The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you Peace. (Numbers 6: 24-26)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

From The October Newsletter

Dominus vobiscum:

Well, Dear Reader, October is upon us; and its arrival heralds cooler weather, the harvest of the crops, football and Hallowe’en. Yes, it’s time for ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night to hold sway over our imaginations. All Hallows’ Even is the Old English name for the holiday that marks the night before one of the holiest of feast days on the Christian calendar: All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ itself is a feast day with origins in the earliest days of the Church, but Hallowe’en finds its origins much closer to home for us Anglicans.

The Hallowe’en that we know comes to us mostly from the harvest / new year festivals of the Celts and the early Britons. These pagan festivals celebrated the harvest, sought the spirit’s protection of the people through the winter, and paid tribute to the dead at a time when the Celts believed that the barrier between this world and the next was at its thinnest. Costumes and Jack ‘O Lanterns carved from turnips were used by the revelers to scare away the evil spirits that threatened to cause mayhem for those who still lived. With the Christianization of Ireland and the British Isles, the festival became closely linked with the Western Church’s celebration of All Saints’ Day which fell on November 1; and it was not long before the Christian celebration of All Hallows’ Even found its way to the continent and spread throughout all of Europe.

Today, Hallowe’en (the ‘ replaces the “v” in the old Scottish use: Halloweven, meaning the night before All Hallows or All Saints’) has become almost completely secularized with little or no attention paid by the larger community to the holiday’s connection to the Feast of All Saints which follows it. Modern Americans, particularly, see Hallowe’en as a time of parties, trick or treating, scary movies, and celebration of the end of Summer; and as far as that goes, there is nothing wrong with that. I worry, however, that in losing sight of the reason for the holiday, we allow ourselves to become complacent with beliefs and forces that are in many ways incompatible with our Christian faith.
There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD; and because of these abominable practices the LORD your God is driving them out before you. Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (RSV)

By definition, supernatural means anything that is above or beyond nature. As Christians, we believe in the supernatural out of necessity because we believe in God who created all things that are, and that He exists outside of His creation and is not subject to the natural laws that bind and govern us and the world around us.

Likewise, there are other spiritual forces that, while being subject to God at all times, are not necessarily subject to all the laws of nature around us. Angels and demons fall into this category, I believe. As our culture becomes more and more secularized, there has been a tendency among many to try to rekindle their spiritual lives, and this is a good thing. Unfortunately, many are trying to do so in ways that are decidedly not Christian and with some spirits that are markedly not with God.

As a parent, I have watched with some alarm the growth in the entertainment world of characters and subjects that while once being seen as wicked or ridiculous are now presented as mainstream, normal and cool. Today we have programming on children’s cable networks that center on witches, warlocks and the use of witchcraft. Countless television shows, in fact, beginning with Dark Shadows in the 1960’s and continuing through shows like the current BBC offering Being Human romanticize formerly frightening characters like vampires, werewolves and ghosts. Between Harry Potter and the Twilight Series, young people of many ages are introduced to magic and vampirism that is not only seen as normal but romantic and somehow virtuous. May I remind you, Dear Reader, that Vlad the Impaler, the Romanian nobleman who is most commonly identified as the original Count Dracula, became a vampire, the undead and therefore one bereft of any hope of resurrection and redemption, because he sold his soul to the Devil. Romantic, huh?

Hallowe’en can and should be a fun time for adults and children. It should be a time when we can laugh at ourselves and at our own fears and phobias (mine being an irrational fear of werewolves). It should be an opportunity for families to spend time together and to prepare for the celebration of All Saints’ which is to follow. Therefore, Christ Memorial will celebrate Hallowe’en on Saturday night, October 30 at the Church beginning at 6:00 PM. There will be food and games and trick or treating for the kids. Plans are also in the works to show a good old “scary” movie. If you are so inclined, please feel free to come in costume; but please no witches and, for the sake of my poor heart, let’s keep the number of werewolves to a minimum.

Fr. Michael+

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Shoebox Full of Joy

Several years ago, I was introduced to a marvelous program called Operation Christmas Child.  We at Christ Memorial are not strangers to this program, I know; nor are we ignorant of the joy and hope that is contained in each one of those small boxes destined for a child in need of experiencing the love of the Risen Christ.  Between now and the 15th of November, we should dedicate ourselves as a parish family to filling as many shoeboxes with school supplies, toys, toothbrushes, soap, hard candies, T-shirts, ball caps, hair clips, toy jewelry, and flashlights as we can. 

Starting soon, the Sunday School will begin collecting and filling boxes in preparation for the collection in November.  If you would like more information now, this is the link to Operation Christmas Child

We will begin accepting donations of empty shoeboxes (regular size only please) and items to fill them next week.  If you would like to bring a filled shoebox to the church, please do so.  All the information you need to fill the box may be found on the website or you may pick up a brochure about the project at the church.  Samaritan's Purse, the organizer of this project, does ask for a $7 donation to cover the cost of shipping the box overseas. 

Imagine the joy that a small boy or girl will experience when they open a box with a toy, shoes or a shirt given to them by a person they have never met and who has no reason for giving them anything save for the love of Jesus Christ. 

Fr. Michael+

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"A Person's A Person No Matter How Small"

I don't know where Dr. Suess fell on the issue of abortion, but I believe that his stories, especially the one about the Whos who lived on that tiny dust speck, belied a deep respect for life.  As you, Dear Reader, might surmise from some of my posts to this blog, I, too, have a great respect for human life.  So that there can be no misunderstanding: I believe that all human life, from conception to our natural end, is sacred and is an unmitigated gift from God the Father, who is the Creator of all things.  I do not say this to be confrontational, although to some, it might certainly appear so.  I say this because I believe it to be the Truth.

Life is precious.  Life is sacred.  All life belongs to God.  We should give thanks every day for that gift which He has given to us, and ask Him for the strength to live according to His Will and His alone.
For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb. Ps 139: 13
Starting next Wednesday, September 22, there begins a worldwide vigil which focuses on protecting the weakest and most fragile among us.  40 Days for Life professes to be the largest and longest pro-life mobilization in history.  Here is a link to the Shreveport/Bossier City website: 40 Days for Life - Shreveport/Bossier City

The Church has a long history of vigils and periods of focused and purposeful prayer.  If nothing else comes of these words but a few extra prayers that help move a young mother away from a trip to an abortion clinic and toward a better choice like adoption, then our efforts will have been more than worth it. 

Pray to end abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty.  Pray for life.

Fr. Michael+

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pray for Victory

"O God, who makest wars to cease, and by thy mighty arm dost overthrow the adversaries of them that put their trust in thee: come to the help of thy servants who humbly call upon they mercy; that we, being delivered from the violence of the enemy, may evermore praise thee with thanksgiving.  Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord.  Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.  Amen."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pray for our Troops

Derrick is on his way back to Iraq.  Please pray for his safe travel, safe completion of his tour of duty and his safe return home.  Also, please pray for all the men and women overseas who defend our nation every day.  Pray that God will protect them and return them to their families as soon as possible.  Pray for the families of all those serving overseas; that God will give them peace and confidence and strength.  Finally, pray for our nation.  Pray that we will once again be a nation which understands and respects the words of God.

Fr. Michael+

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Like the date on which Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japenese, September 11, 2001 is a moment in time which changed the world.  This Saturday is the ninth anniversary of that infamous day, and to mark the occasion, I will celebrate a Mass for those who died, those who survived, the families of those effected by the attack on our nation and for all the men and women of our military and police forces who are putting their lives on the line to defend this nation.

Mass will begin at 10AM in the Chapel.  If you cannot come, please take a moment Saturday morning and pray for those who have fallen and pray for the safety of our great nation.

Fr. Michael+

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Coming Events....

Don't forget that Confirmation Class begins on September 19 following the 10AM Mass.  Everyone is invited to attend, even if you have already been Confirmed.  If you would like to be Confirmed, or if you would like to be Received from another denomination, or if you would like to Reaffirm your commitment to Christ; then please contact Fr. Michael+.

Men:  The Men's Prayer Breakfast will resume on Thursday, September 16 in the Parish House at 7AM.  Food, coffee, fellowship and a short meditation on Scripture are great ways to begin the day.  See you there.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here's Another One to Read

In England during the mid 19th century, a high-church movement swept the Church largely influenced by the Tractarians at Oxford University.  Their architecture was Medieval Gothic.  Their theology was orthodox.  Their foundation was Scripture.  Their worship was lofty and steeped in the traditions of the Church begun during the earliest days of the Church in the West and the Apostles of Christ.  The Church, in their eyes was the Body of Christ, and as such they also believed that they had a responsibility for mission and social outreach.  It was the high-church, Anglo-Catholics who went into the slums of London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester and ministered to the underclasses of the industrial revolution; Anglo-Catholics played a major role in bringing the Gospel and Anglicanism to Africa, India and Southeast Asia; and apparently the Anglo-Catholics are still at it in West Hollywood, CA.

Note this bastion of orthodoxy, high-church Anglicanism in a place that is certainly not known for such things: St. Thomas the Apostle.  Also note who is coming and is active in this parish which features incense and Latin and an eastward facing Altar:  they are those who have rejected the vacuous, anything goes attitude of the previous generation.  People are hungry for the truth; they are hungry for churches that say and do things differently than the society around them. 

That's what I think, anyway.

Fr. Michael+

Words That Make You Go....Wow!

"Living within the truth means living according to Jesus Christ and God’s Word in Sacred Scripture. It means proclaiming the truth of the Christian Gospel, not only by our words but by our example. It means living every day and every moment from the unshakeable conviction that God lives, and that his love is the motive force of human history and the engine of every authentic human life. It means believing that the truths of the Creed are worth suffering and dying for.

"Living within the truth also means telling the truth and calling things by their right names. And that means exposing the lies by which some men try to force others to live.

"Two of the biggest lies in the world today are these: first, that Christianity was of relatively minor importance in the development of the West; and second, that Western values and institutions can be sustained without a grounding in Christian moral principles."
I took the quotes above from a speech given by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Denver, Archbishop Charles Chaput, in Slovakia just a few days ago.  The title of the speech is: Living Within the Truth: Religious Liberty and Catholic Mission in the New Order of the World.

Archbishop Chaput has been one of the most outspoken voices for Catholicism in the United States over the last few years and has written and spoken vehemently against the secularizing of our culture and the abandonment of our Western spiritual heritage.  This speech, which can be found here Text of the Archbishop's speech, is a bold indictment of the direction that the West is headed. 

Fr. Michael+