Communion of Saints

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 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 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 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

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 24: Bartholomew the Apostle

Bartholomew

Little is known: Bartholomew was one of the twelve identified in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Some believe that he is the same man who is called “Nathanael” in the Gospel of John. If that’s the case, it would tell us a lot more about this disciple than we otherwise can confidently know. Like most of the other apostles, Bartholomew carried the Gospel with him while he lived and eventually was martyred by cruel means. But Foxe’s BookRead more

Beaten But Not Lost

Abstraction of All Saints depiction

“Beaten but not lost” by Steve Turner: We beat her and she lost weight. She lost blood. She lost consciousness. But she never lost hope. She never lost poetry. And she was never lost. You must have to beat real hard to get the God out of these people; to still the noise of heaven in their hearts. A prayer O God, who still bestows upon saints and martyrs the ability to stand fast, and to have the victory againstRead more

Sheep bite

Funny sheep

“Good Shepherd, you have a wild and crazy sheep in love with thorns and brambles. But please don’t get tired of looking for me! I know you won’t. For you have found me. All I have to do is stay found.” – Thomas Merton +++ A diverse flock The first parish I worked in was a suburban Evangelical church, with wide-ranging demographics. There was a very prim woman who expected me to measure the distance between hymnals in the pewsRead more

Adopted

Child's hand in father's hand

God’s heart for the lost and lonely: Throughout all of scripture, God has shown a peculiar interest in caring for those who find themselves stranded, alone, and destitute. We see it in the miraculous conception of Isaac, in the redemption of Ruth, and in the parable of the prodigal son. We see it in the law that makes special provision for widows, orphans, aliens and slaves. I especially love the stories of God blessing infertile women with children. Each timeRead more

Unremarkable

The praying hands of an older woman

A sea of faces and stories: The church where I work counts many wealthy and powerful people among its members. On a Sunday morning it is not unusual to find recognizable faces from the worlds of politics and finance there. In fact, people from every walk of life can be seen in those pews. There are those who slip in and speak to no one, and those who sit on every committee in the church. There are those who lookRead more