Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Calvin on Prayer

In the Institutes Calvin calls prayer “the chief exercise of faith…by which we daily receive God’s benefits.”  Institutes III, title of chapter 20 ~ John Calvin

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Collect for the 3rd Sunday After the Epiphany

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of His salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of His marvelous works; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

What Now Since I have been called to Teach God's Word?

The task of preaching and teaching God's Word is a weighty one. No man should enter upon it lightly. John Calvin, in his introduction to the reader of the Institutes tells us his understanding of his call as a teacher in the church of Christ~ "Since I undertook the office of teacher in the church, I have no other purpose than to benefit the church by maintaining the pure doctrine of godliness." 

Every teacher and preacher of God's Word would do well to have this as his sole objective when he rises to break the bread of life.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Prayer Appointed for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that Your people, illumined by Your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that He may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Call to Worship from Anselm

The quote which follows is a wonderful one to have in mind when we enter our place of worship this Lord's Day!

"Come now, insignificant mortal. Leave behind your concerns for a little while, and retreat for a short time from your restless thoughts. Cast off your burdens and cares; set aside your labor and toil. Just for a little while make room for God and rest a while in Him."  ~ Anselm (1033-1109).

That really puts things in perspective!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Prayer appointed for the First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into His Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess Him as Lord and Savior; who with You and the Holy
Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. ~BCP

Monday, January 5, 2015

Visited an LCMS congregation

Sunday my family and I attended a Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod). I have friends who are LCMS pastors, so I am not unfamiliar with the denomination. We were unable to attend our little liturgical Presbyterian church which is an hour away so, we decided to visit a local congregation, something closer to us. We had never worshipped in a formal (traditional) Lutheran service. We have attended a contemporary service at a Lutheran church, but never a worship service where the Divine Service was followed. I listened to a few of the pastors sermons online before attending and felt comfortable that we would hear a sound biblical sermon. We went, knowing that we would (regrettably) not be allowed to receive the Lord's Supper because LCMS requires recipients to not only be baptised followers of Christ, but one must understand the Supper in the same way they do. As a Calvinist, I do not.

Much about the service was familiar to me as a former Anglican, but what caught me by surprise was the amount of chanting that took place. I expected some chanting. I have, after all, visited a Roman Catholic church before. But I did not expect the amount of chanting I encountered. Our home church even does a little chanting in the liturgy. I'm not a big fan of chanting, because I find it distracting. I'm  not a historian, but I am aware of the practice of chanting throughout the history of the Church. So, I do not object to it on theological grounds, my aversion to chanting is solely subjective. I admit that upfront. Simply put, I find that chanting distracts from the words being chanted. I know it's not much of an argument, but it is my honest reaction to chanting.

At the church we visited, the pastor even chanted the Lord's Prayer. In the Anglican and Presbyterian tradition of which I am more familiar, the people pray the Lord's Prayer with the pastor, but yesterday the pastor chanted it alone. That felt (yes, I know that's subjective) awkward.