Evening Prayer 10.1.16, Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, c. 530

Jesus said, “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

The United Church of Canada, a 1920s-era merger of Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and local churches in the West, is now faced with an ordained minister who has declared that she’s an atheist and wants to keep her pulpit. Her name is the Rev. Gretta Vosper, pastor of the West Hill United Church in suburban Toronto. She preaches peace, joy, love and inclusion, but not Jesus Christ. In 1997, the newly elected national church Moderator said, “I don’t believe Jesus was God,” denied the Resurrection – and kept his job for the rest of his three-year term. So Ms. Vosper is fighting to stay in, but says that if she is deposed, she doesn’t want to be part of the United Church anyway. The matter has been referred to the local presbytery. (Randy Risling/Toronto Star)

The United Church of Canada, a 1920s-era merger of Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and local churches in the West, is now faced with an ordained minister who has publicly declared that she’s an atheist and wants to keep her pulpit. Her name is the Rev. Gretta Vosper, pastor of the West Hill United Church in suburban Toronto. She preaches peace, joy, love and inclusion, but not Jesus Christ; no Bible or sacraments either. This isn’t the first such incident in the United Church; in 1997, the newly elected National Moderator said, “I don’t believe Jesus was God,” denied the Resurrection – and kept his job for the rest of his three-year term. So Ms. Vosper is fighting to stay in, but says that if she is deposed, she doesn’t want to be part of the United Church anyway. The battle will begin at the local presbytery, which owns the building. (Randy Risling/Toronto Star)

If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night,” darkness is not dark to you, O Lord; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike. Psalm 139:10-11

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

O God, be not far from us.
Come quickly to help us, O God.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

Hymn: Light of the World
Phos hilaron

Light of the world in grace and beauty,
Mirror of God’s eternal face,
Transparent flame of love’s free duty,
You bring salvation to our race.
Now, as we see the lights of evening,
We raise our voice in hymns of praise;
Worthy are you of endless blessing,
Sun of our night, lamp of our days.

Psalm 33

1  Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous; *
it is good for the just to sing praises.
2  Praise the LORD with the harp; *
play upon the psaltery and lyre.
3  Sing for the LORD a new song; *
sound a fanfare with all your skill upon the trumpet.
4  For your word, O LORD, is right, *
and all your works are sure.
5  You love righteousness and justice; *
your loving-kindness, O LORD, fills the whole earth.
6  By the word, O LORD, were the heavens made, *
by the breath of your mouth all the heavenly hosts.
7  You gather up the waters of the ocean as in a water-skin *
and store up the depths of the sea.
8  Let all the earth fear the LORD; *
let all who dwell in the world stand in reverence.
9  For the LORD spoke, and it came to pass; *
the LORD commanded, and it stood fast.
10  The LORD brings the will of the nations to naught; *
and thwarts the designs of the peoples.
11  But the LORD’s will stands fast for ever, *
and the designs of the LORD’s heart from age to age.

12  Happy is the nation whose God is the LORD! *
happy the people you have chosen to be your own!
13  O LORD, you look down from heaven, *
and behold all the people in the world.
14  From where you sit enthroned you turn your gaze *
on all who dwell on the earth.
15  You fashion all the hearts of them *
and understand all their works.
16  There is no ruler that can be saved by a mighty army; *
a warrior is not delivered by great strength.
17  The horse is a vain hope for deliverance; *
for all its strength it cannot save.
18  Behold, your eye, O LORD, is upon those who fear you, *
on those who wait upon your love,
19  To pluck their lives from death, *
and to feed them in time of famine.
20  Our soul waits for you, O LORD; *
you are our help and our shield.
21  Indeed, our heart rejoices in you, *
for in your holy Name we put our trust.
22  Let your loving-kindness, O LORD, be upon us, *
as we have put our trust in you.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Sermon on the Mount

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Sermon on the Mount

THE LESSON
Luke 6:27-38 (NRSV)

Jesus said, “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

Canticle: The Song of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in you, O God my Savior, *
for you have looked with favor on your lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,
and holy is your Name.
You have mercy on those who fear you *
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm, *
and scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones, *
and lifting up the lowly.
You have filled the hungry with good things, *
and sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel, *
for you have remembered your promise of mercy,
The promise made to our forebears, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That your holy angels may lead us in paths of peace and goodwill,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may be pardoned and forgiven for our sins and offenses,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That there may be peace to your Church and to the whole world,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may depart this life in your faith and fear,
and not be condemned before the great judgment seat of Christ,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may be bound together by your Holy Spirit
in the communion of all your saints,
entrusting one another and all our life to Christ,
We entreat you, O Lord.

St. Remigius window at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church, Powell, Ohio. He baptized Clovis, king of the united Franks, which led to the defeat of the Arian Goths and the Christianization of France. Remigius and St. Joan are the nation’s patron saints.

St. Remigius window at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church, Powell, Ohio. He baptized Clovis, king of the united Franks, which led to the defeat of the Arian Goths and the Christianization of France. Remigius and St. Joan are the nation’s patron saints.

Collect of the Day: Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, c. 530

O God, by the teaching of your faithful servant and bishop Remigius you turned the nation of the Franks from vain idolatry to the worship of you, the true and living God, in the fullness of the catholic faith: Grant that we who glory in the name of Christian may show forth our faith in worthy deeds; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for Saturdays

O God, the source of eternal light: Shed forth your unending day upon us who watch for you, that our lips may praise you, our lives may bless you, and our worship on the morrow give you glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Peace

Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday Evening Prayer List: For the Church

For Our Mission Partners
Cuttington University School of Nursing, Liberia
The American Friends of Cuttington, New York
Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, New York; Canon Jamie Callaway
Diocese of Brasilia Afterschool Program, Brazil
Rosebud Episcopal Mission, South Dakota
St. André’s School, Mithon, Haiti

This is a good place to add your own prayers.

For Mission

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Romans 15:13++

VIDEO: O love, how deep, how broad, how high (#448, Deus tuorum militum, German, 1753; Latin, 15th C., tr. Benjamin Webb, rev.) – St. Bartholomew’s, New York City, 2015; video by Joseph Soltero

2 thoughts on “Evening Prayer 10.1.16, Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, c. 530

    • Reminds me of the time a female priest in Seattle (I think it was; somewhere in the Pac NW), who announced she is both a Christian and a Muslim. “They’re both Abrahamic religions and not incompatible,” she said, which has a superficial truth to it but ignores the exclusivity claims of both religions. I don’t think she lasted six months. In the case above, most ordained ministers or priests who find themselves to be atheists walk away from the ministry, they don’t announce it to the media and dig in for a fight to keep a church that isn’t theirs. I take it as an attack on the United Church, which we’ve already seen has been vulnerable for a long time as a result of its own decisions. If Michael Curry announced he didn’t believe Jesus is God and denied the Resurrection, he’d be forced out quickly – and he’s a gracious enough person that he wouldn’t want to be a cause of discord. But that’s not how it played out in Canada.

      We live in a world where people think they’re smarter than God – that they could be a better god than this one. And they cite OT passages they find distasteful (and do not understand), as if that proves how much better a god they would make.

      The Episcopal Church doesn’t demand that everyone in the pews stick to a single interpretation of the Scriptures, Creed and Sacraments – but it does demand that we read those difficult Scriptures, that we say the Creed and celebrate the Sacraments as written. “Lex orandi, lex credendi” actually works for our conversion. We know that we’re never going to completely understand any of it, and that doubts can serve to strengthen our faith over time. My own faith has become more or less “straight Prayer Book” in the 12 years I’ve been doing the Office – but every now and then I run into a passage and think, “This makes no #$%^ sense.” It’s slightly disconcerting when that happens, but the weight on the other side of the trust scale is so overwhelming that I just shrug and think, “Maybe I’ll get this someday” – or even, “Maybe God finds this whole section embarrassing, but now we’re stuck with it.” That’s why our relationship with God is so important; it isn’t the Book we worship, it’s the one, true, living, loving God.

      But other people react differently. So I tell myself people really do want to design their own god these days (with “improvements” that haven’t changed in thousands of years), and that in that case God just gives them over to their own devices.

      Meditation, silent listening and centering prayer, in which we shut up and open ourselves to God’s presence, is the great corrective to our wayward thoughts and speculations. God’s happy to speak to us from time to time, as well as being with us steadily when nothing gets said; but we have to be ready to receive what God says. If we are, the inevitable conclusion I come to is always the same: “You are God and I am not.” When that’s the case, I don’t have a need to keep questioning; I’m too busy reacting in awe to the One before me.

      The words are what they are, but God is not confined to the words.

      Like

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