“In prayer, a person is present with God, for the person who prays is separated from the enemy. Prayer safeguards self-control, controls the temper, restrains pride, cleanses us of malice, overthrows envy, destroys injustice, and corrects impiety. Prayer is the strength of bodies, the prosperity of the home, the good will of the city, the strength of the kingdom, the victory in war, the security of peace, the bringing together of enemies, the preserver of allies. Prayer is the seal of virgnity, the pledge of marriage, the shield of the traveler, the guard of those who sleep, the courage of those who keep watch, the productivity of farmers, the deliverance of sailors. . . . Prayer is conversation with God, the contemplation of unseen things, the fulfillment of things desired, equal in honor with angels, the progress of good things, the overthrow of evils, the correction of sinners, the enjoyment of the present, and the substance of things hoped for.” 1
Gregory of Nyssa, On the Lord’s Prayer, quoted in Christopher A. Hall, Worshiping with the Church Fathers (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009), 142. ↩
I was invited to preach yesterday on the Feast of Pentecost at Prairie Presbyterian Church, my family’s home congregation in Winnipeg. The lectionary readings were Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b; Ezekiel 37: 1-14; and Acts 2:1-21. I am still not used to preaching to a camera in a largely empty sanctuary – for that matter, hopefully I will never get used to it! You can watch the sermon below.
I was pleased to get my COVID vaccination a couple of weeks ago. I view getting vaccinated as part of my missional calling as a Christian to love my neighbour. Unfortunately, many Christians do not see things in the way I do, with the potential risk that we do not reach herd immunity as a society. Southern Manitoba, where I currently reside, is often considered to be one of the Bible-belts of Canada, yet it has the lowest vaccination rate in the province. Continue reading Vaccine Hesitancy among Christians→
“For the Church does not exist just to transmit a message across the centuries through a duly constituted hierarchy that arbitrarily lays down what people must believe; it exists so that people in this and every century may encounter Jesus of Nazareth as a living contemporary. This sacrament of Holy Communion that we gather to perform here is not the memorial of a dead leader, conducted by one of his duly authorized successors who controls access to his legacy; it is an event where we are invited to meet the living Jesus as surely as did his disciples on the first Easter Day. And the Bible is not an authorized code of a society managed by priests and preachers for their private purposes, but the set of human words through which the call of God is still uniquely immediate to human beings today, human words with divine energy behind them. Easter should be the moment to recover each year that sense of being contemporary with God’s action in Jesus. Everything the church does – celebrating Holy Communion, reading the Bible, ordaining priests and bishops – is meant to be in the service of this contemporary encounter. It all ought to be transparent to Jesus, not holding back or veiling his presence.” – Rowan Williams, Choose Life: Christmas and Easter Sermons in Canterbury Cathedral (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 145-46.