Jesus Christ

PSALMS: Petition For The Spirit Of Life by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

August 15, 2017

From Psalms We have taken this short stroll through the Psalter in order to learn to pray a few psalms a bit better.  It would not be difficult to arrange according to the Lord’s Prayer all the psalms mentioned.  We should have to change only slightly our arrangement of the order of the chapters.  But this alone is important, that we begin to pray the psalms with confidence and love in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Our dear Lord, who has given to us and taught us to pray the Psalter and the Lord’s Prayer, grant to us also the spirit of prayer and of grace so that we pray with enthusiasm and earnest faith, properly and without ceasing, for we need to do this; he has asked for it and therefore wants to have it from [...]

PRAYER: Devotion To The Holy Name

August 14, 2017

From the Franciscan Litany of the Holy Name. Jesu, dulcis memoria Jesu, the very thought of thee With sweetness fills my breast; But sweeter far thy face to see, And in thy presence rest. Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame, Nor can the memory find, A sweeter sound than thy blest name, O Savior of mankind! O hope of every contrite heart, O joy of all the meek, To those who fall, how kind thou art! How good to those who seek! But what to those who find? Ah! this Nor tongue nor pen can show. The love of Jesus! what it is, None but his loved ones know. Jesu, our only joy be thou, As thou our prize wilt be; Jesu, be thou our glory now, And through eternity. Wherewith I longed for thee, And left my Father’s throne; From death to set [...]

POETRY: Paradox And Promise by Clare of Assisi

August 9, 2017

Look upon Him Who became contemptible for you, and— if you choose— follow His way, becoming contemptible to the world, so long as you do so for Him. More lovely than all things, He became the lowest, despised, struck, scourged countless times and raked across His perfect Body. And then, amid the sufferings of the horrid Cross, He died. For you. If you suffer with Him, you shall reign with Him. Weep with Him and you shall rejoice with Him. Die with Him upon the cross of wretchedness, and life is yours, And, yes, your dwelling forever in [...]

PSALMS: The End by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

August 8, 2017

From Psalms The hope of Christians is directed to the return of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead.  In the Psalter this hope is not expressed literally.  That which since the resurrection of Jesus has divided itself in the church into a long line of events of holy history toward the end of all things is, from the viewpoint of the Old Testament, still a single indivisible unity.  Life in fellowship with the God of revelation, the final victory of God in the world, and the setting up of the messianic kingdom are objects of prayer in the psalms. The Old Testament is not different from the New in this respect.  To be sure, the psalms request fellowship with God in Earthly life, but they know that this fellowship is not completed in [...]

SERMON: Transfiguration by John Mason Neale

August 6, 2017

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty when we were with him in the holy mount. (2 Peter 1:16, 18) Such an evening as this should teach us something of the glorious sight we keep in mind this day. When we were looking at those long lines of dark-brown gold that lay so quietly in the west, and at the intense brightness beneath them, where the sun had gone down, we might have remembered him who was as at this time transfigured before his disciples; when his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And we might have looked on to that day when, if by God’s grace we are counted worthy to [...]

SATURDAY READING: To Sing Is A Lover’s Thing by Edith M. Humphrey

August 5, 2017

From Grand Entrance: Worship on Earth As In Heaven Can you hear them? They’re singing, singing a song as strong as the sea, as sure as the rock, as heartrending as a glimpse of sapphire sky caught through a tear in an ominous bank of clouds. Can you hear them? Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, The One who was, and who is, and who is to come… Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, To receive glory and honor and power: For thou didst create all things, And by thy will they came to be, and were created.  (Revelation 4:8, 11) The song surrounds John, directed by the cherubim who sing the thrice-holy hymn, and entered with abandon and reverence by the twenty-four elders, representative of God’s people.  Encircled by the celestial [...]

PSALMS: The Enemies by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

August 1, 2017

From Psalms No section of the Psalter causes us greater difficulty today than the so-called imprecatory psalms.  With shocking frequency their thoughts penetrate the entire Psalter (5, 7,. 9, 10, 13, 16, 21, 23, 28, 31, 35, 36, 40, 41, 44, 52, 54, 55, 58, 59, 68, 69, 70, 71, 137, and others).  Every attempt to pray these psalms seems doomed to failure.  They seem to be an example of what people think of as the religious first stage toward the New Testament.  Christ on the cross prays for his enemies and teaches us to do the same.  How can we still, with these psalms, call for the wrath of God against our enemies?  The question is therefore: Can the imprecatory psalms be understood as God’s word for us and as the prayer of Jesus [...]

PSALMS: Guilt by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

July 25, 2017

From Psalms More seldom than we expect, the prayer for the forgiveness of sins meets us in the psalms.  Most psalms presuppose complete assurance of the forgiveness of sins.  That may surprise us.  But even in the New Testament the same thing is true.  It is an abbreviation and an endangering of Christian prayer if it revolves exclusively around the forgiveness of sins.  There is such a thing as the confident leaving behind of sin for the sake of Jesus Christ. Yet in no way does the Psalter omit the prayer of repentance.  The seven so-called repentance psalms (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) but not only they (also Psalms 14, 15, 25, 31, 39, 40, 41, and others) lead us into the total depth of the recognition of sin before God.  They [...]

PSALMS: Suffering by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

July 18, 2017

From Psalms Where do you find more miserable, more wretched, more depressing words than in the psalms of lamentation?  There you see into the heart of all the saints as into death, even as into hell.  How sad and dark it is there in every wretched corner of the wrath of God. (Luther) The Psalter gives us ample instruction in how to come before God in a proper way, bearing the frequent suffering which this world brings upon us.  Serious illness and severe loneliness before God and men, threat, persecution, imprisonment, and whatever conceivable peril there is on Earth are known by the psalms (13, 31, 35, 41, 44, 54, 55, 56, 61, 74, 79, 86, 88, 102, 105, and others).  They do not deny it or try to deceive us about it with pious words.  [...]

SPIRITUALITY: Deepening Insights Into The Mystery Of Divine Persons by Gregory Collins

July 17, 2017

From Meeting Christ in His Mysteries Still greater depths are contained in the revealed mystery of Christ but to sound them one must turn to later New Testament letters such as Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus.  Although as we have seen, they are probably not directly from Paul’s hand they do represent the expansion and consolidation of his teaching within the wider circle of his disciples and have always been recognized by the churches as authentically “Pauline” in the sense that their authors deepened and developed his ideas.  Since we are not concerned with the process by which the New Testament reached its final form but with how the finished product operates in the church, I shall follow the [...]

PSALMS: Life by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

July 11, 2017

From Psalms Many earnest Christians are struck as they pray the psalms by how often the petition for life and good fortune occurs.  From a glance at the cross of Christ there comes to many the unhealthy thought that life and the visible, Earthly blessings of God are in themselves at least a questionable good, and in any case a good not to be desired.  They take, then, the corresponding prayers of the Psalter to be an incomplete first stage of Old Testament piety, which is overcome in the New Testament.  But in doing so they want to be more spiritual than God himself. As the petition for daily bread includes the entire sphere of the necessities of physical life, so the petition for life, health, and visible evidences of the friendliness [...]

POETRY: Jesu, Highest Heaven’s Completeness by Bernard of Clairvaux

July 5, 2017

Jesu, highest Heaven’s completeness, Name of music to the ear, To the lips surpassing sweetness, Wine the fainting heart to cheer. Eating Thee, the soul may hunger, Drinking, still athirst may be; But for Earthly food no longer, Nor for any steam but Thee. Jesu, all delight exceeding, Only hope of heart distrest; Weeping eyes and spirit mourning Find in Thee a place of rest. Stay, O Beauty uncreated, Ever ancient, ever new; Banish deeds of darkness hated, With Thy sweetness all bedew. Jesu, fairest blossom springing From a maiden ever pure, May our lips Thy praise be singing While eternal years [...]

PSALMS: The Church by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

July 4, 2017

From Psalms Psalms 27, 42, 46, 48, 63, 81, 84, 87, and others sing of Jerusalem, the City of God, of the great festivals of the people of God, of the temple and the beautiful worship services.  It is the presence of the God of salvation in his congregation for which we here give thanks, about which we here rejoice, for which we long.  What Mount Zion and the temple were for the Israelites the church of God throughout the world is for us – the church where God always dwells with his people in word and sacrament.  This church will withstand all enemies (Psalm 46), its imprisonment under the powers of the godless world will come to an end (Psalms 126 and 137).  The present and gracious God, who is in Christ who in turn is in his [...]

SPIRITUALITY: God’s Presence To The World—The Mystery’s Many Modes by Gregory Collins

July 1, 2017

From Meeting Christ in His Mysteries It is important to be aware of the difference between the word mystery as it is used in the New Testament, the liturgy, and theology, and the meaning it tends to have in contemporary culture.  When, for example, we speak of reading a “murder mystery,” our natural assumption is that at the end of the book the complexities of the plot will be resolved and we will discover who committed the murder and why they did it.  All obscurity will be ended and the mystery will disappear in the clear light of knowledge.  Nothing could be less true of mystery as that word is used in the Bible and in Christian worship.  A text from Christmas which we sing in our monastery liturgy illustrates this well: [...]

PSALMS: The Messiah by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

June 27, 2017

God’s holy history comes to fulfillment in the sending of the Messiah.  According to Jesus’s own interpretation, the Psalter has prophesied of this Messiah (Luke 24:44).  Psalms 22 and 69 are known to the church as the passion psalms. Jesus himself prayed the beginning of Psalm 22 on the cross and so clearly made it his prayer.  Hebrews 2:12 places verse 22 in the mouth of Christ.  Verse 8 and verse 18 are direct predictions of the crucifixion of Jesus.  David himself may have once prayed this psalm in his own song.  If so, he did this as the king, anointed by God and therefore persecuted by men, from whom Jesus Christ would descend.  He did it as the one who bore Christ in himself.  But Christ himself used this prayer [...]

PSALMS: Holy History by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

June 20, 2017

Psalms 78, 105, and 106 tell us about the history of the people of God on Earth, about the electing grace and faithfulness of God and the unfaithfulness and the ingratitude of his people.  Psalm 78 is not addressed as a prayer to anyone.  How ought we to pray these Psalms?  Psalm 106 summons us to thanksgiving, to praise, to commitment, to petition, to confession of sin, to the call for help in the light of the past history of salvation: thanksgiving for the goodness of God, which continues with respect to his people into eternity, which also we contemporaries experience as did our father; praise for the miracles which God works for our benefit, from the redemption of his people out of Egypt all the way to Golgotha; commitment to keep [...]

POETRY: Clasping Of Hands by George Herbert

June 17, 2017

Lord, Thou art mine, and I am Thine, If mine I am; and Thine much more Then I or ought or can be mine. Yet to be Thine doth me restore, So that again I now am mine, And with advantage mine the more, Since this being mine brings with it Thine, And Thou with me dost Thee restore: If I without Thee would be mine, I neither should be mine nor Thine. Lord, I am Thine, and Thou art mine; So mine Thou art, that something more I may presume Thee mine then Thine, For Thou didst suffer to restore Not Thee, but me, and to be mine: And with advantage mine the more, Since Thou in death wast none of Thine, Yet then as mine didst me restore: O, be mine still; still make me Thine; Or rather make no Thine and [...]

SPIRITUALITY: The Mystery Of Christ Unveiled by Gregory Collins

June 17, 2017

From Meeting Christ in His Mysteries The man Jesus has risen up to name above all names, he was crushed in the flesh of sin, bore the form of a servant, was obedient to death; he became Kyrios (Lord), pneuma (Spirit).  He is, then, the same Lord who walked unnoticed and persecuted through the fields of Palestine and at last ended his life like a criminal on the cross; now he rules the world as king and the church is his bride.  All his life, beginning in the Virgin’s womb, is the great mystery of salvation, hidden from eternity in God and now revealed in the ecclesia (church).  The deeds of his lowliness in that life on Earth, his miserable death on Calvary appear now in a different light: God’s own light; they are [...]

PSALMS: The Law, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

June 13, 2017

The three psalms (1, 19, 119) which in a special way make the law of God the object of thanks, praise, and petition seek to show us, above all, the blessing of the law.  Under “law,” then, is to be understood usually the entire salvation act of God and the direction for a new life in obedience.  Joy in the law and in the commands of God comes to us if God has given the great new direction to our life through Jesus Christ.  That God could at one time conceal his command from me (Psalm 119:19), that he could allow me one day not to recognize his will, is the deepest anxiety of the new life. It is grace to know God’s commands.  They release us from self-made plans and conflicts.  They make our steps certain and our way [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Glory, by Evelyn Underhill

June 12, 2017

Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory.  The prayer in which is contained the whole movement of man’s interior life, the substance of his communion with God, is summed up in this delighted declaration of the independent perfection, the unspeakable transcendence of the Holy.  Before that reality, that majesty, that energy, that splendor, his own needs, his own significance, vanish.  Abba, Father.  It is true that the Infinite God is the Father of my soul, that I have a certain kinship with the Abiding, a privilege of cooperation.  Higher than my highest, He is yet nearer than my inmost part.  But in the last resort, I stand entranced and abased before the majesty, the otherness of that Infinite God. “He calleth the [...]

JESUS: Confirmed Call, by Mark G. Boyer

June 7, 2017

Scripture:God’s divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble.  For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you. (2 Peter 1:3-4, 10-11) Reflection:The Second Letter of Peter is best described as an essay or literary [...]

PSALMS: The Creation, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

June 6, 2017

The scripture proclaims God to be the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  Many psalms summon us to bring him honor, praise, and thanksgiving.  There is, however, no single psalm which speaks only of the creation.  It is always the God who has already revealed himself to his people in his word who is said to be known as the Creator of the world.  Because God has spoken to us, because God’s name has been revealed to us, we can believe in him as the Creator.  Otherwise we could not know him.  The creation is a picture of the power and the faithfulness of God, which he has demonstrated to us in his revelation in Jesus Christ.  We worship the Creator who has revealed himself as the Redeemer. Psalm 8 praises the name of God and his [...]

JESUS: God Speaks, by Mark G. Boyer

June 6, 2017

  Scripture:Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.  He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.  When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4) Reflection:According to the anonymous author of Hebrews, God has been speaking even before there was anyone to hear his words!  The author proceeds to outline a [...]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Prevenience, by Evelyn Underhill

June 5, 2017

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  May that strange directive power of which from time-to-time we are conscious as the controlling factor of life have pity on our weakness and lead us out of confusion into peace. This abject confession of helplessness seems at first sight to be meant for the untried and bewildered neophyte, in whom the gifts of the Spirit have not yet had time to grow.  Actually, it is the culmination of the prayer which was given to the Church of God in the persons of her Apostles; those through whom the sanctification of human history was to be set going, the handful of men to whom we owe our Christian inheritance.  It is this picked band, these channels of the Spirit, already surrendered to the [...]

JESUS: God’s Choice, by Mark G. Boyer

June 5, 2017

  Scripture:Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you Corinthians were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.  He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:26-30) Reflection:In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells the Corinthians that they would not have called fellow Corinthians, but [...]

JESUS: Finding Another, by Mark G. Boyer

June 4, 2017

  Scripture:Jesus decided to go to Galilee.  He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus, son of Joseph from Nazareth.”  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:43-45) Reflection:John the Baptist is the model of pointing out Jesus to others.  Philip is the model of finding another and bringing him or her to Jesus.  It is important to notice the pattern: Jesus finds Philip, who finds Nathanael.  Once Philip has found Nathanael [...]

JESUS: Lamb Of God, by Mark G. Boyer

June 3, 2017

  Scripture:The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah,” (which is translated Anointed).  He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John.  You are to be called Cephas (which is translated Peter). (John 1:35-37, 40-42) Reflection: After Andrew hears John the Baptist declare Jesus to be the Lamb of God, he immediately answers the [...]

JESUS: Suffering, by Mark G. Boyer

June 2, 2017

  Scripture:Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.  Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name.  Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while continuing to do good. (1 Peter 4:12-14, 16, 19) Reflection: Just [...]

JESUS: Cross, by Mark G. Boyer

June 1, 2017

Scripture:For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  Where is the one who is wise?   Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and [...]

JESUS: Count The Cost, by Mark G. Boyer

May 31, 2017

Scripture:Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?  Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider, whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?  So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. (Luke 14:26-33) Reflection:The author of Luke’s gospel portrays Jesus as stating [...]