Morning Prayer 12.6.14, Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c. 342 | The Daily Office

Happy Feast of St Nicholas! We will celebrate tomorrow at the Sunday morning service at 10am, with the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D Lee, Bishop of Chicago, presiding. Come and be welccome, and “be St. Nick” with us!

St Nicholas of Myra, by Fr. Tobias Haller BSG

The Daily Office | Diocese of Indianapolis: St Nicholas of Myra

The Daily Office site is an incredibly rich resource for prayer, spirituality, and the inner life for people of faith. Each day they post the prayers and readings of the day, and the offer webcasts and sometimes live webchats. I’ve managed to attend one (they’re held during my work day, so it was a day I was off for some reason) and it was very interesting and uplifting to share that with people from all over the country and the world. The daily posts also include beautiful images and photographs to illustrate the holy persons who are commemorated that day, gathered from many sources (many from Episcopal churches who have commissioned art or submitted photos for use by the site).

The icon at the top of this post is a particular favorite of mine, as it’s by a blogger whose work I’ve read for years, Fr. Tobias Haller BSG. He writes poetry and posts icon sketches at his site “In A Godward Direction.”

Another icon of St Nicholas that is new to me is this one from an Episcopal Church in Ohio:

St Nicholas of Myra, by Kelly Latimore, icon at Grace Church, Pomeroy OH

St Nicholas of Myra, by Kelly Latimore, icon at Grace Church, Pomeroy OH

Thie one depicts Biblical images of sailing ships – Jesus walking on the water, and also in the boat with His friends. St Nicholas holds a modern riverboat tug, because Pomeroy’s position on the Ohio River means that the sailors under the saint’s protection are on our inland waterways and not just at sea.

Although there will be no Saturday evening service today, the Feast of St Nicholas is “transfered” to tomorow, so that the whole community of St Nick can gather and celebrate with Bishop Jeffrey. You are most welcome to join us, tomorrow and always!

The Vicar’s Corner: From Green To Purple (and sometimes blue)

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We’ve seen our fair share of ‘green’ all about the church. From the altar cloth to hanging banners as well as the vestments I wear. It’s all part and parcel to the particular season of the Church year. You see, way back on June 8 when we celebrated Pentecost, from the Sunday that followed, that is, June 15 to last week’s feast of Christ the King, we have been in what is called “Sundays after Pentecost.” Some refer to this extended period as “Ordinary Time.” Both are acceptable. Now, however, we start anew.

While the calendar still has a full month to go before we usher in a new year, the Church year starts anew on the first weekend of Advent. This is what we are to about to celebrate this weekend. Down comes the green and up goes the royal blues and purples. The Advent Wreath is to be built by our very selves, as we place evergreen boughs into the wreath. Each week we shall light a candle: Weeks one and two we light beautiful, blue candles. Week three we light the radiant rose candle as we commemorate that Sunday we call Gaudete, taken from the Latin for “rejoice.” The forth and last Sunday of Advent we light the last of the blue candles. In a few days time, we ring the bells and raise our voices in song and prayer for Jesus is born to us!

But, just what is Advent? Well, let’s see, shall we: Advent is a “Church Season” which refers to a time of waiting and preparation for the great and miraculous feast of the Nativity of Jesus, born to the young, virgin Mary and her soon to be husband Joseph. Advent, in its most purest of forms comes from the Latin word, “coming.” The Latin word “adventus” from which comes the term Advent, is roughly translated from the Greek word “parousia,” which means “official visit, royal presence,” yet liturgically speaking, (Church talk) refers to the Second Coming of Jesus.

So, wait a minute…we’re celebrating the birth of Christ. Yet, from ancient times and the translations of both the Greek and Latin and from a theological point of view, we’re anticipating and preparing for Jesus’ return to earth? His second coming? That is right. That is so. It may not be very “Christmas-like,” but that is what Advent truly and historically signifies and represents.

You see my friends, the Feast of Christmas is our commemoration of Jesus’ birth for which we rejoice and celebrate. It’s our Savior’s birthday and we give thanks for His coming into our world as one of us; a human being. What Advent reminds us of is that Jesus is to come again and we are to be prepared for His arrival. I admit, that’s an awful lot of technical terminology but certainly material we understand and about which we need to be reminded. Simply put: Jesus is coming again. Are we ready for His return?

So, my sisters and brothers, we begin this four-week journey with anxious and eager hearts at the ready to announce that Jesus is born! While we rejoice, let us be ever-vigilant and ready for, as Sacred Scripture reminds us, “You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night…to the time when we must give up our account, we know it not, nor is it needful that we should. The coming of Christ will be a great surprise.” (1Thessalonian 5:2.) In spite of this rather alarming message, there is a great deal for which we are to celebrate these four weeks. It is my prayer and my hope that as we prepare our homes with festive decor and seasonal ornamentation, more importantly, we are preparing our hearts and souls for Jesus’ return. This is the true message and meaning of Advent. The Blessed Mary said yes to the angel…what is our response to Jesus?

Amen.

manny@stnicholasepiscopal.org

Manny

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Shout Outs: Giving Our Thanks

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To the Church of England, birthplace of Anglicanism and our Mother Church, which recently and overwhelmingly voted to allow women to be elected to the role of bishop. Congratulations and blessings!

To Thelma Malecek and Jennifer Brundige who represented St. Nicholas so admirably and faithfully at this year’s Annual Diocesan Convention. Way to go; your company was warmly welcomed.

To all the dedicated volunteers who give of their time and serve the needy this Thanksgiving and those who care for the homeless — your service is truly a gift from the heart.