Saint Andrew the Apostle

The collect for today, the Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle and Martyr, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

ALMIGHTY God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay: Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: Romans 10:8-18
The Gospel: St. Matthew 4:18-22

Rusconi, St. AndrewA native of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee, Andrew was a fisherman, the son of the fisherman John, and the brother of the fisherman Simon Peter. He was at first, along with John the Evangelist, a disciple of John the Baptist. John the Baptist’s testimony that Jesus was the Christ led the two to follow Jesus. Andrew then took his brother Simon Peter to meet Jesus. In Eastern Orthodox tradition, St. Andrew is called the Protokletos (the First Called) because he is named as the first disciple summoned by Jesus into his service.

At first Andrew and Simon Peter continued to carry on their fishing trade, but the Lord later called them to stay with him all the time. He promised to make them fishers of men and, this time, they left their nets for good.

The only other specific reference to Andrew in the New Testament is at St. Mark 13:3, where he is one of those asking the questions that lead our Lord into his great eschatological discourse.

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Capella Regalis Christmas Concert

Christ Church is very pleased to announce that Capella Regalis Men & Boys Choir will return for another Christmas concert on Friday, December 20th, at 7pm. Last year’s concert was a wonderful success and we look forward to the choir’s repeat appearance.

Capella Regalis Poster 2013Capella Regalis was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia by Director Nick Halley in 2010. The choir comprises twelve men and fourteen boys (ages 7 – 14) and is modeled on the great Anglican tradition of men and boys church choirs. The choir rehearses and sings weekly Choral Evensongs at the University of King’s College Chapel in Halifax and performs concerts around Nova Scotia throughout the September – June season. Capella Regalis is a registered Society under the Societies Act of Nova Scotia and is an educational outreach programme of Musique Royale (www.musiqueroyale.com). Please visitwww.capellaregalis.com for more information.

This year, we are also offering the option of a pulled pork supper before the concert. Tickets are available at the door: the concert and supper cost $15; concert only, $10; supper only, $10. Advance tickets (concert only) may be purchased at Windsor Home Hardware.

Click here for a larger poster suitable for downloading and printing.

Catherine, Virgin and Martyr

The collect for a virgin or matron, on the Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria (4th century?), Virgin and Martyr, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

O GOD Most High, the creator of all mankind, we bless thy holy Name for the virtue and grace which thou hast given unto holy women in all ages, especially thy servant Catherine; and we pray that the example of her faith and purity, and courage unto death, may inspire many souls in this generation to look unto thee, and to follow thy blessed Son Jesus Christ our Saviour; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Lesson: Acts 9:36-42
The Gospel: St. Luke 10:38-42

Orley, Martyrdom of St. CatherineThe cult of Saint Catherine arose in the Eastern Church in the 8th or 9th century and spread to the West at the time of the Crusades. She is not mentioned in any early martyrologies. No reliable facts concerning her life or death have been established. She is now generally considered to be a mythical figure.

According to her legend, St. Catherine lived in Alexandria when Emperor Maxentius was persecuting the church. A noble and learned young Christian, Catherine prevailed in a public debate with philosophers who tried to convince her of the errors of Christianity. Maxentius had her scourged, imprisoned and condemned her to death. She was tied to a wheel embedded with razors, but this attempt to torture her to death failed when the machine (later a Catherine wheel) broke and onlookers were injured by flying fragments. Finally, she was beheaded.

St. Catherine is often portrayed holding a book, symbolic of her great learning. She is the patron saint of teachers and students.

Artwork: Bernaert van Orley, The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine, early 16th century. Oil on wood, Museum of Western and Oriental Art, Kiev, Ukraine.

Sermon for the Sunday Next Before Advent, 10:30am service

“Then Jesus turned”

As images go this one is particularly significant. The idea of turning is provocatively before us in the Lesson from Jeremiah, in the gradual psalm, in the Gospel reading from John, and most poignantly in the baptism of Kaitlyn Jacoba Marilyn this morning. The turning is twofold: there is God’s turning to us and there is our turning to God, the turning of our hearts and minds to God. “I will hearken what the Lord God will say:/ for he shall speak peace unto his people and to his saints, and unto them that turn their heart to him,” as the Psalmist puts it.

Today marks a turning point in the Church Year, a time of transition from one year to the next, a time at once of endings and beginnings. It is captured in the way this Sunday is designated, The Sunday Next Before Advent. Times of transition provide the opportunities and the occasions for renewal; they recall us to the radical nature of our spiritual beginnings, to the radical idea of God’s turning to us. “Turn thou us, O Lord, and so shall we be turned” is our prayer. In a way the whole pattern of the Church Year signaled in the readings of Scripture recall us to the idea of Revelation, God makes something known about himself and about us. Because of that we can begin again.

The lesson from the prophet Jeremiah recalls God’s turning to Israel in exile in Egypt and in Babylon, to the idea of God delivering Israel from bondage and captivity. “The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt” prompts the idea of a greater marvel in the eyes of the prophet, the idea of God delivering “the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all the countries whither I had driven them.” The prophet looks to God to redeem and restore Israel and “they shall dwell in their own land” rather than living as exiles. More than the obvious political overtones that have become such a troubling part of the long twentieth century, there is a profoundly spiritual principle at work here, namely the theme of God’s righteousness as providing the true basis for our dwelling safely as a community. The passage looks to God raising unto David, meaning the house of David, “a righteous Branch,” a King who shall reign and prosper. It is a prophecy about the Messiah, the coming of the anointed one, a prophecy which Christians interpret as fulfilled in Christ and in the inauguration of a new kingdom that is first and foremost spiritual, not political, the idea of dwelling with God in Christ.

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Sermon for the Sunday Next Before Advent, 8:00am service

“Then Jesus turned”

As images go this one is particularly significant. The idea of turning is provocatively before us in the Lesson from Jeremiah and in the Gospel reading from John. The turning is twofold: there is God’s turning to us and there is our turning to God, the turning of our hearts and minds to God. “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people,” as Collect prays.

Today marks a turning point in the Church Year, a time of transition from one year to the next, a time at once of endings and beginnings. It is captured in the way this Sunday is designated, The Sunday Next Before Advent. Times of transition provide the opportunities and the occasions for renewal; they recall us to the radical nature of our spiritual beginnings, to the radical idea of God’s turning to us. “Turn thou us, O Lord, and so shall we be turned” is our prayer. In a way the whole pattern of the Church Year signaled in the readings of Scripture recall us to the idea of Revelation. God makes something known about himself and about us. Because of that we can begin again.

Continue reading