Praying….

to…errr…..for…..ummm….with Saints? Without being Roman.

The question that must be addressed first, it seems, is who is part of the Church. There have typically been two parts of the Church of Christ: the visible and the invisible, comprised of “faithful men” who have preached the Word purely and administered the Sacraments according to Christ’s ordinances (BCP, Article XIX). The writer of Hebrews tells us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (12:1) directly after having written about the faith of our ancestors and fathers from the Old Testament. Here, as well as in other places, we are told that we live our lives before those that have gone before [not to mention the angels] and their faith should inspire us. My point here is that they are still involved in the life of the Church, in our lives. We also call them the Church victorious, those who have fought the good fight and been called faithful servants due to their adoption in Christ as sons and their participation in the Body of Christ (both at the right hand of the Father and the Bride of Christ on earth). So, they are still part of the Church Body, they are our brothers and sisters forever and ever.

Secondly, it is a very clear principle throughout the New Testament that we should be offering up prayers on behalf of the Body. Christ prays for those that would believe (Jn. 17:9; :20), Paul records what he is praying for the different churches (Col. 1:9; II Thes 1:11), and he asks for prayers on behalf of himself and other churches (I Thes 5:25; Heb. 13:18). I don’t think even this much is necessary to prove, but the point is that we are supposed to be praying for one another, and for the churches around the world that we don’t even personally know.

Thirdly, in Rev. 8:3 the angel gathers all the prayers of the saints together with incense and these surround the Throne. I don’t believe I overstep the texts cited by thinking that the victorious saints as our witnesses are raising their prayers with ours for those things that St. Paul tells the Church to pray for (e.g. holiness, purity, perserverance, etc…). And if you grant me that, then I don’t see any problem with asking St. Therese of Liseaux (patron saint of tuberculosis, which claimed her life at 24 years) to pray for my brother T____________who has tuberculosis. She knows better than I how to pray for him in his specific illness and she is our sister in the victorious battle of faith.

A couple more thoughts.
1) I don’t know if I have enough of a basis to say that St. Therese will pray for T_________ in the same way my mother will if I ask her (i.e. I don’t have the verbal assurance).
2) Even if you think that there is not enough of a foundation to propose this, I don’t see how we can say that it is wrong or evil to ask the saints to pray for ourselves or the brethren.

That’s all for now. Please give me your thoughts.

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ICONS. I recently had a discussion about them with my dad, who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church during a period of time that most seem to want to forget. He, like many during the 50’s-60’s, left the Church with a rotten taste in his mouth. While we were talking about icons, I brought up the point that protestant evangelicals don’t seem to have any problem with putting a fridge magnet of George Bush up or a calendar of the most influential people in American history, or the like. I hope they don’t worship them, and doubt they do, so why do they have them? To emulate, be inspired, reminded of sacrifice or leadership, to pray for those in similar sitations, etc… No wrong there. But, put a halo above their heads and usually the stones are picked up, the torches lit.
In my conversation I was pleasantly surprised, though, that there was some reception to the idea of putting Holy Christian men and women on our walls. Perhaps the reaction period is starting to dwindle, or we are trying to get back some of the baby we threw out with the bathwater – I don’t know, but I’m excited.
Why do I have a picture of Mother Teresa’s hands? Her hands represent the call of her soul, the charity of her heart, and the joy of her countenance. She was called to the poor and needy, a call that I share in. Looking at her hands reminds me to live out that calling, to make ready my hands to do the work of the Lord at all times. There are many other saints of old time that have taught my mind, soul, and body – and I find it very helpful to be reminded of those lessons, of their lives, of their sacrifices.
So how about it?

Water in the Wine

Not my poem, but a very humorous poem by G.K. Chesterton, who alone could blame Noah for the teetotallers.

Old Noah he had an ostrich farm and fowls on the largest scale,
He ate his egg with a ladle in a egg-cup big as a pail,
And the soup he took was Elephant Soup and fish he took was Whale,
But they all were small to the cellar he took when he set out to sail,
And Noah he often said to his wife when he sat down to dine,
“I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine.”
The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell blinding off the brink
As if it would wash the stars away as suds go down a sink,
The seven heavens came roaring down for the throats of hell to drink,
And Noah he cocked his eye and said, “It looks like rain, I think,
The water has drowned the Matterhorn as deep as a Mendip mine,
But I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine.”
But Noah he sinned, and we have sinned; on tipsy feet we trod,
Till a great big black teetotaller was sent to us for a rod,
And you can’t get wine at a P.S.A., or chapel, or Eisteddfod,
For the Curse of Water has come again because of the wrath of God, And water is on the Bishop’s board and the Higher Thinker’s shrine,
But I don’t care where the water goes if it doesn’t get into the wine.

First Steps…

Well, here is my first attempt at posting something, just something. This is a poem that I never finished (I was actually going to put it into proper form), so it remains in free verse (I know, not very classical of me at all! Where was I trained….). Please critique and tell me if you think some of my images could be cleared up or words replaced. It might help if you paste into Word or something, because I lost the format in this small confined space, and printed it is in the shape of a font or chalice.
Cheers.
Font and Chalice

Creation’s glory ascribed to Thee Oh Lord, Who yesterday, today, forever the same.
Thy throne ushered forth the waters that at Thy command birthed the world’s first form.
The same river, four-branched, brought life to Thy sacred Garden and watered Thy flock.
When mankind to vile sins did stoop in crimes too great for Thy imparted image to endure,
The four-fingered currents faced one another in frenzied haste, all obeying Thy just command
To baptize the child that from them had sprung. Their course not finished, they freely flowed
Through the lands of Egypt, where defiled they became. So Thou didst ordain that they in
Judgement should be purified through the blood that from Thy staff flowed. Thus shamed,
Thou madest them open up as a woman in childbirth that ushers her child into a new land.
As Thou with Thy finger continued to dig the trench of faith within Thy people’s heart,
So hardened they were that Thou decreed a fragment of stone to surge forth a stream.
Still jaded their soul was unfulfilled,
Till the time when Thou begot
The Rock of Faith
Which offered
The Waters
Eternal,
Which
At the
Cross
In holy
Covenant
Married the
Water and Blood.
Israel’s faith we fulfill,
As through Thy font we pass
And life from Life, we are reborn.
Thereafter clean, graciously admitted
To Thy holy Table, partakers we become.
Now in thankful chorus we raise our hymn of joy
Because at the Father’s whim He deigned to sup with us
Being triune-joined with Son, He Himself becomes the Host, Guest, and Food.
Let the flocks upon the thousandth hill be fed, for no longer does Egypt hold captive.
The rivers return to their four-winged course and carry with them the endless Fountainhead,

To Whom creation praises aloud with glory, laud and honor to Threefold Father Son and Spirit

Blogging…A Dirty Word??

I was just reading some of my very good friends’ blogs and wondering why I seem to have blogger’s block. I write all the time, I love to write short essays and poems and little tidbits about the world that I find amusing or intriguing. But putting on the internet seems a strange thing still. Maybe I have not moved into the next generation yet, maybe I still like pen and paper, maybe I like to keep my writings to myself so that noone can shatter the world of Nicole’s mind. I don’t know really, but I thought today that I could probably benefit from having people read and comment on my writing and maybe (just maybe) someone else would benefit from reading my writings.

This being said, I am not promising words that plunge the depths or even touch the white-capped waves, but maybe a grain of sand or salt here or there. And I profer an invitation for all of you to correct me, mock me, laugh at me, challenge me, or just ignore me.