Tag Archives: Anglican

365 Days with Christina Rossetti–Day 5

ChristinaRossettiEditors’ Note: Christina Rossetti wrote a devotional entitled Annus Domini: A Prayer for the Days of the Year, Founded on a Text of Holy Scripture (1874). We will be featuring one of her prayers for the next 365 days. 

Day 5

Genesis 31:53: “Jacob sware [sic] by the Fear of his father Isaac.”


O Lord Jesus Christ, Fear of Isaac, teach us sinners, I pray Thee, to fear Thee, and much more to love Thee all the days of our life, until perfect love shall cast out fear. Amen.

 

365 Days with Christina Rossetti–Day 4

ChristinaRossettiEditors’ Note: Christina Rossetti wrote a devotional entitled Annus Domini: A Prayer for the Days of the Year, Founded on a Text of Holy Scripture (1874). We will be featuring one of her prayers for the next 365 days. 

Day 4

Genesis 28:13: I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac.


O Lord Jesus Christ, God of Isaac, grant, I entreat Thee, that as at Thy Word he willingly gave himself up to die, so we may after his example offer to Thee a willing obedience, eating and drinking and doing all things to Thy Glory: and that, having lived unto Thee, we may die unto Thee. Amen.

 

365 Days with Christina Rossetti–Day 3

ChristinaRossettiEditors’ Note: Christina Rossetti wrote a devotional entitled Annus Domini: A Prayer for the Days of the Year, Founded on a Text of Holy Scripture (1874). We will be featuring one of her prayers for the next 365 days. 

Day 3

Genesis 26:24

The Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee.


O Lord Jesus Christ, God of Abraham, Who of stones canst raise up unto him children, give us, I entreat Thee, hearts of flesh instead of hearts of stone; and make us partakers of his faith, that we may be numbered among his children in the true Israel.

 

365 Days with Christina Rossetti–Day 2

ChristinaRossettiEditors’ Note: Christina Rossetti wrote a devotional entitled Annus Domini: A Prayer for the Days of the Year, Founded on a Text of Holy Scripture (1874). We will be featuring one of her prayers for the next 365 days. 

Day 2

Genesis 15:1

I am thy Shield, and thy exceeding great Reward.


 

O Lord Jesus Christ, our exceeding great Reward, make, I pray Thee, earth and her treasures exceedingly small in our eyes: that we may long for Thee most of all, and labour to obtain Thee first of all, and that where Thou art there may also Thy servants be. Amen.

 

365 Days with Christina Rossetti–Day 1

ChristinaRossettiEditors’ Note: Christina Rossetti wrote a devotional entitled Annus Domini: A Prayer for the Days of the Year, Founded on a Text of Holy Scripture (1874). We will be featuring one of her prayers for the next 365 days. 

Day 1

Genesis 3:15

I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.


O Lord Jesus Christ, Seed of the woman, Thou Who hast bruised the serpent’s head, destroy in us, I entreat Thee, the power of that old serpent the devil. Give us courage to resist him, strength to overcome him; deliver the prey from between his teeth, bid his captives go free; for his kingdom, set up Thy kingdom; and for the death he brought in, bring Thou in life everlasting. Amen.

365 Days with Christina Rossetti–Introduction

ChristinaRossetti

Editors’ Note: Christina Rossetti wrote a devotional entitled Annus Domini: A Prayer for the Days of the Year, Founded on a Text of Holy Scripture (1874). We will be featuring one of her prayers for the next 365 days. Today, we begin with the opening poem in her corpus. 

Opening Poem

Alas my Lord,/How should I wrestle all the livelong night/With Thee my God, my Strength and my Delight?

How can it need/So agonized an effort and a strain/To make Thy Face of Mercy shine again?

How can it need/Such wringing out of breathless prayer to move/Thee to Thy wonted Love, when Thou art Love?

Yet Abraham/So hung about Thine Arm outstretched and bared,/That for ten righteous Sodom had been spared.

Yet Jacob did/So hold Thee by the clenched hand of prayer/That he prevailed, and Thou didst bless him there.

Elias prayed,/And sealed the founts of Heaven; he prayed again/And lo, Thy Blessing fell in showers of rain.

All Nineveh/Fasting and girt in sackcloth raised a cry,/Which moved Thee ere the day of grace went by.

Thy Church prayed on/And on for blessed Peter in his strait,/Till opening of its own accord the gate.

Yea, Thou my God/Hast prayed all night, and in the garden prayed/Even while, like melting wax, Thy strength was made.

Alas for him/Who faints, despite Thy Pattern, King of Saints:/Alas, alas, for me, the one that faints.

Lord, give us strength/To hold Thee fast, until we hear Thy Voice/Which Thine own know, who hearing It rejoice.

Lord, give us strength/To hold Thee fast until we see Thy Face,/Full Fountain of all Rapture and all Grace.

But when our strength/Shall be made weakness, and our bodies clay,/Hold Thou us fast, and give us sleep till day.

 

The Daily Office and the Village Effect

profileTRANS (1)Jon R. Jordan

Dean of Students

Coram Deo Academy, Dallas, TX

A recent interview on NPR highlighted the universal human need for smaller, intimate community that involves regular “face-to-face contact.” Psychologist Susan Pinker’s new book The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter extols the benefits of living “in a community of about 150 people.”

In a world of megachurches, megastadiums, megamalls, and megauniversities, it is difficult for some of us to imagine what it would mean to live in a community no larger than 150 people. In my own ecclesial life here in the “Bible belt,” I have never even been a member of a church or parish that small. While the ideal size for a parish is a fascinating question—and my hunch is that in many ways smaller is better—there is more to the village effect than mere size of one’s community.

“You can create your own village effect. Get out of your car to talk to your neighbors. Talk in person to your colleagues instead of shooting them emails. Build in face-to-face contact with friends the way you would exercise. Look for schools where the emphasis is on teacher-student interaction, not on high-tech bells and whistles.” Susan Pinker

I don’t think I am ready to commit to saying that we must shrink our parishes. There are many benefits of small, but there are also many benefits of large. So for those of us in large cities and large parishes, how can we create our own village effect? One place to start is by not creating our own village effect at all, but by participating in one created long before we came along: the Daily Office.

Pinker reminds us that there is a great difference between the types of relationships we have online, and those which “develop naturally through frequent in-person contact.” Villages have an advantage over Urban centers because this frequent in-person contact happens all the time. Part of our problem is that we simply do not see each other in-person often enough.

The Daily Office does not directly solve this problem; it does not somehow force us into more frequent contact with one another. But it certainly provides an avenue for such contact.

The Office is written in a way that assumes it will be read in community. There is an officiant, there is a reader, and there are the people. There are Versicles and Responses. We are asked at times to listen while others speak, and we are asked at other times to speak in unison. The Office can certainly be prayed alone, but it was meant to be prayed together.

I went on a backpacking trip last Spring with a group of friends, mostly from our small group. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I Complinehad a growing desire to more regularly pray the Office. I brought my Book of Common Prayer, figuring I would have few excuses for not praying while I spent a few days in the middle of Big Bend National Park. During our long hikes and evenings at the campsite, my recent move into the Anglican tradition came up in conversations with a few of my Baptist and Presbyterian friends. Somewhere along the way I mentioned Compline (the final prayer service of the day to be prayed before one falls asleep), and suggested that we try it together that night.

With no campfire (thanks to a burn-ban), and fading headlamp batteries, four of us sat side-by-side passing one Prayer Book back and forth as we tried to figure out what to say next. I imagine this would have been a hilarious scene to watch, as we dropped the book multiple times and often had to practice our responses a time or two before we said them “for real.” Though Compline that night was awkward at times, and impractical at others, I could not help but get the sense that we were not the only group of guys who have tried to pray together in limited light in the middle of the wilderness. Though we could barely see each others faces, this memory sticks in my mind as one of the more intimate face-to-face contacts I have shared with that group of men. Since the trip I have enjoyed hearing how the prayers we shared that evening were being shared by each of us with our own friends, families, and students.

We could have each gone our own separate ways to have individual “quiet times” that evening. But we would have missed out on an opportunity to participate in the village effect—not only with each other—but also with the countless women and men throughout history that have prayed the same prayers before they went off to bed. I may never be part of an intimate community limited to only 150 people. But praying the Office, especially when prayed face-to-face with others, is gradually serving as a catalyst to my own enjoyment of the effect of living in such an intimate community.

Memories Need To Be Shared: The Giver and Liturgical Life

profileTRANS (1)Jon R. Jordan

Dean of Students

Coram Deo Academy, Dallas, TX

After finishing Seminary I have found myself reading fiction that I willfully ignored when I was younger and did not have time for during my years of study. While I am sure that this ignorance has caused me to miss out on a more literarily-robust childhood, a part of me thinks that reading children’s fiction this late in life means that I get far more out of each story than I would have if I had read them at the appropriate age.

TheGiverCase in point: I only recently finished reading Lois Lowry’s The Giver. I could not help but read the novel in light of many of my own life journeys. One journey in particular that The Giver continually brought to mind was my own journey into a liturgical tradition.

As Jonas slowly discovered his gift of “seeing beyond” the black and white world of “sameness,” I found myself thinking back to my earliest experience of being moved by a prayer written in a century long before my own. It was so different from what I knew, yet it had a familiar quality. It was new, but not alien to my experience as a human. As Jonas experienced his first “longings” I was reminded of the feeling I could not shake after leaving my first ever Ash Wednesday service. I had attended the service by myself but did not leave alone; I was visibly marked as a member of a community I did not create. This was a new experience, one that left me wanting more.

Neither of these experiences would have amounted to much by themselves. Without an embodied guide along the way, my longing for our colorful past and a sense of belonging to the whole church would have remained just that—a longing and a sense.

Jonas was twelve when it was revealed to him that he would be given one such guide. He had been chosen to bear the memories of human history on behalf of his community, and he would be guided along the way by an older, wiser Giver of memories. The memory of his community’s past were incredibly painful to bear at times. The sterilized environment of his youth was free of war and an understanding of death. He had no framework for understanding the horrors or level of loss he experienced through the memories. Other memories brought him pleasure beyond what he could have ever imagined. He received memories of basking in sunlight, sledding down a hill, and familial love that he had previously never experienced.

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” The Giver

These memories did not appear all at once. They were transmitted to him by an older, wiser Giver. I was an adult when I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church by the Bishop of Dallas. My wife and I had taken the Canterbury Trail confirmation class together, and I decided that though I had much to learn, I was ready to commit to worshiping as a Christian in the Anglican tradition. Thomas Howard’s opening lines of his (quite helpful) book The Liturgy Explained described my feelings well:

“We are all beginners at the liturgy, really. All of us—from the first-time visitor who finds himself paging helplessly through the Prayer Book wondering what is happening, to the aged priest who has known it all by heart for half a century—are really only on the lower slopes of worship.”

I suspect that I felt this sense of being a beginner more than most. But I take great comfort in knowing that I too have been given guides along the way of exploring a liturgical life.

Reading the Church Fathers has shown me that while so many of these liturgical experiences are new to me, they are not new to Christ’s church. The Book of Common Prayer reminds me that I am not the only one fumbling through the Daily Office, confused at times about what I should be reading and when. The Eucharist—perhaps the greatest of all guides—serves as a memory that is more BookofCommonPrayerthan a memory.

But like all disciples of Jesus, I find that while I myself am being guided by Givers of all varieties, I am also called to be a Giver myself. My wife, who faithfully followed me into this tradition, and our daughter, who was baptized on the day before the first Sunday of Advent 2013, both need me to guide them along this path of discipleship, just as I need them.

So as I think about my role in the liturgy in light of Jonas’ journey in The Giver, I am reminded of St. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:1,

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

This path of discipleship is one that calls us all to be both givers and receivers of the Good News of God in Christ.