Collect: Samuel Shoemaker, Priest and Evangelist, 1963 (Jan 31)

The Rev. Samuel ShoemakerBorn in Baltimore in 1893, Sam Shoemaker was a highly influential priest of the Episcopal Church and is remembered for his empowerment of the ministry of the laity.

While attending Princeton University, Shoemaker came under the influence of several major evangelical thinkers, among them Robert Speer and John Mott. After  college he spent several years in China and came under the influence of Frank Buchman, founder of The Oxford Group, a group initially oriented toward the personal evangelization of the wealthy and influential. Although he would eventually break from Buchman, aspects of the Oxford Group’s approach would influence Shoemaker for the rest of his life. […]

Two significant movements—Faith at Work and Alcoholics Anonymous—have their roots in Shoemaker’s work at Calvary Church, New York City. Read more…

Holy Women, Holy Men

Holy God, we thank you for the vision of Samuel Shoemaker, priest and co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous; and we pray that we may follow his example to help others find salvation through knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our  Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Do you really want to “help others find salvation through knowledge and love of Jesus Christ”? Does the vision of Samuel Shoemaker resonate with you? Is this your calling? Is this our calling? How does his work inspire our work today in the Jesus Movement? Just a few questions Sam’s life and example and this Collect raise for us today. ~Fr. Dan

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Collect: Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe; Witnesses to the Faith (Jan 27)

Collect for Lydia, Dorcas, Phoebe

The commemoration of these three devout women follows directly on the observance of three of Paul’s male co-workers in the Lord. It is a reminder that though the first century was a patriarchal time from which we have very few women’s voices, the apostles and indeed the whole early church depended on women for sustenance, protection and support. Read more…

Holy Women, Holy Men

Filled with your Holy Spirit, gracious God, your earliest disciples served you with the gifts each had been given: Lydia in business and stewardship, Dorcas in a life of charity and Phoebe as a deacon who served many. Inspire us today to build up your Church with our gifts in hospitality, charity and bold witness to the Gospel of Christ; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Dare we ask God to “inspire us today to build up your Church with our gifts” without expecting God to answer “Yes”? And isn’t it equally true that God expects us to use our gifts of time and talent in witness to the Gospel of Christ? ~Fr. Dan

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Collect: Timothy, Titus, and Silas, Companions of Saint Paul (Jan 26)

A form of the Anchor Cross

[Timothy, Titus, and Silas are remembered and] celebrated on the day after the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul because of their close connections with him. Though they were all young and inexperienced, they were entrusted with missions and matters that helped form the very life and history of the Church. Faithfulness, love and devotion to Christ saw them through situations they could not have imagined. Read more…

Holy Women, Holy Men

Just and merciful God, in every generation you raise up prophets, teachers and witnesses to summon the world to honor and praise your holy Name: We thank you for sending Timothy, Titus and Silas, whose gifts built up your Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that we too may be living stones built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (source: Holy Women, Holy Men)

I have placed the “Provisional Collect” from the SCLM here. The official collect for this commemoration may be accessed here. Today, I will explore what it means to be a “living stone” built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. And you? ~Fr. Dan

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Collect: Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle (Jan 25)

Caravaggio: Conversion of St. Paul
The Conversion of St. Paul by Caravaggio. Click the image to read more.

Today, because many of you will not have access to this material, I quote in its entirety the description of this commemoration in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006. ~Fr. Dan

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Paul, or Saul as he was known until he became a Christian, was a Roman citizen, born at Tarsus, in present-day Turkey. He was brought up as an orthodox Jew, studying in Jerusalem for a time under Gamaliel, the most famous rabbi of the day. Describing himself, he said, “I am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1).

A few years after the death of Jesus, Saul came in contact with the new Christian movement, and became one of the most fanatical of those who were determined to stamp out this “dangerous heresy.” Saul witnessed the stoning of Stephen. He was on the way to Damascus to lead in further persecution of the Christians when his dramatic conversion took place.

From that day, Paul devoted his life totally to Christ, and especially to the conversion of Gentiles. The Acts of the Apostles describes the courage and determination with which he planted Christian congregations over a large area of the land bordering the eastern Mediterranean.

His letters, the earliest of Christian writings, reveal him as the greatest of the interpreters of Christ’s mind, and as the founder of Christian theology. He writes, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Paul describes himself as small and insignificant in appearance: “His letters are weighty and strong,” it was said of him, “but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account” (2 Corinthians 10:10). He writes of having a disability which he had prayed God to remove from him, and quotes the Lord’s reply, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, Paul went on to say, “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Paul is believed to have been martyred at Rome in the year 64 under Nero.

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O God, by the preaching of your apostle Paul you have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

May we follow the “holy teaching” of Saint Paul as we let our own light shine with the radiance of Christ. ~Fr. Dan 

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Image: On Art via The Christian Century

8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents

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A woman looking out the window

 

I’m going to say something politically incorrect here: Sometimes our elderly parents make us a little nuts. (And sometimes they out-and-out drive us crazy.) We love you, Mom and Dad, but we’ve heard the story about Aunt Cissy pouring wine in the dog’s bowl so many times we can tell it ourselves — in our sleep.

The repetitions, the forgetfulness, the incessant asking whether we’d like a sandwich: Eventually it just happens, and out of our well-meaning mouths tumble snarky comments and insults that we really don’t mean but they … just … slip … out.

“Seniors often know that their memory and cognitive and physical abilities are declining, and reminders are only hurtful,” says Francine Lederer, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles who works with “sandwich generation” patients and their parents. But even when we manage to hold our tongue, frustration lingers. That’s when we have to be doubly mindful, because by repressing those emotions, we’re more likely to have an emotional outburst.

“You might be justifiably annoyed,” Lederer says, “but take a step back and consider how your parent must feel as she faces her diminished capacities.” When people first start “slipping,” they are aware of the loss, and they are often terrified, scared and saddened.

Since forewarned is forearmed, here are eight common things we often catch ourselves saying plus suggestions for less hurtful ways to say them.
Keep reading for the 8 items

Collect: Ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi, First Woman Priest in the Anglican Communion, 1944 (Jan 24)

Florence Li Tim-OiNamed by her father “much beloved daughter,” Li Tim-Oi was born in Hong Kong in 1907. When she was baptized as a student, she chose the name of Florence in honor of Florence Nightingale. Florence studied at Union Theological College in Guangzhou (Canton). In 1938, upon graduation, she served in a lay capacity, first in Kowloon and then in nearby Macao.

In May 1941 Florence was ordained deaconess. Some months later Hong Kong fell to Japanese invaders, and priests could not travel to Macao to celebrate the Eucharist. Despite this setback, Florence continued her ministry. Her work came to the attention of Bishop Ronald Hall of Hong Kong, who decided that “God’s work would reap better results if she had the proper title” of priest.

On January 25, 1944, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Bishop Hall ordained her priest, the first woman so ordained in the Anglican Communion. Read more…

Holy Women, Holy Men

Collect for Florence Li Tim-Oi

Gracious God, we thank you for calling Florence Li Tim-Oi, much beloved daughter, to be the first woman to exercise the office of a priest in our Communion: By the grace of your Spirit inspire us to follow her example, serving your people with patience and happiness all our days, and witnessing in every circumstance to our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

May we indeed serve others with patience and happiness no matter our circumstances, for the glory of God. ~Fr. Dan

Like Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, Episcopalians honor our ancestors in the faith, men and women of exceptional character and action as Christ-followers, who inspire and encourage us along the Way. The Collect used on the day they are honored often asks for graces to become a better Christ-follower in our day and in our lives.

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5 Things you can do to cheer up quickly, according to Neuroscience

The brain graphic

This post appeared on Collective Evolution. The 5 Things include 4 common sense suggestions (and encouragement) and 1 pretty silly suggestion (and encouragement to “just try it”). ~Fr. Dan

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Life isn’t always easy, and it may seem like it is, in fact, difficult more often than not. Yet both ups and downs are a natural part of life, and we’ve all had our fair share of both. But when you do find yourself in a funk, why not, rather than dwell on it, which often just makes things worse, try to pull yourself out of it, and not let it ruin your day or week?

Sometimes when you’re in one of these moods it can feel impossible to break free, and sometimes it feels easier to just sit in it and brood instead of actively trying to get yourself out of it. Yet truthfully, there are some things you can do RIGHT NOW to instantly lift that extra weight off your shoulders and turn that frown upside down.

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