Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Heavenly Mosaic

What is heaven like? The author of Revelation uses measurements and materials to describe it. The length and width and height of the New Jerusalem are each 1,400 miles. The city is comprised of pure gold—transparent like glass—pearls, and all kinds of precious stones. (NLT, Revelation 21)

The Apostle Paul uses a very different kind of imagery. Quoting Isaiah, he bursts into the glories of the Good News.  

“‘What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived’—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” (NIV, 1 Corinthians 2:7-10)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Do You Have Any Questions?

My eleventh grade American History teacher had an unusual teaching method. His technique was to give us a list of words and phrases—the Boston Massacre, George Washington, the First Continental Congress, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” and so on—from each chapter of the textbook. His tests required writing short definitions for each item. An essential component of his method included asking questions. We were to read the assigned material, and, if we didn’t understand what we read, we were to bring it up in class.

I remember doing poorly on a test. When he returned my paper with a failing grade, my teacher asked meaningfully, 

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).