Christian Calendar

October 20, 2019

Reflections for Trinity 18

What are you leaving out? Have you ever prayed the Litany? Traditional churches often say it twice annually, but not too long ago it was common to pray the Litany every week. This fell out of fashion around the same time that churches became wary of focusing on spiritual realities that might be perceived as “negative.” Well, if the Litany is not part of your church experience you may well be wondering what I’m going on about. The Litany isRead more

October 18: Luke the Evangelist

“Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin” by Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1435

(The BCP Readings for this Feast Day can be found here) The Gospel according to the Doctor The four Gospel accounts tell us the story of how Jesus entered human history. Four very different men were inspired by the Holy Spirit to each write an account of what they’d seen and heard. Their names were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and their written accounts are found in our Bible’s New Testament. Together these Gospels form a rich, layered narrative thatRead more

October 13: Harvest Thanksgiving

"The Harvest of Hay in Eragny" by Camille Pissarro, 1887

More than a holiday: What we usually think of as “Thanksgiving” is a holiday peculiar to the U.S. and Canada. It calls to mind the gratitude of Protestant colonizers for the blessings of the harvest as they forged new lives in a new land. But there is more to the heart of the holiday than a full belly. Thanksgiving acknowledges that we are dependent on the land to yield food. But it further acknowledges that God is sovereign over theRead more

October 6, 2019

Reflections for Trinity 16

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity: (The BCP Readings for today can be found here). What comes to mind for you when someone begins to speak about the Church? Do you think of a joyous experience of spiritual community? Or are you reminded of the fragmentation and confusion that seem so common in the Christian world? Perhaps both are true for you. They are both certainly true for me. I think you’ll agree that the collect for Trinity 16 is asRead more

October 4: Francis of Assisi

“Saint Francis in the Desert,” Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430-1516)

The following is taken from the Prayer Book Society of Canada’s “622” study lesson on Francis of Assisi (#29). You can see the complete lesson series here. Francis of Assisi: Setting Aside Every Distraction: “You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) The Christian world had never forgotten the Islamic attacks of the seventh and eighth centuries which had laid claim toRead more

September 29: Michael and All Angels

“St. Michael,” by Raphael, c. 1505

Michaelmas: Spiritual corrective for the modern world: If you didn’t grow up in a liturgical tradition you may have heard of “Michaelmas” but never known to what it referred. It is, of course, the day in the Christian calendar on which we celebrate “Michael and All Angels”: September 29. C. S. Lewis once wrote that, “there are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other isRead more

September 22, 2019

Reflections for Trinity 14

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity: (The BCP Readings for today can be found here). The collect for today, reads like this: Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. The lovely command “Make us to love that which thou dost command”: Isn’t that an interesting phrase? A love forRead more

September 21: Matthew the Evangelist

“The Calling of Matthew,” Vittore Carpaccio, 1465-1526

(The BCP Readings for this Feast Day can be found here) Eyewitness accounts: The miracle of Jesus entering human history is recorded for us in the four Gospels authored by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each of these men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote an eyewitness (or eyewitness-based) account of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of our Lord. Each of these accounts was written from a different perspective and originally intended for a different audience. But together theirRead more

September 15, 2019

Reflections for Trinity 13

The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity: Let’s get started by reading the collect for today: Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service: Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Note: A few weeks ago we looked at the difficulty we canRead more

September 14: Holy Cross Day

empty crosses, listen

Exaltation, Triumph and Redemption: Why do we have a feast in the calendar called “Holy Cross Day” – when we already reflect so much on the passion of Christ during Holy Week? Well, consider that it has now been five months since Easter. We’re more than due for a reminder – not just of the sacrifice made by our Lord, but of his ultimate triumph over death. “Holy Cross Day” is a feast that is observed in many corners ofRead more

September 8, 2019

Reflections for Trinity 12, listen

The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity: Many of us live in this mental space: we know how God would like us to live, and we know that we fail to meet that standard – repeatedly. Though we know that Jesus died for our sins, we still live with a chronic sense of guilt, an overwhelming idea that our Father is disappointed with us. If this sounds at all familiar, then today’s collect is going to be good, theologically sound, medicine forRead more

September 1, 2019

September 1, Reflections for Trinity 11

The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity: Today’s readings put me in mind of David, and of what it means to be someone “after God’s own heart.” Here’s the Collect: O God, who declarest thy almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. There’sRead more

August 31: Aidan of Lindisfarne

Detail of a painting showing an injured missionary being cared for by peasants

Wisdom and Grace: Much of what we know about the Church in the Middle Ages comes to us from the pen of “The Venerable” Bede, a medieval monk and historian, who wrote a book called “Ecclesiastical History of the English People.” And this is true of Aidan. Aidan was a monk of Iona and missionary to Northumbria in the seventh century. The story goes that the monk who was first sent as a missionary (a man named Corman), came backRead more

August 29: The Beheading of John the Baptist

“The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist,” by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824–1898) - listen

A Unique Role: John the Baptist was a unique man who had a unique role to play in the story of our salvation. He was a man who spanned the gap between the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament disciples. The story of his birth is a remarkable one (celebrated in the Christian calendar on June 24). The story of his ministry is a remarkable one. And the story of his martyrdom grips us as well, cementing his placeRead more

August 28: Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo, as depicted in the 17th century by Gerard Segers

A Restless Saint: “You (O Lord) have made man for Yourself and restless is the human heart until it comes to rest in You”. Chances are, you’ve heard these words before. They were written by Augustine (354-430) sixteen centuries ago – a man who knew all about the restlessness of the human heart. Augustine is one of the best-known saints of Church history, but he did a lot of wandering – and a lot of sinning – before he cameRead more

August 25, 2019

August 25: Reflections for Trinity 10

The Tenth Sunday after Trinity: Every now and then I am struck by the brilliance of the way the tradition pulls together readings, prayers and psalms. This is one of the weeks when it seems at a glance like a thoroughly bizarre grouping. But then, when you’ve sat with the readings for a time, the connections begin to become clear. The Gospel reading for today is Christ’s cleansing of the temple in Luke. It’s a text that always tempts meRead more