POETRY: Septuagesima by John Betjeman

February 20, 2019

Septuagesima—seventy days To Easter’s primrose tide of praise; The Gesimas—Septua, Sexa, Quinc Mean Lent is near, which makes you think. Septuagesima—when we’re told To “run the race,” to “keep our hold,” Ignore injustice, not give in, and practice stern self-discipline; A somewhat unattractive time Which hardly lends itself to rhyme. But still it gives the chance to me To praise our dear old C. of E. So other churches please forgive Lines on the church in which I live, The Church of England of my birth, The kindest church to me on Earth. There may be those who like things fully Argued out, and call you “woolly”; Ignoring Creeds and Catechism They say the C. of E.’s “in schism.” There may be those who much [...]

PRAYER: Septuagesima—Prayer Of The Church

February 18, 2019

From The Lutheran Church Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs. Brief silence For the church, that all who labor in her vineyard, whether for a moment or for a lifetime, may receive the reward prepared for her, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. For those who labor in the church as leaders, our pastor(s); and all deaconesses, teachers, and other servants, that they may remain faithful to the Holy Scriptures in all they say and do, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. For all of our congregations, especially this congregation, that we would repent of quarreling and testing the Lord’s bountiful goodness and receive from him all good things that he gives us, let us [...]

POETRY: Station Island XI by Seamus Heaney / John of the Cross

February 13, 2018

As if the prisms of the kaleidoscope I plunged once in a butt of muddied water Surfaced like a marvelous lightship And out of its silted crystals a monk’s face That had spoken years ago from behind a grille Spoke again about the need and chance To salvage everything, to re-envisage The zenith and glimpsed jewels of any gift Mistakenly abased …. What came to nothing could always be replenished. “Read poems as prayers,” he said, “and for your penance Translate me something by Juan de la Cruz.” Returned from Spain to our chapped wilderness, His consonants aspirate, his forehead shining, He had made me feel there was nothing to confess. Now his sandaled passage stirred me on to this: How well I know that fountain, filling, running, [...]

LENT: Preparing For Lent

February 12, 2018

From Full Homely Divinity “The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting.” (The Book of Common Prayer). By the middle of the fifth century, the church had taken a similar approach to preparing for Advent, then known as “Saint Martin’s Lent.” Much of what follows may also be profitably applied to Advent. Since Lent is itself a season of preparation, it may seem like overkill to have to prepare for Lent. Yet, how will we take full advantage of the opportunity of Lent if we wait until the last minute to decide how to keep it? Both the Eastern and Western [...]

THE CHURCH YEAR: Gesima Sundays by Gregory Wassen

February 11, 2018

From The Anglican Breviary The three Sundays before Lent begin with Septuagesima, continue with Sexgesima, and conclude with Quinquagesima. They each put us in orbit around the theme of Easter. Septuagesima places us 70 days away from Easter, Sexagesima, 60, and Quinquagesima 50 days. The numbers don’t add up precisely, but that is besides the point. This is not about mathematics so much as about theology. The Lord said unto Adam, Of the tree which is in midst of paradise thou shalt not eat, * for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. The Lord said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me: * make thee an ark of wood, that thereby the seed of all flesh may be saved. Mighty Abraham, the father of our faith, * [...]