Tag Archives: saints

Ye holy angels bright – St. Mark’s Seattle

On this All Saints’ Day Sunday, we remember those saints who have gone before us, who have joined the everlasting communion with God and Jesus Christ. We remember, and we await the day when we will be reunited with them in glory everlasting!

Ye holy angels bright,
who wait at God’s right hand,
or through the realms of light
fly at your Lord’s command,
assist our song,
for else the theme
too high doth seem
for mortal tongue.

Ye blessed souls at rest,
who ran this earthly race
and now, from sin released,
behold your Savior’s face,
his praises sound,
as in his sight
with sweet delight
ye do abound.

Ye saints, who toil below,
adore your heavenly King,
and onward as ye go
some joyful anthem sing;
take what he gives
and praise him still,
through good or ill,
who ever lives!

My soul, bear thou thy part,
triumph in God above:
and with a well-tuned heart
sing thou the songs of love!
Let all thy days
till life shall end,
whate’er he send,
be filled with praise!

Words: Richard Baxter (1615-1691), 1681
Music: Darwall’s 148th (John Darwall, 1731-1789)
**This audio was recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, Washington, on All Saints’ Sunday 2014.

all-saints-graphic

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Lenten Reflection – Day 15

Since the weather has gradually been getting warmer, I have started taking my dog, Fritz, to a local dog park. Each visit is quite an experience! When a dog enters the park, all of the dogs run over to greet the dog. They go through the ritual of sniffing each other in the good spots, of nudging with their nose, some bark, some try and jump on the other. But it’s almost always a communal rejoicing…like the dogs communally say “YAY! Another friend is here to play!” Each time we go to the dog park, it makes me instantly smile at the simple joy that these beautiful creatures have in their lives. And I can’t help but think…this must be what entering heaven will be like! All of the saints will rejoice at the arrival of a new soul…and there will be no end to that joy. Of course, nobody really knows what heaven is like. But, I think that metaphor must be as close to what heaven is like as anything. Eternally rejoicing in the reunion of the ones who have gone before with their loved ones newly joining. All of creation will rejoice on that day!

The dog park

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The Feast of Saint Michael (Michaelmas) and All Angels

The scriptural word “angel” (Greek: angelos) means, literally, a messenger. Messenger from God can be visible or invisible, and may assume human or non-human forms. Christians have always felt themselves to be attended by healthful spirits—swift, powerful, and enlightening. Those beneficient spirits are often depicted in Christian art in human form, with wings to signify their wiftness and spacelessness, with swords to signify their power, and with dazzling raiment to signify their ability to enlighten. Unfortunately, this type of pictorial representation has led many to dismiss the angels as “just another mythical beast, like the unicorn, the griffin, or the sphinx.”

St. Michael the Archangel

Of the many angels spoken of in the bible, only four are called by name: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. The Archangel Michael is the powerful agent of God who wards off evil from God’s people, and delivers peace to them at the end of this life’s mortal struggle. “Michaelmas,” as his feast is called in England, has long been one of the popular celebrations of the Christian Year in many parts of the world.

Michael is the patron saint of countless churches, including Mont Saint-Michael, the monastery fortress off the coast of Normandy that figured so prominently in medieval English history, and Coventry Cathedral, England’s most famous modern church building, rising from the ashes of the most devastating war of our time.

Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

–Information in this post was excerpted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, copyright 2010 by the Church Pension Fund.

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Jonathan Myrick Daniels

The story of Jonathan Myrick Daniels is a tribute to social justice, to civil rights, and to equality of all people. His commitment to the work of Christ in our world, inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah and the Virgin Mary, inspired him to live out his faith in radical ways for his time. His radical life of faith-inspired justice led to a tragic death, though in death, he has become a martyr for his faith, and therefore continues to inspire others by his brave witness. I find his story especially touching in light of the recent racial tension caused by the Travyon Martin case verdict, and also considering the recent repeal of the Voter Rights Act, which was enacted by President Johnson just two weeks before Jonathan’s murder.

Jonathan was born in Keene, New Hampshire, in 1939. He was shot and killed by an unemployed highway worker in Hayneville, Alabama, on August 20, 1965. From high school in Keene to graduate school at Harvard, Jonathan wrestled with the meaning of life and death and vocation. Attracted to medicine, the ordained ministry, law and writing, he found himself close to a loss of faith when his search was resolved by a profound conversion on Easter Day 1962 at the Church of the Advent in Boston, Massachusetts. In March 1965, the televised appeal of Martin Luther King, Jr. to come to Selma to secure for all citizens the right to vote drew Jonathan to a time and place where the nation’s racism and the Episcopal Church’s share in that inheritance were exposed.

jmd

He returned to seminary and asked leave to work in Selma where he would be sponsored by the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity. Conviction of his calling was deepened at Evening Prayer during the singing of the Magnificat: “‘He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things.’ I knew that I must go to Selma. The Virgin’s song was to grow more and more dear to me in the weeks ahead.”

Jailed on August 14 for joining a picket line, Jonathan and his companions were unexpectedly released on August 20. Aware that they were in danger, four of them walked to a small store. As sixteen-year-old Ruby Sales reached the top step of the entrance, a man with a gun appeared, cursing her. Jonathan pulled her to one side to shield her from the unexpected threats. As a result, he was killed by a blast from the 12-gauge gun.

The letters and papers Jonathan left bear eloquent witness to the profound effect Selma had upon him. He writes,

The doctrine of the creeds, the enacted faith of the sacraments, were the essential preconditions of the experience itself. The faith with which I went to Selma has not changed: it has grown … I began to know in my bones and sinews that I had been truly baptized into the Lord’s death and resurrection … with them, the black men and white men, with all life, in him whose Name is above all the names that the races and the nations shout … We are indelibly and unspeakably one.

Jonathan-Daniels

O God of justice and compassion, you put down the proud and mighty from their place, and lift up the poor and the afflicted: We give you thanks for your faithful witness Jonathan Myrick Daniels, who, in the midst of injustice and violence, risked and gave his life for another; and we pray that we, following his example, may make no peace with oppression; through Jesus Christ the just one, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

–The below video provides more information about Jonathan Myrick Daniels’ life, and about his work for social justice in the segregated South:

Here Am I, Send Me: The Story of Jonathan Daniels from Episcopal Marketplace on Vimeo.

–Information in this post was excerpted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, copyright 2010 by the Church Pension Fund.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels

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What is your “Omega story?”

I do not like the book of Revelation. I do not like its violence, its vindictiveness, its opaqueness, its psychotic visions, its attitude toward women, its enemy thinking, its dualistic world view, or its vacancy of love. I don’t even like people who like the book of Revelation since many of them use it to justify their crazier ideas about God and then scare other people with what they think they know.

I knew the moment that I heard these opening words to Barbara Brown Taylor’s sermon at Washington National Cathedral that it was going to be a good one. In this sermon, Taylor discusses different views on the stories of Revelation, no holds barred. She discusses how people place more importance on and judge others by “where they are from” or “what they have done in their past.” In other words, so many people place more importance on their “Alpha stories.” Instead, Taylor argues that what is more important is what we choose for our destination…our “Omega stories.”

It was not until I got to work on this sermon that I realized how important our Omega stories are. Not our origin stories, but our destination stories. The ones that tell us who we are by telling us where we are going. These stories may not have the same solidity that our Alpha stories do, at least not at first, because they have not happened yet. Which means that no one can tell us which one is right. All we can do is choose one from the wide variety of end-time stories that the culture offers us daily, and then hope that we’ve chosen wisely, since our Omega stories will have as much or more to do with who we are than our Alpha stories ever do.

Taylor certainly has a way with words. If you are a person who struggles with modern interpretations or emphasis on the book of Revelation, you must listen to Taylor’s sermon.

Listen to her sermon here.

Or, watch the entire worship service here.

Sermon based on the readings Isaiah 25:6-9, Revelation 21:1-6a, and John 11:32-44.

–From the 11:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist at Washington National Cathedral, November 4, 2012. Click here to view the accompanying service leaflet.

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