Monday, November 9, 2015


Holy Security

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Fr. Dale Matson

Today’s world is full of sorrow, threats and uncertainty. As Anglicans we live out our faith carefully nourished by our worship. Our prayer book was designed by Thomas Cranmer to form the spiritual lives of lay people in a similar fashion to the Benedictine monastics. In a sense we are doubly monastic with Celtic monasticism as also a part of our history.

Life was uncertain in Cranmer’s day also. Cranmer intended for the layperson’s home to be his monastery. In this monastery the layperson lived a life organized around four services of the day, Morning Prayer, Noonday prayer, Evening Prayer. I am reminded of suffrages A from evening prayer in rite 1.

O Lord, show thy mercy upon us;
R. And grant us thy salvation.
V. Endue thy ministers with righteousness;
R. And make thy chosen people joyful.
V. Give peace, O Lord, in the entire world;
R. For only in thee can we live in safety.
V. Lord, keep this nation under thy care;
R. And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
V. Let thy way be known upon earth;
R. Thy saving health among all nations.
V. Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
R. Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V. Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R. And sustain us with thy Holy Spirit.

Compline is the fourth and final service said before retiring for the night.
Here is a collect from Compline.
“Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy
Defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the
Love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen”

Our home is not just our castle; it is our monastery and our sanctuary. We need to see our congregation and our homes as places of spiritual refuge and refreshment. Many homes have an altar somewhere in the house. I am often reminded of how insecure I could be when in the wilderness but there, my tent is my sanctuary. Imagine how terrifying it would be to be alone in the wilderness in the darkness without shelter to keep the rain and bugs out, a sleeping bag to stay warm, food to supply energy and water to hydrate. Then imagine what it is like after a warm meal in a warm sleeping bag inside a tent with your belongings arranged around you like a light, water, your pack, gloves and a wool hat in case you get a little chilly, a knife and a notepad to write the day's activities. Your food is available and secure in a bear canister 50 feet from the tent.

Being alone in the wilderness without any gear is no different than living in the city today without God. What I am saying is that the discipline of living daily as an Anglican Christian is your tent in the wilderness. The Word of God is your food that sustains and nourishes you. The Holy Spirit is the Water of Life wherein you will never thirst again. Our faith community provides the necessary warmth in a world where love has grown cold. Our faith community correctly sees reality through the eyes of God not contemporary culture. It’s hard to keep your head on straight when you are constantly bombarded with crazy ideas being formalized as laws. It’s hard to feel secure when your health or safety could be compromised on any given day.

Think about adding a daily morning devotional, one of the four services of the day and see if things don’t get less hectic, and troubling. We can do very little about the wilderness that surrounds us but we can prepare our hearts against the constant threats that await us. We have our tent for shelter, our sleeping bag for warmth, our food for nourishment and our water for hydration. That is biblical abundance living in today’s world, which is a barren spiritual wilderness.

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