Sat, 27 April 2019
O blessed wife and mother,
extraordinary in ordinary devotion
to your family and God,
you who freely gave your life
that your child might live,
who put the fruit of your womb
before your personal concern –
in this age when so many mothers
and seemingly without care
are more inclined to destroy
the life in their wombs
than nourish it
or sacrifice themselves
for their children’s sakes,
pray that these same may turn
to the love you have shown
and find the call of the Lord
upon their souls
in the heart beating
innocently and plaintively
Pray this holocaust shall be ended.
Sat, 27 April 2019
(Acts 5:12-16; Ps.118:1-4,22-27; Rv.1:9-13,17-19; Jn.20:19-31)
“When I caught sight of Him,
I fell down at His feet as though dead.”
But Jesus “touched [John] with His right hand and said, ‘Do not be afraid.’” Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” as he humbled himself at the sight of the risen Christ who had appeared before him, and so he was blessed with faith. The first believers “carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.” And the sick and possessed brought forth “were all cured.” All “those who fear the Lord” know His eternal mercy!
Brothers and sisters, let us not be afraid to humble ourselves in awe before the mighty Lord and the apostles He sends forth in His name and with the blessing of the Father. We must set our hearts on “the first and the last, the One who lives,” and let nothing keep us from the path to His grace, to the glorious vision of His holy face. He waits. He waits in expectation for all humble souls to turn to the blood poured out by the nail marks in His hands and the wound in His side. He wishes not to have died in vain, and so with power He sends the Spirit out through the ministry and the sacraments of His Church on earth.
“Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles,” and these same wonders and more are offered for our edification and our salvation this day. The time of fulfillment is upon us and the Lord Jesus is not remiss with His graces: generously the fount of mercy gushes forth. And as John was surrounded by water on the island of Patmos in the day of his divine vision, so are we surrounded with the blessings of the Lord, if we but come to His presence. He is near. He is waiting. Do not doubt; but believe – and whatever ailment of body or soul, heart or mind, which seems to obstruct your reception of the glory of God, will be removed in an instant, if you but fall down at His feet in awe.
Dead before Him we must be, dead to sin and sadness. Alive in the Spirit we must remain, keeping His peace within us. With John let us share “the distress, the kingdom, and the endurance we have in Jesus,” and the distress will disappear and the kingdom come, even as we endure all in His name. God’s “peace be with you.”
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Branch of the Vine" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, your mercy endures forever;
help us to trust in you.
YHWH, let us lay our broken bodies in the streets that your apostle might pass by and we be healed of our infirmity. Let us fall down at the feet of your glorious Son and feel His hand upon us and hear His voice reassuring us. May the risen Jesus be known to us that in faith we might proclaim, “My LORD and my God!” O let His peace be upon us! May the Holy Spirit ever guide us.
O LORD, let your divine mercy be upon our souls that we might be forgiven all our sins; all our doubts and fears be washed away in the blood of your Son. He has been rejected by the builders, but those who are pressed hard by the trials of this earthly life know the wonders He does for all who believe. He was once dead but now is alive, and we who believe in Him are raised up from all sin to look upon Heaven. In His wounds we find new life.
Sun, 7 April 2019
(Dn.13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62; Ps.23:1-6; Jn.8:12-20)
“Judgment of mine is valid because I am not alone.
I have at my side the One who sent me, the Father.”
“It is laid down in [the Mosaic] law that evidence given by two persons is valid.” Thus does the assembly condemn Susanna to death, because the two elders testify as one against her. But then “God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,” and so we find a better pair of witnesses – the Spirit and Daniel – to refute the lies of the wicked elders. And so Daniel, empowered by the Spirit, separates these evil men; and so the lack of integrity and unity in their testimony is exposed; and so “an angel of God shall receive the sentence from Him and split [them] in two” – the “fine lie” they have told will cost them their heads.
And can there be any truer witness of two than that which is known in the Father and the Son, both of whom testify, in the Spirit, that Jesus is “the light of the world”? This great truth cannot be hidden, and so those whose witness is most perfect must speak it, that “no follower of [His] shall ever walk in darkness” but “shall possess the light of life.” This is the will of God, whose Word is true; and this revelation shall be accomplished despite any deceptions devised by those who walk in darkness.
Brothers and sisters, be comforted that the Lord is “at [your] side, with [His] rod and staff that give [you] courage.” With Him and with His Spirit you shall be saved from all evil. Be as Susanna in your time of trial: “Through her tears she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly,” and He will strengthen you and “spread the table before [you] in the sight of [your] foes.” Taking Him as your witness, you cannot be denied. And the same justification she has known will be your own.
All wicked men shall meet their end, for lies cannot stand and the “past sins” of the false judges shall “come to term.” There is but one Judge whose verdict is true and lasting, and all those who find refuge in Him and His Father shall stand as He does unto eternity.
O LORD, your testimony is true as is that of your Son
for the Holy Spirit is upon Him.
YHWH, your Son is the light of the world; to this you testify in His every word, in His every action. He is one with you, O God, and looking upon Him we see your face. Father in Heaven, your Spirit is upon Jesus to speak the truth – may we know Him well that we might know you.
If in you we trust, dear LORD, we shall be saved from every trial. If we keep our eyes up and looking to Heaven, even through our tears you shall answer our prayers. None is left alone who calls upon your Name; help comes quickly to those who recognize their need.
And so, in your kindness you have sent us Jesus; the Spirit goes forth in His wake. To your table we are drawn, LORD, where our heads are anointed with holy oil. No judgment comes upon the soul who trusts in Christ, for He walks only in light… and so it is with those who follow in His way.
Sat, 6 April 2019
(Is.43:16-21; Ps.126:1-6; Phil.3:8-14; Jn.8:1-11)
“Forgetting what lies behind
but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal.”
In times past the Lord opened “a way in the sea” for the Israelites to pass through, while Pharoah’s army He “snuffed out and quenched like a wick.” Afterward, He “brought back the captives of Zion” from the lands to which they had been scattered to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. “Great things” the Lord has done for His people, but through the prophet Isaiah He enjoins all to “remember not the events of the past,” to “consider not” these mighty and wondrous deeds. For as marvelous as His deeds once were, now He proclaims, “See, I am doing something new!” And indeed, something new is in our midst.
We see perfect evidence of this surpassing work in the apostle Paul, who has “accepted the loss of all things” – including any righteousness this former Pharisee may have had by the law – that he may “gain Christ and be found in Him,” for he knew that all good things are to be found in Jesus the Lord. And now he is but “depending on faith to know Him and the power of His resurrection.”
Here is the new thing which is done: the only Son has died and been raised from the grave, never to die again. And so Paul seeks to share “of His sufferings,” to be “conformed to His death,” that he too “may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Nothing else is worth our time or our breath in this world; only this “one thing” calls us upward to God.
And see how this new thing has affected the adulterous woman, the sinner who represents us all. She is brought forward in all her abomination, deserving death for the act she has knowingly committed… yet she leaves Christ’s presence an entirely free woman. Free not merely to go as she pleases, but free from the sin which should have spelled her condemnation.
Here is the new thing as it affects every human soul: the forgiveness of our sins. And what joy this should bring us! For if Jesus who is to judge the heart of all sentient beings does not condemn us, who shall stand with stone in hand to punish our transgression? But heed, my brother, my sister, the Lord’s due warning, if you would truly know the grace of this new thing – “from now on do not sin anymore” – or what is new and bringing refreshment will become old and stale very soon. Forward we must strive all the days of our lives, leaving well behind our sins; only in heaven will we take full hold of Him who has taken possession of us by His mercy.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "Cleansing" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, cleanse us of our sin
and draw us into your kingdom.
YHWH, great things you have done for us, and so we should announce your praise. For you have put behind us all our sins and call us upward now to you in your Son. There seemed no way through this desert, but like torrents of water in the wasteland you have poured your grace upon us; and we are set free, and we escape judgment… and we come running now to you.
Something new you indeed accomplish in our midst, something greater than the parting of the Red Sea or the drowning of Pharaoh’s army. For then you saved your people from certain death, yes, as well as from slavery; but they would soon die anyway, as do all who travel here. But now it is eternal condemnation from which we are redeemed. Now everlasting life we strain toward as we embrace Jesus’ holy Cross. O LORD, let us but know the grace come to us in your Son! Thank you for your forgiveness.
Tue, 2 April 2019
(Is. 49:8-15; Ps.145:8-9,13-14,17-18; Jn.5:17-30)
“Just as the Father possesses life in Himself,
so He has granted it to the Son to have life in Himself.”
Here the great mystery of the unity of Father and Son is revealed, and so also our salvation.
God is life. The Father is the great I AM, He who will be what He will be and do what He will do – He who holds the world and all its wonders in His creating Hand. And Jesus is as He is. He shares absolutely in the Life that is the Father. “Speaking of God as His own Father, [He is] thereby making Himself God’s equal.” And this perfect union is most clearly evident in the fact that “the Father has given over to Him power to pass judgment.” For who can judge the soul of man but God, and so, who is Jesus but God Himself?
And this union of Father and Son in the absolute love that gives proof of the Spirit’s presence, and thus completes the Holy Trinity, is the key to our readings today. Thus, though the thrust of the Word is our own salvation from sin and death, this is only effected in the love of the Father for the Son – for it is in our own union with Jesus and in His washing us clean from sin by standing in our place upon the cross that we find union with the Father, that we find the Life to which we all are called… in whom we find our home of love.
The Lord says, “I will cut a road through all my mountains and make my highways level.” Jesus the Son is that road by which the Father “comforts His people and shows mercy to His afflicted” by leading them back to Him, guiding them “beside springs of water” that “they shall not hunger or thirst” but “find pasture” in His arms. For “can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?” Greater than any mother’s love is the Lord’s love for us, and this He makes known through His only Son.
Brothers and sisters, “the dead shall hear the voice of God’s Son, and those who have heeded it shall live.” Even now the Lord is “saying to the prisoners: Come out! To those in darkness: Show yourselves!” Out from the tombs He calls us, for He is “compassionate toward all His works” and desires in His perfect will that all share in His holiness, in His Life. Let us do right in Him, and as His Son we, too, shall live.
O LORD, from the tombs let us come forth
at the sound of your Son’s voice.
YHWH, you are kind and merciful and so you send your only Son to reveal your loving will, to draw all unto you and so to eternal life. Let us heed His voice and so your own; let us thus come to your kingdom.
On your holy mountain let us make our home, dear LORD. Though desolate we may be, seemingly abandoned by you, far from your grace… yet you call us back to you and assure us of your loving kindness in the word and the Person of your Son. You do not forget us; let us not forget the wonders of your love you show us in Jesus.
Your Son shall judge all men’s souls. To Him you have given this power, O LORD. For He is One with you and does only your will, and so His judgment is your own. May we be so united with your will and your judgment in Jesus your Son that we shall ever know your surpassing love and come to dwell with you in Heaven.