New primate of Melanesia

March 4, 2009

The Anglican Church of Melanesia has a new Archbishop. He is the Rt Rev David Vunagi who is currently the Bishop of the Diocese of Temotu in Solomon Islands.  Formerly a science teacher, he trained in theology in Auckland, New Zealand and New Westminster, Canada.  He is 58 years old. 

In 2005, he said

People have become very busy to accommodate the things of God. To them, God seem not to play any part in their lives. This is a big problem and we are trying to address it by emphasising the training of both clergy and laity. The training that we offer looks at particularly the areas of faith development, the power of prayer, knowledge of scripture, and the social conscience of our people.  Our aim is to help people realise the significance of the Gospel in their lives.

O God,

Abram believed in You, and You credited it to him as righteousness.  We pray that Your servant David will commit all that he is and ever would be to You.  May his belief in You be without qualification, and his trust so full of love that he will abide in You and You in him.  When his faith is weak, send the Helper, Your Holy Spirit, to help his unbelief. 

Oh, for the faith that is credited as righteousness!  Amen.

Genesis 15:6, 2 Timothy 2:11, Mark 9:23

TSM March 3 Devotional – Wayward Hearts & John Wesley

March 4, 2009

I really enjoyed yesterday’s Lenten Devotional entry at the TSM website. Here’s an excerpt.

Throughout the Scriptures, the “heart” represents the center of life from which all motives and desires spring. In hundreds of biblical references, we see God’s concern with the inclination of the heart. No wonder that in the liturgy for Ash Wednesday we pray that God will make in us “new and contrite hearts.” John Wesley, like so many Anglicans before him, had internalized this language of the heart and reflected deeply on the problems of hardness and waywardness and the solution uniquely found in Christ. In one of his hymns he recalled that humanity had begun “upright, both in heart and will” with God, but then “multiplied our wandering thought” and lost our “bliss.” Yet “from our own inventions vain, of fancied happiness,” God drew us to himself again, and bid our wanderings cease. . . And so we pray in the words of this hymn’s second verse:

Jesus, speak our souls restored
By love’s divine simplicity,
Re-united to our Lord,
And wholly lost in thee!

From the March 3 Devotional entry at TSM

— Dr. Philip Harrold, Associate Professor of Church History

It took me awhile to dig up the text and source of hymn that was quoted, but when I did, I found a treasure trove of amazing Wesley hymns, many of which I’d never seen before. The hymn appears in A Collection of Hymns, for the Use of the People Called Methodists , by John Wesley and first published in 1789.  [If the link above doesn’t work, go to Google Books and type in that title.  The hymn below is on page 98, it’s just incredible to me that this is available to read online!!!]  The section of Hymns “Praying for Repentance” just blew me away. (I assure you some will be making future Lenten appearances here!)

UPRIGHT both in heart and will,
We by our God were made ;
But we turn’d from good to ill.
And o’er the creature stray’d :
Multiply’d our wandering thought,
Which first was fix’d on God alone,
In ten thousand objects sought
The bliss we lost in one.

2 From our own inventions vain
Of fancied happiness,
Draw us to thyself again,
And bid our wanderings cease ;
Jesus, speak our souls restor’d,
By Love’s divine simplicity ;
Re-united to our Lord,
And wholly lost in thee!

Lent Quotes: Bonhoeffer on Cheap vs. Costly Grace

March 4, 2009

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace, on the other hand, is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must the asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Hebrews 3:12-19

March 4, 2009

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; (Hebrews 3:12)
      Father, we cry out to you for all those in the Episcopal Church who have departed from you in unbelief: rescue them.

but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)
      Holy Spirit, show me any that you are calling me to encourage and exhort today, and give me the courage to speak your word to them.

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, (Hebrews 3:14)
      Jesus, please help me be steadfast in you.

while it is said: “Today, if you will hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15)
      Soften my heart, Holy Spirit; soften my heart. Set me free from the curse of rebellion and hardness of heart.

For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? (Hebrews 3:16)
      LORD, we in the Episcopal Church are a rebellious people; have mercy on us.

Now with whom was he angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? (Hebrews 3:17)
      Lord Jesus, many in the Episcopal Church have fallen in rebellion; have mercy on us and turn your just anger from us.

And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who did not obey? (Hebrews 3:18 )
      Holy Spirit, please bring us to obedience to your word in Scripture so that we can enter your rest.

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:19)
      Jesus, restore the leaders and teachers and people of the Episcopal Church to a true and lively faith in you so that we may enter into your provision for us. Thank you.

      A word received: Pray for my people to enter into my rest. I long for my people to know my peace. I want to write my peace on their hearts. Come to me. Return to me. I AM waiting.

Wednesday: 119:49-72; Deuteronomy 9:13-21; Hebrews 3:12-19; John 2:23-3:15
Thursday: 50; Deuteronomy 9:23-10:5; Hebrews 4:1-10; John 3:16-21

      Words received for a Sunday School lesson in March.

A word received: I want you to teach about my love. My Holy Spirit is a sign of my love for you.

“Now it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, that one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.'” (Luke 11:1) A word received: I want to teach all of my children to pray.

“So he said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven,'” (Luke 11:2a) A word received: I want each of you to know you have a father in heaven who loves you.

“‘Hallowed be your name.'” (Luke 11:2b) A word received: I want you to keep my father’s name holy. I want you to find the freedom that comes in being set apart for my purposes.

“‘Your kingdom come.'” (Luke 11:2c) A word received: I have taught you many times on the kingdom of heaven. I want every child to know their citizenship in my kingdom.

“‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'” (Luke 11:2d) A word received: Seek and desire my will in all things.

“‘Give us day by day our daily bread.'” (Luke 11:3) A word received: There is nothing you can call by right your own; every thing you need and have comes from my father’s hand.

“‘And forgive us our sins,'” (Luke 11:4a) A word received: You need to daily come to me for the cleansing fire of my Holy Spirit.

“‘For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.'” (Luke 11:4b) A word received: This is a choice I am calling you to make. My father has made a way by my cross and resurrection for you to be forgiven; I want you to forgive others as well.

“‘And do not lead us into temptation,'” (Luke 11:4c) A word received: Pray that you will not be brought to hard testing.

“‘But deliver us from the evil one.'” (Luke 11:4d) A word received: The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour; pray that you will be delivered from his power.

“‘If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!'” (Luke 11:13) A word received: Just as the rainbow is a visible sign in the sky of my father’s love and care for you; the Holy Spirit is an invisible and interior witness of his love for you. You can only see a rainbow every so often; you can have the Holy Spirit in you all of the time giving you words of comfort and love.

Albany Intercessor

Lent Prayers: St. John Chrysostom – Let me love you as intensely as I have loved sin

March 4, 2009

O my all-merciful God and Lord,
Jesus Christ, full of pity:
Through Your great love You came down
and became incarnate in order to save everyone.
O Savior, I ask You to save me by Your grace!
If You save anyone because of their works,
that would not be grace but only reward of duty,
but You are compassionate and full of mercy!

You said, O my Christ,
“Whoever believes in Me shall live and never die.”
If then, faith in You saves the lost, then save me,
O my God and Creator, for I believe.
Let faith and not my unworthy works be counted to me, O my God,
for You will find no works which could account me righteous.

O Lord, from now on let me love You as intensely as I have loved sin,
and work for You as hard as I once worked for the evil one.
I promise that I will work to do Your will,
my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, all the days of my life and forever more.

Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

hattip to Wannabe Anglican

Melanesian primate appointment

March 4, 2009

This week the Church Electoral Board sits to make the appointment of the next primate. The meeting takes place in North Guadalcanal at the Community of the Sisters of the Church.

Hebrews 3:12-19

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said:
   “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

May it be so for the Church Electoral Board in Melanesia, dear Lord.  Amen.

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