O LORD, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights: Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen
Lent has arrived! I know it doesn’t look like it much outside today, but Lent is the Church’s springtime. It’s a time when new life begin to appear, and as we begin our journey with Jesus to Jerusalem.
Our Gospel for today: after His Baptism by John in the River Jordan, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and he fasted 40 days and 40 nights. It’s this temptation that I want to talk to you about this morning.
Small groups will meet weekly to study the Gospel Lesson for the upcoming Sunday. This year’s Lenten Gospel Lessons come from the Gospels of John and Matthew. The readings from John’s Gospel (Lent 2-5) are all stories of an individual person having a life-changing encounter with Jesus. How can we encounter Jesus in Regina in the 21st century? How would an encounter with Jesus alter our lives?
Mondays @ 7:00 pm
Leader: Carol M Host: Lorna C
Wednesdays @ 9:00 am
Leader: Claude S Host: At St. Mary’s
Wednesdays @ 7:00 pm
Leader: Henry F Hosts: Alan and Jacky S
Saturdays @ 7:00 pm
Leader: Katherine G Host: Ginny L
Sundays @ 7:00 pm
Leader and Host: Beth C
For families who are unable to make these dates and times work in your schedule, you are invited to sign up to be paired with another family to pray and study together at a time that is convenient for you. Speak to Heidi D or Karen J to be added to this list and receive the materials.
A group is being organized for our older youth which will meet at St. Mary’s on Friday evenings. Speak to Nathaniel for details.
O LORD, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth: Send thy Holy Spirit, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever lives is counted dead before thee: Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
The Lenten season is meant to kindle a “bright sadness” within our hearts. Its aim is precisely the remembrance of Christ, a longing for a relationship with God that has been lost. Lent offers the time and place for recovery of this relationship. The darkness of Lent allows the flame of the Holy Spirit to burn within our hearts until we are led to the brilliance of the Resurrection. (Alexander Schmemann)
BRETHREN, in the primitive Church it was the custom to observe with great devotion the days of our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, and to prepare for the same by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided also a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for holy Baptism. It was also a time when such persons as had, by reason of notorious sins, been separated from the body of the faithful, were reconciled and restored to the fellowship of the Church by penitence and forgiveness. Thereby the whole Congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution contained in the Gospel of our Saviour, and of the need which all Christians continually have, of a renewal of their repentance and faith. I therefore invite you, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance, by prayer, fasting, and self-denial, and by reading and meditation upon God’s holy Word. (Book of Common Prayer p. 611)
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-be- gotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In our reading from Isaiah today we find a promise and prophecy concerning God’s intention to restore His people to freedom and joy, and locates this activity in an unlikely place: Galilee. In today’s Gospel lesson, Matthew references this prophecy as finding its fulfillment in the public ministry of Jesus, which comprised of making disciples, preaching, teaching, and healing. Our Psalm puts language to our souls’ longing for God, and the experience of His salvation. In our Epistle reading today, Paul appeals for unity within the Church that is divided by various factions, and in reflecting on his ministry of word and sacrament among the Corinthians, stresses, after the example of Jesus, the saving power of the Gospel and the priority he gave its proclamation in his own ministry.
“From a passionate and talented chef who also happens to be an Episcopalian priest comes this surprising and thought-provoking treatise on everything from prayer to poetry to puff pastry. In The Supper of the Lamb, Capon talks about festal and ferial cooking, emerging as an inspirational voice extolling the benefits and wonders of old-fashioned home cooking in a world of fast food and prepackaged cuisine.”
Saturday, January 25th. Family Dinner and a Movie. Next Saturday, starting at 5:00 pm, we will be having a salads pot luck and showing the film “Summer in the Forest,” the story of Jean Vanier and the L’Arche community in France. Salad greens and breads will be provided; bring salad toppings to share. Be creative! Ideas we are exploring: How do we use food to foster human community? How should Christians invite society’s outsiders into the community we are building (a.k.a. The Church)? All are welcome!
Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Old Testament lesson for today is provided by the second Servant Song from Isaiah. Its emphasis on the calling of the servant and his special vocation as a “light to the nations” makes it especially appropriate in the season of Epiphany. The psalm is a prayer of thanksgiving which finally prompts the psalmist to tell abroad the good news of deliverance. The Epistle consists of the opening greeting from Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians in which he gives thanks for the congregation and expresses confidence in the presence and saving, sanctifying power of God at work in the ongoing life of the Church, which itself is an “ epiphany” or manifestation of God. The Gospel lesson today from John recalls the Baptism of Jesus which we celebrated last Sunday, and provides us with further theological content and reflection of the epiphany that took place there, and shows how it was that others came “to see and believe.”
Prayer is doxology, praise, thanksgiving, confession, supplication and intercession to God. “When I prayed I was new,” wrote a great theologian of Christian antiquity, “but when I stopped praying I became old.” Prayer is the way to renewal and spiritual life. Prayer is aliveness to God. Prayer is strength, refreshment, and joy. Through the grace of God and our disciplined efforts prayer lifts us up from our isolation to a conscious, loving communion with God in which everything is experienced in a new light. Prayer becomes a personal dialogue with God, a spiritual breathing of the soul, a foretaste of the bliss of God’s kingdom.
As we pray deeply within our hearts we grow in prayer. By the grace of God we suddenly catch a glimpse of the miracle of the presence of the Holy Spirit working within us. At first it is only a spark but later it becomes a flame freeing and energizing our whole being. To experience the fire of God’s holy love, to give it space within us to do its cleansing and healing work as a breath of the Holy Spirit, and to use it as light and power for daily living — such are the goals as well as the fruits of true prayer.