Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Prologue of the Passion: John 13:1-3

Last night, the second lesson during Evening Prayer was from John 13:1-11.  Once again, I heard a passage that has impressed itself upon me in recent years, the first three verses of that chapter.

I do not know if these three verses are technically a prologue.  I suspect they are not.  They are in a different form than the famous Prologue at the beginning of St. John’s Gospel.  But these two passages do serve a similar purpose.  Both passages are intended to help the reader/hearer to understand the significance of what is to follow, especially to begin to comprehend Jesus in the midst of the events St. John narrates.  So I hope I am not far off the mark in considering John 13:1-3 the Prologue of the Passion.

These verses are St. John’s transition into the events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  And he reminds us emphatically that the Jesus who was about to suffer and die was not another mere man, nor another prophet, nor even another martyr.  Nor was he to stumble unawares into what he was about to suffer.  “The Father had given all things into his hands, and … he had come from God and was going back to God,” and Jesus knew it.  He was the very Son of God who was willingly about to suffer and die for us.

How this passage has most impacted me in recent years is how it serves as an introduction to the most immediate event, the foot washing.  Jesus knew he was God, and he knew the agony he was about to suffer.  And, yes, he knew Judas Iscariot would betray him into that.  Yes, Jesus would wash Judas’ feet, too.

I know if knew I was about to be betrayed into great suffering and death by one sitting with me, the last thing I would be thinking about is washing anybody’s feet, much less his.

But Jesus’ love for his disciples was so great – he “loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” – that he performed this task that is both deeply humbling and deeply significant.  The Son of God, who had “all things” in his hands – and was about to take his life into his hands and lay it down for the world – humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples, even of the one who would betray him.

I think this is one reason St. John is very methodical in describing the foot washing, particularly in verses 4 and 5.  John is letting the gravity of Jesus’ act of love and humility sink in.

But how can we comprehend this?  No matter how much we meditate on these verses and on Jesus Christ Himself so acting as a servant, and that when he was about to suffer, it remains one of those many mysteries of God too wonderful for us to comprehend.

But St. John and the Lord who inspired his words nonetheless desire for us to mediate on this and on the rest of his Passion for our good and for his glory.  Let us do so as we conclude Passion Week and enter Holy Week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

An Update on Life and Blogging

This morning I completed the first draft of my final paper to earn a Certificate of Anglican Studies.  I hope to complete it early next week.

And that means I can then give more attention to the rest of my life, including blogging.  Yes, I expect to be blogging more frequently.  You have been warned.

And not a moment too soon it appears as unity in ACNA may be deteriorating quickly.  An address from the Bishop of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints has brought more attention to that situation.

But I have much more than just Anglican-related news in mind for this blog in the future.  I intend a change in emphasis.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

UPDATED: ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach Signed the World Relief Immigration Letter

I’ve mentioned the latest open letter from World Relief on immigration politics and ACNA Bishop Stewart Ruch’s signing of it with “Anglican Church in North America” attached to his signature.

I have just now discovered that among those who have added their signatures is apparently Archbishop Foley Beach.  If the signature is genuine, he signed as “Archbishop Foley Beach” with “Anglican Church in North America” attached.  It is now on page 17 of the additional signatures, although that will change as people continue to sign.

His Canon “The Venerable Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog” has also signed, also with “Anglican Church in North America” attached.

As for me, I stand by my previous commentary.


UPDATE: I have received confirmation that Archbishop Beach did indeed sign.

UPDATE 2: George Conger has dug a bit more into this matter and received a statement from the Archbishop’s office:

In a statement given to Anglican Ink, the Most Rev. Foley Beach said he had signed the letter in “his capacity as the Archbishop.”
Asked by AI by what authority he could sign the statement as primate of the ACNA, when the ACNA’s college of bishops or councils had not taken a stance on the issue, his spokesman responded:
“At his discretion, the Archbishop may choose to speak into issues facing the culture.”

The note went on to say:

“Statements from the Archbishop may have persuasive authority, but in these instances they do not commit the Church as a whole to a particular position.  The Church's definitive stance on issues facing the culture is found in the Constitution and Canons as passed by the Provincial Council and Provincial Assembly.  To date, the full weight of the Anglican Church in North America's authority has only been articulated on two controversial moral issues facing our nations: the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life.  On other controversial issues facing our nations it is recognized that faithful Christians may arrive at differing conclusions, and we urge our members to search the scriptures, follow their conscience, and pray for wisdom for our elected leaders.”

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

To Combat Hate, YouTube Trusts . . . a Hate Group.

Well, I guess the Southern Poverty Law Center knows about hate.  They see it in the mirror every morning.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is assisting YouTube in policing content on their platform, The Daily Caller has learned.

The left-wing nonprofit — which has more recently come under fire for labeling legitimate conservative organizations as “hate groups” — is one of the more than 100 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and government agencies in YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” program, a source with knowledge of the arrangement told TheDC.

The SPLC and other program members help police YouTube for extremist content, ranging from so-called hate speech to terrorist recruiting videos.

If this doesn’t heighten one’s concern about YouTube censorship, I refer you to this past post about the SPLC.  When it comes to hate and extremism, they can only be trusted to produce and legitimize the same.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

ACNA Must Get Out of Immigration Politics

Once again ACNA Bishop Stewart Ruch has signed a World Relief statement on the politics of immigration.  Once again “Anglican Church in North America” is under his signature.  I’ll be charitable and say the statement leans towards amnesty instead of enforcement.  Trust me, I could say worse.  “In the literal and grammatical sense,” it is not terribly objectionable (although yes, I do object).

But look at the fight it has provoked on ACNA’s Facebook page.

This illustrates that bishops and other clergy must show great restraint in commenting on political issues, especially when they drag the name of their church into it.  And that goes double for controversial issues such as immigration.

It goes double again for the Anglican Church in North America.  Many/most of us fled denominations in which the laity were abused by church authorities presuming to take Leftist political stands in the name of the church.  Many continue to flee such denominations and look for new church homes.  It harms the mission, unity, and growth of the Anglican Church in North America if such people look at us and say, “That sort of Lib/Left political pontification again?  No thanks.  Been there.  Done that.”

ACNA leaders have rightly placed a great emphasis on unity and on church growth.  If they do not put a stop to clergy presuming to use ACNA to push controversial political (usually left-of-center) agendas, they will undermine that good emphasis.


NOTE: This does not apply to abortion or to marriage, issues on which there is a right consensus among catholic Christians.  There is no such consensus on immigration policy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

For Lent the Church of England Urges Giving Up . . . Plastics

No, this is not satire.  I have not been fooled by a Babylon Bee article.  The Church of England really is encouraging giving up plastics for Lent.

Oh, and look:

The Church of England has created a calendar for a plastics-free Lent, each day bearing either an environmentally-themed Bible verse or a suggestion on how to avoid buying plastics.

Yes, there really is a Church of England calendar for a plastics-free Lent.  See for yourself.

What prompted this move of the . . . some sort of spirit?  Why the EU, of course, as the New York Times reports with a straight face: “In December, the European Union announced binding waste-reduction targets for member nations, with particular emphasis on plastics.”

This reminds me of all the libchurchers pushing the UN’s Millennium Goals just before and after 2000.  Yes, by all means, let the One World establishment set the agenda for the church.

With this cloying clown attempt to abuse Lent to appear with it and “woke,” the Church of England might as well add “Me, too” to the liturgy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday Update

Yes, on my Twitter feed, I have been having a bit too much fun with Ash Wednesday falling on St. Valentine's Day.

Yes, I did lie prostrate as has become my custom for Ash Wednesday morning (and not on my bed).

No, I am not giving up blogging for Lent.  But I am in the middle of my last course to get my Certificate of Anglican Studies.  And I want to get that done as well and as quickly as reasonably possible.  So my blogging will be infrequent until then.

Have a blessed Lent.