Aidan, Missionary and Bishop

St. Aidan stained glass, St. Oswald's, DeanThe collect for today, the Feast of Saint Aidan (d. 651), Monk of Iona, Missionary, first Bishop and Abbot of Lindisfarne (source):

O loving God, who didst call thy servant Aidan from the Peace of a cloister to re-establish the Christian mission in northern England, and didst endow him with gentleness, simplicity, and strength: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, following his example, may use what thou hast given us for the relief of human need, and may persevere in commending the saving Gospel of our Redeemer Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Epistle: 1 Corinthians 9:16-23
The Gospel: St Matthew 19:27-30

Artwork: Saint Aidan, stained glass, St. Oswald’s Church, Dean, Cumbria. Photograph taken by admin, 7 August 2004.

Beheading of St. John the Baptist

The collect for today, the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

O God, who didst send thy messenger, John the Baptist, to be the forerunner of the Lord, and to glorify thee by his death: Grant that we, who have received the truth of thy most holy Gospel, may bear our witness thereunto, and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lesson: Jeremiah 1:17-19
The Gospel: St. Mark 6:17-29

Caravaggio, Beheading of St. John the BaptistArtwork: Caravaggio, Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, 1608. Oil on canvas, St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Malta.

The Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity

The collect for today, the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

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 Epistle: Galatians 5:25-6:5
The Gospel: St. Luke 17:11-19

San Millan de la Cogolla, Healing Ten LepersArtwork: Our Lord healed the ten Lepers, Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla, Spain.

St. Bartholomew the Apostle

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

O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lesson: Acts 1:10-14
The Gospel: St. Luke 22:24-30

Zoffany, Martyrdom of St. BartholomewThe apostle Bartholomew, named in all three synoptic gospels, is generally identified with Nathanael, who is named only in the Gospel of St. John. (For more details, see here.) If this identification is accepted, we have a great deal of information on Bartholomew’s calling (St. John 1:45-51). Jesus described him as “an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit”.

Nothing is known for certain of his post-New Testament ministry. There are conflicting accounts of his missionary activity in Asia Minor, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Persia, India, and Egypt. Of these, Armenia has the strongest support, where he is said to have been skinned alive before being beheaded. The traditionally accepted place of his martyrdom in Albanopolis (present-day Derbent) near the western shore of the Caspian Sea.

Artwork: Johann Zoffany, Martyrdom of St Bartholomew, 1753. Oil on canvas, Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg.

Sermon for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, Evening Prayer

Fr. David Curry preached this sermon at Old St. Edward’s, Clementsport, at the 95th annual anniversary service in the 219th year of the building.

How readest thou?

It is Jesus’ question and one which sets up the scene for the very familiar parable of the Good Samaritan. It is the Gospel reading at Holy Communion on this day, the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity. How we read the Scriptures goes to the heart of what it means to be the confessing church in a post-Christian age. For Anglicans, classically speaking, the Collect, Epistle and Gospel for each Sunday provide the critical matrix through which to think about the readings in the Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer which in turn shape our actions.

The 17th century poet and priest, George Herbert, for example, made it his goal and practice to teach about how and what we read and why. “The Texts for all his future Sermons”, his biographer, Izaak Walton, tells us, “were constantly taken out of the Gospel for the day; and he did as constantly declare why the Church did appoint that portion of Scripture to be that day read: And in what manner the Collect for every Sunday does refer to the Gospel, or to the Epistle then read to them”, explaining all the things which belong to our liturgy. Why? “That they might pray with understanding” and that it would be shown “that the whole service of the Church, was a reasonable, and therefore an acceptable Sacrifice to God”.

My deep thanks to Fr. Gordon Neish for the privilege and honour of preaching here at Old St. Edward’s, a place redolent with so many memories and associations that belong to the history of the Anglican diocese and, indeed, to the wider witness of the Church in Canada. I would like to dedicate my brief and, no doubt, poor remarks to the memory of Nellie Neish, one who attended so well to Jesus’ question and whose life was itself a parable of the parable of the Good Samaritan in terms of her care and compassion for so many.

The evening prayer lessons speak profoundly to the significance of this holy ecclesiastical place and its purpose. Ezra talks about the Lord moving Cyrus, the King of Persia, a non-Israelite, to be sure, to issue a proclamation directing the rebuilding of the house of the Lord at Jerusalem. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, speaks about the foolishness of God being greater than the wisdom of men; his power and strength being greater than ours. Such is the divine wisdom that belongs to the real purpose and meaning of our churches.

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