Dr. Peter Toon: Praying for the Anglican Covenant design group

January 11, 2007

A Prayer for the Covenant Design Group, appointed by the Archbishop of
Canterbury under the chairmanship of the Archbishop of the West Indies.

Almighty God our heavenly Father, we rejoice that your Incarnate Son is the
Head of your Church, and that it is your will that the Church on earth
should be not only in name but also in practice one, holy, catholic and
apostolic in its character and nature.

We ask you mercifully to look upon that branch and jurisdiction of your
Church, which is The Anglican Way, and which at this time is experiencing a
severe crisis of identity, especially as it seeks ways in maintaining
orthodox faith to express both autonomy and interdependency by its
provinces. Especially do we pray for the Covenant Design Group, which has
the important and urgent task of preparing “An Anglican Covenant” to be a
means of binding together in faith, love and ministry the provinces of the
Anglican Communion of Churches.

We pray that its members:

The Most Revd Drexel Gomez, West Indies
The Revd Victor Atta-Baffoe, West Africa
The Most Revd Dr John Chew, South East Asia
Ms Sriyanganie Fernando, Ceylon
The Revd Dr Kathy Grieb, USA
The Rt Revd Santosh Marray, Indian Ocean
The Most Revd John Neill, Ireland
The Revd Canon Andrew Norman, England
Chancellor Rubie Nottage, West Indies
The Revd Dr Ephraim Radner, USA
Ms Nomfundo Walaza, Southern Africa
The Revd Canon Gregory Cameron, London,

will be the faithful recipients of your wisdom and grace and know such a
sweet fellowship and common mind that their work will lead to a successful
conclusion for the edification and peace of the Church, and for the glory of
your holy Name; through the same Jesus Christ our only Saviour and Lord.

Day 4 postscript — A bit more on Abp. Ndungane

January 11, 2007

As readers will see below, we’ve decided to avoid creating a set schedule listing what days we will pray for which Primates. It seemed good to leave it flexible and to instead seek the Lord’s direction each day as we read the lectionary as to which Primate to pray for on a given day.

This morning, as I prayed, Abp. Ndungane of Southern Africa came to mind, and I focused on the epistle lesson from Ephesians which has a lot to say about unity centered on the Cross.

So, it was interesting just now to log on to Dr. Kendall Harmon’s blog and see a Reuters article on the upcoming Primates meeting which quotes several African Primates, including Abp. Ndungane.

Global primates narrowly avoided an outright split at their last meeting and tensions are running even higher this time around after the surprise election of Jefferts Schori and refusal of the U.S. church to condemn homosexuality.

Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi has not changed his position since primates from the Global South said in September they could not “sit together” with her, an aide confirmed.

Archbishop Benard Malango, leader of the Central African Province including Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, told Reuters: “We cannot be in communion with those who advocate ordination of gay bishops in our church.”

The South African church, with its strong liberal tradition nurtured during the anti-apartheid struggle and financial links to the United States, is the continent’s lone voice in support of Jefferts Schori and urged unity to fight AIDS and poverty.

“Reports of a boycott … is like fiddling while Rome burns,” Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of southern Africa said in a statement to Reuters. “More importantly it goes against God’s fundamental call for unity and reconciliation.”

No surprises there perhaps, but it does seem to underscore the importance of the understanding of unity as we pray for Abp. Ndungane. He may be the loudest African voice calling for “unity.” My question and concern would be unity focused on what.

One of the passages I was reflecting on this morning, and I considered including in my blog entry re: ++Ndungane was this from Romans 15:5-6

5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Unity is of course Christ’s desire for the Church, His Body. But our unity must be founded upon and centered on Him and for the purpose of glorifying Him. Look again at the final verses of Ephesians 2:

19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (NIV)

Unity in the Church requires a common foundation. All talk of unity will be merely empty words if there is not one foundation and one common mission of the Church. May the Lord be speaking these truths to Abp. Ndungane’s heart in these days, that in advocating for unity, it would be a unity rooted in the truth of Christ and His Gospel.

UPDATE: There is a slightly longer comment by Abp. Ndungane on ACNS

A quick clarification: No set schedule for Primates’ prayers

January 11, 2007

All, originally I’d planned to develop a schedule of what Primates to pray for each day of this Primates’ prayer campaign. But I’ve abandoned that idea. We will still cover all 38 Primates plus the Abp. of York, however, I would prefer to let the Holy Spirit guide each contributor each day as to whom to pray for. It may be that specific lectionary readings lead us to pray for a specific Primate. So… basically, “stay tuned!” We’ll pray for each Primate, but there’s not going to be any obvious order.

We will however keep track of who has been prayed for when so as to make it easy for folks committed to praying for specific Primates to find those posts. See the Index of Primate Prayer Profiles for that information.

Primates Prayer Day 4: January 11, 2007

January 11, 2007

Today’s Lectionary

AM Psalm 18:1-20; PM Psalm 18:21-50
Isa. 41:17-29; Eph. 2:11-22; Mark 2:1-12

Ephesians 2: 11-22 (ESV)

11Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands– 12remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Holy and Most Gracious Father, we praise You that when we were separated from You, strangers, far off, even Your enemies, You sent Christ to die for us that we might be reconciled to You and brought near. We thank You that Christ died to make us One Body, that He has broken down the wall of hostility that divided Jew and Gentile, that all who call on Him in faith have access to You through His blood. Lord, you see the division and hostility within the Anglican Communion. Only in Your cross can there be peace and true unity as we die to oursleves and put our trust in Your blood, the forgiveness and salvation You freely offer to all who will receive them. Lord Jesus. show us the way of the Cross today. Show the Primates the way of the Cross. Help us and them to die to ourselves that we might live in You and know Your peace, and that You might be glorified through our unified witness and declaration of Your Lordship and Your Gospel. We pray this with thanksgiving for Your grace and Your mercy towards us. Amen.

1930 Lambeth Conference Prayer

Eternal Father, Who wouldest make the Church of Thy dear Son a city great and fair, the joy of the whole earth; we beseech Thee, by the sending of Thy Holy Spirit to direct its counsels in all manner of wisdom, love, and might; remove perplexity, establish concord, kindle flame; and gather a people single and strong of faith, to the praise of Him who with Thee and the same Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen

Primate to Pray For: Archbishop Ndungane of Southern Africa

Abp. Ndungane, Southern Africa Given the retirement (or pending retirement? A new Primate was elected yesterday) of Abp. Eames of Ireland, Abp. Ndungane is one of the three most senior Primates (the other two are ++Pogo of Melanesia and ++Ayong or Papua New Guinea), having served as the Primate of the Province of Southern Africa since 1996.

The full profile and prayer written by my colleage Jill Woodliff is here. Here is the prayer that is included as part of the profile.

Our Father in heaven, Holy Scripture teaches us that Your Spirit helps us in our weakness. Your servant Njongonkulu is one man, and the problems he carries are the problems of the whole earth–international debt relief, conflict prevention, support of AIDS patients, the alleviation of poverty, the eradication of disease, and unity in the body of Christ. You search his heart and know him. Love him. Send Your Spirit upon him to intercede with sighs too deep for words. Love him. Send Your Spirit, Lord, to intercede according to Your will. Love him. Send Your Spirit now to stay with him in these tumultuous times. In the name of Your Son Jesus we pray, love him. Amen.
(Romans 8:26-27)

Finally: Today’s Gospel lesson is the healing of the paralytic. That brings to mind Jill Woodliff’s prayer, one of her earliest contributions to Lent & Beyond 2 years ago, re: healing for a paralyzed church. Let us pray again that the Lord would raise up leaders who will take action to help our church (I’m thinking primarily of ECUSA) come before Jesus for healing.

Oh! A VERY COOL RESOURCE: English Standard Version Daily Lectionary Reading

January 11, 2007

Oh, very nice! I’ve just discovered that the Online Version of the English Standard Version of the Bible has added a new offering to its daily devotional resources: the 1979 BCP daily lectionary. Excellent. You can subscribe to an RSS feed, or read it online.

UPDATE: Wow, it gets EVEN BETTER! I just logged in to my bloglines account for the first time since I added the ESV daily lectionary feed subscription to my account. In my “inbox” was today’s ESV lectionary readings entry. What “wowed” me is that there is AUDIO available. You can either read each text, or listen to it being read by Max McLean. TOTALLY awesome! ESV’s publishers have outdone themselves in offering such excellent resources!

A word received and a well-watered garden

January 11, 2007

A word received: Keep praying for my people — that they will turn away from sin and turn to me.

A Watered Garden, by W. B. Anderson, 1919

I have a precious memory. It is the memory of a garden that I happened upon one tired midsummer’s morning, in the midst of a torrid plain in India. I was weary, and travel-stained, and thirsty, when over the drooping head of the horse, I saw a clump of trees on the far horizon. I hoped it might be a garden. It seemed ages until we should reach it. When we did arrive under the spreading branches of great mango trees, a cool zephyr, as grateful as the fanning of angels’ wings, rippled over my parched cheeks. It was still early in the day, when, swinging myself wearily from the hard seat of the springless yekka, I walked straight into the heart of the garden, down the shady aisle of mango and loquat trees. Before dawn there had been a shower of rain, and now the gardener was running the clear, cool water from the irrigating well all about among trees and shrubs. Everywhere leaves were green and flowers were bright. Parrots circled through the cloudless blue, swung upon the swaying branches, calling merrily to one another. The air was ladened with the intoxicating odors of roses and jasmine. The fountain sparkled laughingly in the shaded center of the garden. I stooped to bathe my hands and face in the cool waters of the fountain’s basin. Then, from its joyous spring I drank until satisfied. I sat for a few precious moments upon the marble edge of the fountain and reveled in the refreshment of a watered garden. The driver called, and I hurried out again across the stifling, heated plain. I had tarried for so short a time, but I was a new man. I carried away the song of the garden in my heart, and its echoes shall never die from my life.

I was making the same journey in another year. The road was more uninviting than before, the weather was hotter, and I was not only weary, but ill. But I had a memory! For hours I looked and longed for the place of the garden of refreshing. At last we came to the shade of its trees. Wearily and weakly, but eagerly, I climbed from the seat of the torturing, springless cart. With unsteady steps I entered the door of the garden. The trees were gray with dust. The flowers drooped in the heat. The little water courses were parched and dry. The fountain was stopped. My soul sank with weariness, and I turned away sick at heart to finish the torturing journey unrefreshed. At the door I met the gardener. I asked him why his garden languished so. He explained with guilty look that he had been absent attending to affairs of his own for a week. I asked him if the raja would not be vexed at the neglect of his garden. He explained that the raja had gone to the mountains for a month. Then I knew that the garden had been neglected because the master’s orders had been disobeyed. He intended that every traveler might be refreshed; but his gardener had not been faithful.

I have a precious memory. It is a memory of a friend. Sin-stricken and weary, and far from God, I was traveling one day when I came into his life. His whole life was wet with the dews of Heaven; his garments were redolent with the odors of Paradise; he just breathed the very life of God. I sat and communed with him, and from within his life there flowed into mine rivers of living water. I walked with him through lovely avenues of restful shade in his friendship, and saw heavenly vistas, and drank from life-giving springs. I went out to my life renewed and refreshed. I was a new man, and there rang through all my being a song of the memory of that blessed life. All through eternity shall the echoes of that friendship call from peak to peak for me.

In time of need and anguish I came again to that friend. I ran to meet him as a shelter from my sore distress. I found him and entered into communion with him. But the fountains of his life seemed dried up. The refreshment seemed to have vanished. His own life seemed parched and drooping. His speech was as the speech of other men. I struggled back to my own life as I came. Later he told me that the King of his life was not being obeyed, and the garden of his heart was not being watered.. The trees and the walks of his friendship were still there, but they no longer soothed and strengthened. The fountain of his friendship was still there, but its waters had been hushed. The King had intended that this garden, this life, should be kept perpetually refreshing for the souls of all who might come to it, but the King had not been obeyed, and the living water had not been kept flowing, and I went away unrefreshed.

Then I prayed, “Oh God, keep flowing into me, and within me, and from within me Thy rivers of living water for the health and joy of other men! Oh, King of life, make my life a watered garden!”

Albany Intercessor

Isaiah 41:17-20

January 11, 2007

“The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, their tongues fail for thirst. I, the LORD, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. (Isaiah 41:17)

LORD, please give us eyes to see those who are poor in spirit and poor in purse and give them living water to drink.

I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. (Isaiah 41:18)

Lord Jesus, please flood the dry and desolate hearts and places of the Episcopal Church with your Holy Spirit. The church has become a wilderness, please restore it to fruitfulness.

I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together, (Isaiah 41:19)

Father, speak your word into our hearts so that the wilderness can become a garden of delight.

That they may see and know, and consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:20)

Holy Spirit, please hep us consider and understand together what the hand of the LORD has done and is doing now in our midst. Please give us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to hearken to you.

Albany Intercessor

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