Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent and Repentance

Christmas is right around the corner. The season of Advent draws short, for soon we shall celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We all know that Advent is a season of anticipation. We look back to that night when God became Man, and the whole of Creation was turned right-side-up. And we look to the future, when that Man Whom is God shall return again.

It is also a season of repentance. The call of Our Emmanuel, and his Forerunner, still ring out- "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!" We must repent, for it for our sins that Christ died. We must repent of the sins which we have, and will, commit.

The Sweet Lord was born in a manger. The Highest of All was laid low, and placed into a feeding trough. Even Jesus' first moments after being born were filled with humility.

Even as Jesus was given a humble manger to rest in, so too must we prepare our hearts to receive Him. In humility we must confess unto God all our failings, that we might present Christ our hearts as thrones.

So often, we do not confess our sins. So often we clothe ourselves in fig leaves and hide our shame. So often, we present a sacrifice that is not our best. So often, we present a court that has not been cleaned. And so the list goes on.

But we needn't fear. For Jesus has come for such people.

Jesus has come that we might be purified and washed, our sins blotted out.

Jesus has come, clothed in humanity, to clothe us in His divinity; He wraps the mantle of salvation around us.

Jesus has come, to present the perfect sacrifice- Himself. In Him, we can present a pure and pleasing sacrifice unto the Father- ourselves.

Jesus has come to cleanse our hearts and to make us His living temple, filled with the Holy Spirit.

Hear the voice of the Baptist, crying in the wilderness: "Prepare ye the way of the LORD! Make a straight highway for Him!"

Hear the voice of the Blessed Virgin, saying: "Do whatever He tell you to."

Hear the voice of the people, crying out: "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!"

Hear the voice of Jesus, saying: "Your sins are forgiven."

Grant us, O Lord, true contrition, that with tears of repentance we might confess unto our sins. For You are faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Have mercy on us poor sinners, Lord Jesus. We magnify Your Incarnation, O Christ. By Your Incarnation You have brought Light into the darkness; by Your Incarnation, save Your despairing people!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving- Now, and Forever More

Today in America is that quintessential holiday- Thanksgiving. Where families gather from California to the New York Island; from the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters. Sitting around a huge mahogany table, they partake of a feast as ancient as 1783 (or 1863- we're really not sure). Gathering together foods from a bountiful harvest, the tradition of the Puritan Fathers is to eat turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (the exact ingredients of which are never questioned), yams, and rolls. Oh, and cranberry relish. Who could forget cranberry relish.

Technically a "harvest festival", its cousins include Chuseok, Sukkot, and 中秋節. Thanksgiving Day's ancestors were feasts held around the autumnal equinox, and were times of merriment, eating, drinking, contests, and all sorts of debauchery. Also, there was thanks for a good harvest implied, probably in sacrifices which were consumed by those offering.

In any case, back to the subject.

Thanksgiving Day.

Now, most people are familiar with the Thanksgiving proclamation that was given by President Lincoln. A great one, if I do say so myself. However, I like the one given by President Washington better:

"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789."

Well said, Mr. President. Such moving words. Such profound eloquence.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful day. Thanksgiving is a wonderful day full of absolutely nothing.

We gather together once a year to gorge ourselves on food, say "Thanks [insert higher power here]. But, the pie could have been better." And then we go back home, returning to our lives that we never really left. Hooray for being shallow.

In his first letter the church at Thessalonica (why is it that Bible names all sound really cool?), the holy Apostle St. Paul says:
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

How often do we follow this command? And, make no mistake- it is a command. How often do we give thanks during times of bounty, much less during times of drought? We may be polite and say, "Thank you" to others, like to the cashier at the grocery store. But, that is just social convention to maintain order. Following on that example, how many of us actually mean what we say to that cashier? Sure, they are just doing their job. Nonetheless, they are serving us.

Many will exclaim "Thank God!" when they receive a promotion at work. But, how many will say "Glory to God!" when they find out that they have been laid off?

Now, don't act as though I am just beating on you. For as much as this is aimed outward, it is just as much for myself. We all need reminding.

For all that we have, we must give thanks unto God. And as surely as the Lord lives, the words of His mouth are true and wise. As Our Lord Jesus says:
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Our Lord Jesus promises us that we shall be provided for; not as sparrows or lilies, but as children of Our Heavenly Father. But, that is not all there is on this matter. Again, as it is written:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth."

In Christ, we have all the blessings we shall need! In Him is forgiveness, life, and salvation!

The Sacrament of the Altar, Holy Communion, the Lord's Table, Breaking of the Bread- all these are names of that Holy Gift which Jesus gives us, and which He commanded to be offered in His Name. In this Mystical Supper, we receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Why? So that we might be united to Him; to receive forgiveness, life, and salvation. To be sanctified, and made more Christ like.

There is another name for this Mystery. It is perhaps one of (if not the most) ancient of names, drawn from the very text of the Last Supper.


This one little Greek word means something that at first seems so simple; yet in reality it is deeply profound:


When we celebrate the Eucharist, we are "proclaiming the Lord's death until He comes". We are taken outside our little world bound by space and time, and into eternity. Heaven and earth are crashed together. And all of Christ's saving work- His Incarnation, Perfect Life, His Ministry; His Holy Passion, His Victorious Resurrection, His Glorious Ascension; even His Second Coming- all are made present. Him Whom saves is made present. Jesus offers Himself to us.

And we give thanks. We offer ourselves up in thanksgiving. Our lives become living sacrifices; our prayers, a sweet and fragrant incense.

Lately, I have been reading quotes from Fr. Alexander Schmemann. He truly possessed great insight, and his work is magnificent. I highly recommend reading him. He, too, had something to say about giving thanks. Listen to these wise words, taken from Fr. Schmemann's book "For the Life of the World":
"When man stands before the throne of God, when he has fulfilled all that God has given him to fulfill, when all sins are forgiven, all joy restored, then there is nothing else for him to do but to give thanks. Eucharist (thanksgiving) is the state of perfect man. Eucharist is the life of paradise. Eucharist is the only full and real response of man to God’s creation, redemption and gift of heaven. But this perfect man who stands before God is Christ. In Him alone all that God has given man was fulfilled and brought back to heaven. He alone is the perfect Eucharistic Being, He is the Eucharist of the world. In and through this Eucharist the whole creation becomes what it always was to be and yet failed to be."
What we cannot do, Jesus does. What we did not do, Jesus does. We were created in the image of God. Christ is the image of the Father. We are made in the image of Christ. That which we scorned, He exalted. That which we neglected, He fulfilled.
And so too He calls us to Him so that in His fulfillment, we might become fulfilled.

In, with, and through Jesus, we are called to Eucharistic living. And, how is this done? By following in the Master's footsteps- serving all for God, and offering all to God.
The Holy Spirit enlivens and empowers us to such a destiny.

Thanksgiving Day. A time of family and food; of bounty and celebration. But for what? But for Whom? Certainly not us.
Thanksgiving- now, and forever more.

Glory be to God for all things!

Friday, November 19, 2010

6 Months to Eternity

Life has been so fast, I didn't even realize. Shame on me.

It has been six months since a good and dear friend of mine died. It was so sudden... no one expected it. There was no reason he should have died.

But he did.

He was a wonderful young man. So vibrant and passionate. He loved the Lord, loved others, and had a obsession.... er, passion for saving the planet. An environmentalist I could respect.

Of course, when he graduated high school, everybody asked, "Where you off to college to?"
His reply was that he wasn't going immediately. He was going to take a year off and enter into missions.

To make sure his faith was strong enough to face the world. I weep when I remember that fact- if only I could have such humility.

He never got to. Two days after his graduation, he drowned. It was an event that changed our lives.

I managed to get to his visitation, but I couldn't attend his funeral, as I had to fly home. Pardon my french, but I still feel like an asshole for that one.

He was a pure soul. We tried for a while to rationalize and understand. We never did. We simply accepted that he was too pure for this world, and that God wanted him in Heaven.

You know that saying? That "you never realize what you have until you've lost it"?
This applies here. It wasn't until after his death that I came to the conclusion that this man was a saint. He had a holiness, a purity about him. When we held a memorial service at my high school, several of the students said they saw him; that he comforted them and said it was alright. I'm convinced that it was real. There is something about the Communion of Saints that works like that.

He was a simple fellow- he loved his God, he loved all people, and he really hated cars that were powered by fossil fuels.

Memory eternal, my friend. I love you.

He started a blog. He only had one post. I shall share it with you:

"For the past couple of weeks now, my mind has been in space, a sort of mental meteoroid if you will. It feels like it is floating, far out in space, barely close enough to Earth to be affected by Earth’s gravity at all. There’s nothing to support it, and it is extremely difficult for it to manipulate anything, since without gravity, nothing has weight, nothing carries meaning. It is not affected by reality; reality carries no weight. Even if reality did affect it, it would not know what reality felt like, having never experienced it before. My mind is simply floating, only identified by its state of perpetual change. It sits in a fog of verisimilitude, but cannot determine what is actually true. It feels things, but the emotions are indistinguishable and blurry. It’s like when your eyes get all watery because the sun is too bright, and you can only look at the ground. It seems like the only things it can feel strongly are things like fear, apprehension, shame, and inadequacy, though these emotions do not always originate at a specific source. It can also feel apathy, if that is an emotion, but it cannot force itself to feel apathy toward the raw and real feelings that bind it.

The Son is shining in my eyes, so brightly that I can barely see Him. I don’t know how He can be so dazzling and still feel like He’s 93 million miles away. Just as Earth itself must yield to the sun’s gravity, so must I yield to the gravity of the Son. The Son’s gravity is powerful and strong, always reining me in when my orbit speeds out of control, reigning over me. The forces of Earth cannot overpower it. Despite the fog, strong beams of radiant truth still brightly shine, and do not change like shifting shadows. No celestial eclipse can block this ethereal light.

And then there is the heat. In the farthest reaches of my orbit, icy particles of shame, doubt and fear quickly attach and weigh me down, until I can barely move. But even here, the Son’s heat blasts from out across the solar system, in rhythmic, pulsating waves, the very heartbeat of God. The ice of apathy and inadequacy melt quickly away and are replaced by glowing warmth. Though I am still bombarded by an endless storm of ice, it cannot overpower the warmth of God’s love that has penetrated to my core and now radiates from me as well."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

From Glory to Glory

Originally written for a grieving friend.
For all who are grieving.

From Glory to Glory

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have passed through the valley of the shadow of death, into the valley of Life.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have passed from fleeting darkness and into everlasting Light.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have traversed along the Way, and entered through the narrow Gate.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have exited the desert of Exodus, and entered into the Garden of the Promised Land.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have been borne up on wings of Angels, and welcomed by Saints.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have been led in by John the Baptist, and embraced by Mother Mary.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have been taken up the Living River, eaten from the Tree of Life.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have entered the Temple, past the altar of Martyrs.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have joined the celestial choirs, offered up the incense of prayer.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have seen the Light, and fallen on my knees in awe.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

I have heard the loving voice of the Father, seen the Face of the Son, and felt the communion of the Spirit.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

And I shall live forever, for Death hath been slain.

I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.
I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.
I shall dwell in the House of the LORD forever.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Living Death; Deathly Life

We are called as Christians to die to ourselves. We are called to let the Love of Christ consume us, and utterly transform us.

How is this done? I so long to die to myself, and gain Christ. In fact, I am placing myself on the edge, putting all I have known in danger, that I may find Truth.

I so yearn to lock myself away and completely spend my time in the study of Scripture, in learning from the Fathers, in immersing myself in Christ completely. And yet, I have many callings- a student, a worker, a brother, a friend.

In this fast-paced world, I long for a Sabbath rest. And yet, I cannot find it. I yearn to be utterly immolated with Divine Love of Christ, that my life might be a pleasing sacrifice unto God.

And yet, how much I am a hypocrite! I struggle in my prayer life; I do not read Holy Writ as oft as I should.

What am I to do? Why is it so hard to die to self? Why can I not carry my cross? Oh, that the Lord would reveal to me these things!

Woshiping in Spirit and in Truth

I was walking today, and that memorable quote from the discussion between Jesus and the Samaritan women came up-

"...worship the Father in spirit and in truth."

Now, I have been taught many ways to look at this verse. However, as I thought about it, I realized something- it is a Trinitarian reference.

Worship the Father in spirit (Holy Spirit) and in truth (Christ). Now, I won't get into the whole particulars about "isn't it in the Spirit, through the Son?". I know, I know- that isn't good theology. Lemme' revel in my moment of introspective revelation, okay?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Hope is Surely Founded

So much goes on in this world.

So much pain, decay, and death.

Life is truly perplexing; ever changing, ever stirring up storms.

I am drowning in sorrow each night; my heart breaks for those whose hearts have been broken.

For every answer found, one thousand more questions arise.

And yet... there is Hope.

This Hope is not an idea, but a Person. Not a cause, but THE CAUSE.

For Hope is renewing this decaying world.

For Hope shares in our pains, and bears them.

For Hope has slayed death by dying.

For Hope calms the storms of confusion; Hope rescues those drowning in despair.

For Hope comforts those who mourn, and heals the broken heart.

For Hope is the Answer to every question that arises.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


"28About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.... 32Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory"
- The Holy Gospel According to St. Luke, chapter 9.

In the Transfiguration of Christ, the curtain is pulled back and we see the Lord in His glory. However, we also see in Him the glory that shall be given us.

Many talk of being "transformed" by God. God calls us to something more than transformation- He call us in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, to be transfigured.

We are to be icons of Christ, just as He is the icon of the Father. And, we are called to grow up into the likeness of Christ; to become more like Him. And while we surely struggle towards this goal through prayer and all manner of works, God is the One Whom ultimately transfigures us.

It is said that at the Eschaton, the world shall be laid bare and all consumed by fire. This is destruction, yes, but also something more. With such fire the world shall be purified of all corruption.

For us in Christ, that time has already come. We who have received the Holy Spirit already are being laid bare and consumed by fire. For as we are purified through the True Flame, we are made more into the likeness of Christ.

Our old sinful self is drowned in Baptism. In Confession, the wounds of spiritual sickness that we inflict are healed and blotted out. In the Holy Eucharist, we receive the Transfigured One Himself. As the purifying coal from the censer of heaven was put upon the lips of Isaiah to cleanse him, so to the Body and Blood of Christ are put upon our lips by the priest for our sanctification.

May we who in Christ be transfigured from glory to glory, that at the coming of Jesus upon the clouds we may raised to Him, fully in His image.

As it is spoken of in the Didache:
"May Grace come and may this world pass away. Marantha!"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Credo: Intro

Over the past couple of weeks, I have thought deeply about my faith. About what exactly do I believe in this religion called Christianity. The more and more I think, the more and more I realize: I know so much theology, I can give any answer. Thus, in order to help me articulate my thoughts, and hopefully have some discussion about them, I am starting a series on what I believe. I don't know how frequent the updates will be- my life is hectic and while I enjoy blogging, it is not on the top of my priority list at the moment. Despite this, I plan to see this through. Hopefully, somebody out there will actually read this, and comment- the point really is to have some good discussion.

So, to start out, I think I'll kick it old-school:

I believe in one God,
the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth
and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of His Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary
and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried.
And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures
and ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of the Father.
And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead,
whose kingdom will have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord and giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,
who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church,
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
and I look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Okay, so not really. I got this idea from over on, where there was a call out for ideas on how to advertise and get the word out. Someone mentioned having high-ranking and well-known Christians endorse (or ban) the book. And then, someone mentioned the Pope... and well, I got carried away!

In any case, you should go pre-order Michael "the Internet Monk" Spencer's new book, Mere Churchianity. You can find it here:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

R.I.P. Michael Spencer, Internet Monk

Yesterday, Michael Spencer, the "Internet Monk", was received into Paradise. I read the news at about 12:30 A.M. this morning. I am deeply saddened by this. He was truly a man of God. He articulated things in a way that no one else could, and he was crticial not only of the Church, but of himself. He knew that he was a sinner, and that Jesus came to save sinners. His quest to find a Jesus-shaped spirituality has come to end- for he is now with Jesus.

I first encountered Michael's site, Internet Monk, what?- maybe two, three years ago. From the moment I started reading, I was hooked. I even went back and read all the archived essays- some more than once! He asked questions that many would dare not ask. He proposed ideas that were (and are) unpopular. He was open and brutally honest- to the point that it almost became uncomfortable. Yet, throughout it all, he remained humble. He was also noted for bringing in a diverse crowd of people, and managed to have very much civil discussions on these topics. Above all, he really drove home and kept center 3 things:

1) Jesus came to save sinners
2) We are sinners
3) The Gospel is the power to save and transform us

For him, Jesus was the center of everything. Not just Christianity, church, or one's "personal relationship". He was the center of EVERYTHING. Creation vs. Evolution?- Jesus is the center. The Scriptures, and what they teach and mean?- Jesus is the center. How to deal with those openly living in sin, but have been so hurt by Christians that they won't step near a church?- Jesus is right there, smack dab in the center of all the murk.

Michael feared for American Evangelicalism. Not just them- that would be an understatement. He feared for the Church in North America. What it had become, and where it seemed to be going. He looked at the Church, and saw that it had (and was) letting go of it's Anchor. That it had become a club of "decision making", empty moralism, social justice, and all that jazz. What he proposed is something not that new. And yet, whenever it is suggested, people are shocked, and things are usually shook up. He proposed returning to our roots. He proposed that we get over ourselves, and look into history and the wider tradition(s) of Christianity as found in the Creeds, the Fathers, etc. Most all of- and most importantly- he suggested this: Jesus. That we need to regain a Jesus-shaped spirituality. This is what permeated him, and all the work he did. Jesus was everywhere, and was the center of it all.

I will sorely miss Michael. He was someone unique. He was a mentor. He challenged me to look beyond the horizon. He made me realize that the boat we call "Church" is bigger than I could've imagined. He taught me how to hold civil theological discourse with those whom I consider to be in the right, in the wrong, or somewhere in the gray. Most of all- and most importantly- he pointed me to Jesus. To be a Christian is to be a "little Christ" or a "Christ-person". In order for that to happen, we have to be Jesus-centered and Jesus-shaped. That was the most important thing he taught me. That the love of God found in Christ is the greatest (and most frightening) thing this world has ever encountered; that it knows no bounds and no limits.

Michael, though I never met you, I consider you a friend and brother. I cannot wait until we meet someday in our Father's house. God used you to teach me, as well as countless others. May you rest in peace, and may Light perpetual shine upon you! Now, you are truly Jesus-shaped. I pray that we here in the Church Militant may too become Jesus-shaped.
Kyrie, eleison! Christe, eleison! Kyrie, eleison!

God of grace and glory,
we remember before you this day our brother Michael.
We thank you for giving him to us to know and to love
as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage.
In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn.
Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life,
so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth,
until, by your call,
we are reunited with those who have gone before.

Into your hands,
O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Michael.
We humbly ask you to look on him as a sheep of your own fold,
a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming.
Receive him into the arms of your mercy,
into the blessed rest of everlasting peace,
and into the glorious company of the saints in light.

Please continue to pray for Michael's wife, children, and all others in contact with him as they go through this tough time.

Here are a couple of my favorite iMonk (as Michael was fondly referred to) articles (I encourage to read the whole site, really):

Also, I'd encourage everybody who likes his work to pre-order his book. You can find it here:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Oh, what joyous Day! Oh, what happy Day! For the Son of Man is dead no more; my Savior and King lives forev'r ! He hath trampled death by death; He hath conquered sin by grace! He hath harrowed Hell, and opened Paradise; truly, truly He is the Living Christ!

Oh Sin, where art thou power? Oh Death, where art thou sting?

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

And now, some words on the Resurrection from Bishop N.T. Wright-

History matters because human beings matter; human beings matter because creation matters; creation matters because the creator matters. And the creator, according to some of the most ancient Jewish beliefs, grieved so much over creation gone wrong, over humankind in rebellion, over thorns and thistles and dust and death, that he planned from the beginning the way by which he would rescue his world, his creation, his history, from its tragic corruption and decay; the way, therefore, by which he would rescue his image-bearing creatures, the muddled and rebellious human beings, from their doubly tragic fate; the way, therefore, by which he would be most truly himself, would become most truly himself. The story of Jesus of Nazareth offers itself, as Jesus himself had offered his public work and words, his body and blood, as the answer to this multiple problem: the arrival of God’s kingdom precisely in the world of space, time, and matter, the world of injustice and tyranny, of empire and crucifixions. This world is where the kingdom must come, on earth as it is in heaven. What view of creation, what view of justice, would be served by the offer merely of a new spirituality and a one-way ticket out of trouble, an escape from the real world?

No wonder the Herods, the Caesars and the Sadducees of this world, ancient and modern, were and are eager to rule out all possibility of actual resurrection. They are, after all, staking a counter-claim on the real world. It is the real world that the tyrants and bullies (including the intellectual tyrants and bullies) try to rule by force, only to discover that in order to do so they have to quash all rumours of resurrection, rumours that would imply that their greatest weapons, death and deconstruction, are not after all omnipotent. But it is the real world, in Jewish thinking, that the real God made, and still grieves over. It is the real world that, in the earliest stories of Jesus’ death and resurrection, was decisively and forever reclaimed by that event, an event which demanded to be understood, not as a bizarre miracle, but as the beginning of a new creation.

Source: The Resurrection of the Son of God, p. 737

HT: Internet Monk

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meditations and Thoughts on the Incarnation

Here is some of my thoughts and meditations on the Incarnation. I would've posted it sooner, but my mind kept racing, and so I couldn't post without a complete thought. Consider it my late Christmas present.

Oh, blessed joy! Oh, what gracious gift! What marvelous Mystery! That the Infinite would become finite. That He Who was from Eternity would enter into Time. That He Who dwelt on High would come down, and dwell in that which was low. That God would become Man.

Can any mind truly comprehend this act? Can any person truly penetrate this Truth? From the Fall of Man, God promised salvation to the World- to all who believed. And, time and time again He redeemed His people- saving them from certain destruction. And yet, time and time sin would rear its ugly head. The great foe Satan, ever wishing to maintain his dominion over the world, presented temptation after temptation to man. And man, being utterly depraved, ate out of the Serpent's hand.

But lo, it was not to be this way forever. God is a jealous lover- He desires that all might come unto Him. And He is ever merciful- forgiving those whom come to Him for it. He is Supreme- for He is the Creator, and desires that His Creation be wrested from corruption.

Thus, in the fullness of time, God the Father sent His only-begotten Son into the World. Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "the Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us". In this singular act, the world was forever changed. The cosmos was turned upside down. And the battle between God and Satan was all but won.

The Son of God came as Immanuel, "God with us". The LORD, whom had always intervened to save His people, now intervened in the greatest way- He came and dwelt among His people. And His Name was Jesus, "for He shall save them from their sins". David's son and David's Lord had come, that all might become sons of Israel, and all might enter the Kingdom of God.

In this act, the Incarnation, God in Christ began reconciling the world unto Him. For Christ, the Agnus Dei, came that He might offer Himself up as a sacrifice for sin, that by His blood we might be made righteous. And important as that is, there is more. In taking up flesh, and rising in the flesh, Christ became the first-born of the New Humanity. Just as in Adam all fell, in Christ all rise. His Resurrection is the vindication of His being the Messiah, and a promise of our resurrection. And His Ascention, in the flesh, exalts humanity.

None can fully delve the depths of the Incarnation. For it part of the Mystery of the Faith. Only in and with faith can one even believe in the Incarnation. However, I think an appropriate way to summarize it (and to end this post) would be the Second Article of the Nicene Creed:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the only-begotten Son of God,

begotten of His Father before all worlds,

God of God, Light of Light,

very God of very God,

begotten, not made,

being of one substance with the Father,

by Whom all things were made;

who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven

and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary

and was made man;

and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.

He suffered and was buried.

And the third day He rose according to the Scriptures

and ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of the Father.

And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead,

whose kingdom will have no end.