, but we have a faithful, just and loving Advocate, Christ Jesus, He will be there in our stead. He will be our one and only mediator.

 “...And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen”

Who was this St. Patrick?  Let us look at a few facts as far as we know, most of this information coming from his contemporaries and those he discipled over the years of his ministry in Ireland.
·      Patrick was born in West country of Britain, most likely to Romanized Scots or Welch.
·      He was kidnapped at about 16, taken to Ireland and sold into slavery. He became a herdsmen
·      He escapes his captivity, goes to Gaul (modern day France) and studies for the priesthood.
·      He returns to his family in Britain for a while, then returns to Gaul for more training, esp. on missionary work.
·      He is sent to Ireland or goes to Ireland after having dreams of the Irish asking to come share the Gospel.
·      He will set up a series of monasteries and chapels that will overtime and with other missionaries , both British and Irish, convert Ireland to Christianity.
·      He dies on March 17th , thus setting the date aside in commemoration of his life and work.
·      Ties to snake removal seems to be of legend.
·      It is said that he used the three leaf clover to explain the Trinity to the Irish people.

We only have a few of St. Patrick’s writings, and a number of prayers. One of the most famous is the ‘Breastplate Prayer’ or the Lorica Prayer. We will briefly study that prayer and the scripture from which is most likely was derived.

Ephesians 6:10 - 20

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

"...and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” -Ephesians 6:14

Paul compares our Christian armor to armor the Ephesians would have been familiar with, that of the Romans:
·      A Roman breastplate was a metal shield of sorts that strapped on and guarded the soldier’s chest.
·      Within the chest lies our heart.
·      When our heart stops beating we die.
·      Thus, the heart is a key target that an enemy will try to hit to end our lives.
·      Our heart is also symbolic as the home of our spirit.
·      The breastplate we are given to protect our heart is righteousness.

Not our righteousness; Christ’s.

We have already gotten God’s approval, He sent Christ to be righteousness for us.  By holding the sacrifice of Christ against our heart as a breastplate, we can bear up to the attacks of the evil one. Satan sends fiery darts in our direction daily, we must hold our shield up, the sacrifice of Christ, to repel the attacks of Satan.  When we read the breastplate prayer we see that St. Patrick was seeking to strengthen his life, his day to day struggle with all things that hold us back or keep us from Christ, and therefore from God. So in this prayer, he seeks the strength of Christ, the protection of Christ and the love of Christ.

Let us seek daily, the Christ of comfort, the Christ of restoration, the Christ of safety. Here is the prayer of St. Patrick:

The Breastplate Prayer of St. Patrick

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Let us pray:

lmighty God and heavenly Father; Open thou our eyes that we may see ourselves to be sinners in thy sight, partakers of a fallen nature, and actual transgressors against thee. Enable us to realize our continual need, both of thy pardoning mercy and of thy quickening grace, and to receive Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of our souls. May we trust in his atonement, and rely on his intercession, as our only hope. Rejoicing in thy free salvation, and renouncing our own righteousness, may we walk in the way of thy commandments, serving thee faithfully, and striving against every sin; through the grace that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.    Amen

Roy +

Pastor Roy Morales-Kuhn, MA
Covenant of Grace Anglican Chapel
Anglican Orthodox Church, USA
Central United States
Columbia/Boonville/Moberly Missouri area

Rev Bryan Dabney of Saint John’s Sunday Sermon
We are fortunate to have Bryan’s Sunday Sermon.  If you want people to come to The Truth, you have to speak the truth, expouse the truth and live the truth.    This is really a good piece and I commend it to your careful reading.

Sermon for Fifth Sunday in Lent commonly called Passion Sunday

In the gospel, our Lord said, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin. And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God (8:42-47). In a previous chapter, our Lord spoke in a more definitive manner when he said, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life (St. John 5:24), Do you see the distinction being drawn? There were two groups: the unregenerate masses who belong to our adversary, and a believing remnant who are God’s.

The unregenerate are the children of disobedience (Ephesians 5:6). They do not understand the words of Christ because they cannot hear them. As the apostle Paul explained, if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is image of God, should shine unto them (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

The remnant, on the other hand, have heard the words of Christ and have accepted them. Throughout the ages, they have sought to honor God through their obedience to his word. As the apostle John noted in his first epistle, And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in [Christ] and [Christ] in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us (3:24).

Now God did not give us his word as a draft for our approval, so either one accepts God’s word written, or one will, by default, be in rejection of it. There are no exceptions. St. Paul wrote extensively on the Christian ethos. He knew what it meant to join “the dark side”. He had once been an ignorant tool of the devil prior to his conversion via his persecution of the body of Christ (Acts 9:1-20). But after his conversion, the apostle proved to be a passionate and successful minister of the gospel.

But, O how things have changed. Sadly, there are many within the mainline denominations who have sought to diminish St. Paul’s credibility as a spokesman for our God. Those who would deny him his rightful place ought to “stand and deliver” on their position by answering the following queries: 1) Who, pray tell, appeared to Saul of Tarsus on that dusty road to Damascus?, and 2) With whom did the apostle commune in the wilderness of Arabia for some three years?, and 3) If the apostle was truly called of our Lord on that dusty road so long ago, then how on earth can any so-called Christian church or minister disparage him without being labeled a false church, with those who teach such being rightly called antichrist?

And think about the totality of the apostle’s works on behalf of our Lord. His epistles contain the rubrics for church order and worship. He was called to supply form to the substance— to flesh out the specifics of what it means to have a church. He was called to preach and be heard of the remnant that they might be saved by the effectual working of the Holy Ghost. Thus to deny the credentials of the last apostle is to in effect close one’s ears to the gospel of truth that he preached, and which was recorded for our edification.

So what have those churches and pastors which have rejected St. Paul’s teachings gained for all their efforts? They have, in essence, exchanged the true gospel of our risen Lord for another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), and on that account they have received a curse. Through their false teaching, they have slain the concept of inerrancy regarding God’s word written in the hearts and minds of their congregations. They have also become cultists who gather around a figment of Christ, but not the only begotten Son of the Father. This is that other Christ or the spirit of antichrist which has been sown by Satan throughout the world since our Lord’s first advent. And on account of this evil spiritual presence within an every increasing number of churches, our Lord has been forced to stand outside their doors knocking to come in (Revelation 3:20). Sadly, this is in agreement with our gospel lesson, as the modern church has become like the unregenerate of the Jews, for only a remnant will hear and receive the truth. The prophet Isaiah was given to proclaim to the kingdom of Judah a message which God told him ahead of time would not be received and believed (6:9-13). It was a message meant for those who would hear even though they were few. God is interested in proclaiming the truth to all, but he knows that only a small segment of those who will hear will believe and turn unto him. They are the remnant.

And so it has been the solemn duty of every faithful Christian to be salt and light in this sinful world regardless of whether or not the masses accept our witness. As St. Paul wrote, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men (II Corinthians 5:11). In that vein, we should pray for God’s gift of faith to be spread abroad, and that God would bring a spirit of revival into the world in these last days. The power of praying Christians is infinite, for the Lord we serve is a mighty and sovereign God who cares for us and hears us. St. James tells us in his epistle that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (5:16). St. Paul reminded young Timothy in his second epistle: And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2:25-26). Though many will perish, still we ought to pray for the unregenerate around us. Our duty is to give them the gospel of truth, to give it to them straight, and to keep giving it to them as God gives us the occasion so to do.

We close our worship of Evening Prayer each Wednesday with A Prayer of St. Chrysostom which states in part, “Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them...” We may not always understand why God acts or does not act in a particular matter for which we have petitioned. But we can rest assured that in his love for us, he will hear us. To that end, let us close with an excerpt from St. John 10:14, I am the good shepherd and know my sheep, and am known of mine. For the Remnant, those are most comfortable words indeed, so let us work to expand that Remnant as God gives us the leave to do in his service.

Let us pray,

ssist us, O LORD, that we might become more effective and fervent witnesses on thy behalf so that the unregenerate, upon hearing of thy word written, might receive it unto their salvation; for this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

                                                      Have a blessed week, Bryan+

What is Holy Week?  Some kind of Roman thing?
Not Roman at all, Christian.  In fact, the Romans have abandoned or ignored much of the week.  The term covers Palm Sunday through Easter.

The Sunday next before Easter is commonly referred to as Palm Sunday.  The period between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is often referred to as Holy Week.  Most churchgoing people go to church on Palm Sunday, then to church on Easter Sunday. It’s a fairly uplifting time with not a lot of thinking. On Palm Sunday Jesus makes his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. On Easter Sunday there’s the joyous resurrection. What’s not to like about that?

The thing is, there is a tremendous amount that goes on between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, not all of it joyous, in fact most of it is pretty scary or sad.   The beginning of the week was wonderful; in the end the week was even more wonderful.  In between was a series of ups and downs the ups a little high and the downs very very deep. It is important to remember as you go through Holy Week that Jesus was in control of all the events of the week.  The week starts with the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and ends with the death of the Savior on the Cross and the burial of his body in the tomb.  It is a week of ups and downs without parallel, the ups a little high and the downs very, very deep, deep as Hell you might say, and precedes the most joyous day of the year, the Day of the Resurrection or Easter Sunday.

Jesus has a triumphant entry into the city on the First Day of the Week (Sunday); on Thursday night he celebrates the Passover with his disciples in the Upper Room, he prays and agonizes over what he knows is coming in the garden of Gethsemane; Judas betrays him early Friday morning, his most trusted disciple denies him, not once but three times before the cock crew; the Jews condemn him to Pilate who in turn orders him to be beaten and humiliated; that does not satisfy the Jews and at their request, Pilate condemns a man he knows to be innocent to a horrible death to pacify the crowd of Jews assembled by the priests; Jesus is crucified, asks John to take care of his mother and gives up the ghost; his body is taken down and buried; the disciples are dispersed and discouraged; they have listened to their Lord, but not understood.

Think of this week from the disciples’ perspective, on the first day they enter with their leader into Jerusalem in triumph; mid-week they celebrate the joyous feast of the Passover, then their leader is betrayed, defends himself not and is killed.  At the time they surely could not think of this as a Holy Week and certainly not a Good Friday.  Yet on the first day of the week that follows, our Lord is Risen, Risen indeed and delivers the promise of salvation in person.

It is important to remember as you go through Holy Week that Jesus was in control of all the events of the week.

What a week!

Palm Sunday
The name Palm Sunday comes from the palm leaves, along with clothing and other honors strewn along Jesus’ path as He came in to Jerusalem the first day of the week before His crucifixion.  Of interest, only Jesus knew of the upcoming crucifixion, every one else, including Jews, Romans and the Christians, thought he was making a triumphant entrance in to the city to take control of things and kick the Roman occupation force out. The moon was almost full, this was the year of the Messiah according to Daniel.  Jesus chose the route into the city, through the King’s Gate.  The people saw Him coming and met him at the Mount of Olives.  They expected Him to come in and proclaim His rule.  And that He did, but not in the way the people were looking for.     Those who thought of Him as Lord looked for a Kingdom of this World to be established. Sunday was a day of triumph and fulfilled the anticipation of the Jews of a day for which they had waited four centuries.  The Messiah had finally come, at the time predicted by scripture.  They were certain that He would free them from the burdensome and cruel yoke of Roman rule.  The Jews would finally be on top of the power pyramid.  They would rule the world under Him!  Yet, that was not to be.  The day in the temple!  Holy Cow!  Here their savior was throwing people out of the temple, not throwing the Romans out of Jerusalem.  They were sad to learn He came not to rule this world, for that time was not yet come; He came to give them the key to eternal salvation.  He came to take them from this veil of tears to a state of perfect freedom.  They wanted someone to throw the Romans out and all God sent them was the key to eternal life.  What a disappointment!

On Monday, Jesus preached in the Temple and further distanced Himself from the people’s vision and demonstrated God’s vision.  He went in to the temple and through out the vendors selling “sacrificial” birds and animals at exorbitant cost, as well as the moneychangers, changing Roman money for Temple money dishonestly.  Far from announcing Himself head of the temple, He announced they had made His Father’s house a den of thieves.  Rather than working within the Jewish establishment, He over turned it!

Jesus and the Pharisees dispute in the Temple. He left for the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. There he delivers the “Mount of Olives Discourse”. Judas agrees to betray him to the Jewish priests for 30 pieces of silver.

The Sanhedrin was gathered together and decided to kill Jesus, even before Pesach if possible. In the meantime, Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper. Here he was anointed on his head by Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, with very expensive ointment of spikenard. Some of the disciples, particularly Judas Iscariot, keeper of the purse, were indignant about this; the oil could have been sold to support the poor.  “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”  In this case, Judas recalls to mind many politicians.  Jesus reminded them of the importance of first things first and the futility of giving, rather than helping, when He said in Matthew 26.11 “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.”  Judas went to the Sanhedrin and offered them his support in exchange for silver. From this moment on Judas was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. Judas spied on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where he came on his plan.

Maundy Thursday
At the Passover Feast, Jesus and his disciples share the “Last Supper” and He washes their feet. Jesus blesses his bread and wine as his flesh and blood and shares it with his disciples, the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. He informs them that one of them will betray him. They go back to the garden of Gethsemane.

Good Friday
In the early hours before sunup, Jesus is betrayed by the “Judas Kiss” and arrested. At sunrise, he is disowned by Peter thrice before the cock croweth. When brought before Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, and his Council, he is condemned. He says that he will rise from death after three days.

They hand him over to the Roman authority, Pontius Pilate, who sends him to Herod (Antipas, the son of Herod the Great). Then Pilate asks the crowd who he is to pardon: a murderer, or Jesus? The crowd chooses Barabas and Jesus is sentenced to death.

Jesus is brought to Calvary, where on the “third hour” (9 am) he is crucified. He is mocked as he hangs between the Bad Thief and the Good Thief, whom he blesses. On the “sixth hour” (noon), darkness covers the land. Jesus cries out “My God, My God, hast Thou forsaken Me? ”

After drinking wine, he commits his spirit to his Father and dies. Matthew reports an earthquake that destroys the Temple. Many understand now that Jesus was the Son of God. His body is taken down and anointed. He is buried in a cave. This is the first day of death.

Holy Saturday
The Jewish Council remembers his vow to return and has the tomb guarded and sealed with a heavy stone. His followers stay in the “Easter Vigil”. Second day of death.

Easter Sunday
On the third day of death, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary find the tomb empty, but for an angel who tells them Jesus is already resurrected and is on His way to Galilee. On their way to tell the others, Jesus appears to them.  Death is conquered, the Promise delivered.  Our lives from this day forward are eternal!

Think about the Week that was!
The reason Jesus came to Jerusalem at the Passover was to take the place of the yearly sacrifice by one perfect sacrifice, one time, for all time and for all mankind. His was the blood marking our door that the destroyer might pass over.  The week started on a triumphant note and ended up trying to do between there were windows into the future, glimpses of the past, moments of despair, moments of terror, moments of confusion; but in the end joy and the ultimate triumph.

[1] In this case the word catholic catholic (derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), means "universal") comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (kath'holou), meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and όλος meaning "whole".  The word in English means "including a wide variety of things; all-embracing" in particular as "relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church."   It was first used to describe the Christian Church in the early 2nd century to emphasize its universal scope. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages.  The term has been incorporated into the name of the Roman Catholic Church, arguably not actually a Christian church, though with many Christian members, under the Bishop of Rome.  Other Christians use the term "catholic" (normally with a lower-case letter "c") to refer not to the Roman Catholic Church but the Christian Church and all believers in Jesus Christ across the world and across the ages, regardless of denominational affiliation.
[2] This response was similar to God’s answer to Moses’ question, “Who do I tell them sent me?”

[3] If the text of this sentence seems familiar, it is John 3.16, probably the most widely quoted text of the Bible.

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