Wednesday, February 24, 2010
It Isn't Easy Being Anglican
At the heart of the various difficulties in embracing the Anglican world is the brokenness of Anglicanism itself. While this church is as historic as any, more prolific than most and wonderfully rich in its liturgy, it is today a broken church. Once merely the church of the British Isles, the empire took this way of faith around the world. The Anglican way grew to be a large body of Christians second only to Rome and Orthodoxy.
Even today, Christians of the Anglican faith are on the front lines geographically in the global south. Every day, Anglicans spread the Gospel, form parishes, teach the faith, and make converts of unbelievers. In a few short years, the number of Anglican Christians in Nigeria, the Sudan, Congo, Indonesia and many other places have swelled to be counted in the tens of millions. It may be said with integrity that Anglicans are taking a back seat to no other Christian tradition in spreading the faith of Jesus Christ in the 2/3 world. In Latin America, where Anglican Christians had little more than a few scattered chapels just a decade ago, the church is vibrant, robust and growing by leaps and bounds.
Meanwhile, these same vibrant Christians have witnessed the scandal of what passes as Anglican Christianity in the “material west”.
With deep respect I say, Rome has not captured my heart, nor has Orthodoxy taken hold of my soul. But it would be unfair to characterize my own choice as merely one of default, that is, having examined both of the other sisters of apostolic faith and having found myself identifying with the Anglican way solely because I would not or could not choose one of them. I am not Anglican merely because I found myself having to “settle” for some supposed lesser thing.
No, I am orthodox, catholic, but Anglican.
Rome and, to a much lesser degree, Orthodoxy are more magisterial, more hierarchal and appear better equipped to make things “tidy”. The Anglican way is no place for those who cannot live within tensions. It is an impossibly challenging and difficult place for those who desire or need “tidy”. The Anglican way is freer, but it is messy. It just is what it is. Some say that is both the magic and the limp of the Anglican way.
Yet, where would the Christian faith be without her? There would have been no King James Bible, no Book of Common Prayer, and while I won’t flesh out my complete thoughts here, no civilization as we know it in the west. This is my opinion, I grant you, but the Anglican contribution to the western world simply cannot be measured.
The best I can likely do in this broken family, this Anglican Church, is to find a place of honesty and integrity. First, I must recognize how messed up this group is, and this I honestly confess. Secondly, whenever I hear of the difficulties that Romans have or the Orthodox have (or the troubles among the free church Evangelicals, for that matter) nothing in me sees the need to gloat. Humility should always forbid it, but for Anglicans, this is a particularly humbling era.
I choose to walk in the Anglican way because I honestly believe the Lord has led me to walk in this way. I believe He ordered my steps. I know. I know there is a risk in making such a statement. It may appear that I “fix blame” for my love for the Prayer Book on the Lord and dodge my own responsibilities in the matter of my Christian witness.
Yet, I testify that my prayer life finds its home in the Prayer Book the way the swallow finds her home near the altar in Jerusalem. I am Anglican.
There is work to do wherever one finds oneself planted by the Lord in His vineyard. There is pruning to do, weeds to pull, walls to rebuild, marauders to defend against, plants to husband, fruit to grow and a harvest to bring in. Perhaps some vineyards are harder to work than others, this I grant you, but none are the Paradise of God, not yet. This is the cry we hear, even now, emanating from the Eschaton.
+Frederick G. Fick MSJ
February 18. 2009
Monday, February 22, 2010
The Executive Council of Forward In Faith, North America, meets Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in the greater Tampa, Florida area. Bishop Frederick Fick MSJ will be attending. We pray for the work of the Council and for safe travels for all attending.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Dear People of God:
The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.
Monday, February 15, 2010
On Ash Wednesday, the priest will take ashes, made by burning last year's palms from Palm Sunday, and gently marks the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the worshipers.
Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou
hast made and dost forgive the sins of all those who are
penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that
we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our
wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Arsonists have set almost a dozen church buildings on fire over the past 6 weeks in Tyler and Athens, Texas. Federal ATF agents, local sheriffs and other authorities are working hard to both protect the area's churches but also to locate and apprehend the person(s) responsible.
We ask Christians everywhere to pray for an end to this violent and destructive behavior. We pray for the safety of Christians in the East Texas area and for the apprehension and arrest of the individuals involved. We pray their soul(s) and for the redemption of their lives.
St Luke the Physician, an MSJ parish is located in Tyler. Fr. Charles Matheny is the pastor. In Athens, TX, St. Stephen's parish is served by another MSJ priest, Fr. Jerry Pardue.
A Collect for PeaceO God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in
knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service
is perfect freedom: Defend us, thy humble servants, in all
assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in thy
defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through
the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, who didst stretch out thine arms of love
on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come
within the reach of thy saving embrace: So clothe us in thy
Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring
those who do not know thee to the knowledge and love of
you; for the honor of thy Name. Amen.