Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Short Funeral Homily—for William Van Buskirk

Jesus is at the centre of all this. We're here to celebrate the life of William Van Buskirk who died old and full of years and to mourn his death, but we do it, at Bill's request, enveloped in the truth of the birth, life, teaching, miracles, death on a cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, Lord and Saviour. Look at the first words I read at the beginning of our service on page 591. "I am." Who is? Jesus. In John's gospel—"the resurrection and the life." This morning Jesus comes to us in beautiful language. Elizabethan. Shakespearian. From The Book of Common Prayer (1962 Canada). Translated from a language and a culture even older.  It can be hard to get our 21st century ears around it, especially if we haven't grown up with it as Bill did. But it's worth the effort. Especially when we're doing what we're doing this morning because not only does it tell us something about Jesus, but it tells us something about Bill.

For example, Bill had those verses from Isaiah and Hebrews Jessica read earlier noted in his Bible. That he had a Bible with his own notes in it is revealing. Bill must have taken special comfort from those passages in particular.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee:
Be not dismayed; for I am thy God:
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (https://ref.ly/Is41.10;kjv1900)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. "
(https://ref.ly/Heb13.5-6;kjv1900)
These verses show from who Bill drew his strength and who he believed was his helper—the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. They also give some insight into his character—hear are some of the words his family used to describe him to me as we were preparing for this service the other day: honest, integrity, consistent, an example, kind, gentle, quiet, modest. Canon James Robinson, his priest, at St Augustine's Anglican Church in Lethbridge, called Bill "a deeply faithful Christian," and told me about the generous transportation Bill provided in his little red truck. The church secretary there told me about how Bill would come in regularly to check the food donations box and top it up with what was needed. It's easy to give thanks for such a life.

Which brings me back to Jesus—another life for which we can be thankful—and The One from whom or about whom all the words of this service were written. What can we learn about him? More than I have time to cover this morning although you could learn more of him tomorrow morning here at St Barnabas at 830 and 1030 and at other times in church services all over the city and every Sunday. The learning never ends because, just as John wrote in the very last verse of his gospel,
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (https://ref.ly/Jn21.25;kjv1900)
Here are two things to go on with just from the beginning of this morning's service. Look again at the first words of the service on page 591:

  1. I am (Jesus is) the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in him, even when he (or she) dies, yet shall he (or she) live. Whoever lives and believes in Jesus shall never die. 
  2. Look at the verses on the bottom of the page. There is a place for those who believe in God and Jesus, his Son. A place Jesus has gone on ahead to prepare in his Father's house. A place with more than enough mansions, or rooms, for Bill and for you and me. If we want one and decide to accept Jesus' invitation to believe in him. 

If that is true, and I believe that it is—so did Bill—then although the earthly first part of his life is over, he lives on, as does Jesus.

To seriously consider the reality of Jesus, and him risen from the dead, in the stately, beautiful, grace-filled words we've heard and will hear in the rest of this service this morning and to decide to take the plunge of faith in him would be a good way to honour the memory of William Van Buskirk by following his example. It would also deliver you safe into the arms of Jesus.

Let’s pray:
Lord Jesus, you claim to be the resurrection and the life. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding that is coherent, convincing, and leads to the life and the home that you promise.

Gene+

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Home Truths—A Short Funeral Homily with Reference to Ecc 3 and John 14: for Margaret Mattson

Jesus said, "My Father's house has many rooms," (John 14.2) in our reading from John's gospel. That sounds to me like a home, a home with many rooms. A heavenly home for God's children. A home where Jesus, himself, is. A home to which Jesus said he has gone on ahead to prepare places to come home to for those who have chosen to believe in him. Jesus is talking home truths.

I think of Margaret Mattson knew something about home truths, too. She grew up in one home, married the hired man, raised her own family in another home across the yard. All from 1919 to 1985. She lived and loved and baked jumbo raisin cookies and filled her home with the hum of sewing and home-made clothes, pies and scalloped potatoes. She made a home for her family. From what I heard from her daughters the other day, she was pretty good at making places for each one of them and their brothers there. She was a home maker. You can see it in her children.

That wonderful passage from Ecclesiastes we heard earlier has some home truths, too. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born" (Ecc 3.1-2) True. Margaret's was ninety-seven years ago. Her parents brought her home. When she was six months old they brought her to Canada. And then came all the activities of being and raising families in a farm home: times to plant and uproot, to kill and to heal, to tear down and build, to weep and laugh, mourn and dance, embracing, searching, giving up, keeping and throwing away, tearing, mending, silence, talking around the kitchen table (but not when Dad was trying to listen to the news), and always time to love and those precious moments of peace that pop up every now and and again in a busy family's life. Yes and there were times to hate and even to war against the things that might threaten the security of that home. Then, finally, after all that comes a time to die. True. It comes for all of us. Some of us, like Margaret, get to be old and full of years. For some, too young and too soon.

Which brings me back to Jesus and home truths. He wasn't very old yet he'd been through the seasons and activities of Ecclesiates 3. He knew about death and he knew that his time to die was close and he knew how the ones who loved him would feel. That's why he said what he said in John 14. He says it to us on days like this, too.

Don't be troubled. Believe. Believe in God, my Father, who has the big home with lots of rooms. Believe in me he says, because if it were not so, I wouldn't tell that it is. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14.1-4).

And you know they way to the place where I'm going, h said. Well, not so much. Some of them did. Except Thomas. He didn't, or thought he didn't. Same with us. Some of you do. Some of you did and forgot or life happened and crowded it out or it became too much trouble. Some of you may have never known.

So here's a home truth about Jesus. What's The Way to that place with all the rooms? "I am" says Jesus and that way runs through my church. Jesus also says he is The Truth and The Life (John 14.6). His heart still beats only now it beats in his body on earth, the Church. No one comes to the Father or one of those rooms in that great heavenly home except through him and his Church—Churches like this one where Margaret Mattson worshipped and found her way.

To explore the home truth that The Way, The Truth and The Life Jesus represents would be a good way to honour Margaret's memory.

Let’s pray:
Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me,  and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding that is coherent, convincing, and leads to the life and the home that you promise.

Gene+

Thursday, 5 January 2017

From the ARM Chair (Winter 2016 Anglicans for Renewal Magazine)


By My Spirit

I write this just having finished leading a parish retreat for St James' Anglican Church, Calgary. It was entitled By My Spirit: Live Giving Anglican Worship and arose out of the present Anglicans for Renewal series of articles on the references to the Holy Spirit in the prayer books. There was worship, I gave some talks, there was lively talk small group discussion and good fellowship. It was a time full of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We enjoyed ourselves. We explored the rich (and Spirit filled) tradition of the Anglican daily "offices"—morning, evening and night prayer—as the comprehensive, Biblical, accessible and effective tools for prayer they are.

If you would like a similar event in your parish, deanery or diocese exploring and teaching on using the prayer books to pray in the Spirit for renewal, revival and awakening, both individually and corporately, contact our office. We'd be happy to discuss possibilities with you. We offer other workshops, too. Look at our website for the list.

Vatican Charismatic Renewal Jubilee

I received the following email from Pastor Jim Bredeson, Chairman of Oasis, the Lutheran Renewal group in Canada:
Good Morning!
         This summer I attended the Oasis Sweden meeting in Jonkoping, Sweden. While there I met with Peter Artman, a priest in the Church of Sweden and active in the Oasis movement there. He told me of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic renewal to take place in the Vatican next year. He also told me of his hopes to gather a delegation from the historic churches (such as Lutheran and Anglican) who themselves were greatly impacted not only by the charismatic renewal but also the Catholic movement in particular. He (and I) think that it is significant that this 50th anniversary takes place during the same year as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation—not to mention the 150th of Confederation in Canada.
         The celebration as I said earlier will take place in Rome, ‪May 31 –June 4‬ (Pentecost Sunday). The cost for the meetings only  is 30€ ($44 CAD; $33 USD). Accommodation is not included.
         I have copied Peter on this email. Let me know if you are able to go. Please forward this invitation to anyone you know who might be interested. I only ask that they respond to me and Peter so that we know if we have something of a delegation going.
         You will find the invitation from the Vatican below. The website for more information and to register for the event is: www.ccrgoldenjubilee2017.org‬
         2017 is a year of celebrating the legacy of past revival. It is my prayer that it will be a year of present revival as well.
         Be strong in the Lord!
         Jim Bredeson
         Oasis Canada
UPDATE: Doesn't look like any ARM Board members are able to make this trip. Let us know if you plan to attend and we can put you in touch with Pastor Jim. 


Fasting and Prayer

I also received the following message from ARM Board Member, Bishop Fraser Lawton:
While attending the recent gathering of the Global South,  it occurred to me that this might be a good time to call people across the country to prayer.  We do spend time talking together about the situation in Canada, about possible responses, in encouraging one another, etc.  I was reminded there to not neglect the truth that this is all also a spiritual battle, and we also need to engage at that level.  I do know that people are praying.  However, I thought it would be good to have a specific day when as many as possible could join together.  Without directing how/what, I am hoping you will spread the word…that November 26 be a day of fasting and prayer for the Anglican Church.  That is the last day of the Christian year, and we can enter the new one in this place of prayer. 
UPDATE: Since November 26th has passed, please consider continuing fasting and praying regularly for the Church until General Synod 2019 when the second reading of the change to the Marriage Canon will take place. 

Watch our Facebook page for more information, resources and ideas on how to observe such a day.

Gene+

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Being Ready Now: a Funeral Homily with Reference to 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 21—for Marjorie Langdon

 NOW is Christ risen from the dead (1 Cor 15:20—BCP p595)
It's Advent. Christmas, we're waiting for—again (five sleeps if anybody's counting). Advent is also about our waiting, preparing and being ready for Jesus to come again, but Jesus is risen from the dead NOW.

Now, look at the top of page 596, because Jesus is risen from the dead NOW:
…even so in Christ shall all be made to live. (1 Cor 15:22—BCP)
Even so. Made to live. But everyone in their own order:
Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's (people like Marjorie Langdon) at his coming" (1 Cor 15.22-23—BCP p596)
Christ has died, Christ has risen NOW, Christ will come again!

I believe Marjorie is one of those "that are Christ's," who believed in her bones that Jesus is risen NOW, and so she was ready for his return, or to go a meet him.

Marjorie and I didn't agree on everything. She had definite opinions on the way God should be worshipped and with which books, for example. She didn't particularly care for my guitar playing and some of my changes to our style of worship. If she wanted to hear that kind of music, she once told me at the door on her way out, she could listen to the radio. But we agreed about Jesus and his Resurrection. I had absolutely no doubt that she was a woman of great faith—a faith that endured through some hard things for her. We have evidence of that today in her choice of readings and hymns. For example, notice the Psalm we prayed earlier. Psalm 46, about God being her hope, her strength and her very present help in trouble (v1—BCP p388)—she suffered plenty of trouble through her years of severe arthritic pain and immobility.

The hymns she chose and which were written in her Bible also give a good sense of that firm, determined faith and how important Jesus was to her.
JESUS, SAVIOUR, pilot me! we sang earlier. 
O Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end," we'll sing shortly,
"O guide me, call me, draw me,
Uphold me to the end;
And then in heaven receive me,
My Saviour and my Friend.
These last few years Marjorie's was, indeed, as we also sang earlier,"A dark and toilsome road." "O guide me through the desert here," Marjorie prayed no doubt, and had us sing, "And bring me home at last." Home at last. How did Marjorie know she had a Pilot, a Saviour and Friend?

She and Dorothy told me that they gave their lives to Jesus while listening to the Sunrise Gospel Hour—now the Oldest Gospel Radio Broadcast still produced in Alberta, seventy-seven years straight, by the way—they were too far out in the country for regular Sunday Church going. Kathleen told me, their mother would regularly call the three girls in from whatever they were doing in the yard to listen to hymnsings on the radio. Kathleen also told me she didn't start going to church until she was twenty. And yet the seeds had been well sown, and with the help of their parents, roots were solidly established in Jesus. And those beginnings led to them, all three, becoming stalwart members of St Barnabas. Marjory was a follower of our Risen Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ—so was Dorothy and so is Kathleen.

So Marjorie was READY. Ready for the new Heaven and earth we heard about in the reading from Revelation where the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will be with her and "shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain and all things will be made new and good for ever and ever. Amen. It must feel good to be able to stand up straight, to move without pain again and to hear the heavenly choirs clearly. Who wouldn't want to be ready for that?!

Christ has died. Christ is risen NOW. Christ will come again. We don't know when. Jesus just says be ready.

So this Advent what might you and I take from Marjorie's example, the Scripture and hymns she chose for us to hear and sing and our good memories of her? A good way to honour Marjorie's memory this Advent and as Christmas is only a few sleeps away would be for you and me to consider our state of readiness to celebrate our Lord's birth on Sunday and for his approaching return.

Here are three Marjorie Langdon Memorial steps to readiness for the Lord's return:

  1. Invite Jesus to be risen from the dead in you NOW not keeping him locked up in some tomb of my own ailments, carelessness or sinfulness. 
  2. Invite Jesus to be born in you this Christmas.
  3. The best starting place is to simply say "Yes" to Jesus. In a moment you and I, too, will have the opportunity to do just that as we pray the Apostle's Creed together. For many of us it will be Yes again, for some of you it may be Yes for the first time in a long time, or the first time ever. Saying such a Yes would be a good way to honour Marjorie's memory by expressing your trust in the LORD—Pilot, Saviour and Friend—who was present all through her illness and loves her still. Saying such a Yes, and meaning it, would also place you, along with Marjorie, safe and sound in all the Yes's God promised in Jesus (2 Cor 1.19-20).

There is no better time than right NOW.

Gene+


Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Holy Spirit in the Prayer Books: Part 5 in the Fall 2016 issue of Anglicans for Renewal


Getting good at something means being prepared to do it over and over again, to the point of boredom and then beyond. Practice makes perfect, the saying goes. Musicians do it. Dancers, basketball players and golfers do it. Olympians do it—endlessly (as I write they are competing in Rio). Practising the faith is no exception.

Praying needs repetition. Holy Scripture requires it. Jesus told the parable of the Persistent Widow to the effect that we ought always to pray and not lose heart (Lk 18.1). Be constant in prayer (Ro 12.12), Paul adds, continuing steadfastly (Col 4.2), without ceasing (1 Thes 5.17) and at all times in the Spirit (Eph 6.18). This is exactly what our prayer books are designed to do for us. Praying the offices keeps our praying constant, continuing, ceaseless, repeatedly and in the Spirit.

Needing It

Consider this versicle (isn’t that a lovely word—like something tasty and on a stick) and response in The Book of Common Prayer, THE ORDER FOR MORNING and EVENING PRAYER DAILY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR both, for example:
O God, make clean our hearts within us; And take not thy Holy Spirit from us (p11 & 23).
Two things to note about this prayer. First, I am reminded that God can take and has taken his Spirit away from someone with whom he is displeased; King Saul for example (1 Sam 16.14). If Saul, the Lord's anointed, was capable of acting in ways that brought about such dire consequences, so am I.

Second, I need the Holy Spirit. So do you. The Prayer Books turn our need into a prayer. So I pray, earnestly, and ask God not to take the Holy Spirit from me so that he will keep me on track and warn me when I'm following too much the devices and desires of my own heart (BCP, p4 & 19).

A Prayer for the Queen’ s Majesty

King Saul needed the Holy Spirit, you and I need the Holy Spirit, so does the Queen. "Replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit," we pray, "that she may alway incline to thy will, and walk in thy way: Endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts" (BCP, p12).

What is the grace of the Holy Spirit and why would Queen Elizabeth need it? Grace is God’s empowering presence to be who he made her to be and to do what he calls her to do. Queen Elizabeth has been a royal and faithful witness for God and the Church throughout her long reign. By association, we can pray the same Holy Spirit replenishment for our federal, provincial and local governments, all of whom govern on her behalf.

I like and frequently pray the alternative Prayer for the Queen and the Commonwealth that follows. Although the Holy Spirit is not mentioned, I can add my heartfelt “Amen!” to the prayer for those “set in authority under her; that they may order all things in wisdom, righteousness, and peace, to the honour of thy holy Name, and the good of thy Church and people.” It covers all the bases. When God’s holy Name is honoured, good things happen for the Church and all people, whoever they are and whatever they believe, whether they know it, or not.

And speaking of people…

A Prayer for the Clergy and People

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift: Send down upon our Bishops and Clergy, and all Congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honour of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ (BCP, p13).
There it is again. The healthful Spirit of grace which empowers you along with the Bishops and Clergy to be who he made us to be and to do what he calls us to do. That healthful Spirit comes with Gifts and Fruit—Gifts which empower us to be more than we know how to be and do more than we know how to do, and Fruit for the good of all.

A Prayer for all Conditions of Men (and Women)

More especially we pray for the good estate of the Catholic Church; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. (BCP, p14)
If we want our Church to enjoy a “good estate” it needs to be guided and governed by the good and Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will teach us all things, remind us of all that Jesus said (John 14.26), bear witness about Jesus (John 15.26) and convict us concerning sin, righteousness and judgement (John 16.8). The Holy Spirit will guide and govern us as to what’s what with Jesus.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not only, or even mainly, about spectacular manifestations of the Spirit—miracles, signs and wonders—although they can be fun and fruitful, it is about ordinary Christians (including Anglican ones) like you and me just knuckling down in worship, prayer and service to be who God made us to be and to do what he calls us to do. Day after day after day. Amen.

I write what I write in the spirit of the following:

A General Thanksgiving 

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, To whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen. (BCP, p15)

2 Corinthians 13. 14.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen. (BCP, p15)

Gene+

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A Call to Pray and Fast for the Church on Saturday 26 November

A few weeks ago, Fraser Lawton, Bishop of Athabasca and Anglican Renewal Ministries Canada board member, sent the following email message:
While attending the recent gathering of the Global South,  it occurred to me that this might be a good time to call people across the country to prayer.  We do spend time talking together about the situation in Canada, about possible responses, in encouraging one another, etc.  I was reminded…that this is all also a spiritual battle, and we also need to engage at that level.  I do know that people are praying.  However, I thought it would be good to have a specific day when as many as possible could join together. …I am hoping…that November 26 be a day of fasting and prayer for the Anglican Church.  That is the last day of the Christian year, and we can enter the new one in this place of prayer." 
As  a St Barnabas parishioner and the Chairman of Anglican Renewal Ministries Canada, I've decided to answer Bishop Fraser's call to fasting and prayer for the Anglican Church of Canada on that day.

I've arranged to be in the church from noon to 430pm on Saturday the 26th to lead worship in song and prayer.

Please consider answering Bishop Fraser's call to pray, to fast from one or more meals that day and to join me in the church on Saturday afternoon if even for a short time.

In the meantime, please remember the Anglican Church of Canada, in your prayers this week. This prayer is a good to pray for our church:
For the Church Universal. 
MOST gracious God, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth; in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where any thing is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen and confirm it; where it is in want, furnish it; where it is divided and rent asunder, make it whole again; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, p39)
Here are some additional prayer points by Anglican Renewal Ministries Canada's Jane Jones for the Anglican Communion Alliance:

Prayer Bulletin #2 November 14, 2016

2 Chronicles 17:6 

His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.

Father, like Jehoshaphat may we be so devoted to your ways in our lives and our churches that we remove the high places and idols which hinder our becoming more like You.  We ask you to reveal them to us; remove the blinders from our eyes where we are blind to them.  Give us courage to face those things and strength to deal with them.

Just as Jehoshaphat sent out teachers to instruct the people, we ask that godly teachers will be in every pulpit to teach the truth of the Word so that all may hear and all may know Your ways and Your perfect will.  We ask that Your favour will rest upon them so that the word will be received.  May your word go forth from them like a hammer and break in pieces the rock of the most stubborn resistance.  May Your word of truth burn like a fire to ignite our church with revival fires.
Jeremiah 23:29.

2 Chronicles 20:3-4 (ESV) 3 

Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

Lord, like Jehoshaphat we have enemies that are coming against us and we are gathering in this fast to seek Your face, coming boldly to Your throne of grace for help in time of need.  We ask for strategies and prayers that will bring a revival of Your truth and cause the enemy to flee.  Help us to remember that in You we have victory and show us clearly how to enforce that victory.

Pray Psalm 51 for the church - a prayer of cleansing and pardon

Cleanse my Heart - a prayer by John Wesley

O Saviour of the world, God of Gods, light of light, you who are the brightness of your Father's glory, the express image of his person; you who have destroyed the power of the devil, who have overcome death, "who sits at the right hand of the Father"; you will speedily come down in your Father's glory to judge all men according to their works. Be my light and my peace; destroy the power of the devil in me, and make me a new creature. You who cast seven devils out of Mary Magdalene, cast out of my heart all corrupt affections.

You who raised Lazarus from the dead, raise me from the death of sin. You who cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, and gave sight to the blind, heal the diseases of my soul; open my eyes, and fix them singly on the prize of my high calling, and cleanse my heart from every desire but that of advancing your glory

Gene+


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Five Alive: To Each—from the Fall 2016 Issue of Anglicans for Renewal Magazine

Anglicans for Renewal is now available as a digital subscription at only $10 per year—follow this link and you can have a PDF copy delivered to your email address. 

This is the second part of "Five Alive," a series of short articles on five of Paul’s key points on the who, how and why of the Gifts of the Spirit in his first letter to the Corinthians. I’m calling them

1. Not Lacking
2. To Each
3. The Importance of Being Earnest
4. Church Building
5. A More Excellent Way

The Lord didn’t want the Corinthian Christians, or us, to be uninformed concerning spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12.1). We, at ARM Canada, don’t want Canadian Anglican Christians to be uninformed, either. We want you to know that our church, too, can be blessed with all kinds of Holy Spirit prompted gifts, service and activities, all empowered by God and in everyone (1 Cor 12.4-6).

Note that God doesn’t just empower clergy, or just the super spiritual people, or just men or just women or just people in large parishes. The empowering is for all of us. Even ordinary Anglicans. You are part of God’s all encompassing, amazingly graced “everyone.” So am I.

To Each

Not only are we not lacking any spiritual gifts (1 Cor 1.7), “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12.7). There are no exceptions. The word “each” means every one of two or more people. God himself has given you and empowered you for at least one, but most likely more, Gifts of the Spirit—Gifts divinely designed to work uniquely in and through you so those around you will experience the goodness of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“What gifts?” you might ask? The “manifestation” Gifts Paul lists in Corinthians 12 are a good place to start:

1. utterance (or word) of wisdom
2. utterance (or word) of knowledge
3. faith
4. healing
5. working miracles
6. prophecy
7. discernment of (or distinguishing between) spirits
8. tongues
9. interpretation of tongues.

At least one of these must be available and intended for each of us. The Lord apportions to each one as he wills (1 Cor 12.11)—to one this, to another that.

Did you know Anglicans pray and prophesy in tongues today? Did you know that there are real Anglican prophets? Did you know that Anglicans get words of knowledge and wisdom? Did you know that Anglicans sometimes pray for people and they are healed? Of course you do, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this magazine.

My first experience of one of those gifts that I recognized was when I received a gift of one of the various kinds of tongues (1 Cor 12.10). I had prayed for the gift and asked others to pray for me with varying degrees of intensity for two years before it was finally granted. I didn’t have any idea of what I should do with it or how to use it. I just had read about it and I thought it would be nice to have. One day, in his mercy, God let me have it. It was not an obviously spectacular moment. There were no flashing lights or falling to the floor. Something fluent began and I believe my prayer has been richer ever since.

Which gift(s) has he given you? Have you ever asked? It’s not selfish to ask because when the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are shown in you and me it will always be for the common good. The common good aways comes from and leads to Jesus which means it also always comes from and leads to his Church—his body with us on earth for now.

Have you ever tried the gift(s) the Father has given you out? Does the he have more for you?

If you would like to know more about the gifts and to experience them in your own life and parish contact our office to enquire about having an ARM Canada team come to do an event in your area.

Gene+