Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bishop's Note: Collect for the 11th Sunday of Pentecost - Proper 16

Bishop Eric Menees

“Grant, we beseech thee, merciful God, that thy Church, being gathered together in unity by thy Holy Spirit, may manifest thy power among all peoples, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen”

This week's Collect speaks to both the greatest power and the greatest weakness of the Church - our unity and our disunity.

On the Lord's Day, we gather to give thanks to God for His Grace and Mercy in the liturgy known as The Lord's Supper; or Holy Communion; or Holy Eucharist. In this service, we pray prayers that have been prayed for two thousand years, and that are said by millions of Christians on the same day around the world. How awesome is that? To know that brothers and sisters in Kenya, and Argentina, and the Arctic Circle are all confessing our faith in the words of the Nicene or Apostles’ Creeds - saying the same words that Jesus used as we consecrate the bread and wine, which mystically become the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Just one step back from that, we share the same faith with millions of other Christians who are not as liturgically centered in the Holy Eucharist, but share the same love of Christ and His Word as found in the Bible. In that shared faith, there is such strength and grace.

However, I also believe that in that same unity of faith, there is a disunity of polity. Following the great divide of the Church - East and West in the eleventh century - and then the Reformation of the sixteenth century - dividing Protestant from Roman Catholic - the Lord's heart is broken. It is impossible to imagine the impact that the Church could have in this broken world, if only we worked in concert rather than - too frequently - working at odds with each other.

Let us join with Jesus and pray for unity in faith and life: "Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." (John 17:11) And to that I say...AMEN!

Catechism Questions 8 & 9

8. How does God save you?
God saves me by grace, which is his undeserved love given to me in and through Jesus. God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life(John 3:16).

9. Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus is my Savior, fully divine and fully human. He bore my sins, dying in my place on

the cross, then rose from the dead to rule as anointed king over me and all creation.

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