Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gotta Love Them Saints

Actually, one of the fun things coming before General Convention is a complete revision of our Lesser Feasts and Fasts, the book that identifies, among other things, the Christian people we remember on our calendar. In Anglican lingo, the term Saint (capital 'S') is only officially applied to New Testament witnesses to the early events of Christianity. Other Christians are referred to saint the way that Paul calls the entire community saints. And certain exemplars of the faith are commemorated for what they have done in a book now entitled Lesser Feasts and Fasts. So, for example, Timothy is Saint Timothy but Francis of Assisi is not (and yes, the common useage of the term does not always match this formula). Timothy's feast day is included in the Book of Common Prayer Calendar, while Francis remains in the Lesser Feasts group.

One other difference between us and Roman Catholic practice: In Anglicanism, it is not common practice to pray to Saints for intercession. We believe one can pray to God (in any part of the Trinity) directly. Yes, I am hedging here because as with much of Anglicanism, there are not prohibitions against praying to saints. You just won't see much of it, and lots of people will tell why the believe it is unnecessary.

Anyway, back to my point. The revision has a new title: Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints. And yes, you can tell one of the differences is an attempt to include more women. And more non-European or North American folk. And more post-Reformation non-Anglicans. So here is what is upcoming on the new calendar. Hopefully, I will remember to do this a few times for you:

April 15 - Damien, Priest and Leper 1889, and Marianne, Religious 1918 of Molokai
God of compassion, we bless your Name for the ministries of Damien and Marianne, who ministered to the lepers abandoned on Molokai in the Hawaiian Islands. Help us, following their examples, to be bold and loving in confronting the incurable plagues of our time, that your people may live in health and hope; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

April 16 Mary (Molly) Brant (Konwatsijayenni), Witness to the Faith among the Mohawks, 1796
Maker and lover of all creation, you endued Molly Brant with the gifts of justice and loyalty, and made her a wise and prudent clan mother in the household of the Mohawk nation: Draw us also toward the goal of our faith, that we may at last attain the full dignity of our nature in our true native land, where with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

April 19 - Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr, 1012
O loving God, your martyr bishop Alphege of Canterbury suffered violent death when he refused to permit a ransom to be extorted from his people: Grant that all pastors of your flock may pattern themselves on the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep; and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

April 21 - Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1109
Almighty God, you raised up your servant Anselm to teach the Church of his day to understand its faith in your eternal Being, perfect justice, and saving mercy: Provide your Church in every age with devout and learned scholars and teachers, that we may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

April 22 - John Muir, Naturalist and Writer, 1914, and Hudson Stuck, Priest and Environmentalist, 1920
Blessed Creator of the earth and all that inhabits it: We thank you for your prophets John Muir and Hudson Stuck, who rejoiced in your beauty made known in the natural world; and we pray that, inspired by their love of your creation, we may be wise and faithful stewards of the world you have created, that generations to come may also lie down to rest among the pines and rise refreshed for their work; in the Name of the one through whom you make all things new, Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hey, we get to remember John Muir liturgically by reading from the Song of the Three Jews!

1 comment:

James said...

John Muir, wow, these are great! I'm so excited about this.