Category Archives: The Church Year

O Adonai — O Lord of Might

O Adonai – O Lord of might

O Lord of Lords, and ruler of the House of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, and gave him the law on Sinai: come with your outstretched arm and ransom us.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

O Adonai,
et dux domus Israël,
qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty, and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

ERO CRAS — Tomorrow I Come

Emmanuel Rex Oriens Clavis Radix Adonai Sapienta– ERO CRAS. In reverse order, the first letters of these names for our Lord spell ERO CRAS. This is His response to our cry throughout Advent and especially in these last seven days:

Tomorrow, I come.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus come.

What a great way to usher in Christmas with our families. We call out to Christ throughout the season by naming the Old Testament Names by which He is known, and in these very words the Father has given to us, is Christ’s response. Merry Christmas!!

Advent is….

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Advent is the time between memory and anticipation.

EucharistIII

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advent is remembering, watching and waiting for the parousia/παρουσία of Jesus Christ. Come Lord Jesus.

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The Feast of St. Andrew, the First of the Apostles

St. Andrew

The beginning of Advent marks the beginning of the Church Year for the vast majority of Christendom that follows the cycle and seasons of the Church Year centered on the lectionary.  With the beginning of the Church Year, it is fitting that the first Feast day of the year belongs to St. Andrew the Apostle, brother of Simon Peter.

Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist before being called by Jesus.  It is possible that he witnessed the baptism of our Lord in the River Jordan, and was there drawn to the presence of God in the flesh by the witness of the Father and the Spirit.   It was he who brought Peter to see Jesus, and they were later called as the fishermen, to leave their nets, and everything behind to follow Jesus.

Andrew was named one of the twelve Apostles by Christ.  In the lists of the Apostles, he is among the first four mentioned.  Not much is known about his work and mission following Christ’s ascension.  Andrew is generally thought to have died a martyr’s death on an X shaped cross.  Hence, the symbol of St. Andrew is an X shaped cross on a field of blue.   His death is said to have taken place during the reign of Nero on November 30, 60 A. D. in Patras, Geece.

There is some controversy over the remains of St. Andrew.  In 357 A. D., Andrew’s remains were said to have been moved from Patras to the Church of the Apostles in Constantinople, where they remained until the thirteenth century when the French took Constantinople.  Cardinal Capua moved the remains of Andrew to the cathedral of Amalfi in Italy.  The Scots on the other hand claim that the bones of St. Andrew are bones are in Scotland.  In any event, a Greek monk at Patras, St. Regulus, or Rule as he is commonly known, and keeper of the relics of St. Andrew at Patras, is said to have received a vision to move the relics including the bones of St. Andrew to Scotland c. 732.  Another story has the Bishop of Hexham, a collector of relics, removing the bones from Greece to Scotland around the same time.  The church of St. Rule, and eventually the cathedral of St. Andrew were built and were said to have housed the remains of the Apostle until the time of the Reformation when they were said to have been destroyed by Calvinists.  Of course, St. Andrew, Scotland is now famous for its golf course.

All that aside — it makes for a interesting history lesson — what we do know for sure is that Andrew was the first Apostle called by Christ, and the entire Church, both East and West, celebrate the Feast of St. Andrew on November 30 each year.  It is a small symbol of unity that binds the church together at the begining of the Church Year.

Hymn for St. Andrew’s Feast Day

JESUS CALLS US, Mrs. Cecil F. Alexander, 1818–1895

Jesus calls us o’er the tumult of our life’s wild, restless sea;
day by day His sweet voice soundeth, saying, “Christian, follow Me.”

Jesus calls us from the worship of the vain world’s golden store,
from each idol that would keep us, saying, “Christian, love Me more.”

In our joys and in our sorrows, days of toil and hours of ease,
still He calls, in cares and pleasures, “Christian, love Me more than these.”

Jesus calls us: by Thy mercies, Savior, may we hear Thy call,
give our hearts to Thy obedience, serve and love Thee best of all.

Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me. (John 12:26)

The story behind the hymn:

God’s call for discipleship comes to every believer, not just a special few. Whether or not we hear God’s call depends on our spiritual sensitivity.

The last Sunday in November is known as St. Andrew’s Day. It has traditionally been an important day in the liturgical worship of the Anglican church. It commemorates the calling of Andrew by Jesus as recorded in Matthew 4:18–20 and Mark 1:16–l8. “At once they [Simon and his brother Andrew] left their nets and followed Him.” Andrew has become the patron saint of Scotland, and the oblique cross on which tradition says he was crucified is part of the Union Jack of the British flag.

This is another of the quality hymn texts written by Cecil Frances Alexander, recognized as one of England’s finest women hymn writers. It is one of the few of Mrs. Alexander’s hymns not specifically written for children; nearly all of her more than 400 poems and hymn texts were intended for reaching and teaching children with the gospel.

Following her marriage in 1850 to the distinguished churchman, Dr. William Alexander, who later became archbishop for all of Ireland, Mrs. Alexander devoted her literary talents to helping her husband with his ministry, including writing appropriate poems that he could use with his sermons. One fall day, two years after their marriage, Dr. Alexander asked his wife if she could write a poem for a sermon he was planning to preach the following Sunday for his St. Andrew’s Day sermon. The pastor closed his sermon that day with the new poem written by his wife. These words have since been widely used in all churches to challenge God’s people to hear Christ’s call as Andrew did and then to follow, serve, and love Him “best of all.”

From Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (356). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.

Jesus: Our Brother, Our Savior, Our Lord

Yesterday, the Son of Man traded places with the son of the father (bar Abbas) so that we may wear the Father’s robe and live in His kingdom. Tomorrow Jesus does what all the big brothers of Scripture failed to do….  He completes the work God sent Him to do — to seek and to save we who are/were lost — the younger rules over the elder.  And yet Christ is both Adam’s younger brother, both being in the flesh sons of God, and His older brother, being begotten of God before all eternity.  And if you look at the track record of brothers in the Bible, you see the theme of older/younger played out.  Cain killed Abel.  Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah, and chosen by God over Ishmael.  Jacob ruled over Esau, taking his birthright.  Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt.  Yet it was Joseph who saved his brothers from starvation.  And David, Israel’s second and greatest king, was the youngest brother chosen by God over all of his brothers and anointed by Samuel.  Are you starting to see the pattern?

Jesus, the firstborn of the resurrection, came in the flesh to live among us.  God often told His children, “If you obey me and do all the things I have commanded, I will be your  God and you will be my people.  I will come to you and make my dwelling place among you.”  Well, we chased him away through our sin, our idol worship, and self-indulgence.  So He sent His Son, His one and only Begotten Son, to make us His people once again.  He sent our Big Brother after us to drag us out of the bars, brothels, wars, movie theaters, sports arenas, fast boats, fast cars, fast planes, internet, hotels, motels, highways, homes, gutters, jails, pits, darkness, blindness.  He sent Jesus to get us and bring us home.  And Jesus gave up His birthright as the first born from before creation, not counting equality with God something to be grasped, in order to bring us home.  He traded His life for ours, so that we may wear the white robe of righteousness, the robe of children of God, and stand with Him in His kingdom.  And because of the work of Christ, Jesus calls us friends.  He can call us that because He has entrusted to us as part of our inheritance, the work that God gave Him to do.  And so now, because Jesus has overcome death, because He has given us life, we are able to carry out the work of Christ on earth as His hands and feet.

The Gospels do not spend much time at the empty tomb.  In fact, the angels tell the disciples and the women who seek Christ at the tomb, you will not find Him here.  But Jesus always told His disciples to find Him at the Cross, for that is where we truly and finally meet Him.  The empty tomb remains our hope for eternal life, and our symbol of new life.  But it is a life that requires us to be as Jesus, and go after our little brothers and sisters and bring them home.  And we do that by taking up the Cross and bringing Christ to them.

Have a blessed, joyous, happy Easter.  He is Risen!

The Mysteries Hidden in the Gospel of Christmas Eve, Luke 2:1-14

Detail - Glory of the New Born Christ in prese...

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Preached rightly, the Gospel does not change, but is timeless. 486 years later the Word preached should still apply to us today, otherwise it is not the Gospel of God. Below are some excerpts of a sermon preached by Martin Luther on Christmas Eve 1525. Luther addresses the Gospel hidden in the Christmas story, in the shepherds, the manger, the proclamation of Christ to the World from heaven itself. He notes that Christ must be preached in every proclamation of the Gospel — Christ for YOU and for ME, Christ for SINNERS. Christ must become ours and we His before we can take those steps forward in service to our neighbor to do any good work. And no work is good either if it does not benefit my neighbor. This is still the work of Christ, my work that is. For just as Christ serves me, so I serve my neighbor in the same way Christ does, giving everything in service to my neighbor.

May the peace, love, and joy of the Christmas season be yours, in Christ for YOU!

The Mysteries Hidden in the Gospel of Christmas Eve, Luke 2:1-14
Excerpts from the 1525 Christmas Eve Sermon of Martin Luther

Faith – What is to be Believed
Christ For YOU
The first matter is the faith which is truly to be perceived in all the words of God. This faith does not merely consist in believing that this story is true, as it is written. For that does not avail anything, because everyone, even the damned, believe that. Concerning faith, Scripture and God’s word do not teach that it is a natural work, without grace. Rather the faith that is the right one, rich in grace, demanded by God’s word and deed, is that you firmly believe Christ is born for you and that his birth is yours, and come to pass for your benefit. For the Gospel teaches that Christ was born for our sake and that he did everything and suffered all things for our sake, just as the angel says here: “I announce to you a great joy which will come to all people; for to you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord” [Luke 2:10–11]. From these words you see clearly that he was born for us.

He does not simply say: “Christ is born,” but: “for you is he born.” Again, he does not say: “I announce a joy,” but: “to you do I announce a great joy.” Again, this joy will not remain in Christ, but is for all people. A damned or a wicked man does not have this faith, nor can he have it. For the right foundation of all salvation which unites Christ and the believing heart in this manner is that everything they have individually becomes something they hold in common. What is it that they have?

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O Emmanuel — God is With Us

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, hope of the nations and their saviour: come and save us, O Lord our God.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Emmanuel,
Rex et legifer noster,
expectatio gentium,
et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos,
Domine, Deus noster.

O come, o come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O Rex Gentium — King of Nations

O Rex Gentium

O king of the nations, you alone can fulfil their desires: cornerstone, binding all together: come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust of the earth.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Rex Gentium,
et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis,
qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O Oriens — O Morning Star

O morning star, splendour of the light eternal and bright sun of righteousness: come and bring light to those who dwell in darkness and walk in the shadow of death.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae,
et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina
sedentes in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer,
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O Clavis David — O Key of David

O Clavis David – O Key of David

O key of David and scepter of the House of Israel; you open and none can shut; you shut and none can open: come and free the captives from prison, and break down the walls of death.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Clavis David,
et sceptrum domus Israël,
qui aperis, et nemo claudit,
claudis, et nemo aperuit:
veni, et educ vinctum
de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.

O come, thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall Come to thee oh Israel!