Church

The Real Anglican Patrimony

Fr Dwight Longenecker who is at the inaugural Mass of Fr Steenson as the first Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter today:

There has been much discussion of just what the ‘Anglican Patrimony” consists. Is it the beautiful tradition of hymnody, the choral tradition, and the Book of Common Prayer? Is it all the delightful English cultural traditions–Oxford and Cambridge and the country church, the crumbling, romantic monastic ruins, the magnificent cathedrals and “is there honey still for tea?” Just what is the Anglican Patrimony?

I would not like to dismiss all the things I’ve mentioned above–and as a hopeless Anglophile, I could add a list of many more. However, these things are not the true patrimony of Anglicanism. The true patrimony lies in the spirit and sincerity of the Reformers. It is true that they were the pawns of a wicked king. It is true that they fell into heresy and schism. It is true that the were sometimes unscrupulous and manipulative.

But we should look more deeply. They loved Christ and his Church. They loved the people of God and worked for the salvation of souls. They had an evangelical spirit. They were willing to risk all for Christ and his gospel. When people are divided by polemical words and ideas it is easy to forget the goodness and graces of ‘the other side.’ But Anglo Catholics, if they are to embrace their Anglican Patrimony, must see that the good things they love within that patrimony have, as their starting point, these more indefinable qualities of Christian zeal, love of the Sacred Scriptures, love of the church, and love of truth.

If these qualities are at the heart of the Ordinariate, then it will succeed beyond everyone’s wildest imaginings. It will become a dynamic and lively force of reconciliation and unity in Christ’s Church. It will burgeon and spread throughout the whole of the Anglican world–bringing into unity Anglican brothers and sisters not only from the Anglo Catholic wing of the church, but also from the Evangelical. It will bring in not only those Anglicans in the Western church, but Anglicans in the developing world.

As I attend the inaugural  Mass of the Ordinary here in Houston this morning, this is my prayer–that Anglicans coming into full communion will not only bring to the Catholic Church their beautiful language, liturgy and music, that they will not only bring their prayer books and poetry books and high culture–but that with all these things they will bringtheir love of Christ and his gospel–and a burning zeal to spread that gospel and renew Christ’s Church with the fullness of their gifts of grace.

He said he would be blogging and tweeting on the event. He is on Twitter here.

 

Church

Jerusalem: Anti-Christian Slogans Smeared on Monastery Walls

Christian clergy and nuns were spit on or had stones thrown at them, New Testaments were burned.  Radical Jewish settlers are prime suspects.

Jerusalem (kath.net/idea) The walls of a Greek Orthodox Monastery in Jerusalem are smeared with anti-Christian graffiti. Unknown individuals sprayed among other things, “Death to Christians”. Press reports suggest that the signature “Maccabees of Mignon” point to settlers as the originators of the defacing. “Maccabees of Mignon” is the name of an illegal settlement near Ramallah in West Jordan.

In the past Christians were repeated victims of attacks by ultra-Orthodox Jews. The ecumenical news agency ENI news reported that Christian clergy and nuns were spit on or had stones thrown at them, and that anti-Christian statements were sprayed on the walls of church buildings. The religious court Beth Din Tzedek, the highest authority for ultra-Orthodox community in Haredi, has sharply condemned these activities. Also, messianic Jews, who believe in Jesus Christ as the chosen Messiah of Israel, complain about stalking by Orthodox Jews. They accuse the anti-Christian recruits of Jewish Orthodox Groups Yad L’Achim of passing out fliers and holding demonstrations, accusing them of ‘steeling souls and attempting to “brainwash” Jews’. A New Testament was burned.

Of the 7.7 million inhabitants of Israel, 76 percent are Jews, 15 are Muslim and 2 percent are Christian. The number of Messianic Jews stands from 10.000 to 15.000.

Source

 

Church

Homily – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (2012)

[Click here for the lessons]

We don’t get down on our knees enough… ‘A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”’ (Mark 1:40). Look at Jesus response: ‘Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.’ (1:41-42).

Last week we saw Jesus the healer, full of compassion, One who is effectively able to take away sickness, pain, and sin.  Today’s Gospel identifies the man imploring Jesus as having leprosy.  Now scholars would be quick to point out that the Greek word used here, which is traditionally translated as ‘leprosy’, was used to describe various sorts of skin diseases. Leprosy was incurable then, but not all of the other types of skin diseases associated with the ancient term ‘leprosy’ were. And don’t be mistaken to think that leprosy is but an old biblical disease that only poor people in the third world somewhere still suffer from today. Leprosy remains and is common in many countries around the world. It causes terrible skin sores, and with them, nerve damage and muscle weakness that gets worse and worse over time. In fact, you can still find many established leper colonies dotted around the globe.

Historically, leprosy has been greatly feared because it symptoms are so visible, bring horrendous disfigurement and disability. Commonly believed to be highly contagious (which it is not), a leper was forced to live on the edges of society. In Jesus’ day, people would go as far as to hurl rocks and stones at lepers if they dared strayed to close. Left to beg at a distance, it really was a pitiable existence.

But look at Jesus. He is not afraid. He goes as far as to reach out and touching the man with leprosy who came to Him, begging for mercy and healing: ‘if’…

The second Jesus touched that man, in the eyes of the Jewish leaders He defiled Himself, He made Himself unclean, which was well in-keeping with the Old Testament book of Leviticus (chapters 13 and 14). He had, as it were, contaminated Himself. Being ritually unclean meant that you could not partake in any of the liturgical events of the nation Israel, rendering the victim a social and religious outcast.

It was only once you had been healed of your skin disease, and you had presented yourself to the priest, and he examined and confirmed the healing, that you would be considered cured – which is exactly to where Jesus ultimately sends the man. A thank offering in the temple is the final requirement.

So you can but imagine the revulsion and disdain of the onlookers as Jesus is compassionate, but not just compassionate, He actually touches this diseased man. Astounding. But Jesus, being Jesus, is able to look beyond the externals, that which is going on on the outside. He sees the inside. And that is where the true value of a person really lies.

Mother Teresa was once quoted as saying, ‘The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted’. That is how that man felt before Jesus reached out and touched Him. It doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s what is on the inside that counts.

One of the biggest problems we face as a society is that we are fixated on the externals. Now that’s not to mean you shouldn’t dolly yourself up a little before coming to Church or going out to work. But spending 3 hours in front of the mirror? And when you are ugly, well let’s face it you are ugly, at least by the world’s standards. That’s why you have those cliques at school. You know, the cool people: thin, fashion wise, guys with the six-pack, girls with the flimsy clothes and the perfect body on the one hand; and the social outcasts on the other: little bit overweight, or you got big ears or a big nose, pimples – and I’m not even going to go into matters of race and language. Thank God He sees though all of that, and so should we. There is no inferior person before the Creator.

It is so important, and a vital part of our Christian mission, to reach out to those who feel unwanted, for whatever reasons. Christians have been doing that since the start. We follow Jesus’ example.

‘Almost every age has had its social outcasts, people barred from normal society whether through physical illness or national origin. One person who stepped across these barriers in India was pioneer missionary Mary Reed. Already working in India, Mary visited a leper colony and was deeply moved by the people’s plight. Later Mary contracted leprosy herself and went to work with the lepers, eager to tell them that she knew firsthand their pain and trauma. She became head of the leper colony she had visited, and in the years following many were saved and a church built. Mary retired at the age of eighty-four after many years of faithful service to these social outcasts’ – Today in the Word (January 1990).

I wonder, how many of us, would be willing to do that?

Do you have any idea how good it feels to be touched, loved, and felt wanted by someone, when all you get on a daily basis is ridicule, scorn, being made fun of, gossiped about and rejected all because – and this is very often the case – of something that is on the outside that you can do absolutely nothing about?

There was an old Sunday school chorus that we used to sing, I remember it so well… It goes like this:  ‘Reach out and touch the Lord as He passes by. You will find He’s not too busy to hear your heart’s cry. He’s passing by this moment, your needs He’ll supply, Just reach out and touch the Lord as He passes by.’

You know beloved, if you take the time to think about it, in a sense, we are all lepers. We’ve all in one way or another been tainted by sin. And we need the touch of our Saviour. Sin is ugly. It deforms. It warps and twists both our thinking and our actions, and causes us to have little regard for the needs of others. But we too have an opportunity to be healed. By reaching out and touching the One who came to bring healing to every manner of man. Jesus wills and wants our salvation. His incarnation, death on the cross, and resurrection proves that. The leprosy of sin He can and will wash away, restoring the penitent to new and perfect spiritual health. Christ heals. Christ cures.

And perhaps we need to spend a little more time on our knees, begging Him for His mercy and healing, and having received as much, to go out into a world that is filled with hurt and hate, acting as His sent instruments. What could be more satisfying than being an instrument of God’s grace?

Speaking of skin disease, our country has 165 dermatologists – those are the doctors who specialise in skin diseases. Ask me how I know this? Well, the week before last we lost #166, Dr John ‘Oupa’ Moche. He was gunned down in a hijacking in Riviera while sitting in his brand new Range Rover. Two attackers walked up and shot the doctor in the heart before speeding off with his vehicle. It was later recovered having been found abandoned in Atteridgeville, which is a township up in Pretoria. He was the head of the dermatology department at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, and he leaves behind a shattered wife and two young children.

Do you know that it takes more about 12 years to train a medical specialist and reading this tragic news report, I just kept on thinking: How many people could this doctor not have helped, had murderous thugs, people filled with hatred and evil in their hearts, not shot him to death? And what causes men to do such appalling acts if not sin and wickedness?

This is the world we live in. The reality is that it needs Jesus, it needs the Good News, and it needs salvation. And clearly without Him, there is only sickness, desperation, hurt, hatred and anger. Come, Jesus, ‘If you are willing, you can make [us]clean.”

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Amen.

 

Culture

Witney Houston Dead

We wake up to the sad news this morning. She was 48 years old:

Beverly Hills, California (CNN) — Legendary pop singer Whitney Houston was found dead Saturday at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel, officials said. She was 48.

The entertainer, whose incredible talent was discovered at an early age, was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. (6:55 p.m. ET) at the Beverly Hilton hotel despite resuscitation efforts, a police spokesman said.

Beverly Hills Police Lt. Mark Rosen said there were “no obvious signs of criminal intent” and that the cause of her death is being investigated.

Houston’s bodyguard found her body, said Courtney Barnes, publicist for hip-hop artist Ray J, who was dating the pop diva.

Famed music producer Clive Davis, a longtime mentor of Houston’s, held his annual pre-Grammy gala at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday night — hours after Houston’s body was found at the hotel.

Guests at the party included Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, Penny Marshall, Jimmy Jam, Paul Shaffer, David Foster, Adam Lambert and Britney Spears.

Houston was scheduled to attend the party, but was not scheduled to attend the Grammys on Sunday, her spokesperson said…

According to her official website, Houston sold more than 170 million albums, singles and videos. But she also struggled with addiction problems over the years…

More here.

Tragic.

I rather liked this song by her. They often played it on the Gospel radio station.

While she grew up in the Church and knew of Jesus, she struggled in life. Now, may God in His mercy, look kindly on her, and may she, at last, have found her peace and rest.