Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Baptism of The Lord

The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of his public ministry. This event is recorded in the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John's gospel does not directly describe Jesus' baptism.

Most modern scholars view the fact that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist as an historical event to which a high degree of certainty can be assigned. Along with the crucifixion of Jesus most scholars view it as one of the two historically certain facts about him, and often use it as the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.

The baptism is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus, the others being the Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. Most Christian denominations view the baptism of Jesus as an important event and a basis for the Christian rite of baptism (Acts 19:1-7).

 In Eastern Christianity, Jesus' baptism is commemorated on 6 January, the feast of Epiphany. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Churches and some other Western denominations, it is recalled on a day within the following week, the feast of the baptism of the Lord. In Roman Catholicism, the baptism of Jesus is one of the Luminous Mysteries sometimes added to the Rosary. It is a Trinitarian feast in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.


Propers for the Baptism of Our Lord.

The Collect.

Father in Heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan didst proclaim him thy beloved Son and anoint him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant that they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Saviour; who with thee and the same Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.


The First Lesson - Isaiah 42:1-9


The Psalter - Psalm 29


The Second Lesson - Acts 10:34-43


The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 3:13-17


The First Sunday after the Epiphany

The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people who call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Romans xii. 1.

I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.


The Gospel - St. Luke ii. 41.

NOW his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

The Octave of Epiphany

The Collect

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

**This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.**


The Epistle - Ephesians iii. 1.

FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.


The Gospel - St. Matthew ii. 1.

WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.



Kentigern (Mungo)

Grandson of the British prince Lothus. Hermit. Monk. Missionary to Scotland, beginning at Cathures. Bishop of the Strathclyde Britons in the area of modern Glasgow in 540. He taught and led there for 13 years, living in great austerity. Exiled in 553 during an anti-Christian uprising by local pagans, he fled to Menevia, Wales, where he stayed with Saint David of Wales. He founded a monastery at Llanelwy, and served as its first abbot. He returned to Scotland in 573, evangelizing the areas of Galloway and Cumberland. He returned to Glasgow in 581 and led his people there for his remaining 22 years. Apostle to northwest England and southwest Scotland.

Propers for Mungo(Kentigern) - 13 January - Missionary and Bishop

The Collect.

O GOD, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant Mungo didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Strathclyde and Gwynedd; Grant, we beseech thee, that having his life and labours in remembrance, we may shew forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 1 Thessalonians 2: 2-12.

But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 28: 16-20.

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Kentigern
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-kentigern/
http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/Scotland/Readings_1912.htm

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Octave of Epiphany

The Collect

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

**This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.**


The Epistle - Ephesians iii. 1.

FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.


The Gospel - St. Matthew ii. 1.

WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.



Arcadius of Mauritania

Wealthy and prominent Christian Roman citizen of Mauritania. During a persecution in Mauritania, he withdrew to live as a hidden hermit, prayerful and out of harm's way.

The authorities wanted to use him as an example, and arrested a relative, threatening him with harm unless Arcadius turned himself in. Arcadius came in from the forests and went straight to court to trade himself for his kinsman. The judge said he would release the prisoners only if Arcadius would publicly sacrifice to a pagan god. Arcadius declined and was martyred. As he was mutilated to death, he continued to preach Jesus to the watching pagans.

Propers for Arcadius of Mauretania - 12 January - Hermit and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Arcadius with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm
http://saints.sqpn.com/sainta6u.htm

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Octave of Epiphany

The Collect

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

**This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.**


The Epistle - Ephesians iii. 1.

FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.


The Gospel - St. Matthew ii. 1.

WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.



Mary Slessor

was a missionary, responsible for spreading Christianity in Nigeria and ending many horrific practices among several tribes including infanticide and human sacrifice.

Born in Scotland in 1848, she was the daughter of a shoemaker and the second of seven children. Sadly, only Mary and her sister survived to adulthood. Her father was an alcoholic and was rarely sober, which led Mary to become the families sole bread winner by working in the local cotton mills of Dundee.

After her father's death, Mary returned to persuing her dream of becoming a missionary in Africa and following in the footsteps of David Livingstone the famous Scottish medical missionary....."Dr. Livingstone, I presume?". Mary began her training and a year later she was on her way to Calabar in modern day Nigeria. She lived in a missionary compound for 3 years. Within her first three years, she had come to realize that ministering to the people of Calabar wasn't going to be easy She had personally visited some tribes and people,and quickly grew to know how real their fears of evil spirits are. While she was there,the worst thing that could happen to her happened: malaria. She wanted to go deeper into Calabar,but the malaria forced her to go home and recover. She was in Scotland for 16 months before heading back to Africa.

To her delight,she did not go back to the compound,but 3 miles further into Calabar, to Old Town. With her pale skin,red hair,and blue eyes,it's no doubt she stuck out. It took some time for the villagers to get used to her,but soon they were calling her “ White Ma” (in Swahili it is “nyeupe ma”). In this place, human life wasn't valued much at all,she was finding unwanted babies on her doorsteps. Her cue to save someone was “kukimbia ma! kukimbia!” (Run Ma! Run!). She had even adopted children for herself. She once saved a pair of twins,a boy and a girl,from being killed because twins being born was considered a curse in this culture. But the family had tricked one of the helper girls into letting them “borrow the male child.” Once they had him,they ran off and killed him. Mary was devastated,but took the girl as her “daughter” and called her Janie.

She saved hundreds of twins out of forests,where they were left either to starve to death or get eaten by wild animals and prevented dozens,maybe even hundreds of wars,helped heal the sick,and stopped the practice of determining guilt by making the suspects drink poison. She went to other tribes, spreading the word of Jesus wherever and whenever she could. While in Africa,she received news that her mother and sister had died. She was overcome with loneliness. She wrote,”There is no one to write and tell my stories and nonsense to.” She had also found a sense of writing,”Heaven is now nearer to me then Britain,and no one will worry about me if I go up country.”

In August of 1888, she went up country to Okoyong, an area where missionaries were previously killed, but Mary was sure that her teachings, and the fact that she was a woman, would be less threatening to unreached tribes than male missionaries had been. For 15 years, she stayed with the Okoyong. She was a peacemaker and a nurse. She died when she was 66.


Propers for Mary Slessor - 11 January - Missionary

The Collect.

Almighty God, who willest to be glorified in thy saints, and didst raise up thy servant Mary Slessor to be a light in the world: Shine, we pray thee, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth thy praise, who hast called us out of darkness into thy marvellous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen


The Lesson - Isaiah 49:1-6


The Holy Gospel - St. Luke 10:1-9


+

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Octave of Epiphany

The Collect

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

**This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.**


The Epistle - Ephesians iii. 1.

FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.


The Gospel - St. Matthew ii. 1.

WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.



William Laud


William Laud, born in 1573, was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 to 1645 in the days of King Charles I. It was a turbulent time throughout, one of violent divisions in the Church of England, eventually culminating in the English Civil War.

An example is the surplice controversy. We have all encountered Christians who are opposed to celebrating Christmas on the grounds that (a) the Bible nowhere commands us to celebrate Christmas, and does not mention the 25th of December; and (b) the pagans had a festival in December at which they built fires and feasted and exchanged gifts, from which it follows that those who celebrate Christmas are participating in pagan rites. Similarly, in the late 1500's and early 1600's, there were Christians in England who objected to the garment called the surplice. When participating in the services of Morning and Evening Prayer in Church, clergy, including choir members, normally wore a cassock (a black, floor-length, fairly tight-fitting garment) covered by a surplice (a white, knee-length, fairly loose garment with loose sleeves). The Puritans objected to the surplice (a) as not mentioned in the Bible, and (b) as something that the Roman Catholics had worn before the Reformation, which made it one of the props of idolatrous worship, and marked anyone who wore it as an idolater. Archbishop Laud regarded it as a seemly, dignified, garment, an appropriate response to the Apostle Paul's injunction, "Let all things be done decently and in order." The Puritans thought differently, and violently interrupted services at which the surplice was worn. On one occasion, a group of Puritans broke into an Oxford chapel the night before a service and stole the surplices, which they thrust into a the dung-pit of a privy. Again, a woman marched into Lichfield Cathedral, accompanied by the town clerk and his wife, and ruined the altar hangings with a bucket of pitch.

Under English Law, it was part of Laud's office as Archbishop to maintain order and to punish offences against the peace of the Church. He made it his practice to proceed not only against poor and obscure offenders, but also, perhaps especially, against rich and powerful ones. It is well that men should be equal before the law, but his integrity on this point ultimately cost Laud his life.

Laud was also the prosecutor of record in the trials of those who published seditious or violent and abusive attacks on the doctrine and discipline of the Church, and the Puritans produced an abundance of scurrilous attacks on those who disagreed with them, which were duly punished, with Laud taking the responsibility. When in 1630 (note, before Laud became Archbishop), Alexander Leighton published Zion's Plea Against Prelacy, a violent attack on the Bishops as tools of Antichrist, he was sentenced to be publicly whipped and branded, and to have his ears cut off. He was sixty years old and a Doctor of Divinity, and the sentence aroused great public indignation. (It is not certain that it was actually carried out.)

Laud made enemies chiefly in three ways. (1) He punished those who attacked the Church, both those who vandalized and those who confined themselves to verbal abuse. (2) He upheld various customs in public worship (such as the wearing of the surplice) that were harmless in themselves, but which aroused the suspicion and fury of those whe feared a return to power of Roman Catholicism. (3) He sought the financial independence of the clergy, so that a preacher was not dependent on what support the local squire was pleased to give him. His proposed means to this end was to restore to the Church some of the Church lands that had been seized by Henry VIII and given or sold to various nobles and gentlemen. The proposal never reached the stage of discussion about details, so it was not clear how compensation would be handled, but the mere whisper of such a proposal was enough to make every landholder in the country feel personally threatened.

In 1637 an attempt was made to introduce the Book of Common Prayer into general use in Scotland, and it immediately caused rioting. In February of 1638, Scottish leaders signed the National Covenant, by which they pledged themselves to uphold the Puritan position by force, and by the end of the year they had voted to depose and excommunicate every bishop in Scotland. The unrest spread to England, and in 1640 Laud was arrested on a charge of high treason. He was kept in the Tower for four years, and tried in 1644, at the age of seventy-one. He was found guilty, not because there was any evidence of his guilt, but because the House of Commons was determined that he should die. On the scaffold he prayed: "The Lord receive my soul, and have mercy on me, and bless this kingdom with peace and charity, that there may not be this effusion of Christian blood amongst them."


Propers for William Laud - 10 January - Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr

The Collect.

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like thy servant William Laud, we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:32-39.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Laud
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/01/10.html
http://anglicanhistory.org/laud/

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Octave of Epiphany

The Collect

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

**This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.**


The Epistle - Ephesians iii. 1.

FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.


The Gospel - St. Matthew ii. 1.

WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.



Polyeuktos

lived during the reign of Emperors Decius and Vallerian in 255. He knew well the art of warfare and used to live in the Armenian city of Melitine. He was the first to suffer martyrdom in this city. An impious law was pronounced that ordered Christians to deny Christ. Whoever was not convinced ought to be punished with death. Because of this law the athlete of Christ Polyeuktos, without losing his nerve at all, preached Christ openly and with his great courage and valour he smashed the idols which the Greeks respected.

Although his father-in-law advised him to deny Christ and his wife was crying and lamenting for him, he persevered and neither was he convinced by his father-in-law's advice nor did he sympathize with his wife's wailing. Instead, he kept his promises and what he had agreed with his friend Nearkhos, who was afraid and suspected that he would deny the faith of Christ. So, he stayed firm and would not be moved from the confession of faith. Because of this he died by the sword and rose to heaven.

Propers for Polyeuktos - 9 January - Soldier, Confessor and Martyr


The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Polyeuktos with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.holytrinityorthodox.com/calendar/los/January/09-01.htm
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm
http://www.missionstclare.com/english/people/jan9o.html

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Octave of Epiphany

The Collect

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

**This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.**


The Epistle - Ephesians iii. 1.

FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.


The Gospel - St. Matthew ii. 1.

WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.



The Martyrs of the Ecuador Mission


In the dense rain-forests of Ecuador, on the Pacific side of the Andes Mountains, lives a tribe of Indians who call themselves the Huaorani ("people" in their language, Huao), but whose neighbors have called them the Aucas ("savages" in Quechua). For many generations they have been completely isolated from the outside world, disposed to kill any stranger on sight, and feared even by their head-hunting neighbors, the Jivaro tribe.

In 1955, four missionaries from the United States who were working with the Quechas, Jivaros, and other Indians of the interior of Ecuador became persuaded that they were being called to preach the Gospel to the Huaorani as well.

Nate Saint was 32 years old (born 1923), and devoted to flying. He had taken flying lessons in high school and served in the Air Force in WWII. After the war, he enrolled in Wheaton College to prepare for foreign mission work but dropped out to join the Missionary Aviation Fellowship. With his wife, Marjorie Farris, he established a base at Shell Mera (an abandoned oil exploration camp in Ecuador) in September 1948, and flew short hops to keep missionaries supplied with medicines, mail, etc. Once his plane crashed, but a few weeks later he returned to work in a cast from his neck to his thighs.

The other three, Ed McCully, Jim Elliot, and Peter Fleming, all Plymouth Brethren, came to Ecuador in 1952 to work for CMML (Christian Missions in Many Lands).

Ed McCully was 28 years old (born 1927). He had been a football and track star at Wheaton College and president of his senior class. After Wheaton, he enrolled at Marquette to study law, but dropped out to go to Ecuador. He and his wife, Marilou Hobolth, worked with the Quechuas at Arajuno, a base near the Huaorani. Half a dozen Quechuas had been killed at the base by Huaorani in the previous year.

Jim Elliot was 28 years old (born 1927) and an honors graduate of Wheaton College, where he had been a debater, public speaker, and champion wrestler. In Ecuador, he married Elisabeth Howard. They did paramedic work, tending broken arms, malaria, snakebite. They taught sanitation, wrote books in Quechua, and taught literacy.

Peter Fleming was 27 years old (born 1928), from the University of Washington, an honor student, and a linguist. With his wife, Olive Ainslie, he ran a literacy program among the Quechuas.

Nate and Ed found a Huaorani settlement from the air in late September 1955. Nate made four more flights on Thursday, 29 September, and found a settlement only fifteen minutes from their station. They told Jim and Pete, and the four planned their strategy.

They would keep the project secret from everyone but their wives, to avoid being joined by adventurers and the press, with the chance that someone not dedicated to the mission would start shooting at the first sign of real or imagined danger, and destroy the project.

They had one language resource, a Huaorani girl, Dayuma, who had fled from her tribe years earlier after her family was killed in a dispute. Dayuma, who spoke both Huao and Quechua, was now living with Nate's sister Rachel. From her the missionaries learned enough of the language to get started.

They would fly over the village every Thursday and drop gifts as a means of making contact and establishing a friendly relationship. Eventually they would try for closer contact. Nate had discovered that, if he lowered a bucket on a line from the plane, and flew in tight circles, the bucket remained almost stationary, and could be used to lower objects to the ground. He had devised a mechanism to release the bucket when it touched down.

On Thursday, 6 October, one week after locating the village, they dropped an aluminum kettle into an apparently deserted village. On the next flight, several Huaorani were waiting, and the missionaries dropped a machete. On the third flight, they dropped another machete to a considerably larger crowd. Beginning with the fourth flight, they used a loudspeaker system to call out friendly messages in Huao.

Soon the Huaorani were responding with gifts of their own tied to the line: a woven headband, carved wooden combs, two live parrots, cooked fish, parcels of peanuts, a piece of smoked monkey tail.... They cleared a space near their village and built platforms to make the exchanges easier.

After three months of air-to-ground contact, during which they made far more progress than they had hoped, the missionaries decided that it was time for ground contact. They feared that they could not keep their activities secret much longer, and that delay risked a hostile encounter between the Huaorani and some third party.

They decided that the expedition needed a fifth man, so they brought in Roger Youderian, a 31-year-old (born 1924) former paratrooper who had fought in the Battle of the Bulge (a major German offensive in Belgium in the last stages of WWII) and had been in General Eisenhower's honor guard. Roger and his wife, Barbara Orton, were working with the Jivaros, and Roger was thoroughly at home in the jungle, accustomed to living like the Jivaros and blessed with acute survival instincts.

They located a beach that would serve as a landing strip, about four miles from the village, and decided to go in on Tuesday, 3 January 1956. After some discussion, they decided to carry guns, having heard that the Huaorani never attacked anyone who was carrying a gun, and having resolved that they would, as a last resort, fire the guns into the air to ward off an attack, but would shoot no one, even to save their own lives.

On Tuesday they flew in and made camp, then flew over the village to invite the Huaorani to visit them. The first visitors showed up on Friday: a man, a woman, and a teen-aged girl. They stayed for several hours in apparent friendliness, then left abruptly. On Saturday, no one showed, and when the plane flew over the village, the Huaorani seemed frightened at first, but lost their fright when presents were dropped. On Sunday afternoon, 8 January 1956, at about 3 PM, all five missionaries were speared to death at their camp. A search party the next day found no signs of a struggle, and the lookout who was to be stationed in a tree-house overlooking the camp at ground level had come down, so it appeared that the meeting had originally seemed friendly, and that the attack had been a surprise. Ed McCully's body was seen and identified, but was swept away by the river and not recovered. The other four, at the request of their wives, were buried at the site of the camp where they had died. Besides their wives, they left behind a total of nine children.

The effort to reach the Huaorani was not abandoned but rather intensified. Within three weeks, Johnny Keenan, another pilot of the Ecuador Mission, was continuing the flights over the Huaorani village. More than twenty fliers from the United States promptly applied to take Nate's place. More than 1000 college students volunteered for foreign missions in direct response to the story of the Five Martyrs. In Ecuador, Indian attendance at mission schools and church services reached record levels, and the number of conversions skyrocketed. A Jivaro undertook to go at once to another Jivaro tribe that had been at war with his own tribe for years, bearing the Christian message, and his visit brought peace between the two tribes. Truly, as Tertullian said 1800 years ago, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

In less than three years, Rachel Saint (sister of Nate Saint) and Elisabeth Elliot (widow of Jim Elliot) had not only renewed contact but had established permanent residence in a Huaorani settlement, where they practiced basic medicine and began the process of developing a written form of the language.

Nine years after the murder of the five missionaries, two of those who had killed Nate Saint and his companions baptized two of Nate's children, Kathy and Stephen Saint. In June 1995, at the request of the Huaorani, Nate's son Stephen moved to the settlement with his wife, Ginny, and their four children, to assist the Huaorani in developing greater internal leadership for a church committed to meeting the medical, economic, and social needs of their own people as a means of showing them God's love and his desire to provide for their eternal needs as well.

Why did the Huaorani suddenly turn hostile? Much later, one of the Huaorani who had helped to kill the five martyrs explained that the tribe, who had had almost no contact with outsiders that did not involve killing or attempted killing on one side or another, wondered why the whites wanted to make contact with them; and while they wanted to believe that their visitors were friendly, they feared a trap. After the killings, they realized their mistake. When they were attacked, one of the missionaries fired two shots as warnings, and one shot grazed a Huaorani who was hiding in the brush, unknown to the missionaries. It was therefore clear that the visitors had weapons, were capable of killing, and had chosen not to do so. Thus, the Huaorani realized that the visitors were indeed their friends, willing to die for them if necessary. When in subsequent months they heard the message that the Son of God had come down from heaven to reconcile men with God, and to die in order to bring about that reconciliation, they recognized that the message of the missionaries was the basis of what they had seen enacted in the lives of the missionaries. They believed the Gospel preached because they had seen the Gospel lived.

The Martyrs of the Ecuador Mission - 8 January


The Collect.

Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servants Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian to be witnesses and martyrs to the Huaorani peoples in the rain forests of Ecuador, and by their labors and suffering didst raise up a people for thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many, thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and
said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God; now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God,. thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless. as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings. for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye-shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause-them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall! be saved.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/01/08.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Auca

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Octave of Epiphany

The Collect

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

**This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.**


The Epistle - Ephesians iii. 1.

FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.


The Gospel - St. Matthew ii. 1.

WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.



Lucian of Beauvais


Lucian lived in Rome, and his pagan name was Lucius. He was converted to Christ by the Apostle Peter, and was baptized. After Saint Peter’s death, Saint Lucian preached the Gospel in Italy. Saint Dionysius the Areopagite (October 3), a disciple of Saint Paul, arrived in Rome at this time. At the request of Saint Clement, Pope of Rome (November 25), he agreed to preach the Gospel in the West, and gathered companions and helpers for this task. Saint Clement consecrated Saint Lucian a bishop, then sent him off with Saint Dionysius, Saints Marcellinus and Saturninus, the Presbyter Maximian, and the Deacon Julian.

The holy preachers sailed from Italy to Gaul (modern France). Saint Marcellinus and those accompanying him continued on to Spain. Saint Saturninus went to Gaul, and Saint Dionysius and the others went to the region of Paris. From there Saint Lucian went to Belgium with Maximian and Julian.

Saint Lucian’s preaching was very successful. By the power of his words and the example of his life, he converted a large number of pagans to Christianity. Saint Lucian was a strict ascetic, and all day long he ate only a morsel of bread and some water. Towards the converted he was kindly, always joyful and cheerful of face. Soon almost all the settlements of Belgium were converted to Christ.

During this period, the Roman emperor Dometian (81-96) initiated a second persecution against Christians (after that of Nero, 54-68), and he issued an edict prescribing torture and execution for anyone who refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods.

Three officials were sent to Belgium to carry out the edict. The Lord revealed to Saint Lucian the ordeal facing him. He gathered the flock together, urging them not to fear threats, tortures or death, and then he gave thanks to God for granting him the possibility of joining the company of the holy martyrs. After praying, Saint Lucian and the priest Maximian and Deacon Julian withdrew to the summit of a hill, where he continued to teach the people who came with him.

Here the soldiers of the emperor came upon the saints and led them away for trial. Saints Maximian and Julian were urged to renounce Christ and offer sacrifice to idols, but both refused and were beheaded.

Then the judge began to interrogate Saint Lucian, accusing him of sorcery and disobedience to the emperor and Senate. The saint replied that he was not a sorcerer, but rather a servant of the true God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he refused to offer sacrifice to idols made by human hands.

The saint was subjected to fierce beatings, during which he repeated, “Never will I cease to praise Christ, the Son of God, in my heart, and with my lips.” Then the holy martyr was beheaded. A heavenly light shone over his body, and the Voice of the Savior was heard, summoning the valiant sufferer into the heavenly Kingdom to receive the martyr’s crown. By the power of God the saint stood up, picked up his severed head, and crossed over the river. Reaching the burial spot he had chosen, he lay down upon the ground and reposed in peace.

Because of this great miracle about 500 pagans were converted to Christ. Later, a church was built over Saint Lucian’s grave, to which the relics of the martyrs Maximian and Julian were transferred.


Lucian of Beauvais - 7 January - Missionary, Bishop, and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyrs Lucian, Julian and Maximian with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


Reference and Resources:

http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-lucian-of-beauvais/
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucian_of_Beauvais

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Feast of the Epiphany


"Epiphany" means "manifestation." The full title of this feast that begins a new season of the Church Year is, "The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles." The Epiphany season, which extends from January 6th through Shrove Tuesday, highlights various occasions when Jesus was manifested to both Jews and Gentiles. To begin with, we will focus on the very first manifestation to the Gentiles, when wise men from the East came to visit the infant Child in Bethlehem.

Tradition says that there were three wise men, or "magi," who came from the East, following a star and seeking the newborn King of the Jews. In fact, St. Matthew says nothing about the number of visitors. The number three seems to derive from the gifts they brought, which were three in number: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The wise men are also called "kings" because of a reference in the Psalms: The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall give presents; the kings of Arabia and Saba shall bring gifts. (Ps. 72:10)  In the course of time, they acquired names. In the West they became known as Caspar (or Gaspard or Jasper), Melchior, and Balthazar, and other Christian traditions have also found names for them. While much has been written about who they were and what prompted them to make the journey to see Jesus, all of that seems to us to miss the point. Whether there were three of them or a hundred and three, and whether we know their names or not, the story of their journey is not about them, for their principal role is to point to Jesus, to make others aware of him, and who he is. Even they do not fully understand this. On the one hand, they bring gifts of mystical meaning that manifest the character and saving work of Jesus. On the other hand, in their desire to fulfill their quest, they seem oblivious to the potentially dangerous consequences of their very public inquiries. By alerting the jealous King Herod to the birth of a rival king, they place the life of Jesus and of every other innocent young boy of Bethlehem in jeopardy. In the end, Jesus escapes the wrath of the tyrant, but the other boys do not. Nevertheless, the wise men have a role to play, and this they do. Thanks to them, from the very beginning of the story we know that, no matter how humble his apparent origins, this Jesus is no local hero, but the universal Savior, destined to be known and worshiped throughout the world, and to bring salvation to all people.

The Feast of the Epiphany - 6 January


The Collect

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

**This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.**


The Epistle - Ephesians iii. 1.

FOR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.


The Gospel - St. Matthew ii. 1.

WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Epiphany

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Bisadi

On this day, Saint Bisadi, the Bishop of "Ebsay", was martyred. When Emperor Diocletian heard that Anba Bisadi and Anba "Ghellanicus" were confirming the Christians in the faith and hampering the worship of idols, he sent to bring them before him. Anba Bisadi asked the messenger to give him a chance for one night. He went to the church and called his people and celebrated the divine liturgy and administered to them the Holy Communion.

He commanded them to be firm in their faith, then he bade them farewell and submitted himself to the Lord. He went with the messenger to Arianus, the Governor of Ansena, and when the latter saw his illumined face and his reverence, he had compassion upon him and said, "You are a man of great dignity and you should have pity upon yourself and obey the command of the Emperor." Anba Bisadi answered and said, "It is impossible for me to replace the kingdom of heaven with this temporal life."

After a lengthy negotiation with him, the Governor ordered Bisadi to be tortured and then thrown in a very hot water bath. The Governor then ordered him beheaded. Thus, he received the crown of life in the kingdom of heaven.

St. Bisadi - 5 January - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Bisadi with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God; now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God,. thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless. as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings. for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye-shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause-them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall! be saved.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.missionstclare.com/english/people/jan5o.html

The Prophet Micah

Micah (Hebrew: מִיכָה הַמֹּרַשְׁתִּי mīkhā hammōrashtī “Micah the Morashtite”) was a prophet in Judaism who prophesied from approximately 737 to 696 BC in Judah and is the author of the Book of Micah. He is considered one of the twelve minor prophets of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah, Amos and Hosea. Micah was from Moresheth-Gath, in south-west Judah. He prophesied during the reigns of kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah. Micah’s messages were directed chiefly toward Jerusalem. He prophesied the future destruction of Jerusalem and Samaria, the destruction and then future restoration of the Judean state, and he rebuked the people of Judah for dishonesty and idolatry. His prophecy that the Messiah would be born in the town of Bethlehem is cited in the Gospel of Matthew. Information about the end of his life is not known.


The Prophet Micah - 5 January


The Collect

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and hast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of thy Saints, and especially of thy servant Micah, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we with them attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Lesson - Micah 6:7-9

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.


The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 10:32-36

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.


+

Friday, January 4, 2019

Theagenes

Was a Christian Roman soldier conscripted in Phrygia during the reign of Emperor Licinius.

When ordered to make sacrifice to pagan idols Theagenes refused, he was staked to the ground and beaten which did not change his position or faithfulness to Christ. He was then drawn to four columns in the city of Parium's market for exposure and public display and ridicule, this also had no effect upon his loyalty to the Triune God.

After the previous attempts had failed to break or kill him, the tribune Zelicinthius had him taken to the jail and stretched upon a rack, again Theagenes remained faithful. He was then placed in a cell and the door sealed to be tortured by starvation. Having resisted all tortures the Emperor ordered that Theagenes be cast into the sea.

When the ship arrived at the place of execution Theagenes was granted permission to pray and did so at length. When finished he turned to them and said, "Brothers, carry out your command without fear and returning to the city in peace, believe in the Lord with your whole heart, and receive eternal life." When he had said these things, and signed himself thrice, they threw him into the sea. Three days later his body was recovered by local Christians and buried on the estate of Adamantius.


Theagenes - 4 January - Confessor and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY GOD, by whom the confessions of thy blessed martyr Theagenes might make others more steadfast in the faith and impel unbelievers and those in two minds about the Word to believe; grant that we may show the same constancy in faith even unto mortality, this we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Hope, who together with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9.

REJOICE in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.


The Gospel - St. John 18:33-37.

THEN Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end ; was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.ucc.ie/milmart/BHG2416.html
http://www.ucc.ie/milmart/BHL8106.html
http://www.ucc.ie/milmart/BHL8107.html

+

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Gladys Aylward


(Chinese name: 艾偉德, pinyin: Ai.wei.de) (February 24, 1902–January 3, 1970) was the Christian missionary to China whose story was told in the book The Small Woman by Alan Burgess, published in 1957. In 1958, the story was made into the Hollywood film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman.

Gladys Aylward was born in London in 1904 (or a few years earlier). She worked for several years as a parlor maid, and then attended a revival meeting at which the preacher spoke of dedicating one's life to the service of God. Gladys responded to the message, and soon after became convinced that she was called to preach the Gospel in China. At the age of 26, she became a probationer at the China Inland Mission Center in London, but failed to pass the examinations. She worked at other jobs and saved her money. Then she heard of a 73-year-old missionary, Mrs. Jeannie Lawson, who was looking for a younger woman to carry on her work. Gladys wrote to Mrs. Lawson and was accepted if she could get to China.

Gladys practiced her Chinese for hours each day, and was becoming fluent and comfortable with it. Then Mrs. Lawson suffered a severe fall, and died a few days later. Gladys Aylward was left to run the mission alone, with the aid of one Chinese Christian, Yang, the cook.

For a time she served as an assistant to the Chinese government as a "foot inspector" by touring the countryside to enforce the new law against foot-binding young Chinese girls. She met with much success in a field that had produced much resistance, including sometimes violence against the inspectors.

Then the war came. In the spring of 1938, Japanese planes bombed the city of Yangcheng, killing many and causing the survivors to flee into the mountains. Five days later, the Japanese Army occupied Yangcheng, then left, then came again, then left. The Mandarin gathered the survivors and told them to retreat into the mountains for the duration. He also announced that he was impressed by the life of Ai-weh-deh and wished to make her faith his own.

Aylward determined to flee to the government orphanage at Sian, bringing with her the children she had accumulated, about 100 in number. (An additional 100 had gone ahead earlier with a colleague.) With the children in tow, she walked for twelve days. Some nights they found shelter with friendly hosts. Some nights they spent unprotected on the mountainsides. On the twelfth day, they arrived at the Yellow River, with no way to cross it. All boat traffic had stopped, and all civilian boats had been seized to keep them out of the hands of the Japanese. The children wanted to know, "Why don't we cross?" She said, "There are no boats." They said, "God can do anything. Ask Him to get us across." They all knelt and prayed. Then they sang. A Chinese officer with a patrol heard the singing and rode up. He heard their story and said, "I think I can get you a boat." They crossed, and after a few more difficulties Ai-weh-deh delivered her charges into competent hands at Sian, and then promptly collapsed with typhus fever and sank into delirium for several days.

She remained in China after World War II, later moving back to England. Later still, she decided to return to China, but was denied re-entry by the Communist Chinese government and settled in Taiwan in 1953.

She died on January 3, 1970, and is buried in a small cemetery on the campus of Christ's College in Guandu, Taipei County, Taiwan.


Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Gladys Aylward, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the people of China. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that thy Church may make proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/01/03.html
http://www.missionstclare.com/english/people/jan3.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Aylward