“He ascended into heaven…”

A post on the Feast of the Ascension from our Bible Study Forum.

Hear what the Spirit is saying

While Jesus was going and [the apostles] were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:10-11 NRSV

Master of the Rabbula Gospels, The Ascension, 586

The Ascension of Christ, illumination on parchment, 6th century,
Master of the Rabbula Gospels.

Commentary by Hovak Najarian

During the sixth century, artists were approximately eight hundred years away from being able to create pictorial depth through linear perspective. In addition to technical limitations, artists faced decisions about how Jesus would be depicted and how angels would fly. How would a person’s inner light be represented? Creating a composition required decisions as well; how was it to be organized?

Pictorial depth in, TheAscension of Christ, an illuminated Syriac…

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Celebrate with awe?

An invitation to approach mystery with wonder and awe.

Butterfly: a symbol of resurrection

Collect for Monday in Easter Week

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that we who celebrate with awe the Paschal feast may be found worthy to attain to everlasting joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer, 222

For your consideration today: what does it mean to you to celebrate the Paschal feast with awe? What does it “feel” like? What do you wonder? What do you find awesome about the Paschal feast? ~Fr. Dan

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Image: Unknown source

Write a letter to God

One woman’s experiences of writing a letter to God.

5 Marks of Love Study 2017

The activity for the first week: write a letter to God.

“Slowly writing out our words of love for another person can be a meditative practice that connects us in a deep way. This week, spend some time hand-writing a letter to God. What would you say? How might you express your love for God in words?”

Here is one response to the activity, posted today (3/4/17). Hannah Tadros was asked to share her experience with the activity of writing a letter to God (described above). May her experience (of writing four letters) give you encouragement in your letter-writing activity:

[The four letters] were all over the place. My reluctance, my fear, and after I sat with it a little bit my nostalgia, and kind of longing, and that feeling of missing God, and missing that intimacy that I feel like I have run away from a lot. So that’s where the exercise went for me. It went all over the place. I found many different responses in me to the thought of being God’s beloved, and I kind of put them all down and left them up to God. Read the entire response.

– Hannah Tadros

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Use the “Leave a Reply” section to add your thoughts and comments. ~Fr. Dan

Ambassadors for Christ

A quick thought in the early days of Lent …

5 Marks of Love Study 2017

So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NRSV)

Are you using the Lenten Resource 5 Marks of Love led by the Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE)? If yes, what did you take with you on Week 1 |Day 3? For me it was this:

Our mission will not often be grand. It’s the little things, the small ways that we serve, a smile, a handshake, a hug, being kind to someone in customer service, especially when things aren’t going our way. Each and every day we’re acting as ambassadors of Christ…

As I write my letter to God (the activity for Week 1), I keep coming back to the sentences just quoted. Use the “Leave a Reply” section to add your thoughts and comments. ~Fr. Dan

Stir me, O Lord, to care

A prayer for the caring heart.

Alone with the morning sun

[Jesus continued teaching],  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.…” Matthew 5:43-44

Richard J. Foster is a teacher and mentor for prayers and praying to many, including me. Here is a prayer of Richard Foster from his book, Prayers from the heart. ~Fr. Dan

Stir me, O Lord, to care;
for a world that is lost and dying,
for values that are rejected and scorned,
for enemies that hate and malign me.
Amen.

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Source: Richard J. Foster, Prayers From the Heart (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994) p. 75

Image: GraphicStock.com

2017 Lenten Study

Come. Join us on the Way during Lent. Explore the 5 Marks of Love.

5-marks-of-love-348x450

The Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) have once again put together a very fine study for use during Lent. In their own words:

begin-quote-purple-x7152This six-week series provides the opportunity to observe and to reflect on the ways in which the Divine Life expresses itself in and through us; individually and in our faith communities, as well as in the world around us. Each week will explore the Anglican Marks of Mission (Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform and Treasure) through videos, questions and exercises so we can speak more clearly and act truthfully, motivated always by hearts marked by God’s love.

The Marks of Love are not simply a list of tasks to be checked off one after the other; they are signs that our life is rooted and grounded in the Being of God. The Brothers of SSJE will draw on their own monastic spirituality to help us balance action with contemplation, so that our words and deeds proceed from the deepest places of our hearts, where God dwells. The resource encourages us to reflect on how we should live, not what we should do.

This series is designed for use by individuals or small groups. In small groups, facilitators will guide the growing process as participants discuss and learn together. For individuals, daily videos and reflections will lead them through a similar process. Ultimately participants will learn to offer themselves, body and soul, to God’s Mission, and to live for God’s glory. Materials and videos are free online and as downloads.

Please join me in this Lenten Study. Sign up with the Brothers to receive a daily email and links to other materials. Let us speak with and listen to each other using this Blog. Each day that you are able, inspired, or otherwise moved, you are invited to comment and to read the comments of others as we respond to the daily emails from the Brothers. ~Fr. Dan