Does God Change?

By Fr. Jay Rice

Does God Change? Does He change according to the times and what is considered right or wrong in a given society?

I was forced to ponder this question today when I was called an “ignorant” clergy member. I was called this because I hold to what the bible teaches, what Christ taught, the Apostles preached, and the Church has preserved as truth for over 2000 years (longer than that when you consider the Old Testament writings). It was over a discussion about homosexuality. Apparently a Roman Catholic Priest last Sunday in England announced to his parish during his sermon that he was “gay” and that he believed in “marriage equality.” When I made a comment that rebuked this clergy members stance in a discussion I was called a ignorant clergy member. I was also asked by the person “since when has homosexuality become a sin?” I was slightly taken aback assuming the person was a Christian given the format the discussion was in. I thought, what bible are people reading? Do people who engage in Christian discussions or go to church even read their bibles? The argument I constantly hear is that God changes. Times change, therefore God must change also. I am told we have to adapt to the changing morality of the times. Is this true? Is this what the Bible teaches? The answer is a resounding NO! Now don’t get me wrong. I am not singling out one sin over another. This mindset applies to how we view all sin and if we believe the word of God to be just that, the holy word of God. First, let me address the character of God that is revealed in holy scripture concerning the unchangeable nature of God. Malachi 3:6 states “For I am the Lord, I change not…” James 1:17 says that with God there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Hebrews 13:8 says of our Lord “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” There are many more verses that describe the unchanging character of God but these shall suffice to make the point. Next we need to understand how God views sin. Psalm 5:5 states “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” Proverbs 8:36 says, “But he that sinneth against me wrongest his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” Isaiah 13:9 says, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Proverbs 6:16-19 speaks of Gods hatred toward sin. Again, there are many more verses that describe Gods hatred of sin. All one has to do is read the bible and this becomes clear. The whole redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ is because of mans sin. Why does God hate sin? Because He is Holy. Gods standard is absolute holiness. 1 Peter 1:16 says “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Of course none of us can live up to that standard which is why we have redemption through our Lord. However, that is still the standard. That is what we strive for by repentance and amendment of life. In fact repentance and conformity to God is required for the Christian. Acts 2:38 says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Jesus Himself said “saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2). The whole point to all this is that the scriptures are clear. There is sin. Sin is what God says it is. It is not for us to pick and choose. We are not God. God is God. We must be conformed to His image. We, His created beings cannot demand that God be conformed to our image. Conformity is required by us toward God, not God toward us (Romans 12:2). The scriptures are clear. The teachings of the prophets, our Lord, the Apostles and all the saints that proceeded us are clear. If I am to be labeled an “ignorant clergy member” for adhering to the faith once delivered and for preaching what the word of God reveals about sin, repentance and our obligation to be conformed to Gods image, not our own, then let me be so labeled. I would rather be in the company of the Saints in my so called ignorance than in the company of the so called wisdom of the world.

23rd Sunday after Trinity

Church and State. God and Caesar.

“Is it lawful to pay tax to the emperor or not?” Jesus is the focus of a hatred so great in today’s Gospel, that the Pharisees, nationalists, and Herodians, sympathizers with Rome, have put aside their mutual antipathy and joined in an effort to entrap him and arouse the people against him.0

They think they’ve found the perfect ruse. Get Jesus to oppose taxes and earn the anger of the Romans and their minions. Get him to support taxes and arouse the ire of the nationalists. The object: eliminate this troublemaker from their midst.

As he does so often in the Scriptures, our Lord leaves his opponents and attackers stunned by his responses. He masterfully recognizes their “bad faith”, while teaching, as only God can, the simple truth that they, as desperately as all mankind, need to hear.

At first glance, one might think that Christ displays his wisdom only in throwing a plum to both sides in the national dispute. The Romans want their taxes, while the Jews want their religion and recognition of the kingship of God. Above and beyond this, our Lord speaks to them, and to men of every age, who become ensnared in competing loyalties and forget that kingship belongs to God omnipotent.

Men rule at God’s good pleasure. “You would have no power…unless it had been given you from above.” (Jn 19:11) Jesus Christ is universal king; men are blessed to share in his authority.

We have in our own day an abundance of conflicts between Church and state. Is a matter political or religious? If it’s deemed political, many believe, the Church should have nothing to say. Attempts to muzzle God go back to the beginning of salvation history. The prophets were put to death for speaking God’s truth long before the Pharisees and Herodians tried to entrap and silence Christ.

The abortion issue, many say, is a political issue, and therefore a matter for Caesar alone. Men of God, it is said, should be silent. Human life, in fact, is a moral issue, and when the laws of men are immoral, attacking the laws of God and the sacredness of human life, then Godly men should shout from every rooftop, priests should preach from every pulpit, every believing man and woman should speak out and protest.

“Render…to God the things that are God’s.” All human life is sacred, from the hands of the creator. “For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful, wonderful are thy works!” (Psalm 139) When Caesar’s laws are an abomination before God, then it is Caesar who must change.

Whether opposing the culture of death or any tyranny of the political order, the Christian gives first allegiance to the laws of God. “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel.

Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ (Mt 22:21) ‘We must obey God rather than men.’ (Acts 5:29)

If a child was trapped under a car, an upright man would plow through any opposition to save the life of that child. Any infant lying helpless under the bloody scalpel of a doctor-turned-murderer deserves no less. Pray for those engaged in peaceful, prayerful and non-violent protest against abortion.

Pray also for those who heroically risk imprisonment, beatings and torture to meet and counsel mothers and fathers on sidewalks everywhere to turn their hearts away from the temptation to murder their children

CONCLUSION

I am a citizen in two kingdoms, the kingdom of earthly power, my government, and the kingdom of God, my church. I owe each everything I have. It all is a gift of God and belongs to Him anyway.

All Saints Day

All_Saints_of_Trier-TrevesAfter this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes”

There has been an All Saints’ Day from at least the beginning of the 3rd century, and probably before that, from almost the beginning of the Church. The Western Church settled on the present date, November 1st, in the 9th century, where that Anglican’s have always had it.

There is much modern confusion about the meaning of the word “saint.” This confusion is due, in part, to movies about the Roman Catholic “canonization of saints,” as well as to a resurgence of interest in books about “the lives of the saints” or painted pictures of the saints such as icons.

But in reality, a saint is simply a human being, living or dead, that God has chosen for eternal life, and upon whom God has lavished his grace. We are all Saints in the making. We should find comfort in the continuous keeping of a holy day this old, as we consider our God-given hope and our call to saintliness in Christ.

We should remember with joy and thanksgiving the generations before us that answered Christ’s call and received the grace to become his saints. When we are afraid, we can ponder the fact that there is no trial or tribulation that we can face in our own lives that some Christian before us has not conquered gloriously.

As we praise God for the victory that he has given to the saints now gathered around his throne in heaven, we can imagine some future All Saints’ Day, if our Lord does not return to end the business of this world during our lifetime on earth, when our descendants will praise God in heaven for the lives we are living now, and for the victory that Christ began to give us openly on the day of our Baptism, and continues in us today, if we are faithful.

Humility about ourselves is a great virtue, but humility about God is a great sin. We may be as humble and modest about ourselves as we like. In fact, there is probably something dreadfully wrong with us if we can’t find a great deal in our lives to be humble and modest about.

As Christians, however, God is the great, beating heart of our lives. God is our life itself. It is from God that our lives have come, and it is to God that our lives are going. Christians ought to boast about God: to boast about God’s greatness and mercy; to boast about what God is doing in our lives as he restores them according to his purposes.

This kind of boasting is not only permitted by our religion, it is actually required. This kind of boasting is a witness to the Truth: to the truth of God in the Church; to the truth of God in the Scriptures; to the truth of God in the lives of the saints in heaven and in the lives of the saints on earth

And lest anyone should get the notion that Christians are swell-headed for claiming to be witnesses to God’s Truth, it is worth observing that the word for “witness” in the original Greek of the New Testament is “martyr.”

It is frankly impossible to talk about God and his saints without also talking about blood—not simply because so many that we revere as saints have witnessed unto blood to the Truth of Jesus Christ, at the cost of their lives, but because holiness and blessedness are themselves matters of blood.

The word saint is the English form of the Latin word for “holy,” which comes from the same Latin word as sacrifice. These words translate the Greek word for “holy,” used before Christians spoke either Latin or English; and it is, itself, only a translation of the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament.

What all these words have in common is that whoever or whatever is “holy” is set apart for the exclusive use of God, is consecrated to him, is God’s possession, and is meant to be as separate from the fallen and profane world around us as God is.

While it is the action of God, the Holy Ghost, that makes a person or thing holy, the outward and visible sign of this spiritual reality is blood. Sacrifice means “to make holy”; and the word blessed, used so many times in this morning’s Gospel of the Beatitudes, comes from the English word blood, as a form of the English word bloodshed, and means literally “to consecrate with blood.”

The Old Testament tells us that the blood is the life (Deut. 12:23), and that it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul (Lev. 17:11). In the New Testament, the Epistle to the Hebrews combines these facts to remind us: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). Blood, literally “washing with blood,” is the outward sign of holiness.

“Holy” isn’t something we become through our own good works, or through anything else we can do for ourselves. Holiness is a gift from God. We are made holy by Christ, as he pours out his own Blood to cover our sinfulness and weakness.

In the vision of heaven from the Revelation of St. John with which we began, there is one thing only that unites the saved multitudes of all nations, kindreds, and peoples, and tongues before the throne of God. All in that multitude have been washed in the Blood of Jesus Christ; all have been made holy by the grace of God; all are saints in Jesus Christ.

A saint, then, is only this: a human being who belongs to God, who has been set apart from the world by the Blood of Jesus Christ, shed on a cross and received in the Holy Communion. Nobody else is a saint, and there is no other qualification. We are holy because of God’s action in our lives, or we are not.

Please today, let us remember all of the Saints in our lives.

Christ the King

This is a special Sunday, a High Holy Day. If you didn’t know about this Sunday, don’t feel too out of place. “Christ the King Sunday” or “Reign of Christ Sunday” is something that many Churches have been ignored.

How do you picture Jesus? As the Good Shepard of Ezekiel? As a friend of children? The one who stills the storm? The one who heals? The teacher? Do you often picture Jesus as the Judge?

We don’t often imagine Jesus as judge. Perhaps that’s why we don’t often name our churches “Judging Jesus Holy Church”. We think of Jesus as a good friend, as redeemer, as the one who affirms us, but rarely do we think of Jesus as judge.

Possibly we do not speak of Jesus this way because “Jesus as judge” is connected almost exclusively with today’s scripture; the Last Judgment. And the last judgment is something that many people in our time find incomprehensible or offensive. That some would find themselves cast into hell seems inconsistent with a loving God.

However this scripture passage was chosen for this Sunday primarily BECAUSE of recent generation’s hellish experience. This Sunday, “Christ the King Sunday”, was created by the Church just 60-80 years ago.

The text calls us to be, a people who are awake! Eyes open! The first commandment of Jesus is to “be not afraid.”, for if we fear others we will avoid loving them, but perhaps there is something as important. That is being able to see. That is why the Bible tells us that we are blind.

Jesus said, “Those who say they see are blind. And those who say they are blind, see.” There is a prayer, from Singapore “Forgive us Lord when we only see ourselves.” To know you are blind is to begin to see. But then how do the blind see.

Jesus’ judgement shows us the way to see. Those churches who are judged as goats and cast out of God’s kingdom are ones who don’t see Jesus in the poor and the outcast. “When did we see you suffering?” “When did we see you naked?” “When were you a criminal in prison?”

It is interesting that the sheep, the righteous ones, they also don’t see Jesus. These Churches who do good to the hungry and care for the needy, notice that they don’t say, “Amen, Jesus.

Jesus is, the truly human one who sees with love and rules with love. Not the one who sees the suffering of the world and seeks to escape to a distant Heaven. No, this Jesus brings Heaven to the Earth.

The one who rules us, if we will let him, does so not from a distance powerful throne on clouds, away from the pain and terror, but is one who rules amid the suffering on a cross shaped throne. This is the King who enters INTO hell to claim the lost and even call the sinner to share in his cross shaped mission as a beloved friend.

And, God knows that a people of the cross are so much needed in our world in where fear of terror seems to be ruling. However, fear not, and see that there is much Good News in today’s text. A final judgment is coming, and may it come soon. For Christ’s judgment will cast out fear, and war, and terror, and poverty, and inhumanity.

And because that day is surely coming, we can continue to live our lives with hope. Having children and baptizing them into the mission of Christ, sharing with them the stories and the life of faith, so they might tell others that there is indeed a leader who is worthy to give our true allegiance to.

And we may face death with hope, knowing that it is Jesus Christ who will complete the work of the Church and the mission of the Kingdom of God, and that one day, in the twinkling of an eye, we will be raised imperishable, to share in a new Heaven and a New Earth.

For we have faith in the one with the nail pierced hands and feet who walks among those who suffer, pouring out a promise made in his blood, that all of the creation will be set free from slavery to fear and death. Believe in Jesus the Christ, our Judge and our Hope!

St Matthew

One day Jesus was walking and saw a tax collector named Matthew sitting at a tax collection post, and said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew stood up and followed Him, and became one of His twelve apostles.

Tax collectors in those days were social outcasts. Devout Jews avoided them because they were usually dishonest (the job carried no salary, and they were expected to make their profits by cheating the people from whom they collected taxes).

Patriotic and nationalistic Jews hated them because they were agents of the Roman government, the conquerors, and hated them with a double hatred if (like Matthew) they were Jews, because they had gone over to the enemy, had betrayed their own people for money.

Thus, throughout the Gospels, we find tax collectors (publicans) mentioned as a standard type of sinful and despised outcast. Matthew brought many of his former associates to meet Jesus, and social outcasts in general were shown that the love of Jesus extended even to them.

The identity of Matthew the Evangelist is complex for a number of reasons. The gospel to bear the name “Matthew” was written anonymously, with tradition ascribing authorship to Matthew at a later date.

Both the style of Greek used and the means of describing events lead some to conclude that the author of the gospel was not a companion of the historic Jesus. Some use the designation “Matthew the Evangelist” to refer to the anonymous gospel author, and “Matthew the Apostle” to refer to the Biblical figure described. Christian tradition holds that they are the same person.

St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alpheus and was called to be an Apostle while sitting in the tax collectors place at Capernaum.

His apostolic activity was at first restricted to the communities of Palestine. Nothing definite is known about his later life. There is a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom.

St. Matthew’s Gospel was written to fill a sorely-felt want for his fellow countrymen, both believers and unbelievers. For the former, it served as a token of his regard and as an encouragement in the trial to come, especially the danger of falling back to Judaism; for the latter, it was designed to convince them that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus, our Lord.

Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel in his native Aramaic, the “Hebrew tongue” mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Soon afterward, about the time of the persecution of Herod Agrippa I in 42 AD, he took his departure for other lands.

Another tradition places the composition of his Gospel either between the time of this departure and the Council of Jerusalem, i.e., between 42 AD and 50 AD or even later.

Definitely, however, the Gospel, depicting the Holy City with its altar and temple as still existing, and without any reference to the fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy, shows that it was written before the destruction of the city by the Romans in 70 AD, and this internal evidence confirms the early traditions.

Matthew, the son of Alpheus (Mark 2:14) was a Galilean, although Eusebius informs us that he was a Syrian. As tax-gatherer at Capharnaum, he collected custom duties for Herod Antipas, and, although a Jew, was despised by the Pharisees, who hated all publicans.

When summoned by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him and tendered Him a feast in his house, where tax-gatherers and sinners sat at table with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in these consoling words: “I came not to call the just, but the sinners”.

Of Matthew’s subsequent career we have only inaccurate or legendary data. St. Irenæus tells us that Matthew preached the Gospel among the Hebrews, St. Clement of Alexandria claiming that he did this for fifteen years, and Eusebius maintains that, before going into other countries, he gave them his Gospel in the mother tongue.

Ancient writers are not as one as to the countries evangelized by Matthew, but almost all mention Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea (not Ethiopia in Africa), and some Persia and the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and Syria.

Matthew was assumed to be the youngest of the apostles, as evident by his quick and succinct style of writing. He gave up everything he knew, and had to follow our Lord and spread his word.St Matthew

This is a model that we must all have, and live by. Amen

Trinity XV

No man can serve two masters

Serving God And Mammon

Jesus pointed out that no man can serve two different masters. “Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” He then completes the thought by adding, “You cannot serve both God and Mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

Here Jesus sets before us two masters who desire our allegiance and obedience. The identity of God is simple and straightforward, but who is “Mammon”? This word is translated as “Money, or Riches” but that may be an over-simplification of the “god” that competes with the Almighty Jehovah for our affections.

Matthew Henry explains Mammon this way: “Mammon is a Syriac word that signifies gain; so that whatever in this world is, or is accounted by us to be, gain (Philippians 3:7) is mammon. Whatever is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life is mammon. Self, the unity in which the world’s trinity centres – sensual, secular self – is the mammon which cannot be served in conjunction with God.”

This shows that Mammon is the spiritual embodiment of all that we pursue in this life that caters to our creature comforts and sets itself up against God. Paul also says in his letter to the Ephesians, “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure, or greedy person – such a man is an idolater – has not any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (5:5).

Devotion to God, and the pursuit of His kingdom, will constantly lift our eyes and desires toward heavenly things. The practical worship of Mammon, and all that it embodies, constantly drags our thoughts and motives down into this fallen, earthly sphere.

As Paul shows, this will lead us into a life of immorality, impurity, and greed. Such a way of life cannot be joined to following the glorified Christ in a life of discipleship.

Since Money and the possession of it is the way to attaining all the greatest and latest “creature comforts,” mankind is driven by the desire for economic success like never before. Practice in politics, education, much religious activity, and more is now assessed and determined by economic considerations and possibilities.

This has filtered into the events of everyday life and has invaded our thinking on practically every level of existence. When this becomes an obsession and the goal, if you will, we are not working for God, but against him.

The Bible indicates that this obsession with financial gain will be the dominant mark of the antichrist and his attempt at global supremacy. He will use his economic and technological power to extort obedience from the nations (Revelation 13:15-17).

His great city, will be the most productive financial centre the world has ever known – buying and selling everything imaginable, even the bodies and souls of men (Revelation 18:11-13). As the “state of the market” becomes the chief consideration in many decisions and actions, the world moves ever closer to this final stage of Satan’s attempt to control global affairs.

As this condition of greed grows and intensifies, moral principles and God’s laws are easily cast aside as men willingly sacrifice individual souls and lives, and the welfare of nations, on the altar of Mammon, their god.

It is no wonder that “the voice from heaven” calls out to the people of God, saying: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes” (Revelation 18:4-5).

The situation referred to in Revelation may require a literal physical removal from the city and empire of Babylon at that future time, but today we are called, just as urgently, to be separate in spirit from the world and whatever is driving it toward the idolatry that will climax in opposition to God and all that is associated with Him.

Trinity XIV

022And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” Luke 17:17,18

Ten Lepers met Jesus one day as He journeyed south to Jerusalem. All sought His mercy and were given the same instruction: “Go show yourselves unto the priests.” As they obeyed His word, all were cleansed. Yet only one, a Samaritan, returned to give thanks to Jesus.

The failure of the nine to do so brought the above remarks recorded by Luke. What of the other nine? Were they grateful for their healing? Or did their joy in the gift cause them to quickly forget the giver? Yes, it is possible even for those who have received so much, to take God’s favors for granted.

Thankfulness and genuine gratitude, is considered a mark of maturity and sophistication among all honorable people. But even then, it remains only a gesture unless it comes from the heart in real appreciation of the goodness of the giver. The one leper, when he realized that he had been healed, deliberately turned back to where Jesus was. Heedless of all about him, he praised God with a loud voice. Falling on his face at Jesus’ feet, and thanked Him publicly.

There is lesson of thankfulness here for all people. It is not surprising to find numerous scriptural injunctions to Christian thanksgiving — for all things, at all times, in all circumstances. Indeed, the Christian life is to be one of thankfulness, for “what has thou that thou didst not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7) The words in Psalm 107 are relevant to every believer in Christ Jesus:

Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men. Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” The Psalmist associates the qualities of praise, sacrifice and witness to others with the discharge of the debt of gratitude.

The writings of the apostles make it clear that the giving of thanks is an essential accompaniment to all other aspects of Christian living. But first of all, there must be a heart of gratitude within, a full recognition of the bountiful grace of our Heavenly Father and an appreciation of all His gifts.

We read in James 1:17 that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” What, then, of His “unspeakable gift”? How can we adequately thank God for His so great love in the gift of His dearly beloved and only-begotten Son? Surely we can offer nothing less than lives of thankfulness in every part.

But is it possible to maintain a spirit of gratitude to God always and in every situation? While it is certainly not in our fallen and imperfect human nature to do so, the Christian perspective should be a different one from that of the world. One of the great axioms of our faith is presented in Rom. 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.

It is God’s will that we show forth His praises in lives of inner peace, ready for all His perfect will. Let us be truly thankful for all that He has done for us in Christ — for rich blessings already received, and for the even richer blessings still to come.

Consider that perfect example of thankfulness in our loving Savior. He through whom and for whom all things were created, and in whom all things consisted, always gave thanks to the Father for the daily fare He shared with the disciples. He gave thanks for those whom the Father had given to receive of His word (Matt. 11:25, John 17:6), and for answered prayer. — John 11:41,42

Each one of us has much for which to be thankful. And all His exceeding great and precious promises are yea and amen in Christ Jesus. They are certain of fulfillment because of the faithfulness of our dear Lord and Savior. How can we be other than a thankful people when we remain mindful of the riches of His grace toward us already experienced! Each prayer should be first an offering of praise and thanks as it says in Psalm 100 -

Of course our expressions of thankfulness should not be limited to our loving Father. Let us never take for granted and let pass un-noted the generosity and kindness of others; it is good to be grateful for all such loving assistance. And it is important that we let them know of our appreciation. Our quiet sincere expression to benefactors may be to them a needed tonic of encouragement along the narrow way. And our spirit of gratitude will be a factor in that character development which God desires in us.

May our lives be lives of thankfulness and praise in every part: first to our Heavenly Father for all the riches of His grace; to His dear Son, our Savior, who loved us and gave Himself for us; and towards all whose love and kindness enrich our lives.

St Augustine of Hippo

Collect

Oh Lord God, who art the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that love thee, and the strenghth of the hearts that serve thee: Help us after the example of they servant St Augustine, so to know thee that we may truly love thee, so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect freedom; Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

St Augustine of Hippo was the heart of early Christian theology, and the ‘modern’ father of the Church.

In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint, a pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinians. His memorial is celebrated on 28 August, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teachings on salvation and divine grace.

We give thanks to God this day for his contributions to the Church.

Food for thought….

The author of the New Testament “Letter to the Hebrews,” was apparently writing at a time, like ours, when there was great disagreement, both within the church and the wider culture, about the character and identity of the man called Jesus, attempted to clear things up when he wrote: “Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today and forever.”

The apostle Paul poured out his life to present the Christian message. He traveled from country to country, braving storm and death, trying the keep divided churches together, but no sooner had he squelched one controversy than another sprang up in its place.

New teachers and prophets appeared everywhere. There were factions and splinter groups everywhere. From the outset, church leaders saw the need for organization, for this new religion was literally bursting at the seams.

By mid-second century Alexandrian exegetes had placed Hebrews among the letters of Paul, though they recognized that it was so different in language and style from that of Paul that some special account of Hebrews authorship was required.

Thus it was thought that Luke might have translated the letter for Paul into Hebrew, this was proven wrong, as the translation could not have been from Greek. In any case, Hebrews 2:3-4 suggests that the author comes form a generation after the apostles.