Thursday, December 24, 2009 -- Week of 4 Advent, Year Two
Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 939)
Psalms 45, 46
Baruch 4:21-29* found in the Apocrypha
Evening Prayer - Christmas Eve
NOTE: our Christmas Eve services at St. Paul's --
4:00 Prelude Music / 4:30 Eucharist
6:00 Prelude Music / 6:30 Eucharist
10:30 Prelude Music / 11:00 Eucharist
at 4:00 the Children's Choirs will lead the music
at 6:00 we have harp music and the St. Paul's Quartet singing. No incense at 6:00. tends to have a bit of elbow room
at 10:30 the adult choir will lead the Midnight Mass
"...(the law) was ordained through angels by a mediator. Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one." (Galatians 3:15-22)
This little phrase popped out to me in the midst of Paul's argument about God's promise to Abraham. Paul says that the grace that Jesus gives freely to us is God's fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham generations before the coming of the law, and the subsequent oppression that the law brought with it. Paul says that the law "was ordained ...by a mediator." I think the word "intermediary" actually conveys Paul's sense better. The law comes to us through an intermediary, suchs as through angels.
One of the things that the early church insisted upon when they reflected on their experience of Jesus, was that Jesus was not an intermediary. When God came to us in Jesus, it was God's own divine self coming to us, not something other than God, not some intermediary. To experience Jesus was to experience God. And yes, God is one.
But that's impossible, the theologians said. Tough, said those who had known Jesus. Theologians, go figure it out. Thus the seeds for the doctrine of the Trinity. God is one. God pours out the divine self into Jesus. The living life of God within the love of the Father and of the Son is God's Holy Spirit, which is God's own self. One God in three persons. Any other answer implied that in Jesus, God sent something other than God, God sent some intermediary -- something created -- maybe the highest of creatures, but not God. The early church would never accept that answer. One thing they were certain of -- in Jesus, God comes to us. Not something less than God. Just God.
In Jesus, God comes to us. It is God. God embraces human life into divine life. Jesus tells us that he and the Father are one. He also tells us that we are one with Jesus. Therefore we are one with God. We breathe God's Holy Spirit. Not something less than God. But God. There's not another party involved. God comes into our humanity in Jesus and fills our lives with Holy Spirit. And God is one.
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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
Our Rule of Life
Lowell Grisham, Rector