Calendar

Theology Events

Sunday, May 1, 2016

THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

The Sixth Sunday of Easter is often called Rogation Sunday, as it precedes the three rogation days that always fall on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Day. You'll notice hints of prepartion for the rogation days in the morning services today, when at times there is an emphasis on God our creator and provider. For example, pay attention to the words of the psalm and the hymns. See also the words of the collect, which, through petition and gratitude, approaches God as the provider of all things.

Among the sermons in the archive that can help you understand God as creator and provider, consider these:

The Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth (2011) by Fr Spurlock
On Providence (2010) by Fr Austin
Bread and Life, Freedom and Friendship (2009) by Fr Austin
All Ours as Gift (2008) by Fr Austin
Food in the Wilderness (2003) by Fr Mead

Collect:

O God, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding: Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee in all things and above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

10:00 am – 10:45 am, 5th Floor, Parish House
In these final Sunday theology classes, Father Austin returns to the beginning of the Bible. He will be looking particularly at questions of rule and animals, and our relations one to another.

Monday, May 2, 2016

SAINT PHILIP & SAINT JAMES

Collect:

Almighty God, who didst give to thine apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

12:40 pm – 1:20 pm, Living Room, Parish House
In his final Sunday theology class, Father Austin returns to the beginning of the Bible. This class will draw out some fundamental insights of the book of Genesis. This is a repeat of the Sunday class.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rogation Tuesday

To learn about Rogation Days, consider listening to this Rector's Weekly Message from 2011.

That we should remember to be thankful for, and good stewards of, the earth on these three days before Ascension Day makes a good deal of sense. After all, on Ascension Day we commemorate Christ's ascent to the right hand of the Father, thereby leaving us to go forth throughout the world, and (among other things) to care for the world.

So Rogation Days remind us of our placement in time and space, and prepare us for the physical absence of Christ, who will come again, but who for the present moment is not with us in the way he once was. He has sent the Comforter to guide us in our work, and Christ remains with in the Eucharist, and the Father provides all we need (and the Father and Christ remain accessible to us through prayer). Yet, the work we have been given is for us to do, and this work is very much tied to our lives as physical creatures in time and space. Therefore, by reminding us of our earthly responsibilities, Ascension Day, and these Rogation Days leading up to Ascension Day, ground us.

Collect:

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with thy people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsive to thy
will; and give to us all a pride in what we do, and a just return for our labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Andrew Hall, Parish House
Topic for this session: Christian Hope: Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven – Mary and the Communion of Saints.

Friday, May 6, 2016

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm, Living Room, Parish House
Father Spurlock offers a straight-forward Bible study.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

The Seventh Sunday of Easter is also called The Sunday after Ascension Day. Because Ascension Day is always the 40th Day of Easter and Pentecost is always the 50th Day, The Sunday after Ascension Day is always the Sunday preceding the Day of Pentecost.

These last 10 days of Easter are called Ascensiontide, the period of time after Christ ascended to the Father, yet before the coming of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. To the contemporaries of Christ, it was therefore a time of waiting.

Collect:

O God, the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven: We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless, but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Savior Christ is gone before; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

10:00 am – 10:45 am, 5th Floor, Parish House
In these final Sunday theology classes, Father Austin returns to the beginning of the Bible. He will be looking particularly at questions of rule and animals, and our relations one to another.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Gregory of Nazianzus

Bishop of Constantinople
d.389

Lesser Feasts and Fasts summarizes the life of this great theologian as follows:

Gregory of Nazianzus, one of the Cappadocian Fathers, loved God, the art of letters, and the human race — in that order. He was born about 330 in Nazianzus in Cappadocia (now Turkey), the son of a local bishop. He studied rhetoric in Athens with his friend Basil of Caesarea, and Julian, later to be the apostate emperor. Gregory, together with Basil, compiled an anthology of Origen’s works, The Philokalia. Two years later, he returned to his home, a town then rent by heresies and schism. His defense of his father’s orthodoxy in the face of a violent mob brought peace to the town and prominence to Gregory.

In 361, against his will, Gregory was ordained presbyter, and settled down to live an austere, priestly life. He was not to have peace for long. Basil, in his fight against the Arian Emperor Valens, compelled Gregory to become Bishop of Sasima. According to Gregory, it was “a detestable little place without water or grass or any mark of civilization.” He felt, he said, like “a bone flung to the dogs.” His friendship with Basil suffered a severe break. 

Deaths in his family, and that of his estranged friend Basil, brought Gregory himself to the point of death. He withdrew for healing. In 379, Gregory moved to Constantinople, a new man and no longer in despair. He appeared as one afire with the love of God. His fame as a theologian rests on five sermons he delivered during this period on the doctrine of the Trinity. They are marked by clarity, strength, and a charming gaiety.

The next year, the new Emperor Theodosius entered Constantinople, and expelled its Arian bishop and clergy. Then, on a rainy day, the crowds in the Great Church of Hagia Sophia acclaimed Gregory bishop, after a ray of sunlight suddenly shone on him. 

Power and position meant nothing to Gregory. After the Ecumenical Council of 381, he retired to Nazianzus where he died in 389. Among the Fathers of the Church, he alone is known as “The Divine,” “The Theologian.”

Collect:

Almighty God, who hast revealed to thy Church thine eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like thy bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of thee, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

12:40 pm – 1:20 pm, Living Room, Parish House
In these final Sunday theology classes, Father Austin returns to the beginning of the Bible. He will be looking particularly at questions of rule and animals, and our relations one to another.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Andrew Hall, Parish House
This is the final session of this course. The topic is: Prayer and Spirituality in the Christian Tradition.

Friday, May 13, 2016

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm, Living Room, Parish House
Father Spurlock offers a straight-forward Bible study.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

THE DAY OF PENTECOST (WHITSUNDAY)

Today we mark the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Comforter, an arrival which (2,000 years ago) transformed fearful and self-conscious men and women into fearless and selfless evangelists for Christ. Pentecost is, in many ways, the birthday of the Church. But it is not merely that. It is the acknowledgement and celebration of the on-going action of God in our lives, through the Spirit.

To gain a richer understanding, consider these sermons:

I Believe in the Holy Ghost (2011) by Fr Daniels
A Sermon for the Day of Pentecost (2010) by John Polkinghorne
The Holy Spirit Gives us a Future (2010) by Fr Austin
From Pentecost to Pop Hale to Fifth Avenue (2009) by Fr Mead
Three Points about Pentecost (2008) by Fr Mead
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, There is Freedom (2006) by Fr Austin

Collect:

O God, who on this day didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

10:00 am – 10:45 am, 5th Floor, Parish House
In these final Sunday theology classes, Father Austin returns to the beginning of the Bible. He will be looking particularly at questions of rule and animals, and our relations one to another.

Monday, May 16, 2016

First Book of Common Prayer

Lesser Feasts and Fasts recounts the history of the Prayer Book in this way:

The first Book of Common Prayer came into use on the Day of  Pentecost, June 9, 1549, in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth. From it have descended all subsequent editions and revisions of the Book in the Churches of the Anglican Communion. 

Though prepared by a commission of learned bishops and priests, the format, substance, and style of the Prayer Book were primarily the work of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1533-1556. The principal sources  employed in its compilation were the medieval Latin service books of the Use of Sarum (Salisbury), with enrichments from the Greek liturgies, certain ancient Gallican rites, the vernacular German forms prepared by Luther, and a revised Latin liturgy of the reforming Archbishop Hermann of Cologne. The Psalter and other biblical passages were drawn from the English “Great Bible” authorized by King Henry the Eighth in 1539, and the Litany was taken from the English form issued as early as 1544.

The originality of the Prayer Book, apart from the felicitous translations and paraphrases of the old Latin forms, lay in its simplification of the complicated liturgical usages of the medieval Church, so that it was suitable for use by the laity as well as by the clergy. The Book thus became both a manual of common worship for Anglicans and a primary resource for their personal spirituality.

At Saint Thomas, all Eucharists utilize the 1979 Prayer Book, either Rite I or Rite II, depending on the service. The relevant words are printed on service cards so that worshippers may fully participate. We keep 1928 Prayer Books in the pews because the Daily Office (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Evensong) are carried out according to 1928 language, and also because the Psalter in the 1928 Prayer Book is close to the language of the Coverdale Psalter used by the Choir.

Collect:

Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, did restore the language of the people in the prayers of thy Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

12:40 pm – 1:20 pm, Living Room, Parish House
In these final Sunday theology classes, Father Austin returns to the beginning of the Bible. He will be looking particularly at questions of rule and animals, and our relations one to another.
6:15 pm – 7:45 pm, Andrew Hall, Parish House
Fr Austin guides this discussion of a classic by Samuel Langhorne Clemens (otherwise known as Mark Twain).

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ember Friday

A series of three Ember Days (on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) are observed four times a year:

(1) following the Third Sunday of Advent
(2) following the First Sunday in Lent
(3) following the Day of Pentecost (Whitsunday)
(4) following Holy Cross Day

A major feast day overrides an Ember Day if they fall on the same day.

Ember Days, traditionally seasonal days of fasting and prayer, became over time associated with ordination of clergy and with prayer for the Church.

Collect:

O God, who didst lead thy holy apostles to ordain ministers in every place: Grant that thy Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may choose suitable persons for the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and may uphold them in their work for the extension of thy kingdom; through him who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm, Living Room, Parish House
Father Spurlock offers a straight-forward Bible study.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

TRINITY SUNDAY

Trinity Sunday fittingly comes one week after the Day of Pentecost, which marked the arrival of the Holy Spirit, who, in the words of the Nicene Creed, "proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified..."

It is actually the Athanasian Creed, not the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed, which most aggressively affirms the nature of the Trinity. We never say the Athanasian Creed in church, but yet it can be found in the 1979 Prayer Book on page 864 in the historical documents section. Here is the portion pertaining to the nature of the Trinity:

And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.

The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.

And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be both God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another; but the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

If you struggle with this doctrine, you're not alone: it took the Church several centuries to clarify its teaching on the nature of the Trinity. These sermons may be of help also:

The Athanasian Creed (2010) by Fr Mead
Love is All You Need (2009) by Fr Mead
The Strong Name of the Trinity (2008) by Fr Mead
The Trinity: The God of Jesus (2007) by Fr Mead
The Trinity is Our Story (2005) by Fr Austin
Three Persons in One God (2003) by Fr Mead
The Holy Trinity (2002) by Fr Mead

Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity: We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see thee in thy one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

10:00 am – 10:45 am, 5th Floor, Parish House
In these final Sunday theology classes, Father Austin returns to the beginning of the Bible. He will be looking particularly at questions of rule and animals, and our relations one to another.

Monday, May 23, 2016

12:40 pm – 1:20 pm, Living Room, Parish House
In these final Sunday theology classes, Father Austin returns to the beginning of the Bible. He will be looking particularly at questions of rule and animals, and our relations one to another.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bede the Venerable

Priest and Monk of Jarrow
d. 735

Lesser Feasts and Fasts describes Bede in this way:

At the age of seven, Bede’s parents brought him to the nearby monastery at Jarrow (near Durham in northeast England) for his education. There, as he later wrote, “spending all the remaining time of my life. . . I wholly applied myself to the study of Scripture, and amidst the observance of regular discipline, and the daily care of singing in the church, I always took delight in learning, teaching, and writing.”

Bede was ordained deacon at nineteen, and presbyter at thirty. He died on the eve of the Ascension while dictating a vernacular translation of the Gospel according to John. About 1020 his body was removed to Durham, and placed in the Galilee, the Lady Chapel at the west end of the Cathedral nave.

Bede was the greatest scholar of his time in the Western Church. He wrote commentaries on the Scriptures based on patristic interpretations.

His treatise on chronology was standard for a long time. He also wrote on orthography, poetic meter, and especially on history. His most famous work, The Ecclesiastical History of England, written in Latin, remains the primary source for the period 597 to 731, when Anglo-Saxon culture developed and Christianity triumphed. In this work, Bede was clearly ahead of his time. He consulted many documents, carefully evaluated their reliability, and cited his sources. His interpretations were balanced and judicious. He also wrote the History of the Abbots (of Wearmouth and Jarrow), and a notable biography of Cuthbert, both in prose and verse.

His character shines through his work — an exemplary monk, an ardent Christian, devoted scholar, and a man of pure and winsome manners. He received the unusual title of Venerable more than a century after his death. According to one legend, the monk writing the inscription for his tomb was at a loss for a word to fill out the couplet:

Hac sunt in fossa
Bedae — blank — ossa
(This grave contains
the — blank — Bede’s remains)
That night an angel filled in the blank: Venerabilis.

Collect:

Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship; Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

6:30 pm, Saint Thomas Church
Victor Lee Austin, Theologian-in-residence at Saint Thomas since 2005, will reflect on the process of writing a theological memoir concerning his late wife, Susan.

Friday, May 27, 2016

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm, Living Room, Parish House
Father Spurlock offers a straight-forward Bible study.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

CORPUS CHRISTI

Corpus Christi is Latin for "the body of Christ." In a sense, therefore, every Eucharist is a commemoration of the feast of Corpus Christi and, at Saint Thomas, we have nearly one thousand celebrations of the Eucharist each year. But on this particular Sunday we take the time to contemplate the holy mysteries in depth, to dig deep in heart and mind as we attempt to understand what it is we are doing when we go to the altar rail to receive the Blessed Sacrament.

Of course, during Holy Week, on Maundy Thursday, we commemorate the institution of the Eucharist by our Lord. Yet, because Holy Week is full of so much activity surrounding our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, it is appropriate that we set aside a time later in the year to return to ponder this most intimate and yet ubiquitous of sacraments. The feast day itself actually falls on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday. However at Saint Thomas we celebrate it on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday so that the maximum number of people can participate.
It is not by accident that this day falls after Easter Day, Ascension Day, the Day of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. The risen Lord has ascended into heaven. He has sent his Spirit, and this same Spirit consecrates the bread and wine that is received by the gathered Christian community. As Saint Augustine is reported to have said at the presentation of these Eucharistic elements, "Behold what you are, and become what you receive: the Body of Christ."

Collect:

God our Father, whose Son our Lord Jesus Christ in a wonderful Sacrament hath left unto us a memorial of his passion: Grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of his Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of his redemption; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

10:00 am – 10:45 am, 5th Floor, Parish House
In his final Sunday theology class, Father Austin returns to the beginning of the Bible. This class will draw out some fundamental insights of the book of Genesis.