An Open Thread for Advent / Advent Anglican Carnival

November 11, 2008

advent-0Last year, Stand Firm had a great idea. They posted an Advent open thread and encouraged folks to participate in an “Anglican Advent Carnival” with readers sharing their comments about helpful family Advent resources and traditions. (Amy Welborn did a similar Advent open thread in 2005 and it was great reading!)

Let’s see if we can round up lots more great ideas and resources this year:

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Joel 2:12-17

November 11, 2008

“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12)
      LORD, help us return to you and your ways.

So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and he relents from doing harm. (Joel 2:13)
      Jesus, thank you for giving us what we do not deserve, and for not giving us what we do deserve.

Who knows if he will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him– a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? (Joel 2:14)
      Holy Spirit, help us in true humility bring our offerings to you.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; (Joel 2:15)
      Father, move the hearts of the clergy and leadership of your church to call us to a season of fasting and prayer.

Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. (Joel 2:16)
      Holy Spirit, move all our hearts to turn to Jesus.

Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and do not give your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'” (Joel 2:17)
      Spare your people, O LORD, and do not give your heritage to reproach.

A word received: Come to me, my people. Return to me, come to me. I have rest for the weary.

A word received: Pray for my purposes to be accomplished. Pray that future generations will not be blinded by circumstances. Pray for my hope to be lodged in their hearts.

Tuesday: 78:40-72; Joel 1:15-2:2(3-11); Revelation 19:1-10; Luke 14:25-35
Wednesday: 81, 82; Joel 2:12-19; Revelation 19:11-21; Luke 15:1-10

Albany Intercessor

Via Peter Ould – An Excellent Post on the Jesus Prayer

November 11, 2008

A good friend of this blog, Peter Ould has a fantastic post on his blog about the Jesus Prayer.  What it is, and the theology behind it.  Peter links a friend of his, Jon H. (Confessing Evangelical blog), who also quotes from a Swedish Lutheran Pastor, and well known Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware.  It’s great and thought provoking reading.  Start with what Peter’s got posted, and then dig deeper following the various links.

Here’s an excerpt:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

Traditionally this prayer is used as a “breath prayer”: breathing in on “Lord Jesus Christ”, out on “Son of the living God”, in on “have mercy upon me”, out again on “a sinner”. Indeed, some in the Orthodox Church have spoken of the prayer becoming a “self-acting” prayer of the heart, continuing even when one is unconscious of it, in fulfilment (as they would see it) of St Paul’s injunction to “pray ceaselessly”.  […]

Here’s his Confessing Evangelical’s] thoughts on the theology of the prayer:

It is striking how the Jesus Prayer (see previous post) is able to pack so much content into so short a form:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

Per-Olof Sjögren describes the prayer as “a summary of the whole gospel”, of “the whole content of the Bible”:

Besides being a direct prayer to Jesus it contains also teaching about him, about his work of redemption, his dignity as king, his deity, and his loving mercy. (The Jesus Prayer, p.17)

Bp Kallistos Ware reaches a similar conclusion in his book The Orthodox Way, where he devotes a couple of pages (pp.68f.) to looking at what the prayer “has to tell us about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and about our healing by and in him”. Ware describes the two “poles” or “extreme points” of the prayer as follows:

“Lord … Son of God”: the Prayer speaks first about God’s glory, acclaiming Jesus as the Lord of all creation and the eternal Son.

Then at its conclusion the Prayer turns to our condition as sinners – sinful by virtue of the fall, sinful through our own personal acts of wrongdoing: “… on me a sinner”

Thus “the Prayer beings with adoration and ends with penitence”. These “two extremes of divine glory and human sinfulness” are reconciled by three words describing Jesus and the good news he brings for sinners:

  • Jesus: as Ware puts it, “this has the sense of Saviour; as the angel said to Christ’s foster-father St Joseph: ‘You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins’.”
  • Christ: this means the Anointed One, anointed by the Holy Spirit, the one whom the Jewish people awaited as “the coming deliverer, the future king, who in the power of the Spirit would set them free from their enemies”.
  • Mercy: this word “signifies love in action”, writes Ware, who continues by observing that:

    …to have mercy is to acquit the other of the guilt which by his own efforts he cannot wipe away, to release him from the debts he himself cannot pay, to make him whole from the sickness for which he cannot unaided find any cure. The term “mercy” means furthermore that all this is conferred as a free gift: the one who asks for mercy has no claims upon the other, no rights to which he can appeal.

Thus, within the space of 68 characters or fewer – short enough to be Twittered, with room to spare – the Jesus Prayer is able to summarise “both man’s problem and God’s solution”, namely the Jesus who is “the Saviour, the anointed king, the one who has mercy”.

Crackingly good stuff. Well done Jon.

Read the full post and follow the links.

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