Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An Expression of Gratitude to the People of Grace Church, Oxford, MA

Gratitude is an important Christian discipline. St. Paul writes in one of his letters, “Give thanks in all circumstances!” Thanksgiving should be part of our daily and weekly worship. Psalm 105 prompts us: “Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; make known his deeds among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him, and speak of all his marvelous works. Glory in his holy Name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice” (The Book of Common Prayer, 738).

Giving thanks should also be a part of our prayer life. Here’s an excerpt from The General Thanksgiving, a component of Evening Prayer. “We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory” (BCP, 125).

Likewise, gratefulness is essential to our liturgy. The word “Eucharist” comes from the Greek word that means to give thanks. Consider the words we hear so often during the Mass: “We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love which you have made know to us in creation; in the calling of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your Son. For in these last days you made him to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world . . . .” (BCP, 368).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Bio For a New Generation

Many of us began to admire C. S. Lewis when we read The Chronicles of Narnia. Devin Brown is aware that young people today are being introduced to Lewis by watching the movies, so he has written a biography that is “a concise introduction to Lewis and his best-known works for a new generation of readers, a generation who may know him only through the Narnia films” (xii). We will review Brown’s work by keeping an eye on that purpose statement.

A Life Observed is a concise introduction, for Brown masterfully tells his story in fewer than two hundred and fifty pages. It is one of the shorter biographies of Lewis: good news for his audience. The author begins by working his way through Lewis’ autobiography, Surprised by Joy. More than half of this new biography has to do with Lewis’ conversion to Christianity. That makes sense, for Jack (the author often uses the nickname) spent slightly more than half his life coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Brown anticipates that his target audience will struggle with some expressions and literary references in Surprised by Joy, so he sheds light on many of them along the way.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Point to Ponder

"We need water and oil, bread and wine in order to be in communion with God and to know Him." Alexander Schmemann, page 121 of For the Life of the World