Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bishop’s Note: New Year’s Eve 2015

Bishop Eric Menees

Bishop Menees is on vacation this week, but prays that God will give you peace as you reflect on this past year and look forward to the next, and that He will guide you and strengthen you in this season of new beginnings: 

Most gracious and merciful God, you have reconciled us to yourself through Jesus Christ your Son, and called us to new life in him: Grant that we, who begin this year in his Name, may complete it to his honor and glory; who lives and reigns now and forever. Amen. 

Almighty and merciful God, through your well beloved Son Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, you have willed to make all things new: Grant that we may be renewed by your Holy Spirit, and may come at last to that heavenly country where your people hunger and thirst no more, and the tears are wiped away from every eye; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Both prayers taken from the New Year’s Eve service in the Book of Occasional Services, 2003)

Collect for The Holy Name (January 1): Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. (BCP)

Catechism Questions 211 - 215

211.    What are Satan and demons?
Demons, of whom Satan is chief, are fallen angels. Satan rebelled against God and led other angels to follow him. They now cause spiritual and sometimes physical harm to mortals, and they sow lies that lead to confusion, despair, sin and death. (Luke 11:14-26; 8:29; 9:39; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 4:3-4, 11:3; 12:7; Revelation 12:7-12)

212.    How did Satan and his angels turn to evil?
Satan and his angels were overcome by envy and pride and rebelled against God. (Luke 10:18; 1 Timothy 3:6; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7-12)

213.    What are angels?
Angels are spiritual, holy beings created by God. They joyfully serve him in heavenly worship and God appoints them to act as messengers, bringing words of guidance and assurance to the faithful, and assisting and protecting them. (Psalm 148:1-6; Hebrews 1:14; Luke 1:19, 26-33; Acts 8:26-28, 12:7-11, 27:23-24)

214.    How did God address evil in this world?
God, in his love, sent Jesus Christ to gain victory over all the powers of evil by his death, resurrection and ascension. Victory and authority over sin and evil are granted to the faithful in their daily lives through the Holy Spirit by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. God will finally overcome all evil, including death, at the end of the age. (John 3:16; Colossians 2:13-15; Luke 10:17-20, Philippians 2:10, 1 John 4:4; Romans 8:28, 35-39; Revelation 21:1-4)

215.     Is God responsible for evil?

No. The free choices of his creatures do not implicate God in evil in any way. (Galatians 2:17; James 1:13-15)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Bishop’s Note: Christmas Eve 2015

Bishop Eric Menees

“O God, who hast caused this holy night to shine with the illumination of the true Light: Grant us, we beseech thee, that as we have known the mystery of that Light upon earth, so may we also perfectly enjoy him in heaven; where with thee and the Holy Spirit he liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.” (Collect for Christmas, BCP pg. 161)

This evening all around the diocese, and all over the world, men and women of faith will gather in church. Many of us will be reunited with our families who are spread far and wide, as we join together to praise God for His love that knows no bounds.  

We gather on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to thank God for sending His only son, Jesus Christ, to be born among us. Scripture tells us of that humble birth to faithful parents in the town of Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy foretold so long before.

That young man would grow to be Jesus of Nazareth - a name that was, and is, known the world over.  Known not simply for the profound Truth that He taught, but for the same Love that was evident in His Father. A love for the poor and lame, the rich and blind, the powerful and weak, that would transform the world, bringing salvation to all men and light to a very dark world.

My prayer as your bishop - and I hope all of our prayers - is that we will leave these services bearing the light of Christ into that same dark world; that we will have the same love for the poor and lame, the rich and blind, the powerful and weak, and that we will demonstrate that love by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. When we can take up that torch, then we really will have a very Merry Christmas!

Catechism Questions 207 - 210

207.    What is the Seventh Petition?
The Seventh Petition is: “But deliver us from evil.”

208.    What is evil?
Evil is the willful perversion of God’s good will that defies his holiness and mars his good creation. (Genesis 3:1-19; 4:1-8; 6:1-8)

209.    If God made the world good at its creation, why does he permit evil?
God made rational creatures free to worship, love, and obey him, but also free to reject his love, rebel against him, and choose evil – as the human race has done. (Genesis 6:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29; 1 Timothy 1:20; Revelation 2:18-29)

210.    Did evil exist before the human race embraced it?
Yes. Satan and the other demons with him had already opposed God and chosen evil. (Genesis 3: 1-5; Job 1:6-12; John 8:44)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bishop’s Note: December 17, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Evangelists

Bishop Eric Menees

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
(Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV)

As we close out this series on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we look at the positions in the church that require the gifting of God the Holy Spirit. St. Paul lays out these ministries in the fourth chapter of his letter to the Church in Ephesus. Beginning with Apostles, and then Prophets, today we look at the ministry of Evangelists. 

By definition, evangelists are those who share the Good News of Jesus Christ. While all baptized Christians are called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, there are those Christians - lay and ordained - who by God’s Grace naturally share the Good News of Jesus with any and all that they meet.

When I think of evangelists, I think of two young women: one named Rebecca and the other Christina. They are two women who couldn’t be more different in personality, or more similar in their love of Jesus. Rebecca, her husband, and their children were members of the congregation I served in San Diego. Rebecca is reserved and quiet, never seeking attention or being out front. However, she has the ability to speak naturally about Jesus and would invite family, friends, and co-workers to church so that they could get to know Him too. Rebecca has a passion for supporting unwed mothers.  She was and is excited to help these women and see their children be born, grow, and thrive!  

Christina and I met when I came to the Diocese. She is single and gregarious, fearless in social situations, and equally has a love for Jesus and a desire to share that with others. Three years ago, the Lord put it on my heart to ask Christina to consider being a lay evangelist at Fresno State University. Without batting an eye, Christina said yes and set out on a two-year adventure that brought the Good News of Jesus to the Campus of Fresno State. While God did not bless that ministry by drawing hundreds of people to an on going ministry, He did draw several non-Christians or lapsed Christians to Christina, who led them to Jesus!

Neither Christina nor Rebecca are “ordained” or hold special titles in the church, but both are gifted evangelists and lovers of Jesus.

How is God providing opportunities and the desire in your life to quietly or boldly share the Good News of Jesus Christ? I bid you to pray for opportunities and the desire to share the love of Jesus; if you ask, I am sure He will give you the desire, opportunity, and ability to glorify the name of Christ!

I pray you all a blessed fourth Sunday in Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and prepare for His Second Coming!

Catechism Questions 201 - 206

201.    What is the Sixth Petition?
The Sixth Petition is: “And lead us not into temptation.”

202.    What is temptation?
Temptation is an enticement to abandon total trust in God or to violate his commandments. (Proverbs 1:8-19; James 1:14-15)

203.    What are the sources of temptation?
My heart is tempted by the world, the flesh, and the Devil, all of which are enemies of God and of my spiritual well-being. (1 John 2:15-17, Galatians 5:16-21, 1 John 3:8)

204.    What kind of protection from temptation do you ask for?
Knowing Satan’s hatred and my weakness, I ask God to keep me from sin and danger. (Luke 22:31; James 1:14; 1 Peter 5:8)

205.    Does God lead you into temptation?
No. God never tempts anyone to sin, nor is he the cause of any sin, but, so that I may grow in obedience, he does allow me to be tested on occasion, as he allowed Jesus. (Matthew 4:1-14; Hebrews 5:7-8; Genesis 22; Judges 2; James 1:1-8)

206.    What are ways to guard against temptation?

I can guard against temptation by praying the Lord’s Prayer, asking for strength, confessing my sins, recalling God’s Word, and living accountably with others. (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 14:38; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Ephesians 6:13-17; James 5:16; 1 John 1:9

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bishop’s Note: December 10, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Prophets

Bishop Eric Menees

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
(Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV)

God the Holy Spirit has gifted Christians from the first Pentecost to this present day. He gifts us to be His instruments of Grace and Love until the Lord returns. However, the Lord also sets aside particular people for specific ministries that are described from the passage above from the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Last week in my Bishop’s Note we spoke of the Apostles – those specific men chosen by Christ, who were witnesses to the resurrection, and were sent into the world as Christ’s emissaries. This week we look at the The Prophets.

From Moses to this present day, God has called specific people to be His spokesmen. Who do you think of when I say the word “prophet”? In this season of Advent, it’s hard not to think of John the Baptist, who fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah and calls the people of Israel to repent as we’ll hear in this week's lessons: “He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. (Luke 3:7)
But the role of Prophet did not end in the first century. God has raised up men and women today - both ordained and lay - who are called to share the word of God with individuals, small groups of people, and all people everywhere. The gospel of the Lord is not for one person or one group of people, but for all people for all time.

Let us pray that God will raise up and equip more and more people with this gift, so that more and more people will be able to hear God’s Word and thus have the opportunity to respond to God’s call on their lives. What is God’s call? Repent and believe, bearing fruits in keeping with repentance!

    I pray you all a truly blessed 3rd Sunday in Advent!

Catechism Questions 196 - 200

196.    Does God forgive your sins?
Yes. God freely forgives the sins of all who ask him in true repentance and faith, and that includes me. (Leviticus 6:6-8; Matthew 11:28-30; John 6:37, 40, 51; 7:37; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Hebrews 7:25)

197.    Do you forgive others as fully as God forgives you?
Following the example of my Lord Jesus, I seek constantly to forgive those who sin against me. (Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

198.     Why should you forgive others?
I should forgive others because while I was still a sinner God forgave me. (Matthew 18:21-35)

199.    How will you forgive others?
I will forgive others by extending to them the love of Christ, and by choosing not to hold against them the hurts they have inflicted, whether they ask forgiveness or not. (Romans 13:8)

200.    Will your forgiveness of others bring reconciliation with them?
Not always. Forgiveness is an attitude of my heart desiring the blessing of my neighbor, but my forgiveness may not result in my neighbor’s repentance and the restoration of our relationship. (Romans 12:18)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Bishop’s Note: December 03, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Apostles

Bishop Eric Menees

As we approach the end of the year we also approach the end of this series of Bishop’s Notes on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the early church God the Holy Spirit equipped individuals for ministry in building up the Body of Christ – The Church –  through the advancement of the Good News of Jesus Christ. He is still doing so today!

St. Paul in his letter to the Church in Ephesus speaks of certain groups of people whom God has gifted through the Holy Spirit: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV)

The first on this list were the Apostles. The Apostles were those men specifically called by Jesus who lived, worked, prayed, and suffered with our Lord. Most importantly, these are the men to whom Jesus chose to reveal himself, and who he chose to empower through the Holy Spirit in order to establish and govern the whole church. These men had the authority to speak the words of the Son of God, which were and are - in every way - equal to the power and authority of the Old Testament Scriptures.

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” (Matthew 10:2-4 ESV) Judas, the betrayer, was replaced by Matthias in Acts 1:26. Soon afterwards, Saul met the risen Lord on the road to Damascus and became the 13th and last Apostle.

Thank God for the Apostles, whom He used to govern the church in her infancy. They were the ones who were entrusted with the Gospel, and who were given the right and charged with the responsibility to share, protect, and defend the faith. This meant that the Apostles were required to raise up, train, and ordain new ministers, and to exercise discipline in the church.  

As a bishop, I am humbled, honored, and blessed to have been raised up and equipped by God to be a successor to the Apostles in the Diocese of San Joaquin.     

I pray you a blessed Second Sunday of Advent!

Catechism Questions 191 - 195

191.    What is the Fifth Petition?
The Fifth Petition is: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

192.    What are trespasses?
A trespass is a thought, word, or deed contrary to God’s holy character and Law, missing the mark of his will and expectations. (Romans 3:23)

193.    Have you trespassed against God’s Law?
Yes. Together with all mankind, I sin daily against God’s Law in thought, word, and deed, and love neither him nor my neighbor, as I should. (Jeremiah 2:12-14; Romans 1:18-24; 3:23)

194.    What is God’s forgiveness?
God’s forgiveness is his merciful removal of the guilt of sin that results from our disobedience. (Isaiah 1:18; 52:13-53:12; Ephesians 1:3-14; Colossians 2:13-14)

195.    On what basis do you ask forgiveness?

I ask God to forgive all my sins through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which was completed for me on the cross and is given to me through faith and Baptism. (Acts 2:38; Romans 5:17; Colossians 2:9-12; 1 John 1:9-10)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bishop’s Note: November 19, 2015 Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Miraculous Power

Bishop Eric Menees

As we’ve been working through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit - as listed in First Corinthians chapter 12 - verse 10 specifically mentions “Miracles.” Let me ask you: “What comes to mind when you think of a “miracle?” For many it is the last minute “hail Mary pass” to win the Super Bowl; or the Cubs making it to the playoffs. Often it is described as being miraculous when a person is ill and finally begins to respond to medical treatments.

The Menees definition of a miracle is as follows: “The suspension of natural law for the benefit of man and the glory of God.” Scripture is full of examples of miracles. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus heals the man with Leprosy: “And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.” (Mark 1:40-42)

Clearly this is an example of a Miracle of Jesus, who suspends natural law to heal Leprosy - an incurable disease at that time, which still leaves many people around the world permanently disfigured. Clearly the healed man benefited from this miracle, and God was and is glorified! Not able to contain himself, the healed man spread the word that Jesus had healed him and restored him to wholeness – mind, body, and spirit!

Now you might say: “Well yes, but that was Jesus – these things don’t happen now.”  Ah, but they do – daily!  God grants the gift of miracles to different individuals so that man may be benefited and God may be glorified. These miraculous events seem to happen regularly in the mission field, but they happen here in our present context too. I’ve witnessed several such miracles.  

As a young man, I participated with a group of faithful Christians who walked from Santa Barbara to Tijuana to raise funds for a ministry known as Los NiƱos. Once in Tijuana, a group of us spent the morning making sacks of food – peanut butter and honey sandwiches and a piece of fruit – to give out to people who lived in the garbage dump, picking through trash looking for food and recyclables. That morning we made two hundred bags of food, confident that we had plenty. When we arrived there were hundreds and hundreds of people there. I turned to one of the nuns who worked with us and said, “We do not have enough food.” Her response: “Sure we do – we’ve never run out before, and we won’t today.” After about an hour of handing out food to well over five hundred people, we still had dozens of bags left – those were brought back to the orphanage that we worked with. This was clearly a miracle of multiplication. Were the laws of nature suspended? YES! Two hundred bags of food were miraculously multiplied. Was man benefited? YES! These people had a nutritious meal. Was God glorified? You bet your sweet bippy God was Glorified! And in telling this story again, God is glorified again.

Keep your eyes, mind, and heart open to the miraculous and I promise you that you will see God’s hand at work. Ask God to use you as His instrument for the miraculous and act accordingly and you will both be blessed, and be a blessing to others!

I pray you all a truly blessed Lord’s Day!

Catechism Questions 186 - 190

186.    For what personal blessings does the second half of the Lord’s Prayer teach you to ask?
As a loyal child of God I pray first for God’s honor, Kingdom, and will; then I pray for my own needs of daily bread, pardon for sins, and protection from evil.

187.    What is the Fourth Petition?
The Fourth Petition is: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

188.    What does “our daily bread” mean?
Daily bread includes all that is needed for personal well-being, such as food and clothing, homes and families, work and health, friends and neighbors, and peace and godly governance. (Matthew 6:8; Luke 11:12; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)

189.    Why should you pray for bread daily?
God wishes me to trust him every day to supply my needs for that day. (Proverbs 30:7-9; Matthew 6:24-34; Philippians 4:6)

190.    Why does God give you daily bread?

God gives me daily bread because he is a good and loving Father, and I should thank him for it morning, noon, and night. (Psalms 81:10, 16; 103; Daniel 6:10)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Bishop's Call To Prayer

Bishop Eric Menees

Today, without provocation or warning terrorists attacked several public gatherings in Paris killing over 150 people.  Once again we are graphically reminded of the fact that we live in a fallen and dangerous world.  Please join me in praying for the people of France – the leaders – the first responders and most especially for the families and friends of those killed or wounded in this evil attack.

“Almighty God and Heavenly Father.  We come before you with heavy hearts for the scores of men and women murdered in Paris in the terrorist attacks.  We plead your Grace and Peace to surround that City of Light and all of her citizens. We lift before you the French government officials responding to these traumatic events. We lift before you the terrorists themselves and pray they will renounce such violence and evil, repent of their actions, turn themselves in to authorities and most importantly turn their hearts and minds to Jesus Christ accepting your Son as Lord and Savior.  This we ask in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen” 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bishop’s Note: November 12, 2015 The Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Healing

Bishop Eric Menees

“But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.” (Acts 3:6-7 ESV)

The Gift of Healing is when God chooses to pour out His supernatural power, which results in the healing of sickness and disease without the use of medical treatment. This healing can be purely physical, but generally God desires to heal us mind, body, and spirit.  

All too often, when we think of healing we limit our sights to physical healing, but our God desires wholeness. He heals traumatic memories from actual traumatic events; He heals addictions to all sorts of things; He heals grief that cuts to the bone – HE HEALS!

Healing came to my family with the birth of my daughter Milagro. Milagro was born with double pneumonia and a collapsed lung. No one had a clue until she was placed on Florence’s tummy - grayish blue and gasping like a fish. The nurse made a call and a doctor rushed in – grabbed her up like a football and ran down the hall. After a moment’s hesitation – caught between my first-born and my wife – Florence said, “GO!” and I ran down the hall! I caught up to them in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the doctor was placing her onto a bassinet thing and said something like: “Your daughter’s lungs are not inflated we need to put a tube in through her side; can I have your permission?” I said yes, but that I wanted to pray over her. He said, “Make it quick,” and I started praying. Seconds later, Milagro took a huge gasp of air, started screaming, and before our eyes expanded to twice her size, turning from gray/blue, to bright red, to very pink. I had to ask the doctor, “What’s happening?” He listened to her lungs and said, “Well I guess we won’t need these,” and pointed to the surgical instruments next to her bassinet.

Milagro was miraculously healed in front of the hospital staff and me, but the scars on her parents were deep. We almost lost our first-born – did we do something wrong? Anger, frustration, fear, and relief were front and center in our lives. After a couple of years of “dealing” with these emotions, I was doing Sunday supply at St. Luke’s in San Diego and they had a healing team present from the Order of St. Luke. The three of us went over for prayer after the service, and afterwards it was like a huge weight had been lifted off of our shoulders. The emotions were gone, not just pushed down. Our little family was now fully healed.

How could a healing be traumatic? Well, the fear of what could have been had weighed heavily upon us from the day of Milagro’s birth until that Sunday at St. Luke’s. The full healing for us came when God, in His mercy, transformed that weight into a triumphant heralding of God’s Grace and Glory!

Why is it that God allows some to be healed and some not? Truthfully, I don’t know. I am very aware that, as I write this Bishop’s Note, my mother-in-law is in surgery receiving a transplanted kidney from a person who lost his or her life, but who gave the gift of life to another. God chose not to heal that person, and to heal my mother-in-law instead.

Perhaps the question isn’t why, but rather what should we do when God heals? I do know the answer to that: Sing God’s praises, proclaim His glories, and fall at His feet in gratitude!

I pray you all a blessed Lord’s Day!
Catechism Questions 181 - 185

181.    What is the Third Petition?
The Third Petition is: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

182.    How is God’s will accomplished in heaven?
The heavenly company of angels and perfected believers responds to God in perfect, willing obedience, and perfect worship. (Psalms 103:20; 104:4; 148:2)

183.    Where can you find God’s will?
I find the will of God outlined in the Ten Commandments, learn its fullness from the whole of Scripture, and see it culminate in the Law of Christ, which calls for my complete love of God and my neighbor. (Deuteronomy 29:29; Psalms 119:1-16, 104-105; Proverbs 4; John 13:34; Acts 7:51-53; Galatians 6:2)

184.    How is God’s will accomplished on earth?
God’s Kingdom comes whenever and wherever God’s will is done. As the Church aims to hallow God’s Name and seek first his Kingdom, it should lead the way in wholehearted obedience to God in Christ, and I should join and support the Church in this. (Psalm 119:176; Matthew 5-7; Ephesians 1:11; Daily Office Prayer of St. John Chrysostom)

185.    What more do you seek in the third petition?
In the third petition I also pray for God to counter the dominion of the world, the flesh, and the Devil in my own soul; to thwart the plans of wicked people; and to extend the Kingdom of his grace to others through me. (Baptismal Service; Acts 1:8; 1 John 2:15-17, Galatians 5:16-21, 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Timothy 2:4)

Monday, November 9, 2015


Holy Security

Click On Photograph To Enlarge

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.