As the song goes, Oh
the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful, And since
we've no place to go, Let it snow! Let it snow! Actually, while we have had snow this year already, there was
none for today not likelihood of any tomorrow! The Outside Air Temperature was a lovely 71°F and clear
today and 47°F at Mount Olympus’ 3,500’msl altitude, as we ended our service, so
no snow. We are thankful for the
coming of our Lord and the freedom we have. The weather was bright and sunny, as were the dispositions
of the three people attending the service were!
By the way, each year we have a rosemary bush Christmas
“tree” that we plant afterwards.
No shortage ever of that seasoning here, or bay leaf for matter!
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 some great ones to share.
On to the On Point quotes –
Government has three primary
functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should
enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes
against themselves or their property. When government-- in pursuit of good
intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special
interests, the cost comes in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of
freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.
When you see that trading is
done, not by consent, but by compulsion- When you see that in order to produce,
you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing- when you see that
money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors- when you see
that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t
protect you against them, but protect them against you- when you see corruption
being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice- you may know that your
society is doomed.
Atheist, but correct on
“I suppose there are two views
about everything,” said Mark.
“Eh? Two views? There are a dozen
views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than
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.
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.
We used the propers for the first
service of Christmas Day for our Christmas Eve service which are found on Page
96-98, with the Collect first:
GOD, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of
the birth of thine only Son Jesus Christ; Grant that as we joyfully receive him
for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come
to be our Judge, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God,
world without end. Amen.
The Epistle, which
came from Paul’s letter to Titus beginning in the Eleventh Verse of the Second
Chapter. Paul tells Titus that it
is only God’s grace that gives us salvation. If we are going to accept that grace, we need to live the
life to which God has called us. Regardless of cost, we need to live the life
God has purchased for us.
We need to trust in God and in this world live
cleanly, conservatively, thoughtfully, looking towards God for our
salvation. We need to encourage
and exhort other Christians to do likewise.
To live in harmony with others.
To be, to the extent we are able, paragons of
virtue. Serving as good examples,
not bad. Paul tells Titus to do
what is right, trust is God and worry not. Quoting a later author, “Trust in God and Dread Naught.”
HE grace of God
that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying
ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly,
in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious
appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for
us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a
peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and
rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
Tonight’s Gospel is the narrative of the Nativity
from the Gospel according to Saint Luke, the Second Chapter, beginning at the First
ND it came to pass in those days, that
there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be
taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up
from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem;
(because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his
espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were
there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought
forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in
a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same
country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by
night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord
shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto
them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall
be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the
babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was
with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory
to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Church of the Faithful Centurion -
Today’s sermon brought
the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
As I was readying tonight’s
sermon, the thought came to me, surely not original at all, that as we begin
our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, consider Jesus, the only begotten
Son of God, was sent by His Father, God the Father, the Almighty Creator of
Heaven and Earth, into this world that we might have life eternal. While it is
an amazing thing that God would send His only begotten Son, His Christ, here to
this miserable planet for our redemption, is even more amazing and worthy of
awe that Jesus came to this world knowing how He would leave. He knew he would be born in a manger
and die on a cross; a horrible horrible death that we might have eternal
life. As we go through
Christmas and we remember the joy, remember Jesus, the Christ of God, came into
this world with full knowledge aforethought as to how He would leave and yet He
came that we might live.
Tonight we remember and celebrate
the coming of our Lord, the first time; we look to the coming of our Lord, the
second time. The Jews were looking
to God to send the Messiah, the one who they determined would free them from
the brutal yoke of the Romans and put them on top again. They looked to being the veritable Top
Dogs. They wanted a Champion to
lead them to victory over the Romans, throwing the Roman yoke off Israel. What God sent was a baby. Well, The Baby, but nonetheless a baby. Shepherds came to worship Him, but Herod was looking to kill
Him. No good in having a Champion
putting Herod out of the well paying petty quisling dictator job.
What God sent the Jews was His only
In point of fact, He
sent Him to the Jews first, but not only.
The “Wise Men” showed up to worship Him and regardless of who they might
have been, they certainly were not Jews.
This Son was to free the Jews from the Prince of Darkness and the
finality of death.
That really did
not fit the Jews’ plan.
They were still looking for Expulsor,
he who would toss the Romans out on their heads.
“Grant that as we
joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold
him when he shall come to be our Judge.”,
With sure confidence, if we receive him now as our Redeemer, we shall be filled
with sure confidence of being received by Him when we are standing before his
Judgement seat. If we do not joyfully receive him now, how can we expect him to
be joyfully receiving us when we come to meet him.
In joyous rememberence
of His Birth, we must keep in mind the end goal of his arrival here on Earth,
which was to free us from the bondage of sin and death, by giving his life so
that we might be free of this terrible oppression. We must Rejoice always and
again I say Rejoice, in the fact that we are free from the wages of sin, by the
fact that He gave his life for us, and was born that He might save us from a
The key word is
joyfully, meaning we must of our own free will receive Him into our hearts, and
feel the joyousness of His Birth, for this holiday of His Birth is a happy
time, to not only feel the joy of his physical arrival, but of what He came to
do for us, that we might be free for all eternity. He shall be our confidence
and our spiritual dwelling place, rather than place our hope in men, who shall
always fall short, but God shall never lead us astray or fall short of our
hopes and expectations, unlike Men.
Remembering His Birth
each year, we must consider what the cost was for our freedom from death, which
soon after he ascended to be with Our Father.
Some guy coming to save their
souls, without the need for slaughtering the profitable sacrificial animals did
not really fit their plan. They
had The Law, what more did they need?
The Jews concentrated on their
wants and ignored their needs.
Need, Want – both four letter words, oft used interchangeably. Sadly, they don’t mean the same thing.
So, that is where the Jews were
on Christmas Eve; Christmas Day for that matter? God intended to fulfill their needs, they looked to have
their wants fulfilled.
How about us on this Christmas
Eve; or Christmas Day for that matter?
Are we looking for someone to make us rich, thin or cool? Or are we looking for someone who will
save our souls? Do what God asks,
you will not only gain eternal life, but eternal happiness and as a plus you
will be happy. You may think you
can have more fun, but He guarantees you will be happy.
As we come upon this midnight
clear, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ waits for us. Will we accept it? Follow Him, accept His Grace and all
will be good forever.
God - Live of God - Act of God
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