Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist.
ERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it, being illumined by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Christmas Collect is found on Page 96:
The Nativity of our Lord, or the Birthday of Christ,
commonly called Christmas Day.
LMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
¶ This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.
As is oft the case, today’s propers all tie together to reinforce a point and build our understanding of what God wants and expects from each of us. Consider these words from the Collect where we ask God to “…cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it, being illumined by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to life everlasting…” As is almost always the case, we are asking God to help us by lighting up our lives and that of the Church that we might hear and understand the words left by Saint John so to grow closer to what God wants us to be here and our eternal life. There is a great reason for this. John was the longest lived of the disciples, he lived probably to about age 90! The Books of John are the most theologically filled books of the Bible. John explains so much of what we need to know.
In his First General Epistle John tells us he is passing on what he has seen and heard from Jesus with his own eyes and ears. It is not a secondhand account, it is not what someone told him. He saw it, he saw it all. He wants us to know what happened with Jesus, how He rose from the dead as a very practical demonstration of our life eternal with Him. John also wants us to know that if we claim fellowship with Jesus, then we will need believe on Him, which means doing our pitiful best to follow Him. If we truly do this, He will then account us as perfect at our accounting. Anyone who thinks they can “work” their way into Heaven is deceiving themselves. Good works alone do not get us into heaven. We need faith, but if we have faith, then we will produce those good works. If you truly believe on our Lord and in our God, you will be unable not to do what you are supposed to do. Odd, that.
God will give us the guidance we need to do His Work on Earth. We have to do our part and accept and act upon that guidance. Without the acceptance and letting the Holy Ghost in, we cannot do His Work here. So, we have to train our hearts souls and minds to believe on Him and listen and act upon His Guidance.
When we look at the Gospel, we see John making an excellent point; words mean something, thus in our study of the Word the translation is important. If we are going to trust in the written word, we need to make certain it is indeed The Word. This could lead us to an entire discussion of the various translations of the Bible and why it is so important to use a translation based on the Received Text and why we use the King James or Authorized Version. Luckily, today is not the day for that!
John, who oft refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved, asks who will betray Jesus? Jesus does not answer. Peter asks what shall become of John? Jesus answered, I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? That is where the listening stopped. He went on to say, Follow thou me. No one noticed that. The word then spread that John would not die, but live until Jesus returned to earth. Of course, as John pointed out, He did not say that. What Jesus in effect said was, It is none of your business what happens to John, your job is to follow Me! Likewise, we need to keep this in mind, our job is not to worry about what others do or do not do, our job is to do what we are supposed to do. It is definitely relevant to us, who naturally are inclined to put our noses in other people’s business. Jesus’s point is we need to let people handle their own business and we just need to worry about ourselves and doing our best to follow Him. Hard to do, that. But it is what we are supposed to do nevertheless; focus on what we are supposed to do and not what others are supposed to do.
This section of John’s Gospel closes with an interesting line that makes you wish he had been a bit more prolific in his writings, And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Still considering the difficulty in getting words into print in those days, we are grateful for what we have. What we do have is sufficient for our knowledge as we journey on the narrow, winding uphill trail towards heaven.
The entire New Testament is a consistent call to belief in our Lord and action on that belief. Here at Christmastide, at this very joyous time we need to remember Jesus came into this world with the certain knowledge of precisely how He would leave, yet He came anyway that we might have life eternal.
Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail. The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.
The time is now, not tomorrow. The time has come, indeed. How will you ACT?
It is by our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God
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