Wednesday, November 14, 2018Samuel Seabury
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Friday, November 16, 2018Margaret of Scotland
Queen of Scotland
O God, who didst call thy servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give her zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, November 17, 2018Hugh of Lincoln
Bishop of Lincoln
O holy God, who didst endow thy servant and bishop Hugh of Lincoln with wise and cheerful boldness, and taught him to commend the discipline of holy life to kings and princes: Grant that we also, rejoicing in the Good News of thy mercy, and fearing nothing but the loss of thee, may be bold to speak the truth in love, in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, November 18, 2018Commitment Sunday
Monday, November 19, 2018
Tuesday, November 20, 2018Edmund
King of East Anglia, Martyr
O God of ineffable mercy, thou didst give grace and fortitude to blessed Edmund the king to triumph over the enemy of his people by nobly dying for thy Name: Bestow on us thy servants, we beseech thee, the shield of faith, wherewith we may withstand the assaults of our ancient enemy; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018William Byrd
Thursday, November 22, 2018THANKSGIVING DAY
Though Thanksgiving is a holiday by annual Presidential proclamation and has developed through the great moments of American history, it is by no means restricted to the blessings of the national, political sphere. It is also deeply personal and profoundly spiritual, rooted in the soil of Holy Scripture and the faith of all believers in God.
Thanksgiving is a powerful, positive disposition of the soul. It is a grace we can receive, a habit we can learn, and a virtue we can acquire. And we can start by counting our blessings. Start off the holiday right: join us at church as we give thanks to God at 11am.
Almighty and gracious Father, we give thee thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Friday, November 23, 2018
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Sunday, November 25, 2018CHRIST THE KING
Fittingly, the church year ends with Jesus "seated at the right hand of God the Father, and he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead." The following week a new chuch year begins with Advent Sunday, which is also a time of great anticipation. The great Advent Procession reaches its climax with the singing of "come thou redeemer of the earth."
And so we end the year waiting for Jesus to come, and we begin the church year waiting for Jesus to come. And all the while, Jesus already is.
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in thy well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Monday, November 26, 2018
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Friday, November 30, 2018SAINT ANDREW
A new church year begins on the Sunday closest to November 30, which is the Feast of Saint Andrew. We sometimes do not celebrate Saint Andrew on November 30 itself, when that date falls on a Sunday, as it does in 2014, in which November 30 is the First Sunday of Advent and we celebrate Saint Andrew on Monday, December 1 instead.
It is interesting that it is Saint Andrew that corresponds to the start of a new church year. Why Andrew?
Perhaps it is because, according to Saint John, Andrew was one of two disciples who followed Jesus after John the Baptist pointed Jesus out by saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." Andrew went and told his brother and brought him to Jesus. This makes Andrew among the first to recongnize that the man named Jesus was not only the Messiah, but, quite shockingly, a Messiah who would be sacrificed for his people.
Perhaps it is because, according to Saint Matthew, Andrew and his brother Peter, both fisherman, were the first to become disciples of Jesus, when he called them to make them "fishers of men." This makes them the first disciples, as well as the first evangelists.
Perhaps it is because, according to Saint John, Andrew was the one who brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus for the feelding of the multitude. This act not only marks Andrew as a faithful servant, but also, along with his recognition of Jesus as the Lamb of God, gives Andrew a central role in the development of what would become the Eucharist.
Andrew is very much at the beginning of discipleship and evangelism. And so as we celebrate his feast day, we also celebrate the beginning of a new church year.
Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Monday, December 3, 2018Francis Xavier
Tuesday, December 4, 2018John of Damascus
d. December 4, 749
Given that Saint Thomas Church is full of images in stone, wood and glass, the church building as we know it could not exist if John of Damascus and others were not successful in arguing against the Iconoclasts.
Lesser Feasts and Fasts (2006) explains his contribution in this way:
John of Damascus was the son of a Christian tax collector for the Mohammedan Caliph of Damascus. At an early age, he succeeded his father in this office. In about 715, he entered the monastery of St. Sabas near Jerusalem. There he devoted himself to an ascetic life and to the study of the Fathers.
In the same year that John was ordained priest, 726, the Byzantine Emperor Leo the Isaurian published his first edict against the Holy Images, which signaled the formal outbreak of the iconoclastic controversy. The edict forbade the veneration of sacred images, or icons, and ordered their destruction. In 729–730, John wrote three “Apologies (or Treatises) against the Iconoclasts and in Defense of the Holy Images.” He argued that such pictures were not idols, for they represented neither false gods nor even the true God in his divine nature; but only saints, or our Lord as man. He further distinguished between the respect, or veneration (proskynesis), that is properly paid to created beings, and the worship (latreia), that is properly given only to God.
The iconoclast case rested, in part, upon the Monophysite heresy, which held that Christ had only one nature, and since that nature was divine, it would be improper to represent him by material substances such as wood and paint. The Monophysite heresy was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
At issue also was the heresy of Manichaeism, which held that matter itself was essentially evil. In both of these heresies, John maintained, the Lord’s incarnation was rejected. The Seventh Ecumenical Council, in 787, decreed that crosses, icons, the book of the Gospels, and other sacred objects were to receive reverence or veneration, expressed by salutations, incense, and lights, because the honor paid to them passed on to that which they represented. True worship (latreia), however, was due to God alone.
John also wrote a great synthesis of theology, The Fount of Knowledge, of which the last part, “On the Orthodox Faith,” is best known.
To Anglicans, John is best known as the author of the Easter hymns, “Thou hallowed chosen morn of praise,” “Come, ye faithful, raise the strain,” and “The day of resurrection.”
At Saint Thomas, we sometimes sing the first one (#198 in the Hymnal 1982) at Evensong during Eastertide, and we often sing the latter two (#200 and #210) on Easter Day.
Confirm our minds, O Lord, in the mysteries of the true faith, set forth with power by thy servant John of Damascus; that we, with him, confessing Jesus to be true God and true Man, and singing the praises of the risen Lord, may, by the power of the resurrection, attain to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018Clement
Thursday, December 6, 2018Nicholas
Bishop of Myra
From the Rector’s Sermon for Christmas Eve 2008:
A few days ago a parishioner sent me the famous editorial from the September 21, 1897 New York Sun, written in response to an eight-year-old girl’s letter, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” which you can find online. “How dreary would the world be,” it says, “if there were no Santa. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.” Indeed.
But if Virginia grew to adulthood and were interested, she could have discovered that behind Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas of Myra, a fourth century bishop in Asia Minor beloved for his care for the poor, for waifs and orphans, and for sailors. Saint Nicholas was one of the bishops who approved the Nicene Creed which we are about to say. So behind him is the Child of Bethlehem, very God of very God who for us came down from heaven. Love really did come down at Christmas.
Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, December 7, 2018Ambrose
Bishop of Milan
Lesser Feasts and Fasts (2006) recounts the life of Ambrose as follows:
Ambrose was the son of a Roman governor in Gaul, and in 373 he himself was governor in Upper Italy. Though brought up in a Christian family, Ambrose had not been baptized. He became involved in the election of a Bishop of Milan only as mediator between the battling factions of Arians and orthodox Christians. The election was important, because the victorious party would control the powerful see of Milan.
Ambrose exhorted the nearly riotous mob to keep the peace and to obey the law. Suddenly both sides raised the cry, “Ambrose shall be our bishop!” He protested, but the people persisted. Hastily baptized, he was ordained bishop on December 7, 373.
Ambrose rapidly won renown as a defender of orthodoxy against Arianism and as a statesman of the Church. He was also a skillful hymnodist. He introduced antiphonal chanting to enrich the liturgy, and wrote straightforward, practical discourses to educate his people in such matters of doctrine as Baptism, the Trinity, the Eucharist, and the Person of Christ. His persuasive preaching was an important factor in the conversion of Augustine of Hippo.
Ambrose did not fear to rebuke emperors, including the hot-headed Theodosius, whom he forced to do public penance for the slaughter of several thousand citizens of Salonika.
About Baptism, Ambrose wrote: “After the font (of baptism), the Holy Spirit is poured on you, ‘the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and godliness, and the spirit of holy fear’” (De Sacramentis 3.8).
A meditation attributed to him includes these words: “Lord Jesus Christ, you are for me medicine when I am sick; you are my strength when I need help; you are life itself when I fear death; you are the way when I long for heaven; you are light when all is dark; you are my food when I need nourishment.”
Among hymns attributed to Ambrose are “The eternal gifts of Christ the King,” “O Splendor of God’s glory bright,” and a series of hymns for the Little Hours.
At Saint Thomas we sing the first one, #234 in the Hymnal 1982, every now and again at Choral Evensong.
O God, who didst give to thy servant Ambrose grace eloquently to proclaim thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday, December 8, 2018Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary