The Liturgical Christianity Portal

Bringing liturgical Christians together

New Resource Pages: Music Room

I’ve just started adding a series of pages focusing on music used in traditional liturgical services. Check out the additions I’ve added here:

Gloria in Excelsis/Glory to God Settings

There’s more to come, so please stay tuned 🙂

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February 20, 2017 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship | Leave a comment

Yes, the Baptismal Covenant Is More Than Words

7 Mark’s Gospel B. the prelude image 3 of 4. Christ baptized. Ryley

In many Episcopal parishes today, members renewed the covenant they made with God at baptism. Our Catholic and Lutheran friends, among others, also use the baptismal covenant. Though the exact wording may vary, the basic structure is the same: a question-and-answer format where we renounce evil and vow to walk with Jesus.

On this Sunday, liturgical churches celebrate the Baptism of Christ, helping to remind us of that promise made. It’s also a time when many will make those promises for the first time, either for themselves or on behalf of a child they’re sponsoring in baptism.

In Christ, we join the ranks of God’s beloved. Because we have the Spirit of God in us, we are part of Christ’s mission of reconciliation and justice.

There is a lot of talk of opening the eyes of the blind, releasing prisoners from dungeons, and bringing those in darkness out of prison in the Isaiah 42:1-9. Even though this brings a lot of vivid images of physical blindness and literal prisons to mind, I think Isaiah was looking at a bigger picture here.

There are many who have become spiritually blind or prisoners through sin, human malice, or even emotional brokeness like depression, PTSD, or substance abuse. It often seems like the world’s brokeness rules the day, but the good news is that God’s redemption through Christ is there to bring us through it.

By choosing to live in companionship with Christ, we can experience healing and reconciliation, as well as help bring both to others. We should let the words of the baptismal covenant remind us of both this promise and our responsibility.

January 8, 2017 Posted by | Holidays/Feasts, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Cleaning Up One’s Act: We All Need to Do It!

John kiev

John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, rightfully as a reputation as having been a bit of a firebrand. In fact, he likely was more than a bit of a firebrand. His words in Matthew 3:1-12 are far from comforting, but they weren’t intended to be.

Prophets weren’t known for accepting the status quo and making religious or political leaders feel good. Going as far back as the time of prophets like Isaiah, they often stood up to leaders who misused their power to oppress God’s people. Out of this tradition that looked to a coming Redeemer, we’ve learned that there is always a message of hope, even if it doesn’t come in the nice, tidy package that we prefer.

One thing that we, as part of the human race still need to learn after all this time, is that not a single one of us is so perfect that we don’t need redemption. It doesn’t matter what your “spiritual pedigree” looks like or your station in life – all of us, from the least to the greatest, need that redemption that God alone provides. Maybe if we all kept this in mind, this world’s brokeness might not seem so bleak.

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

December 1, 2016 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | , | Leave a comment

First Sunday of Advent, Year A

First Sunday of Advent Year A

What is Advent? (The United Methodist Church)

November 27, 2016 Posted by | Sunday Readings | , | Leave a comment

Christ the King Sunday

Christ the King Sunday Readings

Christ the King/Reign of Christ

November 20, 2016 Posted by | Sunday Readings | , | Leave a comment

St. Bartholomew: Humble Servant

A clip from St. Bartholomew’s in NYC, named after tomorrow’s saint

Tomorrow, the Church remembers a leader most known for being one of the original 12 apostles, but the Bible tells us little about him beyond this. He is associated with having brought the Christian faith to both India and Armenia. What we do know is that, as one of Jesus’ earliest followers, he would have been familiar with the humble servanthood expected of followers of Jesus, and most likely lived it out.

Israel had looked forward to another great prophet like Moses since the days just after the Exodus. (Deuteronomy 18:15-18) I’ve often wondered how people would behave today had history worked out so that Jesus walked among us in this day and age. Would we be like that first generation of his followers, or would we get too caught up in the celebrity worship that permeates our society? Given how some in the public eye who claim to be followers of Jesus behave today, I think it would be safe to say that the celebrity worship would dominate things.

It’s very easy to imagine people seeking out selfie opportunities and sharing viral videos of miracles. But, in many ways, I think people living today realize that we need a Redeemer. Like our earlier counterparts, many look to the present-day political and social systems as the answer to problems that are spiritual. In fact, we must ask ourselves: had Jesus become incarnate in our age instead of 2,000 years ago, would he have faced death just as surely? I believe so, and I think we’re kidding ourselves if we think otherwise.

Following Jesus today isn’t easy, and it was back in New Testament times, either. (1 Corinthians 4:9-15) Being in want, having false accusations made, being driven out from society, imprisonment, and death are some of the things that the apostles faced that are unfortunately still with Christians today. The persecutors may follow different sociopolitical idealogies and different religions, but the dynamic is still the same: Christ’s followers will often pay a price for sharing God’s gift of love and grace, especially to the marginalized.

Most of the intrigues and conflicts over power that play out in political and economic circles should be absent from the Church as well, but unfortunately aren’t. Jesus’ message about leaders being like one who serves (Luke 22:24-30) would be good for all in positions of authority to bear in mind. Bartholomew and the apostles, though the subject of legends involving miracles, aren’t best-known for their signs and wonders. They are known for spreading their message of redemption in the face of great hardship, and being faithful to that even to death.

Almighty and everlasting God, who gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach your Word: Grant that your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Holidays/Feasts, Saints and Feasts, Sermons/Homilies | , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, We All Need Some Quiet Sometimes

Jesus Praying Stained Windows in Bukit Doa Getsemane

A priest on EWTN recently emphasized how much the contemplatuve tradition is still needed, and I couldn’t agree more. There are so many demands on our time and attention at the best of times, and pop culture-influenced Christianity has often done its best to shut out the contemplative aspect.

A whole generation has grown up with megachurches that are so influential that, for many, their way of doing things is the authentic way and others are wrong. Liturgical churches are often run down as being “boring”, “like a funeral”, or not “relevant”.

However, all the glitz and showmanship found in many modern churches would have baffled Jesus’ early followers, and not just because of the technology. How often do we read about Jesus going to a quiet place to pray, as well as partcipating in public prayer?

Jesus’ followers understood the need for quiet and contemplation well enough that the monastic tradition took root within a few centuries. Even though most of us will live in the world and not in a cloistered community, the witness of these early monastics has a few things to teach us.

  1. We all need time away from the cares of the world, even if just for a few moments of each day
  2. Worship services need to make room for private, contemplative prayer
  3. Encouraging contemplative prayer, coupled with Bible reading, is a good way to let God’s Word speak to us

Have you taken your quiet time alone with God recently?

August 2, 2016 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship | | Leave a comment

A Community Evensong Outline

I hope you’re all enjoying the Fourth, and can recognize this as an opportunity to celebrate the religious we so often take for granted. As part of our religious freedom, let’s remember the fact that Christians throughout the ages have often been persecuted, even by other Christians, for how they worship.

I posted about the concept of a community evensong service on CelticAnglican’s Ramblings, and hope this will be a resource that many of you will use. We enjoy the freedom to worship as we please, especially in the company of fellow Christians of other denominations.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure your bulletin, if used, clearly denotes which parts of the service are said/sung by all and which are said or sung specifically by the choir/liturgical leaders with bolding or italics
  • Some attendees from non-liturgical traditions may not understand or be comfortable with the congregation reading in unison or responsively, phrasing should indicate they may or are welcome to take part in the bold or italicized readings
  • If the congregation will sing the Psalm(s) in unison, consider using a plainsong chant setting or a hymn that is a metrical version of the psalm

A prelude featuring church musicians may be used

The Service of Light on p. 109 to 112 of the Book of Common Prayer can be a good way to start this service if you have candles to hand out to attendees

Sentences of Scripture appropriate to evening worship or the Church season

A versicle and response, such as that on p.117 of the Book of Common Prayer

O Gracious Light or an appropriate evening hymn (Examples: The Day Thou Gavest, Abide with Me, Day is Done, For the Beauty of the Earth, Lord of All Hopefulness are just some examples)

Psalm or Psalms

First Scripture reading

The Magnificat/Song of Mary

Second Scripture reading

Nunc Dimittis/Song of Simeon

Homily

Apostles’ Creed

Lord’s Prayer with Versicle & Response p. 121 Book of Common Prayer

Suffrages p. 121 Book of Common Prayer

Collect of the Day & Other Appropriate Collects

Hymn or anthem

General intercessions & prayers for mission

General Thanksgiving and/or Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

Closing Versaicle & Response, with optional closing Scripture verses

July 4, 2016 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Don’t Snuff Out the Light

A recent reading from Luke demonstrates all too well how We Simply Don’t Get It Sometimes. Here, we read about people following Jesus being quite willing to refuse his mercy to others, which plays out all too often in terms of intolerance. As much as many professing Christians claim to let their light shine and be a good witness, many fall horribly short when it comes to discussing politics or religion, to use a good example.

I’ll admit, I’ve had a few times where I’ve almost “snuffed” out my own Christ-light when hearing or reading certain things about politics (religion, too, but political divisions have been more sharp). Someone I know recently asked me how I manage when someone makes a particularly insensitive remark or shares content implying they agree with the author’s assessment that the other side is stupid.

It’s not a simple answer by any means, but is best summed up in the baptismal covenant. When I affirmed this covenant for myself in confirmation,  I vowed to renounce Satan and also made other vows that included respecting the dignity of every human being.

Respecting the dignity of those who don’t return the favor is hard, since they often can’t see what they’re doing is wrong, God love ’em. However, there are two very different possible ways of dealing with such situations – one, I believe, is God’s way, the other is the other guy’s:

  • I could respect their worth as a child of God, realize that their story varies from mine and maybe influences how they see things, and pray for God to work in their hearts so they may treat others with love and respect
  • I could return the comments about ” Liberals are stupid”, “Perfect proof that all religions is BS”, etc. with comments in a similar vein, but it would, in the end, be more about my anger at being insulted than anyone respecting the other’s dignity

Even though the Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran baptismal covenants are the ones best-known for including promises about our treatment of others, I think our treatment of people is a good litmus test of how well we’re actually renouncing the devil and his works. We are, after all, called to be representatives of Christ.

Something to think about: would your average discussion of politics or religion draw people to Christ, or push them away? Give it some thought the next time these types of issues come up.

June 20, 2016 Posted by | Christian Living | | Leave a comment

Better Together: CelticAnglican’s Ramblings and Liturgical Christianity as One

This blog will soon be combined with my primary CelticAnglican’s Ramblings blog. The original Liturgical Christianity site was part of a revenue-share program that unfortunately didn’t work out. However, authors had the chance to keep the domain and content.

However, balancing posting to two blogs that often have overlapping content, as well as a personal and a few business blogs, presents a challenge to my job schedule. Often, it comes down to choosing between posting to one blog or the other, or posting content that is not up to par with my preferred quality. Neither are a good situation for a blogger.

I’ll be working on exporting most of the current content to the other blog, as well as providing redirection links for posts that have been moved. For those who follow the blogs on Facebook, I’ll still maintain a separate page for the liturgical Christianity-at-large content.

Blessings to all!

June 7, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment