Thursday, July 31, 2008

From Orlando Convocation 1

Hi All!

We arrived safely in Orlando late Sunday night. We met up with Josh, Jessi, and Stephanie who arrived a few hours before us. Monday was a personal day of rest and relaxation. Tuesday I had a business meeting for Monks' Bread at St. Armand's Baking Company in Bradenton which is our franchise bakery here.

Wednesday evening was the kickoff of the convocation where Abp. Bates was enthroned as our Patriarch. It was along service lasting from 7:00-10:00 p.m. Our Music Director, Christine Clerc, and Ronna Bulera (temporarily residing in Louisiana) sang in the choir--awesome choir! Sharon Pittman, Josh Baker, Jessi Baker, and Kathie Baker ministered to a class of over 60 elementary school age kids during the homily. They made convocation t-shrits and hats and the kids were having a blast!

Podcasts of all speakers and photos are available at Dr. Simon Chan's plenary sessions are items I highly encourage all to listen to, especially if you are new to the CEC. He is explaining convergence worship which is at the very heart of our identity as a communion.

One point he made today is that the old mainline churches had as an underpinning of their worship a desire to make the Gospel acceptable to the culture. This approach to worship proposed by Frederick Schleiermacher, the father of modernist liberal theology, actually removed Trinitarian worship from the Church, and changed the Gospel. Acceptable Gospel = social message of peace and justice. Unacceptable = preaching the evangelical message of the creation, fall/sin, incarnation, life, suffering, death, ascension, sending of the Spirit, and coming again of Jesus.

There is an obvious connection here. This liberal church approach has been accepted by the evangelical seeker movement, and expanded in the emerging church movement! However, the liberalization of the evangelical church is also being countered by the conservative resurgence of convergence worship!

Off to the evening services!

Fr. Kevin

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Afterglow 7/21/2008

Our Gospel yesterday was the Parable of The Wheat and Tares. The sermon yesterday calls us to contemplate the truth that good and evil are both being planted and growing in the world till the end-time harvest. The planting of seeds of good and seeds of evil has been taking place since Eden. The beautiful garden planted by God quickly had the seed of the Evil One planted within it.

The truth of the parable calls us to think about our own lives. Good and evil are planted within us as well. God is working to make the garden of our heart a fruitful and beautiful reflection of his love and goodness. Yet, even though God's grace and life has been planted within us when we received the Seed of the Woman, Jesus Christ, into our hearts by faith, why do we still allow evil to be planted within us?

Why do we, like Adam, allow the Evil One to enter the garden? Why do we allow temptations and sin to be planted in us? Why do we sow tares into the wheat? Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil. Amen.


Why is God silent? Why does he withdraw? Why is it that just the opposite of what I wanted is happening? This distance between what Jesus promised and what we experience in our own lives makes you think, every time - it has that effect in each generation, for each single person, and even for me.

Each one of us has to struggle to work out an answer for himself, so that in the end he comes to understand why God has spoken to him precisely like that. Augustine and other great Christians say that God gives us what is best for us - even when we do not recognize this at first.

Often, we think that exactly the opposite of what he does would really be best for us. We have to learn to accept this path, which, on the basis of our experience and our suffering, is difficult for us, and to see it as the way in which God is guiding us. God's way is often a path that enormously reshapes and remolds our life, a path in which we are truly changed and straightened out.

To that extent, we have to say that this "Ask, and you will receive" certainly cannot mean that I can call God in as a handyman who will make my life easy ever time I want something. Or who will take away suffering and questioning. On the contrary, it means that God definitely hears me and what he grants me is, in the way known only to him, what is right for me. --God And The World, Pope Benedict XVI

My prayers are with you this week. Each hour of prayer at the Abbey this week will be a calling upon God help us drive away the Evil One from the garden of our hearts.

Fr. Kevin