Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bishop's Note: Collect for Pentecost 18 - Proper 23

Bishop Eric Menees

“Lord, we pray thee that thy grace may always precede and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

One of the things I often get asked is whether or not I have any regrets about leaving San Diego - with perfect weather and no lawsuits directly affecting me - for Fresno and, well, imperfect weather and lawsuits? The answer is, both yes and no. I miss the weather, I will not lie; however I do not regret for a second coming to the Diocese of San Joaquin, even with less than desirable weather and the uncertainties of an apparently fickle legal system. Why? Because of God's Grace.

Grace is that unwarranted and unmerited love of God that fills in the gaps and supports us especially in the most difficult of days. In this week's collect, Archbishop Cranmer acknowledges the continual need we, as humans, have for God's Grace to go before and behind us.  

This coming Sunday I will have the honor of ordaining Dcn. Ryan Bradley to the Sacred Order of Priests. At the service, one of the hymns that Dcn. Bradley has chosen is St. Patrick's Breastplate, which speaks of this type of Grace. St. Patrick, the presumed author of the hymn, wrote about the need to have Christ all around us to guide, support, and lead us.  As you read these words - a portion of the hymn - allow them to flow across your lips as a prayer:

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort
and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of
all that love me,
Christ in mouth of
friend and stranger.

I would be willing to bet that Archbishop Cranmer was familiar with some version of this hymn, and in any case was familiar with this theology: We bind ourselves to Christ, but it is only by Christ's all encompassing love and support that we can do any ministry at all. And to that I say, Amen!

I pray you all a very blessed week!
Bishop Menees

Catechism Questions: 25-27

25.    What is the Apostles’ Creed?
     The Apostles’ Creed says:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth;
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.        
26.    What is Holy Scripture?
Holy Scripture is “God's Word written” (Articles of Religion, 20), given by the Holy Spirit through prophets and apostles as the revelation of God and his acts in human history, and is therefore the Church's final authority in all matters of faith and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16)

27.    What books are contained in Holy Scripture?

The thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament form the whole of Holy Scripture, which is also called the Bible and the canon. (Articles of Religion, 6)

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