George Herbert on his Feast Day 2018: Good Sermons

The country parson preaches constantly, the pulpit is his joy and his throne. The character of his sermons is holiness; he is not witty, or learned, or eloquent, but holy. [Holiness] is gained first, by choosing texts of devotion, not controversy, moving and ravishing texts, of which the scriptures are full. Secondly, by dipping, and seasoning all our words and sentences in our hearts, before they come into our mouths, truly affecting, and cordially expressing all that we say; so that the audience may plainly perceive that every word is heart deep. Thirdly, by turning often, and making many direct addresses to God, as, “O Lord, bless my people, and teach them at this point.”

The Country Parson 1652

George Herbert on his Feast Day 2018: The Priest at Communion

Especially at communion times [the priest] is in a great confusion, as being not only to receive God, but to break, and administer him. Neither finds he any issue in this, but to throw himself down at the throne of grace, saying, “Lord, you know what you did, when you appointed [communion] to be done this way; therefore fulfill what you appointed; for you are not only the feast, but the way to it.

The Country Parson 1652

Herbert was an exemplary Anglican priest, one of my heroes whom I seek to emulate. Notice here the humility in his writing and the continuing emphasis on holiness, in this context Christ’s holiness, not the priest’s. If you are seeking to better understand Anglican eucharistic theology, you can see some glimpses of it here: Christ’s Real Presence in the elements that are not diminished by the sinful nature of the human who is presiding at the Eucharist.

A Prayer for the Feast Day of George Herbert 2018, Anglican Priest Extraordinaire

Our God and King,
who called your servant George Herbert
from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls,
a poet, and a priest in your temple:
Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do,
knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Prayer from George Herbert on his Feast Day 2018 (2)

Lord, who has formed me out of mud, and has redeemed me through your blood, and sanctified me to do good; purge all my sins done heretofore; for I confess my heavy score, and I will strive to sin no more. Enrich my heart, mouth, hands in me, with faith, with hope, with charity; that I may run, rise, rest with thee.

The Temple

A Prayer from George Herbert on his Feast Day 2018 (1)

My God, what is a heart? Silver, or gold, or precious stone, or star, or rainbow, or a part of all these things, or all of them in one? My God, what is a heart, that you should eye it so, and woo, pouring upon it all you are, as if you had nothing else to do? Teach me your love to know; that this new light which now I see, may both the work and the workman show: then be a sunbeam I will climb to thee.

The Temple

George Herbert on his Feast Day 2018: Love

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.

“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here.”
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, the ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord, but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it deserves.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I must serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.

The Temple

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John and Charles Wesley 2017

A day to remember two of my favorite theologians. John especially is one of my personal heroes.

From here:

The Wesley brothers, born in 1703 and 1707, were leaders of the evangelical revival in the Church of England in the eighteenth century. They both attended Oxford University , and there they gathered a few friends with whom they undertook a strict adherence to the worship and discipline of the Book of Common Prayer, from which strict observance they received the nickname, “Methodists.” Having been ordained, they went to the American colony of Georgia in 1735, John as a missionary and Charles as secretary to Governor Oglethorpe. They found the experience disheartening, and returned home in a few years. There, three days apart, they underwent a conversion experience. John, present with a group of Moravians who were reading Martin Luther‘s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, received a strong emotional awareness of the love of Christ displayed in freely forgiving his sins and granting him eternal life. Following this experience, John and Charles, with others, set about to stir up in others a like awareness of and response to the saving love of God. Of the two, John was the more powerful preacher, and averaged 8000 miles of travel a year, mostly on horseback. At the time of his death he was probably the best known and best loved man in England.

Read it all.

Lord God, who inspired your servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and endowed them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in your Church, we entreat you, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known Christ may turn to him and be saved; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thanksgiving for the Methodists in My Life on John and Charles Wesley’s Feast Day 2017

On this feast day of John and Charles Wesley, I am thankful for John Wesley and my Methodist heritage, even though I have returned to the mother Church and am now an Anglican priest. I am especially thankful that God blessed me with Dr. Paul Chiles, Dr. Phil Webb, Rev. Ron Payne, and Rev. Bill Patterson. Each of these men served as ministers in the Methodist churches I attended in Van Wert, Perrysburg, and Toledo, and each had a profound influence on my spiritual development.

And of course I am thankful for my parents who were faithful Methodists all their married lives and who hauled me off to church every Sunday. 🙂

Archbishop Foley Beach: A Call to Prayer for Our Neighbors and Our Nations

Received via email.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As a province that spans Canada, the United States, and Mexico we face unique challenges on issues affecting refugees and immigration. I am thankful for our congregations that are a part of the Anglican Immigrant Initiative. They have taken the lead in caring for those in our communities who are refugees and immigrants, showing the love of Christ to the most vulnerable.

This week, I encourage you to follow their example, and make a special effort to reach out to refugees and immigrants in your local community.  In these divisive times, we have the opportunity to demonstrate a compassion that builds bridges, and overcomes fear.

In our province we also have lawmakers who face a different, but related set of challenging moral issues.  As public servants, they are called to carefully discern how best to respond to the global humanitarian need while also maintaining the appropriate role of government in protecting its citizens. There are no easy answers to how our nations should balance these priorities, and our leaders need your prayers.

In light of the Syrian refugee crisis, changes in US immigration policy, and the way these changes will affect us all, I ask you to join me in prayer.  Please pray for the poor, the refugee, and all immigrant families whose lives are made more complex, and sometimes more desperate by these events.  Please also join me in praying for all those in positions of public trust who seek wisdom in the formation of the laws and policies of our respective governments.

A Collect for Refugees and Immigrants:
Heavenly Father,
from whom every family on earth derives its name,
have mercy on all those who sojourn in this world.
As you sheltered your Son Jesus
who fled from the tyranny of Herod,
so now provide new homes for all those who flee the violence of this age
that they may know the peace of Christ.
Grace your people with hearts of welcome and lives of courage
through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for Government Leaders:
O Lord our Governor, whose glory fills all the world: We commend our nations to your merciful care, that we may be guided by your Providence, and dwell secure in your peace. Grant to Justin, Prime Minister of Canada, Donald, President of the United States, and Enrique, President of Mexico, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do your will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them continually mindful of their calling to serve the people in reverent obedience to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John and Charles Wesley

A day to remember two of my favorite theologians. John especially is one of my personal heroes.

From here:

The Wesley brothers, born in 1703 and 1707, were leaders of the evangelical revival in the Church of England in the eighteenth century. They both attended Oxford University , and there they gathered a few friends with whom they undertook a strict adherence to the worship and discipline of the Book of Common Prayer, from which strict observance they received the nickname, “Methodists.” Having been ordained, they went to the American colony of Georgia in 1735, John as a missionary and Charles as secretary to Governor Oglethorpe. They found the experience disheartening, and returned home in a few years. There, three days apart, they underwent a conversion experience. John, present with a group of Moravians who were reading Martin Luther‘s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, received a strong emotional awareness of the love of Christ displayed in freely forgiving his sins and granting him eternal life. Following this experience, John and Charles, with others, set about to stir up in others a like awareness of and response to the saving love of God. Of the two, John was the more powerful preacher, and averaged 8000 miles of travel a year, mostly on horseback. At the time of his death he was probably the best known and best loved man in England.

Read it all.

Lord God, who inspired your servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctification of souls, and endowed them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in your Church, we entreat you, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known Christ may turn to him and be saved; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

John Wesley’s Aldersgate Experience

John WesleyToday marks the 278th anniversary of Fr. John Wesley’s Aldersgate Experience, in which his heart was “strangely warmed” and which changed the course of the Methodist movement forever. I was a Methodist for the first 50 years of my life and am proud of that heritage. It is a sad testimony to the human condition that Wesley’s followers eventually split from the Church of England. But that does not take away the fact that Wesley and his movement came from the great umbrella that is the Anglican Tradition and we are the better for it.

Wednesday, May 24, [1738]. I think it was about five this morning, that I opened my Testament on those words, “There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be partakers of the divine nature.” ( 2 Peter 1:4.) Just as I went out, I opened it again on those words, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” In the afternoon I was asked to go to St. Paul’s. The anthem was, “Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. O let thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint. If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it? For there is mercy with thee; therefore shalt thou be feared. O Israel, trust in the Lord: For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his sins.” In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. I began to pray with all my might for those who had in a more especial manner despitefully used me and persecuted me. I then testified openly to all there, what I now first felt in my heart. But it was not long before the enemy suggested, “This cannot be faith; for where is thy joy?” Then was I taught, that peace and victory over sin are essential to faith in the Captain of our salvation: But that, as to the transports of joy that usually attend the beginning of it, especially in those who have mourned deeply, God sometimes giveth, sometimes withholdeth them, according to the counsels of his own will. After my return home, I was much buffeted with temptations; but cried out, and they fled away. They returned again and again. I as often lifted up my eyes, and He “sent me help from his holy place.” And herein I found the difference between this and my former state chiefly consisted. I was striving, yea, fighting with all my might under the law, as well as under grace. But then I was sometimes, if not often, conquered; now, I was always conqueror.

—John Wesley, Journal