Verse of the Day

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Sunday called Quinquagesima, or the Sunday next before before Lent.

Lent is coming up, it starts this coming Wednesday, called Ash Wednesday.  So, what does the word Lent mean?  It has an obscure origin, and is probably a corruption of Lencten, or a similar term in ancient Anglo, Saxon, and Germanic languages, all of which referred to spring, new life, and hope.  Although it is generally considered to be a time of mourning and repentance, it is more than that, it is like death, a time of new life and hope because by means of the death of Christ, we receive new life.

Many avoid Lent and Holy Week because they think it isn’t a happy and uplifting time—but to be honest, neither is most of life. Sometimes we come to church all scrubbed up, dressed nicely, with smiles on our faces, and when people ask how we are, we reply that everything is fine and we even boast how wonderful things are—but is it?  

Life is not always uplifting, or wonderful, or pleasant, or joyous.  To claim it is, is to miss the whole point of the incarnation! God became flesh in Jesus Christ. Jesus faced temptation, He suffered hunger and thirst, He suffered the agony of crucifixion. Jesus our God did not face these things so that we would be exempt from them, He faced these things so that we would have dignity in them, He faced these things that in Him we might have triumph.

The forty days commemorate the significant "forty" periods in Scripture (although forty is not always significant), including the forty years the Jews wandered in the desert after they had been rescued by God from Egypt, and which did not end until they repented. Jonah preached to Nineveh that God's judgment would come on them in forty days. During that time the people repented and thus were spared God's judgment. Jesus was tested by the Devil in the desert for forty days before He began His public ministry, announcing salvation to the repentant and judgment to those who continued to rebel against God. Jesus prophesied that God's judgment would come against Israel for rejecting Him as Messiah within the time of His own generation (Matt. 24; Luke 21; Mark 13). Within forty years of His death, burial, and resurrection, Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple was so ravaged that "not one stone [was] left here upon another" (Matt. 24:2). The Jewish Christians, however, escaped this judgment of God by fleeing to Pella before the final Roman siege, just as Jesus had warned them to do (Matt. 24:16-21).

Lent is a time for Christians to contemplate their sinfulness, repent, ask God's forgiveness, and realize the infinite sacrifice God made on their behalf. It is to be a time of quiet contemplation, but not a time of despair, since it culminates in the commemoration of the resurrection. Traditionally, those who are joining the church spend this period in special instruction regarding Christian doctrine, practice, and responsibility. Historically, prospective members ("catechumens") did not participate in the Lord's Supper portion of the Sunday services until they were received into full membership on the Sunday of the Resurrection of Our Lord. For them, this first experience of Ash Wednesday and Lent has special significance as God's eternal plan of salvation is applied to them personally.

When Jesus taught us how to pray, He didn’t say, “If you elect to pray, do it this way…” and when He taught about fasting, He didn’t say, “If you elect to fast, do it this way…”

He said, when you pray, don’t do it for show like the hypocrites do. It’s a conversation between you and God. And He gave us the Lord’s Prayer as an example of what we should pray about:

Address God
“Our Father, who art…”
Submit to God’s will
“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done…”
Ask for your physical needs
“Give us this day our daily bread…”
Ask for forgiveness
“Forgive us our trespasses…”
To the degree that you yourself are willing to forgive…
“As we forgive our trespassers…”
Ask for help with temptations
“Lead us not into temptation…”
And preservation from evil
“Deliver us from evil…”
Recognizing whose world this really is
“For thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory, for ever and ever.”

Similarly, Jesus told us that when we fast (not if) we are not to make a show of it, like hypocrites do. A fast is different from a hunger strike: a fast is a personal act of devotion to God, while a hunger strike is a public act most often used to shine a spotlight on injustice. A fast is also different from anorexia nervosa: it is disciplined diet, not total abstention from food. During a religious fast, you still eat, you just abstain from certain foodstuffs. Traditionally, people have fasted by eliminating luxury items from their diets, such as meats. A fast can consist of eating whatever you want, but drinking only water.

More positively, you can fast in other areas beyond food, you can commit to a something that can benefit the church, such cutting back in an entertainment area, using that time for Bible study and donating the savings to the church.

On Palm Sunday, there were crowds who cheered Jesus as the King, but where were all those fair-weather friends when Jesus prayed in agony on Gethsemane, and where were they when He hung upon the cross? Let us be bold to join Him, fasting in the wilderness for forty days during Lent; let us be bold to pray with Him in the garden on Maundy Thursday, let us fearlessly stand at the foot of His cross on Good Friday, so that we may witness His Resurrection and His Ascension, and join in His triumphant reign.

Mite Boxes
If you read this report at all, you know the Anglican Orthodox Church (AOC), and this parish in particular, is not about money.  Not that money is not useful, but our parish has plenty for what we need and we know the difference between need and want.  Any extra we get, we send it to the AOC to use for their mission work.  The AOC works on a very slim budget, they aren’t about money either.  The AOC is about the Great Commission; to go forth and spread The Word of the Lord:

18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ‘…19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mt. 28:19-20)

You may not realize it, but the AOC has national church affiliates in 22 countries around the world, that does take a little money.  Not great quantities of money, but some and as a church, we would be dirt poor, if we had dirt.

So, that is where the Mite Boxes come in.  Ash Wednesday is 5 March 2014; Easter Sunday is 20 April 2014.  That period is Lent.  Often thought of as a time for fasting, it is more importantly a time to channel your attention towards God.  A time to let your heart open to the Holy Ghost that you might come closer to God and perhaps do His Work more effectively.

So, to exercise this concept, we are asking you to cut back.  We know the economy is not really great and you are probably cutting back already.  So, cut back a bit more.   Take part of your savings every day and put it in the Mite Box.  If you did not cut back on a given day, dig into your wallet or purse and cut out a bit of cash for the Mite Box anyway.  Every day, except Sundays.  Sundays are the Lord’s Day and a day of celebration.  They are not part of Lent.  By Easter Sunday, you will have a full Mite Box.  Bring it to church, this church, another church, which church is not really important, but on Easter Sunday, you should worship the Lord.  If you cannot find a church to actually go to on Easter, you probably aren’t looking hard enough; but pull the money out and send us a check, payable to the Anglican Orthodox Church and we will send it on.

One box for each member of the family, one box for the family, whatever works for you.  This is not about the money, it is about growing in faith.  A little bit, just a mite, every day.  Every day, miss none.  Every day, every body in the family can do just a little bit.  When you drop your daily contribution in, think, “Did I do what I could today for the Lord?  Did I fall short or meet the standard?  Can I do better tomorrow?  Will I?”  It should be a time of reflection.  It will be if you do it.

By the way, what is a Mite Box?  Named after the smallest of Roman coins, a normal wage of the time being 10 mites per hour, of which two were donated by the widow, in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4, it is normally a small cardboard box, say 3 inches each dimension, a cube piggy bank so to speak.  If you don’t have one, call, email or write.  We have a pile of them.

Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to the Lord’s Work and make your life better at the same time.

On Point
Someone asked, where do the quotes come from?  The answer is from the people who uttered them.  But, how did you find them?  Oh, that.  Some from Bishop Jerry, many from Rev Bryan Dabney, a few from other places, some from Rev Geordie Menzies-Grierson, but overall mostly from Bryan.  He always has a few great ones to share.  On to the On Point quotes –

Screwtape[1] reveals Nothing:
The Christians describe the Enemy as one ‘without whom Nothing is strong’. And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off.

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
Jack Lewis
The Screwtape Letters

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
G. Gordon Liddy

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.
Samuel Adams

Most of God's people are content to be saved from the hell that is without. They are not so anxious to be saved from the hell that is within.
Robert Murray McCheyne
Scottish clergyman - 1839

The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.
Samuel Adams
Essay in the Boston Gazette 1771

28 February 1807 - Date of sailing of Scottish missionary, Robert Morrison born in 1782m from Britain to become one of the earliest modern missionaries to China. There he faced great difficulties such that he did not have a public convert until seven years of labor.  You think you have a hard job?

On depression
My own idea, for what it is worth, is that all sadness which is not either arising from the repentance of a concrete sin and hastening towards concrete amendment or restitution, or else arising from pity and hastening to active assistance, is simply bad; and I think that we all sin by needlessly disobeying the apostolic injunction to “rejoice” as by anything else. Humility, after the first shock, is a cheerful virtue: it is the high-minded unbeliever desperately trying in the teeth of repeated disillusions to retain his “faith in human nature” who is really sad.
Jack Lewis
The Problem of Pain

Jesus is not a substitute for the symptoms - he is the cure for the cause.
John Blanchard

Be what you seem! Live your creed!
Horatius Bonar
Screwtape outlines a fundamental deception:
Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be induced to make, the more often he will feel injured and, as a result, ill-tempered. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a 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 tête-à-tête with the friend), that throw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore 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 twenty-four 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. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright.
Jack Lewis
The Screwtape Letters

Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
Deuteronomy 16:19

The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 9:9

He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
Proverbs 17:15

Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:9

Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
St. Mark 8:37

Educate men without religion and you make them but clever devils.
Arthur Wellesley - the Duke of Wellington
19th century British general officer and hero of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815

Leave no room for the Devil. Be too busy for him. Have no time and no place for him. Vacant places invite him. The Devil loves a vacuum. A very busy person himself, he does his biggest business with those who have no business.
EM Bounds
19th and 20th century American pastor and author
(Guide To Spiritual Warfare, p. 133).

Income inequality is class warfare, a subject of interest to Marxist professors and sober news anchors who are deeply concerned about words scrolling across their teleprompters, but of very little relevance to the price of a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk and a pound of ground beef. The prices of basic staples have risen sharply under the Friend of the Working Class in Washington. While he dines on faux Wagyu beef at White House dinners, the working class victims of his class warfare are standing in Aisle 9 trying to assemble a puzzle that consists of their upcoming paycheck, a Payday loan and a grocery list... Progressives don’t particularly care about [the folks] on Aisle 9... the Washington Friends of the Working Class drifting from one cocktail party and fund-raising dinner to another... are ignorant of the lives of the waiters who bring them their Wagyu beef and the vagaries of a working class budget as they are of Ancient Sanskrit or the geography of the moon. The working class they preach about is an unreal abstract to them... It does not occur to them that their programs can backfire and that unintended consequences follow from confusing magical thinking with hard numbers. In Aisle 9, things are simple and inflexible, but in politics and academia everything is subjective... the progressive law professors and community organizers inhabit a “vast carelessness” of conferences and cocktail parties from which they emerge to carelessly smash things up before retreating back into [them] with no real awareness of what they have done and [possessing] a certainty that the people on Aisle 9 whose lives they have smashed up ought to be grateful to them.
Daniel Greenfield
21st century American commentator
The US economy cannot recover, because [it] depends on consumer expenditures for more than 70% of its activity. The offshoring of middle class jobs has stopped the rise in middle class income and caused a drop in consumer spending power. The [Fed]... has compensated for [this] absence... with a policy of easy credit and a policy of driving up home prices with low interest rates. This...has allowed people to refinance their homes and to spend the inflated equity...In other words, an increase in consumer indebtedness and dissavings drove the economy in the place of the missing growth in consumer incomes...An offshored economy is a dead and exhausted economy. The consequences of [such] when the government is wasting wars of naked aggression and in bailouts of fraudulent financial institutions is a government budget that can only be financed by printing money.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
20th and 21st century American statesman, political commentator and author
(Economics Lesson 1, 1-31-12).

US National debt: $17.384 trillion; gross debt ratio to GDP: 107.73%; US National debt per taxpayer: $150,645.00.
Data supplied by as of 3-2-14

Colonels Robby Risner and Bud Day, POWs in the Vietnam War, both Medal of Honor recipients, both serious Christians, both sources of strength to their fellow prisoners have testified of the Lord, testified that without His Strength they could not have persevered.  Countless other POWs have said without the strength the Lord gave Risner and Day, they would have not made it.  They would have failed.  Consider this when you consider the effect of throwing God out of the military.  This country was founded on a Judeo-Christian cornerstone.   Consider this, the current administration has when they have actively removed God from our Country.  They are planning for the future, are you?
Rev LTC Hap Arnold

Each Sunday there are Propers: special prayers and readings from the Bible.  There is a Collect for the Day; that is a single thought prayer, most written either before the re-founding of the Church of England in the 1540s or written by Bishop Thomas Cranmer, the first Archbishop of Canterbury after the re-founding. 

The Collect for the Day is to be read on Sunday and during Morning and Evening Prayer until the next Sunday. The Epistle is normally a reading from one of the various Epistles, or letters, in the New Testament.  The Gospel is a reading from one of the Holy Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  The Collect is said by the minister as a prayer, the Epistle can be read by either a designated reader (as we do in our church) or by one of the ministers and the Holy Gospel, which during the service in our church is read by an ordained minister or our Deacon Striker.

The propers are the same each year, except if a Red Letter Feast, that is one with propers in the prayerbook, falls on a Sunday, then those propers are to be read instead, except in a White Season, where it is put off.  Red Letter Feasts, so called because in the Altar Prayerbooks the titles are in red, are special days.  Most of the Red Letter Feasts are dedicated to early saints instrumental in the development of the church, others to special events.  Some days are particularly special and the Collect for that day is to be used for an octave (eight days) or an entire season, like Advent or Lent.

The Propers for today are found on Page 122-124, with the Collect first:

The Sunday called Quinquagesima, or the
Sunday next before before Lent.
The Collect.

 LORD who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle for today, which came from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, starting at the First Verse of the Thirteenth Chapter.  Paul talks of charity[2], “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”  Paul goes on to say that no matter what you do, if in your heart you have not that love for others, it is all to naught.  Our understanding here on earth is limited, we will never here see the fullness of God’s plan, yet the part most clear is the love we must have one for another, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, for no reason other than we know that is right so to do.  Paul uses the phraseology “through a glass, darkly”, which is very interesting inasmuch as CS Lewis uses a variation to describe earth as compared to heaven.  He calls the earth The Shadowlands and says in heaven all is clear and bright, not dark and muddled as here on earth.

HOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Hap Arnold read the Holy Gospel for today which came from the Gospel of Saint Luke, starting at the Thirty-First Verse of the Eighteenth Chapter.  The Gospel starts out telling of Jesus’ trying to prepare his disciples for what was to come, and they could not grasp it: “Then Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”  The Gospel goes on to tell of Jesus’ healing of a blind man near Jericho, “And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-side begging: and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.”

If you take nothing else from today’s Gospel, take this – Faith will save you.  After you are saved, you need to act on your faith.  The order is clear.

HEN Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging: and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

Sermon – Reverend 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:

… that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity …

In the Collect, we acknowledge to God that if we have not charity, nothing we do is worth anything; we then ask Him to send the Holy Ghost into our hearts with the precious gift of charity.  Webster tells us that Charity is love; universal benevolence; good will; the word which properly denotes love. What it really means is Love in Action! Like many areas of our Christian development, we will never fully get there. But we shall make progress so long as we do not give up![3] Properly understood charity is the Love of God, that perfect love, to which man should aspire. Charity is not giving oodles of money away to an organization, hoping to make yourself look better, like many modern “philanthropists.” It is to help people with the love in your heart that Christ and God has given us, to enable us to act on His behalf here on this Earth. Love is not selfish or wasteful, but kind and abundant. We are to be agents of good change, not that of bad, and with Charity, we will act with love towards one another.  If we do not have love in our hearts towards one another, how can we expect to be able to have any positive change on the world around us?

Paul tells us no matter our gifts, talents and so called accomplishments, without the Love of God, we are nothing and have done nothing.   It must be clear to us that our understanding here on earth is limited, we will never here see the fullness of God’s plan, yet the part most clear is the love we are to have one for another, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, for no reason other than we know that is right so to do.  It does not matter to us we will never see the fullness of His plans, each of us are a small piece of a much bigger plan. And all of us small pieces work together to fulfill the bigger plan. We only need to find our part in the plan and act upon that, again with Charity in our hearts. When Paul talks about God’s great plans, he uses the phraseology “through a glass, darkly”, which is very interesting inasmuch as CS Lewis uses a variation to describe earth as compared to heaven.  He calls the earth The Shadowlands and says in heaven all is clear and bright, not dark and muddled as here on earth.  So, here our understanding is limited, it will not always be so. That will be fulfilled when we pass the Pearly Gates into heaven, and in order to do that, we have to have faith, and have good works acted upon with charity. If one of these ingredients are missing, we are not acting according to what He wants for us. So, we have to believe with all our heart in God and Christ, and act upon that belief with great Charity.

As they were coming in to Jericho, Jesus told the disciples of what was to come, yet they could not grasp their leader would submit to such treatment on their behalf.  He was the Conqueror; in a sense they were right, He came to conquer death for us, not the Roman Empire.  As they went along, they encountered the blind man who was, like many of us are, blind.  His blindness was of the eye, not the heart, he knew the power of God, and of love. The blind man who wanted his sight and knew Jesus had The Power.  He cried unto the Lord and was rebuffed by His People.  Did he give up?  No, he cried the more.  When Jesus heard him, he turned and asked what the man wanted.  MY SIGHT!  No generalizations, no beating about.  The blind man asked of Him what he truly wanted.  Ask and it shall be given unto you.  The blind man lacked sight, but not vision.  Nor, it might be added did he lack faith. We should ask God to have to sight and hearing that we might see, hear and act upon the Word. To some, the faith he had might seem a blind faith, but it was one that he acted on and gained what he lacked.  Will we have the faith to act?

True love is Faith, Hope, Charity[4].

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Bishop Ogles’ Sermon
We are oft fortunate to get copies of Bishop Jerry’s sermon notes.  Today is one of those Sundays.  Today’s sermon starts off with the collect, and like always, it will give you a lot to consider in your heart.

Sermon Notes
2 March 2014, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)

The Sunday called Quinquagesima, or the
Sunday next before before Lent.
The Collect.

 LORD who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: 36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. 37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. 38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, 41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. 42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. (Luke 18:31-43)

            Perhaps, as a Christian, you have believed that you might escape the troubles and trials of righteous JOB and rest at ease in your faith of Christ. Has this ever been true? No, it has not been true for, if you courageously stand upon that Rock of your Salvation in both desert and garden, the world will hate and trouble you. There is no escape unless you are blessed to live in a nation whose God is, in fact, the Lord and not rhetorically so. Even then, there is always a gravitational pull downward on the soul of man enticing him to sink to the gutter of sensual living rather than to rise to the pinnacle of moral living. If you are the “life of the party” wherever your feet take you, and always well received by the world, you are not living a Christian life of victory. The Christian shall see days of greater and greater rejection as the whole world continues in its spiral into the abyss of darkness. It is not that the world does not understand, but that the world does not DESIRE to understand. Evil is multiplying at phenomenal levels in our day. Is it any wonder that Christ asked the question: “……when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

            Christ KNEW of His coming suffering. He was going up to Jerusalem for His last earthly visit. Yet He never tarried or demurred from going. Christ was intent on a perfect obedience to His father, and He knew there could be no forgiveness without sacrifice. He tells us that we, too, have a cross to bear. It is not a silver, gold, or ivory cross, but rather a cross made of crude and splintered timber. That cross has two axes – one vertical pointing from Heaven (God) to earth (us); and the other horizontal pointing across the plane of all humanity. In geometry we are told that an axis is a fixed reference in conjunction with other points which define its direction. The cross has two fixed references: 1) from a point (God) in Heaven to another point (man) on earth. It illustrates that God, on the vertical beam, has offered a means whereby fallen man can be redeemed from the just wrath that his sin entails by the coming down of God the Son to sacrifice Himself in Love. The horizontal bean illustrates that sacrificial love (as clearly described in the Epistle today from 1 Corinthians 13) that we who are redeemed must bear for one another in obedience to God. We have a rude cross to bear and, if it does not weigh upon our shoulders, perhaps it is because we have not taken it up. If  any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

            God sometimes brings things into our lives which we do not presently understand. Our understanding may be deferred until such time that we can most profitably grasp the meaning. 31. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. You will have to admit that this is reasonably clear language, yet His disciples did not understand. They had witnessed the great power of God at the hands of the only Begotten Son of God. They had seen the dead restored to life simply at the sound of His Voice. They had seen sight restored to the blind, the crippled made to walk, the adulteress forgiven, an issue of blood arrested at the touch of His garment, the stormy sea made calm at His command, and the wretched lepers touched by His wholesome hand and cured! How could the Jewish rulers and Romans commit such a hateful crime on one so full of power? The answer, of course, is that they COULD NOT! It was God who allowed His only Begotten Son to be crucified as a willing sacrifice for our redemption. Perhaps God has also told us things through His Word that we have understood amiss, yet, in time, we come to a full and precise understanding of the meaning after God has allowed His Holy Ghost to testify thereof to our hearts.

            It is often God’s intention that a temporary curtain be dropped over our eyes as a gossamer veil so that we only see vaguely until such time as the full picture is exposed. It is doubtful that Mary, the mother of Jesus, well understood all that her Son represented and taught. She seemed to be absent from most of His teachings. She failed, perhaps through remorse, to come to the Garden Tomb with the other Mary’s. Perhaps she would have come had she believed she would see her Risen Lord! But now, you and I know something that the disciples did not know when Christ spoke the above words. How will we respond? Your cross is waiting for you. If you take it up, you, too, will feel the lash of the Roman (government) sanction against you. You, too, will be spat upon and rejected in the public square. Do you still desire to bear the cross? Or do you prefer to carry a pretty rosary (much lighter to bear and far more appealing) to illustrate your piety?

            Do you remember a time when you were a beggar? Has your memory faded in remembering that you one day grew into a realization that your baptism and covenant made for you by your parents must be confirmed in a living faith? Did you proudly receive that faith as something you deserved, or did you plead with your Lord for forgiveness and reception? Were you not blind from the past days of your life until you sat, as a beggar, beside the road awaiting the approach of the Lord Jesus Christ. Did you hail to Him without shame – even in a public place? Did you disregard the nay-sayers who flocked about Him and shout your appeal for mercy – not vision? Well, my friend, it is very likely that you, too, were a blind beggar by the dusty roadside of Christ. You had heard of Him perhaps on your mother’s knee. You believed it as far as you were able, but it did not make complete sense to your youthful mind that you were made whole through the death of a Messiah. Now you KNOW! Now you have begun to feel a nagging emptiness in the very chambers of your heart.  How to fill the void? There is only one supply that can fill that emptiness – the Lord Jesus Christ! And you heard of His approach. You waited silently until His countenance could be clearly seen, then, you shouted from the top of your voice, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” Those of the modern church who were closest to Christ attempted to silence you and prevent your coming. After all, you were only a beggar and unworthy of the company of saints, right? And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But your NEED was far greater than their DOUBT and DISCOURAGEMENT! The world would always prefer that you not come to Christ!  But you could not hold your peace!  but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. Notice that the MERCY of God is all that we need to lift the scales from our eyes. His Mercy always precedes His grace. 

Expectantly, you stand waiting, your eyes closed to the Light of the World! Suddenly, there was a change in the air. The discordant voices were silent as the Voice of Heaven spoke – what was spoken, you may not have known, but you felt in your heart that a tremendous experience was about to be had. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him Did you not know, my dear people, that your appeal for mercy will bring Christ to a full stop before you. When a man stands still, it usually means he has quit his journey, but when Christ stands still – whether on a dusty road leading into Jericho or beneath a sycamore tree into which Zacchaeus climbed – something miraculous is about to happen. Even the air is made calm and full of electrifying expectation. If you have appealed to Christ for mercy, He has stopped to hear your petition! Suddenly, you feel his servants (perhaps His true ministers) pulling at your arms and bringing you into a wide place. Though your vision is dark, there is nothing amiss with your ears for you hear the most majestic and loving voice you have ever imagined speak to YOU! What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? When we first appealed to Christ for mercy and begged for healing, were we not somewhat taken aback by the power of His Voice? Perhaps the beggar had hailed many passers-by for succor, and only a few had ever responded. None had asked that the beggar be brought to them as did this Man. When He spoke, perhaps His Voice overpowered you in love and power. You didn’t REALLY believe such an important personage would stop and listen to your grievance, did you? Notice that Jesus did not say, “What wilt thou that I do FOR you,” but, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? If Jesus merely heals our sight, He has done something FOR us only; but if He makes us into new creatures through His redeeming power, we have had a change made TO us.

            You eagerly search for a response to this most appealing voice. Finally, you know that you have His full attention. He has granted mercy already, so you press forward with a desire that has plagued you all the years that you have sat by the roadside in the darkness of a bright day: Lord, that I may receive my sight. Now, you anxiously wait. Have you imposed too much on the great King to have your request granted? Do you not know that a great King is complimented by a great request? The great request is recognition of His great power to grant. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. Notice Jesus granted the beggars lesser request first – his sight. But the greater favor came as the best wine came last at Cana of Galilee – SALVATION! Our greatest miracle from the Lord will always be His forgiveness and reception of us into His Kingdom!

            Now, good friends, what did you do when Christ healed YOU? Did your heart immediately break out in praises and joy? Did you immediately follow Him wheresoever He led? Did your exuberance at your salvation spill over into the crowd (world) around you? If not, perhaps you still pine away in blindness, for look at the response of the poor blind beggar: And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. That very moment that the Lord grants us vision to see Him, we, too, should praise 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:

Knowing God
Psalm 23, Deuteronomy 10:12-11-1, 1 John 2:1-17
Quinquagesima Sunday
March 2, 2014

            Why did Christ die?  The most obvious answer, and the most popular one is; Christ died to save our souls.  When people say this they usually mean Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins so we can go to Heaven.  That answer is completely true, but it is not the complete truth.  In other words, it is all true; but it is not all of the truth.  There is more to it, and the “more to it” is very, very important, so I want to begin the sermon by talking about why Christ died.  What did Christ intend to do that was so important He had to die on the cross to accomplish it?  Christ died to do more than get us into Heaven. Christ died to restore us to God.  He also died to restore us to one another.  He died to fix our broken relationships with God and with each other so we can begin to live the kind of lives God intends us to live.  I am not talking here about morality.  Christ died for much more than morality.  When I say He died so we can live as God intends us to live, I refer to a quality of life.  I refer to a peace in your soul, a fellowship and peace with other people, and a fellowship and peace with God.  When people talk about such a life we use words and phrases like, happiness, wholeness, and health in the soul.  Those are good words, but let me describe this in words from the Bible.  The Bible talks about a special work of God in our souls that actually re-creates us.  It makes us into a new kind of person, a “new creature,” as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17.  Christ described it as being born again, born of the Spirit in John 3:5-8.  Ephesians 2:1 talks of being quickened, meaning to be made alive as one that is brought into life from death. Psalm 23:6 talks about dwelling in the house of the Lord forever, and Ephesians 3:17 talks about Christ dwelling in our hearts.  Clearly these phrases refer to a life lived in deep, rewarding fellowship with God.

            John wrote of this very thing in our reading from First John this morning, and He described it as knowing God. “And hereby do we know that we know Him,” says 1 Jn. 2:3.  John includes the forgiveness of sins in this, for surely to know Christ is to know the forgiveness of sins.  He says in 1 Jn. 2:1 that if we sin (and we all do) “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  That word, “advocate” should make the lawyers in our congregation feel good about their calling.  It means Christ is our Lawyer in God’s Divine Court of Law.  He pleads our case for us.  He defends us when we are accused of breaking God’s Law.  But Christ is also our peacemaker with God.  That’s what 1 John 2:2 means when it says He is the propitiation for our sins.  He made peace with God, and He did this by paying the penalty for our sins.  He actually served the sentence for our sins, and the sentence is death.  That’s why Colossians 1:20 says He made peace through the blood of His cross.

            As we move into Lent we are looking toward the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  Thinking about His crucifixion, we remember that a murderer named Barabbas was scheduled to be crucified, but was released by Pilate.  Christ the Innocent, Jesus Christ the Righteous was crucified instead.  Jesus died on Barabbas’ cross. Now think of this, you can put you name there in place of Barabbas’.  You were released from the cross of hell because Jesus was crucified instead of you.  Jesus died on your eternal cross.  And this knowledge, the knowledge of the forgiveness of your sins, is the beginning point of knowing God.

            Knowing God means to know Him as God.  It is to know His Deity and Divinity.  “Be still and know that I am God” says Psalm 40:10.  It means stop and think.  Be quiet.  Listen.  God is speaking but we often don’t hear because we are running around, or because we are too busy talking.  We need to be still, be quiet, and listen to God once in a while.  How else can we get to know Him?  Know that He is supreme.  He is God and there is no other.  Know that He is omnipotent, omniscient, the Creator, and owner of all things.  Know Him as truth.  Know Him as the One who leads the entire creation according to His will and purpose, decreeing the end from the beginning.

            Knowing God means knowing what He values and what He doesn’t value.  Hypocrisy, deceit, cruelty, selfishness, and all the evils that come out of them are things God hates.  Goodness, justice, peace, mercy, and compassion are things He values and wants to build into your character.  The Holy Spirit works in your life to build love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.  These are things God loves.

            To know God is to know Christ.  Christ Himself said if we have seen Him we have seen the Father.  Christ was, is, and always will be God. He, with the Father and the Spirit are one God.  He came to earth to show us the glory of God.  According to John 1:18, He came to declare, meaning, to reveal and explain God to us.

            And how do we know Christ?  We meet Him in the Bible. The Bible records His life and ministry, and we get to know Him in the Bible as we get to know another person through a biography.  But the Bible is an autobiography, a self-portrait, so it is not merely what others say about Christ, it is Christ’s words about Himself.  The Biblical authors were so guided by the Spirit of God in their work that the Bible is the word of God as surely as though it came out of the mouth of God.  That well-beloved word, “inspired” in 2 Timothy 3:16 actually means the Bible is God breathed.  It means God breathed the Scriptures into the hearts and minds of the human authors in such a way that it can be said the Bible is a word out of the mouth of God.

            And yet, the Bible is not just a biography, it is a communication, an address, a collection of letters from God to His people.  A frequent theme in literature is having children write letters to God, and then publishing them in books.  They are usually cute, sometime hilarious, and often quite penetrating.  If we can write letters to God, certainly God can write letters to us, and we should see the Bible in that light.  The Bible is a collection of letters from God.  Because the Bible is a letter, or a collection of letters, t is very legitimate to personalize it.  We must never lose sight of the fact that it is written to the Church not the Christian.  But, as members of the Church it addresses us individually as well as collectively.  And as we look into the Bible we should be able to say, I am blind Bartimaeus and I need God to restore my spiritual sight.  I am the woman with the issue of blood and I need God to make me clean before Him.  I am the lame beggar, and I need Christ to heal my spiritual legs so I can walk with Him.  I am the man with a legion of demons, and I need Christ to cast the devil out me. I am a disciple in a tiny boat on a stormy sea, and I need Christ to get me through the storm or I will perish.

            Finally, to know God is to know His wholeness in us.  It is to be able to say God has healed my spiritual eyes and I can see.  God has healed my issue of blood and now I am clean.  God has healed my lameness and now I walk with Him.  God has calmed the sea and I am saved.

            Right now we know these things imperfectly.  As 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, we see them through a glass darkly.  Our understanding is imperfect and our vision is limited, as though we are looking through antique glass that is wavy and has bubbles in it, and is not clear.  But one day we will know God face to face.  Now we know in part, but on that day we will know God even as we are known.  Yet, though we know only in part now, we do know.
+Dennis Campbell

Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia
Rev Rick Reid of Saint Peter’s Sunday Sermon
We are happy to have a sermon from Reverend Rick Reid, minister of Saint Peter’s, whose congregation is right at the Worldwide Headquarters of the Anglican Orthodox Church.  Rev Rick has all the resources and challenges right at hand. 

Quinquagesima Sunday (Luke 18-31-43)

Good morning and Happy (Que-qua-gees-e-ma) Sunday. Quinquagesima is the name for the Sunday before Ash Wednesday; it was also called Shrove Sunday. The name Quinquagesima is Latin, referring to the fifty days before Easter Day, since the forty days of Lent does not include Sundays. The first day of Lent, is Ash Wednesday so please join us for our Ash Wednesday Service, (this Wednesday at noon).

In this morning’s Gospel, we read that as Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When the blind man heard the crowd going by, he asked what all the commotion was all about. They told him, that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. Beggars were often found at the city gate where the people passed in and out, begging for money. Here we find a blind man, who is identified in St.Mark’s gospel as Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus.

 Once Bartimaeus is told that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, he begins to yell at the top of his lungs, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!”  Those who went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace, (in other words) they told him to be quiet. But he cried so much the more, “Thou son of David, have mercy on me!”  He keeps on shouting. He won't be quiet, even though the crowd continues to tell him to stop. What motivates his persistent cry for healing? His Faith!

To call someone "Son of David" as a title, is equivalent to calling someone, "Messiah," for it signifies to the Jews a person who is the promised descendent of David who will sit upon the throne of Israel, as we are told in the book of Isaiah:

And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. Isaiah 16:5

The blind man calls Jesus, “Son of David”. This means he understood Jesus to be the long awaited Messiah. It is interesting to note that a poor blind man could see that Jesus was the Messiah, while the rich religious leaders who saw His miracles were blinded to his identity, and refused to acknowledge Him as the Messiah. If you don't count the phrase that appears in Jesus' genealogy (Luke 3:31), this is the first time in Luke’s gospel that the term, "Son of David" is used.

These words are also shouted by the crowds during the triumphal entry that follows Jesus' healing of Bartimaeus by only a few days.  And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.  (Matthew 21:9).

During most of his ministry, Jesus does not encourage others to refer to him as the Messiah, because the implications of this title would prevent him from being able to minister effectively.  But now his hour is come. His objective is Jerusalem where he will be crucified, in large part for his unwillingness to renounce the title of "Christ" and "King of the Jews".

In Bartimaeus’ request for mercy he uses the same words of any other beggar. But this beggar's address to Jesus is startling. When he asks the "Son of David" for mercy, he is expecting far more than money. And he has faith that the Son of David, the Messiah, will grant his request.

"Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, what wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. It is fascinating that Jesus asks the man what he wants. You might think that it would be obvious what he wants, but why does Jesus ask the obvious?

In this case, I think Jesus is trying to get him to vocalize his faith, since Jesus responds to him, receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.  

What is so special about Bartimaeus’ faith? Once he hears that Jesus is there, he immediately begins to ask mercy of Jesus as the Messiah, exhibiting insight into Jesus' true mission. But, he also has an unstoppable faith, a faith that won't take no for an answer. The crowd tells him to be quiet, but he calls out all the louder. The people are embarrassed as the local beggar gets louder when Jesus comes to town, but Bartimaeus doesn't care. He has an intensity of desire that overcomes obstacles, rebuke, and embarrassment, to achieve what he desires. Jesus is pleased by him. Why does Jesus emphasize the blind man’s faith time after time? Notice that Jesus doesn't emphasize or point to his own power; He gives glory to God and often times points to the faith of the person who is healed.

This is to encourage our faith even more. He's saying, "See what your faith in God is able to do”. Jesus is a bridge to the Father; He keeps encouraging our faith and pointing us to the Father. John 16:22-28

 22And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came ….out from God.
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

We as Disciples of Christ can also serve as bridges for people. At first, they are often very dependent upon us. We shouldn't be afraid of that, but should not seek it. Rather, we need to see it as an early stage of faith. Our goal is to help transfer their faith in us, to faith in their Heavenly Father. Only when we have achieved this have we succeeded, only then have we become more like Christ.

And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. The once-blind man now becomes a disciple, and praises God. The demonized man of the Gadarenes whom Jesus healed begged to go with him, but Jesus told him: Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. (Luke 8:38-39).

Bartimaeus serves as tremendous encouragement to others. When newcomers ask about Jesus, the disciples could point to Bartimaeus and say, Jesus healed him of blindness. Full of praise to God, Bartimaeus brings glory to God.

Does your faith also bring Glory to God?  Amen.

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.

Quinquagesima Sunday

As we heard from St. John’s first epistle (I St. John 2:15), we are admonished to Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. This is a difficult passage for many because they do in fact love the world and revel in its several and sordid attractions. The Rev. Matthew Henry observed that, “the world draws down the heart from God, so the more the love of the world prevails the more the love of God dwindles and decays.” Dr. Merrill Unger once noted concerning the epistle of St. James on this subject that, “James rebuked the worldliness of those around him by stating: From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members. Ye lust, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts...know ye not that the friendship of the world (kosmos) is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world (kosmos) is the enemy of God (St. James 4:1-10)”.

There are several Greek words for the world such as oikoumene, which is used sparingly in the New Testament and refers to a particular political sphere such as an empire. Ge is used only once in the New Testament and refers to the land or the terrestrial nature of the earth. One of the more frequently used Greek words for the world is aion which refers to an everlasting age or time period; while the most used Greek word for the world in the New Testament is kosmos which refers to a world system, or if you will, a world order. While there are important distinctions in their precise meanings, Gail Riplinger (New Age Bible Versions, p. 288) noted that, “Although the pagan Plato used aeon to mean timeless, Aeschylus in his Septum Contra Thebas uses it to mean world. So evidently at the time of Christ, [aion or aeon]’s meaning was adjusted to the cosmology of the user, just as it is now.” So we need only read into a particular passage what the Holy Spirit is telling us via its wording because the Bible contains within itself an apt explanation for the words which are used.

Concerning the word kosmos, one Bible commentator noted that it had an “ethically bad sense of usage” because it refers to “Satan's ordering of the world of unbelieving mankind upon his cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition and pleasure. While this system appears outwardly religious, scientific, cultured and elegant,” it is more gild than gold. What lies beneath its facade is a boiling pot “seething with national and commercial rivalries and ambitions... upheld in any real crisis by armed force and dominated by Satanic principles.” As our Lord warned his hearers in the “Sermon on the Mount”, No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other...You cannot serve God and mammon (St. Matthew 6:24). While our Lord was referring specifically to the wealth of this material sphere; the Holy Ghost, which guides us into all truth (St. John 16:13), revealed to the apostles that an inordinate desire for earthly things will blind a person to the benefits of the gospel of Christ (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

St. Paul warned Timothy that, ...godliness with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into this world (kosmos) and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare...for the love of money is the root of all evil... (I St. Timothy 6: 6-10, 17-19).

Professor Unger also noted the distinction of the word kosmos in Greek literature as opposed to its meaning in the Scriptures. In the former it “ apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution.” While in the latter, it was used “to portray the whole mass of unregenerate men alienated from God, hostile to Christ and organized governmentally as a system or federation under Satan.” He then went on to supply several points concerning the orderings of our world:

First of all, “Satan is its directing head.” On several occasions our Lord referred to Satan as the prince, or archon, of this world. An archon was a ruler or governmental chief in the Greek language (St. John 12:31; 14:30 and 16:11). St. Paul referred to Satan's status as an archon of the supernatural realm (kosmos) (Ephesians 2: 2). He also identifies Satan in a religious sense as the god of this world (aion) (II Corinthians 4:4). St. John noted that the present world system (kosmos) is under the control of Satan (I St. John 5:19). As Professor Unger observed, “Satan's leadership as [an archon]...extends to both the celestial and terrestrial spheres, and these two realms interact in the events that transpire upon the earth.”

Secondly, “the world system itself is wholly evil.” While some may be loathe to speak out against the world in light of human progress in our modern age. Still, most people tend to forget about mankind's fallen state (Romans 3:10, 23). God's standards are beyond the comprehension of the unregenerate masses (Isaiah 55:8-9). And, man's many advances would in no way cover his egregious acts of violence and depravity which, after all, are the products of his ever-active cheerleader and agent provocateur: Satan (Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 20:2-3).

Thirdly, “it is limited and temporary.” God has appointed a time in the future when he will put an end to human history and bring on the judgment of Satan's kingdom (Daniel 7:19-28; 8:19; St. Matthew 28:20; I St. Timothy 6:13-14; St. James 5:7; II St. Peter 3:10-14; St. Jude 14-15; Revelation 19:11-16; 21:1-7 and 22:12-14).

Fourthly, “it is characterized by pride, lust and war.” This current world system employs numerous temptations to lure mankind into the snare of sin and keep him there by appealing to his petty desires and selfishness (St. James 4:1-10). Often these cravings result in conflicts of every sort. Our Lord warned his disciples in the Olivet Discourse that those in the end times would witness an increasing level of violence and warfare which would be accompanied by famines, disease and earthquakes in different places (St. Matthew 24:6-7).

And last but not least “the Satanic world system present a perpetual peril to the child of God.” The Devil and his minions possess the capacity to use tempt and ensnare a Christian (St. James 1:13-15). They might also fetter a believer in the body such as through a disability (St. Luke 13:10-17). They might, via divine permission, take a believer's possessions, health, family and life (Job 1:9-12; I Corinthians 5:5). They may sift a believing Christian as wheat (St. Luke 22:31- 32). They can hinder the prayers of even the elect of God (Daniel 10:12-13). The might stir up trouble and persecution against the people of God (Acts 4:25-27). They might buffet a Christian (II Corinthians 12:7). And they have the power to inflict physical death (Hebrews 2:14).”

When we look about us and see the nature of things, the beauty of earth and sky, the changes of the seasons, we cannot help but stand in awe of these wonders of God’s creation. But we ought not to transfer these feelings onto the current world system which is passing away. In fact, all that we see now will be done away with in the future. God is going to remake his creation. He will purge away with fire the works of man, and will remove any thing that offends him from its surface. Consider the words of St. Peter in his second epistle (3:10-13), But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

So therein lies the distinction. We are to rejoice over the goodness of God’s creation without worshiping it, or extending to it an everlasting permanence which he did not intend for it to have. We have a response in our prayer book where we say “as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world (aion) without end, Amen.” These words come straight from the Scriptures (Ephesians 3:21) and does not refer to the current world system. It applies to the physical, earthly sphere not this sphere of mortal existence apart from God. Our terrestrial sphere will be transformed much as we will be transformed. God will remove from us the imperfections of this mortal life and give us new immortal and perfect bodies fit for his new heavens and new earth. Regenerated humanity called of God will be returned to the Garden, only this time we will have God with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and we will never likewise turn from him.

The New Agers and the pagan moralizers, as well as the rest of unregenerate mankind, cannot grasp this future. They will continue to live in a constant quest for— to paraphrase an old commercial— “all the gusto they can get” in this life because this is all they have. Look around and see for yourself. There is seemingly no end to the quest for entertainment, treasure and inordinate physical pleasure on the part of the unregenerate. Never once do these poor souls consider that what they might be doing, or desiring in their hearts to do, might not sit well with the very God of creation. The old saw of “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” is apropos for them. This sort of thinking is the mark of a “worldling,” for such is one who loves this world system and sees not the consequences for loving it as they do.

We have been warned not to love this world for some very good reasons. As regenerate people we understand that all mankind has been appointed once to die and then the judgment. So when you and I stand before the Son of Man on that fateful, future day, will we attempt to justify ourselves, or will we be justified through his shed blood? No one who sought after the pleasures of this world via the many sinful and inordinate affections that the devil may offer, and who is devoid of a penitent and contrite heart— whose love of this life and this world system has been his or her principal desire from sunrise to sunrise— will ever see the proverbial “sunny side of heaven.” There is only one way to obtain salvation for our souls and that is through a lively faith in Jesus Christ. The world, the flesh and the devil are our ever-present adversaries. They will attempt to turn our hearts from the Godhead. Dear listener, resolve today— right now— to belong to Christ alone and to resist the snares and temptations of this world system. Make it your desire today to resist those things which the Devil will use to lure you out of God’s straight and narrow way into the broad path which leadeth to destruction. Therefore, love not the world.

Let us pray,

ather, we come before you in humble reverence, beseeching you to accept our offerings of praise and thanksgiving for the blessed assurance that all who truly believe on thee in the name of thy dear Son are saved and beloved of thee; and help us daily to live lives which show forth thy praise; for this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

What is Quinquagesima?
Quinquagesima, or, in full, Quinquagesima Sunday, is the name for the Sunday next before Ash Wednesday in the Catholic (Universal or Whole) Church Calendar.

The name Quinquagesima originates from Latin quinquagesimus (fiftieth), referring to the fifty days before Easter Sunday using inclusive counting, which counts both Sundays (normal counting would count only one of these).

Since the forty days of the Lenten fast included only weekdays, the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, succeeds Quinquagesima Sunday by only three days. The earliest Quinquagesima Sunday can occur is February 1 and the latest is March 7. The Roman Church no longer observes much of the Christian Year, including Quinquagesima and the two immediately before it — Sexagesima and Septuagesima Sundays.

The contemporary service books of many claiming to be Anglican provinces do not use the term but it remains in the Book of Common Prayer.

The 17-day period beginning on Septuagesima Sunday spanning Sexuagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays was intended to be observed as a preparation for the season of Lent, which is itself a period of spiritual preparation for Easter. In many countries, however, Septuagesima Sunday marks the start of the carnival season, culminating on Shrove Tuesday, more commonly known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.

LT Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn's Eulogy ChC, USNR
5th Marine Division Cemetery, Iwo Jima March 1945
Roland B. Gittelsohn, Rabbi and Marine Chaplain on Iwo Jima passed away on 13  December 1995 at age 85.  He was a scholar on religious and governmental issues who was a Marine Corps chaplain during the battle of Iwo Jima, died Wednesday at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He was 85.

Gittelsohn was assigned to the Fifth Marine Division, was the first Jewish chaplain the Marine Corps ever appointed. The American invading force at Iwo Jima included approximately 1,500 Jewish Marines, and Rabbi Gittelsohn was in the thick of the fray, ministering to Marines of all faiths in the combat zone. He shared the fear, horror and despair of the fighting men, each of whom knew that each day might be his last. Roland Gittelsohn's tireless efforts to comfort the wounded and encourage the fearful won him three service ribbons.  He was awarded three combat ribbons for his service with the Fifth Marine Division on Iwo Jima. His sermon at the dedication of the division's cemetery, titled "The Purest Democracy," attracted wide attention and was read by many radio and television announcers during and after the war.

Division Chaplain Warren Cuthriell, a Protestant minister, asked Rabbi Gittelsohn to deliver the memorial sermon at a combined religious service dedicating the Marine Cemetery. Cuthriell wanted all the fallen Marines (black and white, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish) honored in a single, nondenominational ceremony. Instead, three separate religious services were held. At the Jewish service, to a congregation of 70 or so who attended, Rabbi Gittelsohn delivered the powerful eulogy he originally wrote for the combined service.   Among Gittelsohn's listeners were three Protestant chaplains so who felt compelled to the service. One of them borrowed the manuscript and, unknown to Gittelsohn, circulated several thousand copies to his regiment. Some Marines enclosed the copies in letters to their families. An avalanche of coverage resulted. Time magazine published excerpts, which wire services spread even further. The entire sermon was inserted into the Congressional Record, the Army released the eulogy for short-wave broadcast to American troops throughout the world and radio commentator Robert St. John read it on his program and on many succeeding Memorial Days.

In February 1995, Rabbi Gittelsohn gave the benediction at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Va., at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the landing.  Following is the benediction and dedication he gave on Iwo Jima in March 1945.

LT Rabbi Gittelsohn spoke
This is perhaps the grimmest, and surely the holiest task we have faced since D-Day. Here before us lie the bodies of comrades and friends. Men who until yesterday or last week laughed with us, joked with us, trained with us. Men who were on the same ships with us, and went over the sides with us as we prepared to hit the beaches of this island. Men who fought with us and feared with us. Somewhere in this plot of ground there may lie the man who could have discovered the cure for cancer. Under one of these Christian crosses, or beneath a Jewish Star of David, there may now rest a man who was destined to be a great prophet–to find the way, perhaps, for all to live in plenty, with poverty and hardship for none. Now they lie here silently in this sacred soil, and we gather to consecrate this earth in their memory.

It is not easy to do so. Some of us have buried our closest friends here. We saw these men killed before our very eyes. Any one of us might have died in their places. Indeed, some of us are alive and breathing at this very moment only because men who lie here beneath us had the courage and strength to give their lives for ours. To speak in memory of such men as these is not easy. Of them too can it be said with utter truth: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here. It can never forget what they did here."

No, our poor power of speech can add nothing to what these men and the other dead of our Division who are not here have already done. All that we even hope to do is follow their example. To show the same selfless courage in peace that they did in war. To swear that by the grace of God and the stubborn strength and power of human will, their sons and ours shall never suffer these pains again. These men have done their jobs well. They have paid the ghastly price of freedom. If that freedom be once again lost, as it was after the last war, the unforgivable blame will be ours, not theirs. So it is we the living who are here to be dedicated and consecrated.

We dedicate ourselves, first, to live together in peace the way they fought and are buried in this war. Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding, and other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores. Here lie officers and men, negroes and whites, rich men and poor–together. Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed. Among these men there is no discrimination. No prejudices. No hatred. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy.

Any man among us the living who fails to understand that will thereby betray those who lie here dead. Whoever of us lifts up his hand in hate against a brother, or thinks himself superior to those who happen to be in the minority, makes of this ceremony and of the bloody sacrifice it commemorates, an empty, hollow mockery. To this, then, as our solemn, sacred duty, do we the living now dedicate ourselves: to the rights of Protestants, Catholics and Jews, of white men and negroes alike, to enjoy the democracy for which all of them here have paid the price.

To one thing more do we consecrate ourselves in memory of those who sleep beneath these crosses and stars. We shall not foolishly suppose, as did the last generation of America's fghting men, that victory on the battlefield will automatically guarantee the triumph of democracy at home. This war, with all its frightful heartache and suffering,is but the beginning our our generation's struggle for democracy. When the last battle has been won, there will be those at home, as there were the last time, who will want us to turn our backs in selfish isolation on the rest of organized humanity, and thus to sabotage the very peace for which we fight. We promise you who lie here: we will not do that! We will join hands with Britain, China, Russia in peace, even as we have in war, to build the kind of world for which you died.

When the last shot has been fired, there will still be those whose eyes are turned backward, not forward, who will be satisfied with those wide extremes of poverty and wealth in which the seeds of another war can breed. We promise you, our departed comrades: this too we will not permit. This war has been fought by the common man; its fruits of peace must be enjoyed by the common man! We promise, by all that is sacred and holy, that your sons, the sons of moners and millers, the sons of farmers and workers, the right to a living that is decent and secure.

When the final cross has been placed in the last cemetery, once again there will be those to whom profit is more important than peace, who will insist with the voice of sweet reasonableness and appeasement that it is better to trade with the enemies of mankind, than by crushing them, to lose their profit. To you who sleep here silently, we give our promise: we will not listen! We will not forget that some of you were burnt with oil that came from American wells, that many of you were killed with shells fashioned from American steel. We promise that when once again men profit at your expense, we shall remember how you looked when we placed you reverently, lovingly, in the ground.

Thus do we memorialize those who, having ceased living with us, now live within us. Thus do we consecrate ourselves the living to carry on the struggle they began. Too much blood has gone into this soil for us to let it lie barren. Too much pain and heartache have fertilized the earth on which we stand. We here solemnly swear: this shall not be in vain! Out of this, and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn this, will come–we promise–the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere.       Amen.

Members in the News!
On 16 March 2014, our own Rev. David Lilly of Alberta, Canada, will be receiving a service pin from the Royal Canadian Legion for his ministry as a branch chaplain in Alberta. This is in recognition of one year of service with the RCL. At the AGM in November, he was unanimously re-elected for year two of his ministry with this veterans’ organization which is a great honour. Presently, he is working on putting together a church service for the annual Metis gathering at Big Valley.  He has done this for the past five years.  They use an Anglican liturgy based on the 1928 BCP. The church services also continue on a monthly basis at Stettler.  Rev. Lilly met with Bishop Garth Neel in Regina back in December and at that time renewed his commitment to serving with the AOC in Canada. We are assured of Rev. Lilly's continued prayers both for our churches in North America and around the world. May the Lord’s hand of blessing continue to be with our AOC family in the United States, Canada and around the globe.

We congratulate Rev. Lilly on this continuing honour.
Jerry L. Ogles, D.D.
Presiding Bishop
Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide

[1] Screwtape is a fictional devil in a book The Screwtape Letters (1942) and its sequel short fiction Screwtape Proposes a Toast (1959), both written by the Christian author C. S. Lewis.

Screwtape is a Senior Tempter and the Undersecretary of his department. The Letters are his side of the correspondence with his nephew Wormwood, as mentor to the young devil who is charged with the guidance of one man. The Toast is Screwtape's after-dinner speech at the Tempters' Training College and is a satire on American and British or English public education. Screwtape has a secretary called Toadpipe.
Screwtape appears to understand very well the nature of human minds and weaknesses, although nothing about love. He also has a way with words and a fondness for sarcasm.

[2] Charity - Love; universal benevolence; good will; the word which properly denotes love.  Properly understood the Love of God, that perfect love, to which man should aspire. [1913 Webster]
[3] To quote Winston Churchill, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”  (29 October 1941)
[4] The three Gloster Gladiator fighters Faith, Hope and Charity defended Malta against the Italian Air Force during the early part of the siege of Malta in World War II.  Legend has it that all three persisted and of the three, Charity never failed.

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