Algoma Deanery Week of January 23, 2023

Good day,

The Robbie Burns Supper is this Wednesday, January 25th! Tickets are just $20 for a hearty Scottish meal including dessert, punch, coffee, and tea.  Enjoy a live piper, a toast to the haggis and other Burns Night traditions. You can contact me for tickets.(susan.montague2@gmail.com) 

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes to a close this Wednesday. 

The Coldest Night of the Year (walk to end homelessness) is Saturday, February 25: If your parish does not have a team of its own, you may wish to consider donating to Archbishop Anne’s team (The Micah 6.8 Walkers). Here is the link to donate:  https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=5161431&langPref=en-CA  I’ve been looking for the link to join her team but, perhaps my brain is not fully awake…I don’t see it.  If someone else has that link, please share with us.  

A Liturgical Note for You:

Why Is It Important to Gather For Worship?  Our liturgies are a rehearsal of life in God’s kingdom when God’s kingdom is fully complete on earth as in heaven.  Each time we gather, we are practicing this life and…practice makes perfect. When we practice, we are formed in what it is we are practicing. In our case, we are forming the “Christian way” of thinking and being and behaving in the world. According to The Rev. Dr. Juan Oliver, “Elements such as the goodness of creation, the reality of its incompleteness and need for healing, the gracious self-emptying of God to become human, Christ’s proclamation of God’s gracious will to give us the reign, his healings and miracles, his free forgiveness without any requirements, and his final victory over evil and death through his death and ongoing life—all these aspects of our faith inform our vision of what the world is like and how to live in it as disciples… The liturgy has us practice living in the reign of God, and in this way liturgy itself is formative, even though much of this may take place unawares. We engage in this rehearsal of the coming reign of God as if it had already arrived here among us. In it our actions, persons, and objects, working as signs, enable us to see and feel God’s loving will to heal all of creation, and to know, in our bones, how God’s reign will look and feel when it arrives fully among us. Equipped by this vision, and familiar with the reign and how it feels to live in it, we can go out into the world to recognize God already at work in it, and join in.” Oliver, Juan M. C.. Shaped by Worship (Little Books on Liturgy) (p. 29-30). Church Publishing Incorporated. Kindle Edition.

This is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Dr. Juan has published a couple of very helpful books on this subject. One is A House of Meanings that I mentioned at our Lay Readers/Leaders’ Conference. The other is a small little book available on Kindle called Shaped By Worship. This is the one I’m quoting above. The reference is there if you would like to get the book for yourself.  Our liturgies are transformational – when we know them, explore them, and allow them to be.

For Your Devotions:

Tuesday, January 24th is the commemoration of Francis de Sales, the Bishop of Geneva who died in 1622.  Francis had a passion for God and a desire to be ordained that he kept secret from his disapproving family. (Dad wanted his boy to be a lawyer and politician). The story goes that, one day while riding his horse, Francis fell off three times. No, he wasn’t a poor rider. Francis believed God was speaking to him – each time he fell from his horse, his sword and scabbard came to rest in the shape of a Christian cross. Francis gained the courage to defy his father’s wishes and became a priest. For more about his devotional classic Introduction to a Devout Life and other accomplishments, check this out: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Francis-of-Sales

Wednesday, January 25th is the Holy Day of The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle.  Full disclosure – Paul is my biblical hero 🙂 (This is, of course, aside from the Holy Trinity).  Upon experiencing Jesus on the road to Damascus and being converted, Paul tirelessly and selflessly pursued the single goal of bringing everyone to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour. Paul’s faith in what God had accomplished in Christ and zeal for proclaiming the Good News is truly inspirational as are Paul’s various teachings. For more:  https://www.franciscanmedia.org/conversion-of-saint-paul/

Thursday, January 26th is the memorial of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Saint Paul.  Both Timothy and Titus were friends and fellow missionaries with Paul.  Paul frequently sent them off on important and difficult journeys to encourage and build up the churches that he (Paul) had founded. These men were dedicated to furthering the gospel and to supporting Paul through his troubles even when that meant trouble for them too. Traditionally in the West, Timothy and Titus are the Patron Saints of stomach disorders. Hmmm, could this have anything to do with 1 Timothy 5:23?  For more information:  https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saints-timothy-and-titus/

Friday, January 27th is the memorial of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher of the Faith, died in 407.  John’s energetic and easily understood preaching earned him the nickname, “golden-mouthed”. The people loved him – they felt he was one of them – but his lack of political savvy resulted in a stormy time with bishops and social elite. He spoke out against the frivolity and abuses of the wealthy and did not entertain lavishly as other bishops did. His guests believed he was holding out on them because the meals were so plain but, actually, John had damaged his stomach through too much fasting and poor eating habits as a result of overly strict spiritual practices. One wealthy woman plotted with a rival bishop to charge John with all sorts of frivolous things. John tried to appeal to the pope but, when your enemies are the rich and powerful you’ve insulted, appeals don’t get very far. To make a long story short, John ended up dying in exile. To learn more:  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-John-Chrysostom

Saturday, January 28th is the memorial of Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Friar, Teacher of the Faith, died in 1274. Thomas is one of the greatest thinkers of our faith – a little too radical for some (he incorporated a lot of Aristotle’s thinking into his religious works). Thomas was born into an aristocratic family and was placed in a monastery by his family because they hoped he would eventually become the abbot. Before you start feeling too kindly toward his family…this was purely a political and social move on their part.  When Thomas decided to pursue a spiritual career (by joining the Dominicans), his family had him abducted. Luckily, Thomas out-stubborned his family and, after a year of captivity, they relented. For more info:  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Thomas-Aquinas

God’s Peace,

Susan

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