Off the Cuff

Updated: May 9

Homily- Sunday, May 8, 2022

I was asked by a parishioner to think about publishing this past Sunday's homily, so a spot on my blog page is about as close as this request will come to completion. Hope you enjoy it.

As Christians we gather to pray and the words that they use will reveal our personal theology. Our Anglican prayer books are a treasure of word and theology therefore our prayer books hold significant sway in how we shape our personal theology, what we believe about God, about Christ, the Holy Spirit, of our role as a Christian, and so much more. The Anglican Church of Canadian has produced revised versions of the Prayer Book: first in 1918, ratified in 1921, and then ratified in 1962 , and all of these revisions stem from the 1549 version of the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer. Anglicanism has traditionally held to something called “lex orandi, lex credendi”—meaning something close to “the law of prayer is the law of belief’, or if I use a more straight forward interpretation “words matter” . The words in our prayer books deal with matters of doctrine (what we believe), worship (how we practise our acts of remembrance and institution), and discipline, (how devoted we are). Looking at the prayer book from this lens we can acknowledge there’s a good reason for Anglicans to care deeply about changes to the Prayer Book(s). Revisions that are made will shape the theology of subsequent generations!

For the prayer book purists they like to point out the BAS (Book of Alternative Services) was experimental and therefore should not be considered an official prayer book. To this challenge I say, “The experiment has proven that the generation to which it was introduced to fully embraced it, and the BAS that we use is a testimony to the power of the word in each age and time. To those who are now being introduced to the BCP for the first time it is also being embraced as enthusiastically by our much younger members. So, what do we do? I think the Anglican practise of following the via media, that of finding the middle ground is the appropriate practise.

Even though we have debates over whether the new versions of worship, or the standard old versions have driven people away, in my opinion the books that we use have very little to do with this phenomena. What appears to drive people away, in my humble opinion, is the lack of upholding the centrality of God and from action many fallouts will occur. Do we practise daily prayer? Very few of us do. Is grace at a meal an avenue of giving thanks considered to be an important part of each meal? Typically today it is saved only for family holiday meals and socially important get togethers. Do we bring company to church or do we stay home from church? Staying home has become the far more common practise today. If we don’t express how important these practices of faith are us, then why should others be interested?

The language of prayer unites us a we share common ideals around prayer, our thoughts as they spoken, and in the feelings of the language we use. There truly is something for everybody and we need to exercise from time to time these different styles of prayer for words have the ability to go to the very core of our relationship with God exposing everything. We should be able to find ourselves at comfort and in ease with the various Prayer Books and language used. Ancient expressions of worship can and do have a place in our worship styles of 2022. As a caution we should never hold one prayer book as being superior over another; when we do this we have stepped outside of true worship and have turned the ways of expressing our very diverse, creative, and imaginative God into a narrow expression of that which becomes restrictive and not at all fulfilling, but nor should we open up our language in worship so broadly that God becomes watered down and weakened. Something for us to think about. Amen .

Something Out of Nothing - Our earth this beautiful island home should be celebrated, admired, treasured, cared for, and protected. Space tourism has allowed some to view the earth from a unique perspective and I have heard how this experience has been profound and life altering for many of them. I have no issue with a world that took billions of years to evolve, I have no issue with dinosaurs having existed: I do have reservations about people who deny the spiritual, the assumptions that there cannot be anything else that exists outside the psychical. I have had too many personal experiences that for my satisfaction can only be explained by a dimension that is a mystery that I acknowledge as God, and it is through my unique circumstances and upbringing in the faith and belief in Jesus as God’s only Son which has been responsible for this profound and life alerting perspective.

I think that even the most hardened critics of Christianity, those who base their lives solely upon the facts must thrill from time to time from the beauty and wonder of creation. Even in the violence of volcano eruption there is beauty, and wonder of creation which would cause us to contemplate life and our existence. This same contemplation surely exists in the close examination of a rain drop, in its shape, its colours as light passes through it and cause the colours of the rainbow to shine through it. I say yes, there is a God, there is something bigger than us that we struggle to understand, and despite the big bang hypothesis of how the world was created, I cannot image how we will ever be able to grasp how all of this came out of nothing.

Why Should We Care?- Friday, April 22 marks the celebration of Earth Day. If you have found your way to this blog I am going to hazard a guess that you have an interest, (whether it is one of curiosity, or one of devotion) in God and your unique relationship with God. There is a claim made in scripture that “we” are to be the stewards of the earth to manage and to care for it. If this be the case, we as the human race have done a miserable job at it. As a dominate species we can witness all around us the destruction that has been caused because of greed, ignorance, and neglect.our very self centred approach has brought about climate change because of pollution, deforestation because of greed, and so many other destructive actions.

Well, this is the bad news. Here is the good news. We as the “Church” can make ourselves useful and proactive towards becoming the stewards we were are meant to be. Our efforts to reduce consumption will help prevent destruction, our political actions to press for change can be forceful actions of change, our conscientious efforts to practise environmental actions such as recycling and the use of biodegradable products can make us leaders in responsible stewardship. This Friday, April 22 in celebration of Earth Day 2022 I am leading an afternoon 2 pm service to highlight our interest as a parish in marking Earth Day. Please embrace Earth Day with a determined effort to be part of moving from the old practices and attitudes of the “past” toward becoming the thoughtful and caring stewards that we have been called to be. It is for this reason, as visible stewards of God's creation why we should care.

INCREDIBLY SAD - Let us all remember that today marks the beginning of Holy Week and this Sunday marks the beginning of a very special journey with Christ. It is during Holy Week we can appreciate and experience an intimate time with the Lord. Today, in this current period of hate and and aggression against the innocent people of Ukraine we can recognize and connect with the persecution they endure with that of Jesus. It is exactly because of Christ’s suffering that he is called Saviour, because in his humanity he knew and he experienced the anguish of betrayal along with actions of aggression and prejudice. It is because of these emotional reactions that we have build trust in your faith and have hope through Christ. I find it incredibly sad that so many persons hardly give Holy Week a second glance. It is a precious and valuable time of inner reflection and of soul searching. Self reflection is something that as a society we have given very little attention to and also an experience from what we could greatly benefit. Consider attending at least one of the Holy Week services/events here in Annapolis Royal, or in your home community. Believe me, it will make a difference in ways that you cannot imagine. - Blessings, Rev. Nita (April 10,2022)

GOLDEN BUNNIES - Hey, I just got my own Blog Heading! Not sure what I will write, but I will post something from time to time. Having said this I just had a thought, right now there is commercial on TV that promotes the “Golden Bunny” from Lindt, it sure does make me want one of those chocolate rabbits, but with a price tag of 7.99 that rabbit is just not that special to me and I leave it on the store shelf. I do sit and ponder many times however about why people decide to leave their faith on the proverbial store shelf. Is it a question of price? Is the price too high for them? Is it a matter of inconvenience, does a second cup of coffee and the TV call them away, is it a question of taste in what they prefer. Hmm, I wonder. Even though the price of a golden bunny is too high for my pocket book I have no doubt that I will purchase one of the golden bunnies before Easter is over and done just as a special treat, and yes, I will enjoy its chocolaty taste. The “golden” bunny is just too irresistible to me. I hope and pray that this Easter some people will take their faith off the shelf, come to church to raise their voices in song, receive their communion, and be a part of a community they will find irresistible and also find that it is bargain. Posted - (April, 4 2022)

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