Happy New Year!
Monday, November 30, 2009 -- Week of 1 Advent, Year Two
Saint Andrew the Apostle
Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer)
EITHER, the readings for Monday of 1 Advent (p. 937)
Psalms 1, 2, 3 (morning) 4, 7 (evening)
2 Peter 1:1-11
OR, the readings for St. Andrew, (p. 996)
Morning Prayer: Psalm 34; Isaiah 49:1-6; 1 Corinthians 4:1-16
Evening Prayer: Psalms 96, 100; Isaiah 55:1-5; John 1:35-42
I chose the readings for St. Andrew
Happy New Year!
Yesterday, the First Sunday of Advent, began the new Church Year. Our Eucharistic Lectionary that we use for Sundays will be Year C. Our Daily Office Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer will be Year Two (the right side of the pages in the Prayer Book, p. 996).
Today is also the feast of St. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, and the patron saint of Scotland.
Andrew's reading from 1st Corinthians is Paul's reminder to his congregation that (1) we are all equal before God; (2) it is God who is to judge us -- we are not to judge one another or even ourselves; and (3) we are invited to follow Paul's example of humble stewardship.
The reading from Isaiah is the second of the four Servant Songs. The servant is frustrated and feels discouraged for not having accomplished the work of his calling: "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity." God's response -- I didn't give you a big enough job. I'm calling you not just to raise up your own people, but I am calling you "as a light to the nations." God intends that divine salvation will "reach to the end of the earth." Even though the Servant feels the parochial work has been unsuccessful, God declares that the work will be successful, and will be universal.
Andrew is a wonderful model for us. In so many ways Andrew is quietly behind the scenes, making connections, bringing people to Jesus. He is a catalyst for great things, though he himself is barely visible.
It is Andrew who hears Jesus and is moved. He takes the initiative to find his brother Peter and to invite Peter to "come and see." Peter becomes the leader of the apostles and of the early Church, the Rock on whom the church is founded.
In John's version of the feeding of the multitudes, it is Andrew who brings a little boy forward with a few barley loaves and fish. Andrew facilitates the child's modest offering, which then becomes what Jesus uses to feed the multitudes.
Andrew's small acts of connection -- inviting his brother to see what he had seen, bringing a little boy to give what little he could offer -- become great things that contribute to God's intention, in Isaiah's words, that "salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
It may have taken some suspension of Andrew's judgment to do these things. Most of us have an internal critic that speaks caution to us and judges us, sometimes before we even choose to act. Andrew's internal critic might have said to him, "You might refrain from telling Peter about this Jesus person; Peter is so reactive and volatile. He might just go off on you." "Don't bother Jesus and the rest of them with a child's lunch. They'll just laugh at him, trying to solve a big problem with something so small."
In our reading from 1 Corinthians today, Paul says, "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself." He says he'll wait and let God judge him. (And he knows God's judgment is both perfect and infinitely compassionate.) "It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore I do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes... Then each one will receive commendation from God."
So Paul continues to do his work, not letting either an inner critic or outer critics sidetrack or discourage him. We're all the same, he says. We're all equal before God. Everything we have is given to us by God. So we are free. Free to risk. Free to serve. Free to love.
It's a new year (in the Church's calendar). Time to shake off any old lingering judgments or frustration. Time to renew and even expand our sense of calling. Time to be free to be like Paul and Andrew -- making connections, bringing everything to Jesus, and accepting the stunning call that tells us, it doesn't matter if you haven't yet succeeded in your small calling here in your local context -- God intends that you help insure that divine salvation may reach to the end of the earth.
Ooops. I slept late. Time to get to work.
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About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.
Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html
The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.
Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org
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Lowell Grisham, Rector