First Sunday of Lent: Gn 9:8-15; Ps 25:4-9; 1 Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15 ~ repent and believe

First Sunday of Lent

Today, all over the world, people are beginning their preparation period for baptism at Easter. We too look forward to renewing our baptismal vows on the celebration of Easter.

+ In the name the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening prayer:

God of the covenant, as the forty days of deluge swept away the world’s corruption and watered new beginnings of righteousness and life, so in the saving flood of baptism your people are washed clean and born again. Throughout these forty days, we beg you, unseal for us the wellspring of your grace, cleanse our hearts of all that is not holy, and cause your gift of new life to flourish once again. Grant this through Christ, our liberator from sin, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty God for ever and ever.
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A Reading from the Old testament:Genesis 9:8-15 (NLT)

rainbow over Lake Ontario

Then God told Noah and his sons, “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, and with all the animals that were on the boat with you — the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals — every living creature on earth. Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”

Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life.
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A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 25:4-9 (NLT)

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.

The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.
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A Reading from the Letters: 1 Pt 3:18-22 (NLT)

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

So he went and preached to the spirits in prison — those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.
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One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
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A Reading from the Gospels: Mark 1:12-15 (NLT)

repentance

The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
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Intercessions:

As we begin our lenten journey toward Easter, let us remember all those in need.

+ For Christian leaders throughout the world — we pray…. Lord, hear us.
+ For peace and reconciliation, particularly in the Middle East and Africa — we pray…. Lord, hear us.
+ For Christians suffering persecution, particularly in the Middle East and Africa — we pray…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the hungry, the poor, the displaced, and the homeless — we pray…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who have died recently – we particularly remember our Egyptian Coptic brothers in faith: +Milad Makeen Zaky +Abanub Ayad Atiya +Maged Solaimain Shehata +Yusuf Shukry Yunan +Kirollos Shokry Fawzy +Bishoy Astafanus Kamel +Somaily Astafanus Kamel +Malak Ibrahim Sinweet +Tawadros Yusuf Tawadros +Girgis Milad Sinweet +Mina Fayez Aziz +Hany Abdelmesih Salib +Bishoy Adel Khalaf +Samuel Alham Wilson +Ezat Bishri Naseef +Loqa Nagaty +Gaber Munir Adly +Esam Badir Samir +Malak Farag Abram +Sameh Salah Faruq +And the one whose name we do not know, a “Worker from Awr village.” Lord, hear us.

God of goodness, You have shown love from the dawn of creation; make us know Your ways and strengthen us on our journey to Easter, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Benediction:

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Morning Prayer: 24 Nov – Revelation 20:7-10 ~ Satan’s final destruction

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentences

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me: against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

Revelation 20:7-10 (ESV) – to be read aloud

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And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Reflection

THE THIRD VISION (17:1-21:8)

The Final Victory (19:6-20:15)

The Millennium (20:1-10)

Satan Destroyed (20:7-10)

These four verses portray the release of Satan from his thousand-year imprisonment, the gathering of the nations for a final assault on the people of God, the fire from heaven that devours the enemy, and the devil’s final destiny in the lake of burning sulfur.

Perhaps the most reasonable explanation for this rather unusual parole [of Satan] is to make plain that neither the designs of Satan nor the waywardness of the human heart will be altered by the mere passing of time. Once loosed from prison, Satan picks up where he left off and people rally to his cause. (Mounce, p. 371-2)

Even after Christ himself has reigned over men during the millennium, when the deceiver is set free from his prison, he finds the hearts of men still responsive to his seductions. This makes it plain that the ultimate root of sin is not poverty or inadequate social conditions or an unfortunate environment; it is the rebelliousness of the human heart. (Ladd, p. 269)

In Revelation, both Gog and Magog are symbolic figures representing the nations of the world that band together for a final assault upon God and his people. No specific geographical designations are intended. They are simply hostile nations all across the world…. The war itself should be distinguished from that in 17:14 and 19:19 in that it follows the thousand-year reign.

The devil does not share the same fate as those he has led to the final assault. They are consumed by fire from heaven, but he is cast into the lake of burning sulfur. In the preceding chapter the beast and false prophet were cast into the fiery lake of burning sulfur (19:20). They are now joined by the arch culprit, the devil himself. (Mounce, p. 373-4)

The language describing Satan’s destruction and torment is picturesque – describing a real fact in the spiritual world: the final and everlasting destruction of the forces of evil which have plagued men since the garden of Eden. (Ladd, p. 270-1)
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Take it back….


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Canticle

Christ, as a light – illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield – overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
_____________________________________

Peanut Gallery: In September, we will begin reading through the Book of Revelation (ESV). Our purpose will be devotional, i.e. to discover the word of blessing that God has for us in these troubled times… to find hope and help for our daily lives.

This will not be a Bible Study per se: we will not attempt to unravel the “mysteries” of Revelation… that is far beyond our abilities and is not our interest here. However, so as not to get too far afield, we will rely on three study resources: primary – A Commentary on the Revelation of John (George Elton Ladd); supplemental Revelation (Leon Morris) and  The Book of Revelation (Robert H. Mounce).

The general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) On Sundays, we’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world. Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.

Morning Prayer: 18 Oct – Revelation 13:16-18 ~ the mark of the beast

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentences

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me: against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

Revelation 13:16-18 (ESV) – to be read aloud

62245-barcode-666

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

Reflection

THE SECOND VISION – THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (8:2-14:20)

Interlude (12:1-14:20)

The mark of the beast (13:16-18)

The second beast requires all people to receive the mark of the first beast on their right hand or forehead.

Its significance in the present passage is to parody the sealing of the servants of God in chapter 7. As the elect are sealed upon their foreheads to escape the destruction about to fall upon the earth, so the followers of the beast are to escape his wrath against the church by bearing his mark…. In the final days of Antichrist it will represent the ultimate test of religious loyalty. Only those who would rather die than compromise their faith will resist the mark of the beast. (Mounce, p.259-60)

The mark of the beast served both a religious and economic purpose…. John expects the beast, aided by the false prophet, to achieve a totalitarian rule in which he has complete control over politics, religion, and economics with the purpose of compelling the worship of all men. (Ladd, p.185-6)

The number of the beast (13:18)

No verse in Revelation has received more attention than this one with its cryptic reference to the number of the beast…. The history of interpretation demonstrates that no consensus has been reached on whom or what John had in mind. (Mounce, p.261)

The most we can say is that the number of the beast is a prophecy of a future situation, no one has yet solved the meaning of the number, but its meaning will be plain when the time comes. (Ladd, p.187)

In summary (chapters 12 & 13)

Chapter 12 introduced us to the great dragon, the primary adversary of God. In chapter 13 we met the two great forces used by Satan to accomplish his nefarious plans. The stage is set for the final encounter. What is crucial at this point is to recognize the true nature of the struggle. While the Lamb was victorious on the cross, the full and public acknowledgment of that victory awaits a final moment. Believers live in the already/not yet tension of a battle won but not quite over. While the victory as been achieved, the defeated enemy must still be permanently removed from the field of battle. That will take place when the conquering Messiah returns to establish his eternal rule. (Mounce, p.263)

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Canticle

Christ, as a light – illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield – overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
_____________________________________

Peanut Gallery: In September, we will begin reading through the Book of Revelation (ESV). Our purpose will be devotional, i.e. to discover the word of blessing that God has for us in these troubled times… to find hope and help for our daily lives.

This will not be a Bible Study per se: we will not attempt to unravel the “mysteries” of Revelation… that is far beyond our abilities and is not our interest here. However, so as not to get too far afield, we will rely on three study resources: primary – A Commentary on the Revelation of John (George Elton Ladd); supplemental Revelation (Leon Morris) and  The Book of Revelation (Robert H. Mounce).

The general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) On Sundays, we’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world. Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.

Morning Prayer: 17 Oct – Revelation 13:11-15 ~ the beast from the earth

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentences

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me: against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

Revelation 13:11-15 (ESV) – to be read aloud

image
The Beast out of the Earth by Shinji2821

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.

It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.

Reflection

THE SECOND VISION – THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (8:2-14:20)

Interlude (12:1-14:20)

The beast from the earth (13:11-15)

The second beast is the servant (henchman) of the first. He has the sole objective of compelling men to worship the first beast…. In its eschatological form, the second beast suggests the capture of organized religion to help promote the civil and political aims of the first beast.

The first beast represents civil power, satanically inspired; the second beast represents religious power employed to support civil power…. His single objective is to capture the religious loyalties of men for the first. (Ladd, p.183-4)

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The second beast imitates the miracles of the true prophets to deceive people into worshiping the beast,,,, He is the Antichrist’s Minister of Propaganda,

In the last days there is to e a great division of the human race. Some will remain true to the faith even in the face of death; others will turn in worship to the Antichrist. It is this apostasy that is to precede the return of Christ. (Mounce, p.257-8)

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Canticle

Christ, as a light – illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield – overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
_____________________________________

Peanut Gallery: In September, we will begin reading through the Book of Revelation (ESV). Our purpose will be devotional, i.e. to discover the word of blessing that God has for us in these troubled times… to find hope and help for our daily lives.

This will not be a Bible Study per se: we will not attempt to unravel the “mysteries” of Revelation… that is far beyond our abilities and is not our interest here. However, so as not to get too far afield, we will rely on three study resources: primary – A Commentary on the Revelation of John (George Elton Ladd); supplemental Revelation (Leon Morris) and  The Book of Revelation (Robert H. Mounce).

The general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) On Sundays, we’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world. Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.

Morning Prayer: 16 Oct – Revelation 13:5-10 ~ call for endurance and faith

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentences

Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to secure me: against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

Revelation 13:1-10 (ESV) – to be read aloud

carte-syrie-irak_EN

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Reflection

THE SECOND VISION – THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (8:2-14:20)

Interlude (12:1-14:20)

The beast from the sea (13:1-10)

Overview Although martyrdom is impending, the final triumph of the saints is assured, because Satan is already a defeated foe. Defeated though he is, he will be allowed at the end time to wage one final convulsive warfare against the saints through the agency of the beast. (Ladd, p.176)
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War on the saints (13:5-7)

Blasphemy here means to do or say anything that desecrates God’s name or violates his glory and deity…. It is the exaltation of a human claim over the claim of God upon man’s loyalty and worship. (Ladd, p.180)

Mosul: ISIS has been going door to door, marking houses occupied by Christians, and setting conditions: Either convert to Islam, leave the country, pay tax for being none-Muslim, or die. (July, 2014)
Mosul: ISIS has been going door to door, marking houses occupied by Christians, and setting conditions: Either convert to Islam, leave the country, pay tax for being non-Muslim, or die.
(July, 2014)

The primary purpose of the beast is to turn men away from Christ, which he attempts by fierce persecution. That he conquers them does not mean in this context that he succeeds in perverting their loyalty from Christ to the beast – i.e., in apostatizing them, but he does succeed in waging terrible persecution…. Their very martyrdom was their victory; they stood steadfast in their loyalty to Christ and refused to worship the beast or the dragon…. John looks far beyond his own horizon to a time when an anti-Christian ruler will be allowed to exercise a worldwide sovereignty. (Ladd, p.180-1)

The Lamb’s book of life (13:8)

In this last day no one will be exempt except Christians, who will pay for their loyalty to Christ with their lives…. The Lamb’s book of life (Rev 3:5)… is the register of those who have been saved by faith in the crucified Lamb of God. That their names were written before the foundation of the world carries the assurance that even though they seem to be powerless before the attacks of the beast, they are really in the keeping providence of God and have been since the foundation of the world. (Ladd, p.181)

Endurance and faith (13:9-10)

There is a certain grim reality that lies ahead for believers. They will be taken into captivity, and many will be put to death by the sword. As their Master met death at the hands of a hostile secular power, so also they will meet the same fate…. (Mounce, p.253)

When the impending persecution breaks upon the church, believers will need to meet it with steadfast endurance and an unwavering faith…. The view that God will remove his people from the suffering of those days creates a faulty expectation that will work against their need for patient endurance and faithfulness. (Mounce, p.254)
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Canticle

Christ, as a light – illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield – overshadow me.
Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me – on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
_____________________________________

Peanut Gallery: In September, we will begin reading through the Book of Revelation (ESV). Our purpose will be devotional, i.e. to discover the word of blessing that God has for us in these troubled times… to find hope and help for our daily lives.

This will not be a Bible Study per se: we will not attempt to unravel the “mysteries” of Revelation… that is far beyond our abilities and is not our interest here. However, so as not to get too far afield, we will rely on three study resources: primary – A Commentary on the Revelation of John (George Elton Ladd); supplemental Revelation (Leon Morris) and  The Book of Revelation (Robert H. Mounce).

The general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) On Sundays, we’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world. Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.