Month: February 2015

A call to repent from the communion service, in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, is here offered for your edification in honor of the season of Lent.  This is the first English prayer book, penned by Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer seven years before he was burned at the stake under Queen Mary.

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DERE frendes, and you especially upon whose soules I have cure and charge, on next, I do intende by Gods grace, to offre to all suche as shalbe godlye disposed, the moste comfortable Sacrament of the body and bloud of Christ, to be taken of them in the remembraunce of his moste fruitfull and glorious Passyon: by the whiche passion we have obteigned remission of our synnes, and be made partakers of the kyngdom of heaven, whereof wee bee assured and asserteigned, yf wee come to the sayde Sacrament, with hartie repentaunce for our offences, stedfast faithe in Goddes mercye, and earnest mynde to obeye Goddes will, and to offende no more. Wherefore our duetie is, to come to these holy misteries, with moste heartie thankes to bee geven to almightie GOD, for his infinite mercie and benefites geven and bestowed upon us his unworthye servauntes, for whom he hath not onely geven his body to death, and shed his bloude, but also doothe vouchesave in a Sacrament and Mistery, to geve us his sayed bodye and bloud to feede upon spiritually. The whyche Sacrament beyng so Divine and holy a thyng, and so comfortable to them whiche receyve it worthilye, and so daungerous to them that wyll presume to take the same unworthely: My duetie is to exhorte you in the meane season, to consider the greatnes of the thing, and to serche and examine your owne consciences, and that not lyghtly nor after the maner of dissimulers [dissemblers] with GOD: But as they whiche shoulde come to a moste Godly and heavenly Banket, not to come but in the mariage garment required of God in scripture, that you may (so muche as lieth in you) be founde worthie to come to suche a table. The waies and meanes thereto is,
First, that you be truly repentaunt of your former evill life, and that you confesse with an unfained hearte to almightie God, youre synnes and unkyndnes towardes his Majestie committed, either by will, worde or dede, infirmitie or ignoraunce: and that with inwarde sorowe and teares you bewaile your offences, and require of almightie God mercie and pardon, promising to him (from the botome of your hartes) thamendment of your former lyfe. And emonges all others, I am commaunded of God, especially to move and exhorte you to reconcile yourselfes to your neighbors, whom you have offended, or who hath offended you, putting out of your heartes al hatred and malice against them, and to be in love and charitie with all the worlde, and to forgeve other, as you woulde that god should forgeve you. And yf any man have doen wrong to any other: let him make satisfaccion, and due restitucion of all landes and goodes, wrongfully taken awaye or withholden, before he come to Goddes borde, or at the least be in ful minde and purpose so to do, as sone as he is able, or els let him not come to this holy table, thinking to deceyve God, who seeth all mennes hartes. For neither the absolucion of the priest, can any thing avayle them, nor the receivyng of this holy sacrament doth any thing but increase their damnacion. And yf there bee any of you, whose conscience is troubled and greved in any thing, lackyng comforte or counsaill, let him come to me, or to some other dyscrete and learned priest, taught in the law of God, and confesse and open his synne and griefe secretly, that he may receive suche ghostly counsaill, advyse, and comfort, that his conscience maye be releved, and that of us (as of the ministers of GOD and of the churche) he may receive comfort and absolucion, to the satisfaccion of his mynde, and avoyding of all scruple and doubtfulnes: requiryng suche as shalbe satisfied with a generall confession, not to be offended with them that doe use, to their further satisfiyng, the auriculer and secret confession to the Priest: nor those also whiche thinke nedefull or convenient, for the quietnes of their awne consciences, particuliarly to open their sinnes to the Priest: to bee offended with them that are satisfied, with their humble confession to GOD, and the generall confession to the churche. But in all thinges to folowe and kepe the rule of charitie, and every man to be satisfied with his owne conscience, not judgyng other mennes myndes or consciences; where as he hath no warrant of Goddes word to the same.

The images are in the public domain.  You can find the entire book online at this site:

What do Valentines Day, Wuthering Heights, Vine the poison dragon from the game “Dragonvale”, and the beloved author CS Lewis have in common? Not much, at first glance, but let me push on a bit.

Vine is a dragon that loves people, but is toxic to them: “The poison dragon loves people. Not for breakfast, it just thinks they’re great company. Unfortunately, people don’t often react well to their deadly neurotoxin.” (From the DragonvaleWiki).

Our love can similarly hurt people, if it is selfish and possessive. I recently watched two movie versions of Wuthering Heights, in which the brooding and passionate Heathcliff loves Cathy deeply, but his love is poisonous and selfish. It rips apart two families and destroys many lives. Hell on earth is the result.

Love can and should echo heaven. In fact, scripture tells us that “God is love.” But this is a deeper kind of love than mere affection, or than the Romantic love of Cupid and Valentines Day, or than the Eros and passion of Heathcliff and numerous late night movies. Jesus says that “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

The love of God, that we are called to emulate in all our relationships is a selfless, sacrificial love, that is called “agape” in Greek, the language of the New Testament. Agape isn’t merely about self sacrifice, though. In its fullness of meaning it is “other elevating”. C. S. Lewis put it like this: “Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained”.

C.S. Lewis wrote eloquently of Iove, delineating four types of love, and analyzing them as potential reflections of God. He also discusses how each of these loves can be twisted and warped by humans if we are not careful. For more on this I commend his book, The Four Loves, as well as the parable Til We Have Faces.

My slightly belated Valentine’s wish for you is that your earthly loves do not poison, but rather exalt. And may you feel yourself lucky enough to be the recipient of such exaltation. It is a glimpse of heaven.

First of all, I must confess that I am not one who hears voices or sees visions.  Angels have never appeared in my bedroom.  I have difficulty believing in any kind of spiritual world sometimes (but so did Mother Theresa, and she still persevered).  That said, this project of mine, to start a blog and website, has seemed almost to be from beyond myself.

The initial idea felt almost “pushed” into my mind, like a kind of gift, or a whispered invitation: “Here is something you can do.”  I am early in the work, and I am humble enough to realize I am only one of billions of websites out there; it may never garner much attention or merit much praise.  Yet I feel compelled to keep at it.  I feel almost as if I could not stop if I wanted to.  And I feel this task has been granted to me despite, not because of, my interests and abilities.

I imagine myself like a stone in the scene of the Triumphal Entry, when Jesus replied to those who were asking him to shush his followers, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” I feel as though I have been invited to add my small voice, and perhaps I am doing so because some of the more appropriate voices (the established church leaders) are being silenced or have decided to hold their peace.

I am a stone; I am earthy, worldly, hardheaded, blind, deaf, and dumb, in certain ways and at certain times.  But aren’t we all?  Peter describes christians as “living stones”.  We are animated by God’s Spirit.  I rarely have direct awareness of the presence of that Spirit, yet now feel stirred to do something that is a bit unnatural for me.  So I have started from scratch to learn some tools.  I plug away, using what scraps of time I can find, and a thing is slowly emerging.  I hope that eventually my project turns out to be a nice offering to the Maker, like a little stone crying out “hosanna!” to Jesus.

I ran across this, a beautiful piece of music of the Baroque era, on a fairly unusual instrument.  The composer is Robert de Visée, 1655-1733, who was a composer and player at the courts of the French kings Louis XIV and Louis XV.  I won’t hold that against him.

The venue is apparently the Vätö kyrka in Sweden, northeast of Stockholm.


Feb 1 is the feast day of St. Brigit of Kildare, Ireland (453-523).  She is controversial (some scholars believe that she didn’t really exist, but is a Christianization of the pagan goddess named “Brigid”; though she is well attested by numerous sources).  She is believed to have born into slavery to a druid, but was returned to her parents around age 10.  She was an abbess, who founded several monasteries, including in about 480 AD the “cell dara” (Kildare), the “church of the oak hill”.   This foundation became a center of learning, and eventually a cathedral city. She is said to have been generous toward the poor and to women.

There is an amusing but touching prayer attributed to St. Brigid (probably written later):

I’d like to give a lake of beer to God.
I’d love the heavenly
Host to be tippling there
For all eternity.

I’d love the men of Heaven to live with me,
To dance and sing.
If they wanted, I’d put at their disposal
Vats of suffering.

White cups of love I’d give them
With a heart and a half;
Sweet pitchers of mercy I’d offer
To every man.

I’d make Heaven a cheerful spot
Because the happy heart is true.
I’d make the men contented for their own sake.
I’d like Jesus to love me too.

I’d like the people of heaven to gather
From all the parishes around.
I’d give a special welcome to the women,
The three Marys of great renown.

I’d sit with the men, the women and God
There by the lake of beer.
We’d be drinking good health forever
And every drop would be a prayer.


I am not sure of the source but one website notes that this is from an 11th century Irish poem attributed to St Brigit taken from a manuscript in the Burgundian Library, Brussels and edited and translated by O’Curry.  From

Well, I agree with the sentiment.  And next time I pick up a glass, I’ll think of St. Brigid and her Irish homeland.

This is very sad.

A popular Nigerian pastor, who is touted as a dedicated servant to the poor, was “butchered” to death last week on his way back from pastoral duties by Muslim Fulani herdsmen, whom some say could be linked to the terrorist group Boko Haram.

As Morning Star News reports, pastor Joshua Adah, who founded and operated a school that provides over 400 kids with free education in the village of Bantaje, fell victim to the wrath of Muslim extremists belonging to the Fulani ethnolinguistic group, the same herdsmen that also reportedly attacked Nigerian Christian communities last week.

Read more at Christian Post: