Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.Can you imagine Jesus asking the thief on the next cross to pray this prayer? Can you imagine Jesus asking the Samaritan woman at the well to pray this prayer? Would he even have suggested it to savvy Nicodemus? Would he have asked it of any of his disciples? “No!” to all of the above. Would he ask Christians today to pray it? What do you think? This prayer is designed to promote an institutional decision made almost 400 years into the Christian era, when the doctrine of the Trinity became official for much of Christendom. I have no problem with the doctrine, and to the extent that I understand it, I believe in it. I grieve that the doctrine has for centuries been a major distraction from the work of ministry which God has assigned to us, work defined in today‘s gospel text, tempered with Saint‘s injunction in the epistle. It makes good sense to maintain an institution well. Given the huge battles -- whether we like them or not -- that did arise, and still potentially divide us, we Trinitarian Christians have something at stake in the institutional endorsement of the doctrine. I am not ready to go to war with Unitarians, however, nor with other groups for whom the doctrine is merely a nice antique. I view the Trinity as a handy metaphor for how God manifests God's self in different guises. God will go on doing that whether or not we formalize God’s behavior as an official doctrine. Note: the authors of this collect would have us "worship the Unity." That's different from worshiping the doctrine itself. They also took care to write “by the confession of a true faith” rather than “by the confession of The True Faith.” For such wiggle room! I am grateful, not for myself, but for those who feel they need it. Genesis 1:1-2:4a Where did you come from? Who were your parents? Who were their parents and who were their parents' parents?... How did we get here as human beings? How did all living creatures have life? Whence come all inanimate things? Does the Genesis narrative trump or otherwise negate in any way what science has to say about the world’s origins or the origin of the species thereon? Many of us asked these questions less inhibitedly when we were children. The author of Genesis gives a set of answer through the creation narrative. Similar narrative proliferated the ancient world. Likely the Israelites first heard this narrative while they were captives in Babylonia and adopted it and adapted it in accord with their own understandings. Try forgetting this familiar creation narrative and write your own. Will God be a part of your narrative? Will you give to male human beings the supremacy explicit and implicit in this narrative? Do you have any changes you would like to see to the human body?
- An eye in the back of the head, for example?
- Androgyny for everyone?
- Any changes to the plumbing?
- Any more controls, or any reduction of controls, on how the plumbing might be used?
- Would you design ways to make it easier for surgeons to correct all physical problems when they arise?
- Would you keep the immune system as it is?
A Song of Praise Benedictus es, Domine Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers; * praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art thou for the Name of thy Majesty; * praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art thou in the temple of thy holiness; * praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and dwellest between the Cherubim; * praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art thou on the glorious throne of thy kingdom; * praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven; * praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art thou, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; * praised and exalted above all for ever.In Welcome to Samara, a sermon which I preached during General Convention 1994, I noted that when I fled the Baptist religion to become an Episcopalian, I was not altogether certain that I believed in God. But Episcopalians provided me a prettier way to pray to God. This Canticle would have come to mind then, even as it does now, as one of many important examples. Enjoy its rich cadence of anapests, tripping off the tongue, especially in the repeated
- "Praised and exalted above all forever"
- Scanned: / v v / v v / v v / v
Agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.When I try to greet my adversaries with a holy kiss, most of them reject the kiss as unholy, alas. Matthew 28:16-20 The Great Commission we all share as Christians is to make disciples throughout the whole world. We are to baptize the new disciples. We are to teach them to obey every commandment Jesus gave, the first and greatest of which he said it to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and the second, which he said is "like unto it," that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Are we also to teach them to reject Buddhism, Islam, Humanism, Hinduism......? Does the Great Commission command or implicitly endorse holy crusades of the murderous sort Christians undertook in the Middle Ages? -- or does it endorse America’s current, often murderous crusade to bring its vision of democracy to all nations? Does the Great Commission endorse confiscation of Arab property to use for new settlements in Israel? This text, as have many others, has been plundered to support religious intolerance and so-called 'holy' wars. Contrast Saint's counsel: "Agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. "