All posts filed under: Anglican

Preparing for Holy Week and Easter, Part 1

As I’ve been in the midst of preparing for Holy Week, my mind has been lingering on this description from Gertrud Mueller Nelson: The sacred mysteries of the coming week, the very apex of the Church year, are brought into our homes. Actually, we move gently back and forth from the sacred rites at church to folk and family traditions and then back again to the richness of the Church. The tangible signs of our inner transformations are found in materia in the ordinary and daily things around us, renewed and charged with meaning. . . Bread and meats, kiss and cross, oil and water, water and fire, passion and praise, candles and eggs and dress and chants, primal laments and bursts of thanks, fasting and feasting, silence and sounds, all these mix and point up the poetry of paradoxes which the sacred mysteries celebrate.  The simple objects are within our reach at home. The simple gestures done at church and then at home with reverence and consciousness can bring the mysteries straight to hearth …

Getting started with Pysanky

Well, one more week until Holy Week, just enough time to consider whether you might like to try the traditional Easter art of pysanky!  Pysanky, or the creation of decorated Ukrainian Easter eggs, is a very old practice that originated in Eastern Europe.  Traditionally during Holy Week, and in some communitites throughout Lent, Ukrainian ladies would gather in the evenings to decorate these special Easter eggs to adorn the baskets that they would bring to be blessed Easter morning.  The baskets were a celebration of new life, often including things that had been given up during Lent, such as meat, eggs, and rich breads. Last year I was curious and decided to try this art for the first time.  My children joined me in learning, and we have all come to enjoy and value this quiet, simple, meditative activity.  Perhaps you might like to try it as well this year? The materials you will need are very simple and inexpensive: a kistka (writing tool) beeswax for pysanky a candle and holder matches eggs (you can …

Passion Sunday; The Fifth Week of Lent

Collect: We beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Saints and Blesseds Monday, April 8: William Augustus Muhlenberg Living from 1796 to 1877, William Augustus Muhlenburg was a priest who had great influence on the 19th century American church. He was born to a family who had been Lutheran for generations, but he joined the Episcopal church as a young man, bordained deacon in 1817 and priest in 1820. Working towards Ecumenism within Christian churches, his proposals became the basis of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. He founded the first free church in America (before this, churches were funded by auctioning and paying for pew rents) which was also the first church in the country to celebrate the Eucharist weekly; he wrote hymns and worked on hymnals; he founded parish day schools, and a church village on Long Island (Saint Johnland), among many other projects. He died on April 6, 1877. Tuesday, April …

The Fourth Week of Lent

Collect: Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. Saints and “Blesseds” Monday, April 1: Blessed Frederick Denison Maurice Born the son of a Unitarian minister in 1805, John Frederick Denison Maurice became an Anglican when he was 26 and then a priest at 29. A founder of the Christian Socialist Movement, Maurice characterized unrestricted capitalism as “expecting Universal Selfishness to do the work of Universal Love.” Obviously a contentious figure, he is best remembered for his book The Kingdom of Christ. Though he lost his professorship at King’s College, London in 1853 because of his challenge of traditional concepts of hell and eternity, he was given a chair at Cambridge in 1866. He held this chair until his death in 1872. You can read some of his work at Anglican History. Tuesday, April 2: Blessed John Donne John Donne was born around 1571 and was raised as …

The Third Week of Lent

Collect: “We beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  Feasts, Saints, and Blesseds Monday, March 25: The Annunciation of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary On this feast day, we remember the holy moment recorded in  Luke 1:26-38, when the angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she is “highly favored” and will be the bearer of the Christ. The feast day is exactly nine months before the Nativity on December 25th. While the first authentic records of “Lady Day” are in the mid-8th century, it may have been celebrated at least since the late 4th century. Here is an excerpt from St. Cyril of Alexandria, preached at the council of Ephesus in 431: “We hail you, O mysterious and Holy Trinity who has gathered us together in council in this church of Holy Mary, the God-bearer. We hail you, Mary, the God-bearer, sacred …

The Second Week of Lent

Collect: Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Saints and Blesseds Sunday, March 17: St. Patrick The Ordo Calendar has transferred St. Patrick’s Day to next week, but if you’re celebrating today, here is a St. Patrick coloring page from Michelle Abernathy art. And, from the archives, here is some background on the hymn, The Breastplate of St. Patrick  Monday, March 18, St. Cyril of Jerusalem Born around 315, Cyril was born and spent the majority of his life in Jerusalem,  a hotbed of controversy at the time. As a priest, he was given the duty of instructing the Catechumens of Jerusalem. His Catechetical Lectures to them are tremendously valuable; they not only provide a vivid picture of the Church at that time, but they are …

Pregnant or Nursing During Lent? Don’t Feel Guilty.

This past week, some of my friends and I were talking about motherhood and Lent. All of them are either nursing or pregnant, and I, for the first time in years, am neither. They were saying, “I feel a little guilty for not fasting during Lent.” And I responded (in many more words): “Don’t feel guilty! I did, too. But now that I’m experiencing Lent without being pregnant or nursing, I won’t feel that way again.” Then they said, “Write a post on this for the Homely Hours!”* And so, I did. Lent calls for sacrificial love through fasting every year. But that can look different, and it ought to look different for those who are are nursing or pregnant. Lenten fasting always comes with the caveat: “Those who are ill, those who are pregnant or nursing, those with strenuous jobs, and young children, etc. are not expected to keep this fast.” Our Mother Church asks us for different sacrifices at different seasons of our life, but she will not burden us with more than …

Sexagesima

Collect: O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Saint Days: Monday, February 25: Saint Matthias All we know about Saint Matthias comes from first chapter of Acts, verses 23-26. In this chapter, after Christ’s ascension, the early church is gathered (around 120 people) and Peter declares the need to replace Judas Iscariot. The church decides upon two men — Justus and Matthias —  who both fit the requirements of being “one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22). And then, after casting lots between the two, the lot fell on Matthias. Saint Jerome and the Venerable Bede agree that they cast lots because of …

The Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

Collect: “O Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Friday, February 15: Blessed Thomas Bray Born in 1656, Thomas Bray was educated at Oxford and was selected by the Bishop of London to help organize the church in the American colony of Maryland. While delayed before his journey, he spent his time creating a free parochial library system. It was originally intended for American, but was also instituted in England. He then founded the “Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.” After his service in Maryland, he returned to England and also founded the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.” He died on this day in 1730. Archdeacon W.H. Hutton, in The Dictionary of English Church History, writes of Bray: “He was a vigorous and humorous writer and a parish priest of exemplary devotion, and to no one in the …

Teaching Scripture to Our Children

One of the reasons my husband and I came to Anglicanism is because of the reverence in the worship. The glad solemnity of our Anglican liturgy harmonized with our understanding of the Scriptures — humility and the “fear of the Lord”  as part of our response to the love and mercy of Christ. As we became parents, it was important to us to communicate that reverence and glad solemnity to our children. We felt it did a disservice to both Christianity and our children to dumb the faith down, but it can be confusing to have that conviction. So many of the books and products available for children are kitsch-y, cartoon-y, irreverent. I don’t really want my children associating Bible stories with talking vegetables… So, we have been very reticent. Going along with our church, we have invited our children into the fullness of our Christian practice. They attend the liturgy with us from the very beginning, learning the service music and hymns. We try to give them what we believe is the truly beautiful …