Memorial Service for Her Majesty Queen                               Elizabeth II

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, 25 September at 4 pm at Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard Street, Vancouver.  Please note that this will be livestreamed via the Cathedrals’ webpage. Stay tuned for more details. 

Also, Christ Church Cathedral, the Cathedral Church of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster will have open hours Monday to Friday 10am-4pm for those looking for a place to pray during this time of mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Clergy will be available and visitors are encouraged to sign the condolence book.

O God, from whom comes everything that is upright and true:
Accept our thanks for the gifts of heart and mind thou didst bestow on thy servant Elizabeth,
And which she showed forth among us in her words and deeds;
Deal graciously we pray thee, with those who mourn,
especially the members of the Royal Family,
that casting every care on thee, they may know the consolation of thy love,

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Sunday Reflection

The parable of the dishonest manager sets the scene in true Lukan fashion: “There was a rich man,” thus communicating the privileged corner of society in which the parable takes place. However, the rich man is not the focus of the story; his manager is the main character of this pericope. Having squandered away his master’s property, the manager is set to lose his job. Unable to work and unwilling to beg, the manager searches for a way to fix his predicament. He rushes to two of his master’s debtors and has them cut their debt, one as much as half, so that “people may welcome [him] into their homes” when he loses his job.

As the text continues, the master recognizes the manager’s dishonesty and, in fact, praises him. Why would Luke include a story that seems to valorize dishonesty, even to the point of comparing and contrasting the shrewdness of the “children of light” (i.e., believers) with the “children of this age”?

Perhaps we are called to reflect on the (at least partial) forgiveness of debt that the manager offers the master’s debtors. The story leaves open the details of the transaction, and we are left to wonder: Did the manager falsify records to give to the master, or did he pay them from his own account? This is, admittedly, a generous view of the manager’s last actions on the job, but the fact remains—two substantial debts were cut. Such a level of debt forgiveness can bring with it new life and freedom, and perhaps the debtors were given just that. The redemption found in the Kingdom of God, as the Lukan Jesus’ parables proclaim, comes about in surprising, unexpected ways. Perhaps then, even the manager, if he is welcomed into homes as he hopes, will be redeemed, too.

Have you ever been surprised by the way redemption has come about?

How might we remain open to the possibility of God redeeming that which seems beyond redemption?

Prayer: Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

From Sermons that Work by  Andrew Gordon

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Queen Elizabeth II

  Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)

BY ARCHBISHOP LINDA NICHOLLS ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2022

Upon the death of
Her Late Majesty
Elizabeth the Second

by the Grace of God 
of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories
Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

It is with deep sorrow that we acknowledge the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on September 8, 2022 in her 97th year of life.
Earlier this year, the Queen celebrated the Jubilee anniversary of her reign as monarch, having served with unstinting faithfulness in her responsibilities since 1952. She presided through those years with grace and dignity, rooted in her Christian faith and with love for all the people she served. 
We mourn her death and commend her to eternal life as a faithful servant.

O God, from whom comes everything that is upright and true:
Accept our thanks for the gifts of heart and mind thou didst bestow
on thy servant Elizabeth,

And which she showed forth among us in her words and deeds;
Deal graciously we pray thee, with those who mourn,
especially the members of the Royal Family,
that casting every care on thee, they may know the consolation of thy love,

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Sunday Reflection

Luke 15:1-10
It is never comfortable to see oneself as a Pharisee or a scribe; they are the “bad guys” after all, but that is precisely what we must do if we are to glean all that we can from this passage. We need to see ourselves as those types of hypocrites and sinners to understand that Jesus is not worried so much about the lost sheep as he is about the unity and solidarity of the community. We all need to repent, for we all are sinners, and the sooner we come to terms with that, the better.

This reminds us of the story that is often told at summer camp about “going on a bear hunt” where we come across all kinds of obstacles while going on our bear hunt, and at each one, the refrain is “can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it, have to go through it.” The sooner we accept our sinful natures and repent, the sooner there will be “joy in the presence of the angels of God.”
We must also remember that our acts of repentance must include mercy and forgiveness to those who may have acted against us.

Where do you see yourself in this reading?

What steps might you take to “welcome sinners” and unite your community?

How can your attitude of forgiveness and mercy fit into this context?

Prayer: O God, because without you we are not able to please you mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday’s Reflection:  Women are present in abundance in Luke’s gospel. The famous story of Martha and Mary is in Luke’s gospel (10:38-42), as is the woman who is a sinner and anoints Jesus’ feet (7:36-50). However, what are the women doing and saying? In this story, the woman does not have a voice.

Healing is an important part of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus empowers his disciples to heal. The word “salvation” is used by Luke to describe what Jesus is doing for the people. Thus, healing is part of Jesus’ salvation. It is not his healing ministry, however, that creates friction in this story. It is that he is healing on the Sabbath, the day of rest, that causes the leader of the synagogue to protest that there are six days available for work and the seventh is the Sabbath as God commanded. Still, throughout the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is healing on the Sabbath (4:39, 6:6-11, 13:10-17, and 14:3-6). And each time, a leader tries to call him out on it, and with wit, each time he poses the question back to them: Is it better to do harm or good on the Sabbath?

·         Whose voices are present and whose voices are silent in your day-to-day life? How can you be more aware of this? What can you do to help silent voices be heard?

·         Do you observe a sabbath? What does it look like? What does it mean to keep it holy? How does or could your time of sabbath in God inform the rest of your week? 

Prayer:  Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Sermons that Work, T.E.C.)

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday’s Reflection:  The picture of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel is often seen as the friendly, loving Jesus, but here we find a hard teaching of Jesus. The one we call “the Prince of Peace” is telling us that he has not come to bring peace but division. This is not even a throwaway statement, because it is further enumerated as divisions within families.

How do we receive this contradiction? We can start by looking at the fire which Jesus is bringing. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem saw this as the fire of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, coming to the apostles. This establishment of the church was a revolutionary act, a catalyst demanding individual response. Some accept and cooperate with the Holy Spirit, growing, as Saint Ambrose suggests, in virtues such as charity, faith, and justice. But others reject both the Holy Spirit and those who live in the Spirit. 

Love of neighbor is the result of loving God, but it must be properly ordered, the former subordinated to the latter. Some will chafe at this, and divisions are formed. These divisions can cut across nations, peoples, and even families; no human organization, however good, can determine the individual response to the Holy Spirit.

Where have I seen the Holy Spirit cultivating virtues such as charity, faith, and justice?

Prayer: Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Sermons that Work, T.E.C.)

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Sunday Reflection

This Gospel reading brings together the themes of trusting the future to God and God’s judgment, evident in today’s other readings. The verse “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (12:34) is one of the most well-known verses in the Bible – maybe you’ve heard it used in a stewardship campaign. But this comes after verses about selling possessions, giving alms, and making purses that do not wear out, to store the treasure in heaven. It may be about trading your certainty for uncertainty, trust in what kingdoms of earth can give for what the kingdom of God can bring.

Verses 35-39 have a sense of urgency: be ready for the master to return! Jesus says to “have your lamps lit” (35), to “be ready” (40). Today we might say “keep your ringtone on!” Why? Because we don’t know when the Son of Man will arrive (v. 40). What are we to be ready for? “The kingdom” that is the “Father’s good pleasure to give to you” (32).

This Gospel reading tells us to be ready for the kingdom of God’s arrival at an unexpected hour. What images does “the kingdom of God” bring to mind for you? How would you describe life in the kingdom of God? How does the phrase “good pleasure” fit with those images, that description?

Prayer: Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Sunday Reflection

In his opening remarks, Jesus proclaims that he will not participate in pronouncing any kind of judgment. Still, he rather sneakily uses the parable, in fact, to pronounce judgment. Jesus seems to say to the young man desperately wishing to draw him into his family quarrel, “You’re paying attention to the wrong things!” In the New Revised Standard Version translation, Jesus sets the scene for his story and tells the crowd to “Take care” (v. 15). The original Greek word for this phrase means seeview, or perceive. He does not tell them to listen up or pay close attention. Instead, Jesus tells them to “perceive,” and then follows with, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (v. 15). By saying this, Jesus indicates that this goes beyond objective reality or rationalizations of the mind. He wants the young man and the crowd to feel the meaning within their bodies, and to know in a different kind of way.

This does not necessarily seem to be a lesson centered on sharing, but the rich man in the parable uses the word “my” five times in the span of just two verses: “my crops,” “my barns,” “my grain,” “my goods,” “my soul” (v. 17-19). Then, he knocks down his old barn and builds a bigger one to hold his stash. Luke stresses the importance of an equitable society, so the truth to be perceived comes directly from Jesus’ use of the word abundance. With great irony, the rich man capitalizing on his abundance makes him blind to the truth of God’s abundance. The rich man’s greed is built upon his fear of scarcity for his future. Luke drives this point home when God says, “You fool!” (v. 20), echoing Jesus’ opening sentiments to the young man. God seems to say, “Your eyes are so narrowed on your material accumulations, you cannot see the destruction your greed rains upon you or the others around you.”
Within your communities, where do you see the fear of scarcity doing harm to others?
(Resources are from Sermons that Work, TEC)

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday’s Reflection: Can you recall a time you felt unable to pray? This passage in Luke’s Gospel begins a long section about discipleship, so it is fitting that he begins by talking about prayer. The Lord’s Prayer serves as a template for structuring prayer (it is shorter than Matthew’s version): adoration, supplication, and confession, as well as moral implications. Luke impresses the attitude and ethos of prayer: it should be continuous. As Paul said, we “pray without ceasing.”

Jesus’ disciples speak for us when they ask Jesus to teach them to pray. Such a request is one that we might make today! After all, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, “God is the first mover of all things,” so we must rely on the Holy Spirit to move us first, that we might participate in prayer. But the Lord has given us the words to pray that we might not be completely lost. Not only has he given us the Lord’s Prayer, but he has also given us all of Scripture, most notably the Psalms. And these prayers are both temporal and spiritual. The Lord himself has taught us to pray for both our physical needs and our spiritual needs.

Do you have a memory of a prayer that was answered? Do you have a memory of a prayer that you felt was unanswered? How did you respond in those cases?

Prayer: O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sermons That Work – The Episcopal Church

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday’s Reflection: How do you live into your role as a disciple of Jesus? This Gospel story brings up a question of identity and roles. Martha accuses Mary not only of not helping to serve dinner—which is the duty of a woman—but for sitting at Jesus’ feet—which is the prerogative of a male disciple. Women were not permitted to receive religious instruction under the rabbinical law, but some nevertheless persisted. By sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to his religious teachings, Mary demonstrated bravery in transgressing the deep-seated prohibition of women in the role of disciple. And Jesus was complicit in the (righteous) transgression by allowing and then praising Mary for it. He doesn’t necessarily denounce the old ways, but gently affirms the new models.

Today we celebrate such stories in which Jesus allowed and invited women into his ministry and mission. But as Professor Walter Wink points out, how would the stories be received if Jesus had actively crossed into participating in a “woman’s role?” If he had helped Martha in the kitchen to prepare and serve the meal? Perhaps the examples Jesus gives of crossing societal boundaries are political statements not in that they promote crossing gender roles, but in that they prioritize the true meaning of his ministry—to listen, learn, and be changed by the Word of God. How do you live into your role as a disciple of Jesus? Examine what societal norms govern your life, especially around gender. What comes up?

Prayer: Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Sermons That Work – The Episcopal Church

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