Thursday, September 13, 2012

Last Words

Thursday, September 13, 2012 -- Week of Proper 18
John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, 407
[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
     (Book of Common Prayer, p. 983)
Psalms 50    //     [59, 60] or 93, 96
Job 29:1; 31:1-23
Acts 15:1-11
John 11:17-29

A Reading from the last homily preached by John Chrysostom in Constantinople before he went into exile.

The waves have risen and the surging sea is dangerous, but we do not fear drowning for we stand upon the rock. Let the sea surge! It cannot destroy the rock. Let the waves rise! They cannot sink the boat of Jesus. Tell me, what are we to fear? Is it death? But "for me life is Christ, and death is gain". So tell me, is is exile? "The earth is the Lord's and all that it contains." Is it confiscation of property? "We brought nothing into the world and it is certain that we can take nothing out of it." I have nothing but contempt for the threats of this world; its treasures I ridicule. I am not afraid of poverty, I do not crave after wealth, I am not afraid of death, and I do not seek to live except it be of help to you. So I simply mention my present circumstances and call on you, my dear people, to remain steadfast in your love.

Do you not hear the Lord saying, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am among them"? Where will he be absent, for where will there not be two or three bound together by love? I have his pledge, so I do not have to rely on my own strength. I cleaned to his promise: it is my staff, my security, it is my peaceful harbor. Even though the entire world be in turmoil, I cling to his promise and read it. It is my rampart and my shield. What promise is this? "I am with you always, even to the end of time."

Christ is with me, whom then shall I fear? Let the waves rise up against me, the seas, the wrath of rulers: these things to me are mere cobwebs. And if you, my dear people, had not held me back I would have left this very day. I always say, "Lord, your will be done"; not what this person or that person wishes, but as you wish. This is my fortress, this is my immovable rock, this is my firm staff. If God wishes this to be, then so be it. If he wishes me to be here, I thank him. Wherever he wants me to be, I thank him. Wherever I am, there are you also; where you are, there I am too; we are one body. And the body cannot be separated from its head, nor the head from the rest of the body. We may be separated by space, but we are united by love. Not even death can sever us. For even if my body dies, my soul will live on, and my soul will remember you, my people.

You are my fellow-citizens, my fathers, my brothers, my children, my limbs, my body, my light, and yes, dearer to me than light. For what can the rays of the sun give me when compared with the gift of your love? Its rays are useful to me in this present life, but your love is weaving for me a crown for the life that is to come.

(John Chrysostom was sent into exile because of his conflict with Empress Eudoxia.  He died of exhaustion and starvation in September, 407, with these words on his lips: "Glory be to God for everything.")


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"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
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is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

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Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
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Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Russell Winburn said...

"The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a Man which told me all things that ever I did; is not this the Christ?"

Observe her zeal and wisdom. She came to draw water, and when she had lighted upon the true Well, she after that despised the material one; teaching us even by this trifling instance when we are listening to spiritual matters to overlook the things of this life, and make no account of them. For what the Apostles did, that, after her ability, did this woman also. They when they were called, left their nets; she of her own accord, without the command of any, leaves her water pot, and winged by joy performs the office of Evangelists. And she calls not one or two, as did Andrew and Philip, but having aroused a whole city and people, so brought them to Him.

Homily 34, John Chrysostom

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inspiring reflection and comment on a crisp, clear morn.

September morning
Deer crunch through autumn aspens
God's quiet love reigns

In peace,


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