Wednesday, April 20, 2011

40







Today, 20th April 2011, is my Fortieth Birthday! Thank you all for your prayers for me on this special day...

Our Blessed Lady of Walsingham, pray for us!
Saint Chad of Lichfield, pray for us!
Saint Charles, King and Martyr, pray for us!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week at Saint Barnabas Church





Monday in Holy Week, 18th April,
Tuesday in Holy Week, 19th April
and Wednesday in Holy Week, 20th April
Holy Eucharist, 12 Noon

Maundy Thursday, 21st April
Holy Eucharist, 12 Noon
Sung Holy Eucharist, Stripping of the Altars and Watch before the Altar of Repose, 7pm
(Incense)

Good Friday, 22nd April
Morning Prayer, Litany and Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament 9.30am (Incense)
Three Hours’ Devotion, 12 Noon to 3pm
Stations of the Cross, 3pm
Sacramental Confessions, 4pm-6pm
Evensong and Litany, 7pm

Easter Even, 23rd April
Easter Egg Hunt, 10.30am
Sacramental Confessions, 1pm-2pm
Easter Flower Ministry, 9am-3pm
Sung Holy Eucharist of the Easter Vigil, 8pm
(Incense)

Easter Day, 24th April
Sung Holy Eucharist, 9am
Sung Holy Eucharist, 11am


Easter Monday, 25th April,
Easter Tuesday, 26th April
and Easter Wednesday, 27th April
Holy Eucharist, 12 Noon

Easter Thursday, 28th April
Holy Eucharist, 7pm

Easter Friday, 29th April
and Easter Saturday, 30th April
Holy Eucharist, 12 Noon

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Missal Moment II



Courtesy of the Latin Rite Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina and my brother, Father Brandon Jones, Administrator of Saint Joseph's Church, Asheboro. The 'Anglicisation' of the Roman liturgy continues!

His Mighty Resurrection

Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

‘When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.’ As we celebrate the forty days of Our Lord’s risen presence with His disciples before His glorious Ascension, a mystical forty day Easter feast answering the austerities and disciplines of the forty day Lenten fast with inexpressible joy, let us consider the consequences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: what occurs for us in the wake of that most significant event in all of human history?


The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the grave is the foundation and crowning event of the orthodox Christian Faith, the basis of all that we believe and profess. ‘Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures… if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also is vain… but now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept’ (I Corinthians 15.1-4, 14, 20).


For this reason, Easter Day is the original and unique Christian festival, the celebration from which the rest of the Christian liturgical year springs. Easter is so important and vital that it is not merely one Day, but a Day that expands into eight, and then forty. The initial eight days of the Easter commemoration, the great Octave, becomes the source for all other Octaves in the Church Year. The eight days signify the New Creation: God created the world in six days, rested on the seventh, and recreated the world by Christ’s Resurrection on the eighth, the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, the new day of Christ’s victory over death. Ancient Christian art and architecture reinforce this truth – early baptisteries of the patristic period feature octagonal, eight-sided, buildings and baptismal pools, showing in sign and form that through the regenerative and saving waters of Baptism we are plunged into the death and Resurrection of Christ and made partakers of the New Life, the New Creation inaugurated by the Lord Jesus in His bodily Resurrection (Romans 6.1-11, Hebrews 9.13-15, I Saint Peter 3.21-22, Titus 3.5). The day of our Holy Baptism was our own Easter Day, the day of our new birth in Christ and the pledge of our own Resurrection from the dead. The Church is first and foremost the community of the Resurrection, the band of faithful disciples of Jesus which worships and serves the Risen Lord of Glory, the Mystical Body of Christ indestructibly identified with and supernaturally and sacramentally united to her deathless Head (I Corinthians 12.12-14, Galatians 3.27).


The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest and most profound truth of all, the supreme and central Mystery of our faith with which the Apostles began their preaching of the Gospel after the bestowal of the Holy Ghost on Whitsunday. Our Redemption was won by Christ’s death on the Cross of Calvary; by His mighty Resurrection, eternal life is given to us. The Resurrection is the ground of the Church’s continual triumph, the cause of her endless rejoicing, the source and summit of her faith and life. Until the advent of God the Word in human flesh in the Incarnation and His conquest over death, the entire human race suffered in a state of rejection and alienation from God, far from God because of sin, enslaved in spiritual death. This misery continued until the Resurrection of Christ, which was our deliverance and salvation. Through His death on the Cross, His descent into hell and His magnificent Resurrection, Our Lord has raised His people to the hope of heaven – ‘When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things’ (Ephesians 4.8-10).


The Lord Jesus, descending to the dead, took hell captive, He destroyed it, He put death to death; He overthrew and bound our last enemy (I Corinthians 15.26). Our Divine Lord annihilated the power of death over us. Now in Christ, our physical death becomes but a blessed transition from this fallen world to the age of the world to come, to the larger life in which we shall be received more and more into His joyful service and in which we, and His servants everywhere, shall win the eternal victory. Because of the Resurrection of Christ, we shall eternally grow and develop into the life of God in the land of light and joy in the fellowship of the Saints, as we go from strength to strength, and with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the image of Jesus from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord (II Corinthians 3.18). Now in Christ, bodily death is for us only a temporary breach, for by His mighty Resurrection, Christ has opened to us the gates of everlasting life, the general Resurrection of the body. Now we know we shall die in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life through Jesus, at whose coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in Him shall be changed, and made like unto his own glorious body, according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself (Philippians 3.21). ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is’ (I Saint John 3.2). The Resurrection of Christ is the assurance of our own resurrection.


To depart this life is to be with Christ, for we know we have a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, many mansions in our Father’s house, a place prepared for us, in which Our Lord will receive us unto Himself, that where He is, we may be also. The joy and blessedness of the heavenly Church, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, the Church of the first-born written in heaven, with Apostles, Prophets, Confessors, Virgins and Martyrs, await us in their perfect fullness and fulfillment. In communion with all saints and angels and each other, free from sorrow, suffering, pain and labours, and seeing God face and face as we worship and reign forever before the Throne of the Lamb, we shall literally live to witness the consequences of Easter!


God bless you!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Easter Canticle

For us, as we approach the solemnities of Holy Week and Easter...

CHRIST our Passover is sacrificed for us: * therefore let us keep the feast,

Not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; * but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

CHRIST being raised from the dead dieth no more; * death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: * but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

CHRIST is risen from the dead, * and become the first-fruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death, * by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, * even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.

As we prepare to celebrate together the Feast of Feasts and Queen of Feasts, the Christian Passover, the glorious Third-Day Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ from the dead on Easter Day, let us turn to contemplate one of the greatest liturgical treasures in Anglicanism, and yet one of the least familiar and utilised, the beautiful Easter Canticle found on page 162 in the Prayer Book.

In the ancient Sarum Use, the liturgical rite used in the Church of England before the sixteenth century, the Easter Canticle was sung before Morning Prayer on Easter morning during a procession of the Cross, after which procession the Cross was placed in a side chapel next to the High Altar and honoured by the faithful. From this service in the Sarum Use and the previous practice of singing the Easter Canticle are derived the text and practice established by our Book of Common Prayer today. In the first English Prayer Book of King Edward VI, issued in 1549, the service of singing the Easter Canticle, introductory to the festivities of Easter morning Matins and Holy Communion, was retained. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury, at the time in which our liturgy was reformed and translated into English, had intended to create a vernacular version of the processional of the Cross on Easter morning comparable to the ancient rite found in the Sarum liturgy, but the project was never completed: our Easter Canticle is the sole surviving remnant of the original devotion. In the second English Prayer Book of Edward VI, promulgated in 1552, the Easter Canticle was appointed to replace the Venite, exultemus Domino at Morning Prayer on Easter Day - but strangely, the Alleluias found in the ancient form were omitted in 1552, never to be reinstated. In the Restoration English Prayer Book of King Charles II, published in 1662, the first section of our contemporary Easter Canticle, I Corinthians 5.7-8, was added to the older text and the Gloria Patri was added at the end of the three sections of the enlarged hymn. Our 1928 American Prayer Book expanded the use of the Easter Canticle, replete with the re-added Gloria Patri which had disappeared in the 1789 American BCP, so that the Canticle may be sung or said in place of the Venite at Morning Prayer every day during the Octave of Easter.

What does the Easter Canticle teach us about the mighty Resurrection of Our Lord? In I Corinthians 5.7-8, Saint Paul illustrates Our Lord’s triumphant conquest of death as the fulfilment of the Jewish feasts of Unleavened Bread and Passover: as every Jewish family cleansed its home of leavened bread before the feast (Exodus 12.14-20), so Christians are urged to remove sin from their midst and to celebrate the Liturgy in purity and holiness of life. Christ is our Passover, our Paschal Sacrifice, the revelation of the true meaning of the day of preparation for the Old Testament Passover. On the day of preparation, unblemished lambs were slaughtered in the Temple for the ensuing feast, as simultaneously all leaven in Israel was discarded. The two feasts of Unleavened Bread and Passover coincided. The old Passover was celebrated by eating the Paschal Lamb of the sacrifice, and the old feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated by eating only unleavened bread for seven consecutive days. The Lord Jesus is both the new and true Passover, whose passion and resurrection liberate us from slavery to sin, evil and death, and the new and genuine Unleavened Bread, the Bread of Life, whose perfect and all-sufficient Sacrifice is made present and pleaded in the Eucharist and whose precious Body and Blood are received in Holy Communion. The Blessed Sacrament is Christ our Passover, Christ our Feast, Christ the Priest and Victim of the new and eternal covenant.

In Romans 6.9-11, we are reminded that Our Lord’s real human death is unrepeatable and has resulted in His ultimate physical glorification and immortality: because Christ destroyed death by His own death, to which He was freely and voluntarily subject, His risen humanity, body and soul, is forever victorious over death. Now for all eternity Christ lives, Christ conquers, Christ reigns – and we shall live, conquer and reign because of Him, in Him and through Him and for Him. Christ has destroyed the power of sin through death, and, thus united to Him in His death, we shall overcome sin and live forever in Him.

In I Corinthians 15.20-22, Saint Paul uses the ancient Jewish liturgy to explain the mystery of the Resurrection. In ancient Israel, the first portion of a crop was offered to God in the Temple as a consecration of the entire expected harvest to come (Leviticus 23.10-14); so the Lord Jesus is the first of many to be raised in glory, and His resurrection Body is an offering that ensures a whole harvest of believers will be raised to eternal life as He was. The contrast of Adam and Christ demonstrates the power and impact of Our Lord’s Resurrection. Death is the result of sin. Sin began with and in Adam, and because of Adam’s transgression, the totality of the human race since has been destined to enter the world alienated from God and to die. Christ saves us from death, because His victory over sin reverses the disobedience and consequences of Adam’s fall and provides us with the promise that our fallen and mortal bodies, once broken by sin, will be raised to eternal glory and new life. Christ, the New Man, the New Adam, the New Creation, restores us to communion with God by His glorification and healing of our human nature. Adam was the head of a wounded and corrupted humanity; Christ is the Head of the New Creation, the Church.

And finally, as we ready our hearts and souls for the Resurrection of Our Lord, let us compare the biblical theology and profound eloquence of the Easter Canticle in the Prayer Book tradition with another truly exquisite liturgical hymn for Easter Day, that composed by Saint John of Damascus, the Seal of the Fathers and the last great synthesiser of Christian theology who died in AD 750, the Canon of Easter as found in the Eastern Rite:

It is the Day of Resurrection! Let us be radiant, O people! Easter! The Lord's Easter! For Christ our God has brought us from death to life, and from earth unto heaven, as we sing triumphant hymns! Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with inaccessible light of the Resurrection, and shall hear Him saying clearly, ‘Rejoice!’ As we sing the triumphant hymns, let heavens rejoice in a worthy manner, the earth be glad, and the whole world, visible and the invisible, keep the Feast. For Christ our eternal joy has risen! Come let us drink a new beverage, not miraculously drawn from a barren rock, but the fountain of Incorruption springing from the tomb of Christ in whom we are established. Now all things are filled with light: heaven and earth, and the nethermost regions. So let all creation celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, whereby it is established. Yesterday, O Christ, I was buried with Thee, and today I arise with thy arising. Yesterday I was crucified with Thee. Glorify me, O Saviour, with Thee in thy Kingdom. When at dawn, the women with Mary came and found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre, they heard from the angel: Why seek among the dead, as if He were a mortal man, Him who lives in everlasting light? Behold the grave-clothes. Run and tell the world that the Lord is risen, and has slain death. For He is the Son of God who saves mankind…

Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! May the Lord Jesus Christ, our True God, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world and risen from the dead, bless you and all you love in the coming Eastertide!

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