Monday, November 20, 2023

O Antiphones: Prayers for Advent Season

 



      Sapientia-Wisdom

 

  O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,

reaching from one end to the other,

mightily and sweetly ordering all things:

Come and teach us the way of prudence. Amen

 

 

     Adonai-Ruler

 

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,

who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush

and gave him the law on Sinai:

Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm. Amen

 

 

    Radix Jesse Root of Jessie

 

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;

before you kings will shut their mouths,

to you the nations will make their prayer:

Come and deliver us, and delay no longer. Amen

 

    Clavis David Key of David

 

O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel;

you open and no one can shut;

you shut and no one can open:

Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,

those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. Amen


     Oriens-O Moring Star

 

O Morning Star,

splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:

Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. Amen

 

 

    Rex Gentium-O King of Nations

 

O King of the nations, and their desire,

the cornerstone making both one:

Come and save the human race,

which you fashioned from clay. Amen

 

 

    Emmanuel-God With Us

 

 O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,

the hope of the nations and their Savior:

Come and save us, O Lord our God. Amen




Rev. Todd Crouch, Pastor

Topinabee Community Church

Topinabee Michigan

If You Would Like to Know More About or to Support the Ministry of Topinabee Community Church You Can go to Our Web Site.

https://topinabeechurch.org/index.html

You Can Follow Topinabee Community Church on Face Book 

https://www.facebook.com/Topinabeecommunitychurch



 

 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

The Liturgical Year and Colors :Part 2

The use of the Historic Christian Liturgical Cycle can help us focus upon our Lord Jesus Christ and his Salvation Acts in our lives.

The following is the basic Liturgical Year and Colors, it is not and all-encompassing list of the observances of all Church Bodies of East and West Churches or of all denominations. There are distinctive observances which are used by each Church differing one from another, along with related Sacramental functions and or traditions.  

Beginning of the Liturgical Year

Advent- Is the beginning of many Church’s year, it usually begins in November-December. It spans four Sunday’s of each year and leads up to Christmas (Nativity) Season. Each Sunday of Advent focuses on varies aspects of Jesus’ coming,  from looking ahead to the conclusion of human history and  the second coming of Christ, to the preparation of Jesus’ coming into history centuries ago.  

Each Sunday  of the Advent Season often carries with it lessons for believers such as Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

Purple or Deep Blue-Are the general colors used. Purple or Deep Blue reflects Jesus as King and his Royal Patton which is his rightful claim upon the Throne of all things. The Weekly Themes  are  Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

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Christmas or the Nativity- This is the birth of our Lord Jesus, that the Eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity takes on our humanity and is born into our world.

For some Churches Christmas is a season often of twelve days starting with Christmas day and concluding with the Epiphany on January 6th .

White or Gold- Can be used, represents purity, holiness and even resurrection to glory. The Gold represent Kingly virtue.

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Epiphany or the Manifest-Which concludes the twelve days of the Christmas Season  on January 6th and recalls three events in the life of Jesus; the coming of the Magi to Bethlehem, the Baptism of Jesus (which is itself observed the first Sunday after Epiphany) and the Wedding Super at Cana.

White- Is the general color used,  again with holiness and purity in view.

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Ordinary Time- The season which follows the Advent-Christmas- Epiphany Seasons. In Ordinary Time. There are generally are no outstanding observances.

Green or Olive-Is the color and is used to represent life.

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The Transfiguration- Usually kept in February-March time frame. Some Church bodies celebrate the Transfiguration in August, which commemorates Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain and which looked ahead to his bodily resurrection and glorification.

White- The color represents purity, holiness and even resurrection to glory.

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Ordinary Time- Again is resumed until the Season of Lent.

Green or Olive -Is the once again the color of life.

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The Season of Lent- Which begins with  the Ash Wednesday after Transfiguration Sunday ,  usually in March of the year. Lent originally began in the early Church as a period of time which baptismal candidates would consider their lives and the commitment they were about to make at Baptism in light of the work of Jesus. In the early Church baptism were often preform  once a year on Easter-Resurrection Sunday.

Purple-The color purple, in regard to Lent, represents change of mind, repentance and confession of our need for our Lord Jesus. Purple is used from the start of Lent and up until and even during Holy Week.

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Holy Week and the Triduum, or the Three Days, comprised of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.

Palm-Passion Sunday- Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. Celebrated usually in April.

Holy Thursday- Jesus gathered with the Disciples in the upper room and introduces the Lord’s Supper, being simultaneously both the Last Supper of the Old Covenant and First Super of the New Covenant. Jesus takes the Passover and transposed it in to the Lord’s Supper, the Communion or Eucharist.

White or Purple- White to again to bring holiness and purity into view and a hint at the glory of the resurrection, or purple as being a linage of the Lent season. Some fellowships strip their sanctuaries of colors or will shroud their sanctuaries cross in black at the conclusion of the service and stay shrouded until Easter.

Good Friday- The Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus and his death on the cross for all humanity.

Colors Black or None is used- Representing Jesus’ death, mourning or some Churches use Red representing sacrifice and his death (blood).

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The Easter Season or the Great Fifty Days

In the Post Apostolic Church Easter was thought of not just as a day ,but as a Season of fifty days which begins on Resurrection Sunday and lasted until Pentecost. White or Gold can be used throughout the fifty days or Green or Olive as it is considered Ordinary Time.

Easter- The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead to glory usually in April.

White or Gold-Is the color representing resurrection, holiness and purity and the gold kingliness.

The Ascension- Which is observed on the fortieth day after Easter which always places it on a Thursday in June.  Jesus’ returning to Heaven. The Ascension is observed ten days prior to Pentecost and the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

White or Gold or even Green-Olive -Is the color.

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Pentecost- The manifesting of the Holy Spirit in lives of believers and life in the Spirit and the empowering the Church to carry out the Great Commission. Celebrated mostly in May.

Red-Is the color recalling the tongues of fire which manifested over the heads of the believers in the upper room.

__________________________________________________

Trinity Sunday- Celebrated in June. Celebrating the One true God who is the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

White -Is the color representing the pure holiness of God.

 Ordinary Time- Green or Olive- The colors of life.

Christ the King Sunday some times called the Reign of Christ Sunday- Focuses upon the Kingship of our Lord Jesus, not just in the years to come after his glorious return but even now as the Lord and Sovereign over our lives here and now. Is observed in November and is the last Sunday of the Liturgical year.

Purple or Deep Blue or Gold- Representing Jesus’ Kingship and His Royal Patton over our lives.

The End of the Liturgical Year

This list is not a full or comprehensive account of all observance of the Liturgical calendar utilized by Christian bodies. There are additional observances which are not contained within this treatment, nor does this treatment attempt to contain varies  traditions associated with the Liturgical Calendar, such as the Advent candles or other related practices attached to the Calendar. This treatment is highly generalized and highlights those observance which are utilized by the local Congregation which I pastor within our broader Communion.

There are additional days which we, as a local Congregation have chosen to note, as part of our Liturgical Cycle such as:

Sunday- The weekly reminder of the Resurrection of Jesus and his abiding presence in our live.

The Communion, the Lord’s Supper- The regular sharing of the Sacrament of the Bread and Cup throughout the year. 

The Annunciation- In March. The Angel Gabriel visiting Mary in Nazareth with the message that she will bear the Messiah.

The Presentation of Jesus-In February.  Jesus presented in the Temple and is recognized by Simeon and the Prophetess Anna.

Thomas Sunday-In April The Sunday after Easter. St. Thomas was not present at the time Jesus shows himself alive to the group of Disciples.

When there are observances which fall on a week-day, we generally observe those days on the nearest Sunday to them preferably prior to the days but not always. We do this that we might keep focused upon our Lord Jesus and his Salvation Acts for each and all of us and that we might adhere to St. Paul’s admonishment  to preach in and out of Season.

Most of the time   the Revised Communion Lectionary which is a set of Scriptures presented on an ongoing basis in conjunction with the weekly Sunday and Liturgical Cycle is used. This helps the Church as a whole to be reviewing many of the same lessons and messages found within the Bible.

The Liturgical Calendar is not enjoined upon the Church as a “have to” but rather as a “want to”. This means that, under the New Covenant there are no observances which Christians are forced to follow through written Scriptural indict, but rather, we are free to be led by the Holy Spirit to look to Jesus as the “author and finisher of our faith” and fix our hearts and minds upon him in grateful worship throughout the year for all his Salvation Acts on our behalf.

Benediction: May we each and all worship our Lord Jesus Christ for his Salvation Acts on our all of our behalf’s,  today, tomorrow and forever more. Amen.











Rev. Todd Crouch, Pastor

Topinabee Community Church

Topinabee Michigan

If You Would Like to Know More About or to Support the Ministry of Topinabee Community Church You Can go to Our Web Site.

https://topinabeechurch.org/index.html

You Can Follow Topinabee Community Church on Face Book 

https://www.facebook.com/Topinabeecommunitychurch

Saturday, October 7, 2023

The Liturgical Year

 


Under the Old Covenant, there was a yearly liturgical cycle with prescribed annual Holy Days which revolved around the Lord God’s acts of salvation in the life of nation of Israel, also included in this cycle were some agricultural and lunar components and even some observances added by the Jewish people as well, and weekly a Sabbath on the seventh day of each week. Lev:23

This liturgical cycle was to be kept by Israel as continuous reminders of who their God is and what he has done for them. This liturgical cycle was enjoined upon the people of Israel and was enforced until that Covenant came to its conclusion at the death and resurrection of Jesus.

This liturgical cycle was “generally” divided into two cycles of Spring and Autumn.

The Apostolic Church

For about the first decade of the Church all members were Jewish, and as was their habit they continued to attend Synagogue and went to Temple at Jerusalem still keeping the Covenants varies high days, but all of that was to change. 

 We Have Considered

St. Paul wrote to the Christians at the Greek city of Corinth, and he tells them, and we through Scripture, about the consideration to the question as to the change in humanities relationship with God, with the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus, what has changed in humanities relationship with God?

 “because we have considered that one died for all, and therefore all died.” 2Cor:5:14b

What the early Church did, through having “considered” this question and the realization that in Jesus all died and rose in him, what occurred had within the Apostolic Church was the development of a Theology based on Jesus and his saving work and acts of salvation on our behalf and whom ever might freely receive him.

At the outset understanding of the Apostolic Church on Pentecost 33 AD was that of a Jewish Messiah for a Jewish nation, and a Jewish Church.

This relationship was the subject of and was hotly debated at the Jerusalem conference in St. Luke’s account in the Book of Acts the 15th chapter. It was at this conference that the Church leadership came to see and determined that, as they then understood it, almost all Old Covenant tenets were no longer enjoined under the New Covenant.

“The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” Acts: 15:6-11

Just as St. Peter declared to the assembled group.

“Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

This Theology based upon Jesus shifted the entire pyridine of the Church and challenged and changed their view regarding God, Israel and all humanity. 

St. Paul tells us that the leadership of the Apostolic Church considered this very question. What this means, is, that, with the realization that now a new day had dawned and even gentiles were admitted into a Covenant relationship with God, as was demonstrated by the entrance of the Roman Centurion Cornelius into the Church without having kept any of the tenets of the Covenant enjoined upon Israel, but simply through faith in Jesus. This realization shifted everything in the early Church including the Church’s worship.

For a decade the Apostolic Church patterned its worship much like the Synagogues which they attended on a weekly bias, but now with the addition of the Communion symbols of the Bread and Cup. When understood properly we see that Jesus himself inaugurated the new worship cycle with transposition of the Passover to the institution of the Lord's Supper, Eucharist or the Communion. Matt: 26:26

The loss of the Church’s Jewishness

Up in until the calling of Cornelius, the Church retained its “Jewishness” for the Old Covenant had acted as an insulator for Israel which limited interaction and fellowship with pagan gentile’s nations, but now, it was evident that even gentiles were being called and this would no longer be the case.

The Church would need to be transformed if was to go beyond its culture into the wider world and fulfill the commission given to it by Jesus to go into all the world starting Jerusalem. Acts: 1:1-8

If the Church had not come to recognize what God’s divine intent was the Church movement would never have progressed very far beyond Palestine; therefore, the Church would need to lose its “Jewishness” which limited fellowship with gentiles.

A New Liturgical Year

With the realization that a new day had arrived in God and humanities relationship through Jesus and brought to us in an all-New Covenant inaugurated and affirmed in Jesus, and that, it is now in Jesus , that God’s Salvation acts were undertaken on behalf of humanity, and that these Salvation acts should be recalled daily by believers it behooved the Church to develop an ongoing means of doing just that.

Jesus himself established a sacrament which points believers to these Salvation Acts accomplished in his own self for us, taking the Old Covenant’s Annual Passover and transposing it into the New Covenant’s Sacrament of Lord’s Super, Communion or Eucharist which is taken without a fixed date, but can be taken at any time believers gather, to provide a Eucharistic moment for the Church.

When understood properly we see that Jesus himself inaugurated the new worship cycle with transposition of the Passover to the institution of the Lord's Supper or the Communion. As the Passover was the held at the start of the year it acted as the setting frame work of all the liturgical cycle that would follow, therefore by transposing the Passover Jesus was then transposing all the worship cycle focused upon himself.    Matt: 26:26

As the Apostolic Christian Church moved across the face of the Earth, now released from the confines of the Old Covenant, with the message about Jesus and they rehearsed his Salvation Acts for each and all of us, they were led to developed a conversation about just what Jesus did. In order to further this conversation within and without the Church a liturgical yearly cycle developed which focused upon the Acts and person of Jesus not Israel.

They came to see that Jesus himself is the true Israel of God that he is what Israel could never be.

Led by the Spirit

Speaking to his Disciples Jesus told them that the Spirit Himself would lead them into all truth and that the Spirit would take what is his and give it to his Disciples. What the Holy Spirit did, and still does, is to lead believers to look to Jesus and gives us constant revelations to the Church about all things relating to Jesus and his holy person.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Jhn: 14:26

 This reminding us of what Jesus has done and who he is, is not a onetime reminder but is ongoing throughout our whole lives and has taken the form of the new yearly liturgical cycle as Jesus said “remind you of everything”.

Some might ask “can the Church truly have the authority to institute a new liturgical cycle?

Jesus told his Disciples that in regard to matters of the Church that whatsoever you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven and whatsoever you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven”. Matt: 18:18

Now, it is true that the cited verses speak more to the area of discipline, but it has appliance in all areas of Christian life and practice within the Church, for even St. Paul spoke in regard to matters which there was not direct Scriptural reference, but rather, he sought the lead of the Spirit and principles based on Jesus and what he did for us.

Even Jesus tells us that he would “build my Church” that is, it would take shape over time and become what he intended it to be. The Church would not be a stagnate edifice but would always in a state of being transformed through and by the Holy Spirit.

Basic Christian Cycle

The observances of the Church differ in that the focus of the Old Covenant ones which looked more to the nation of Israel and the Lord God’s actions in the life of the nation, and were enforced by the Covenant and were required. Christian’s observances however focus upon Jesus and are not enjoined by the New Covenant, that is, the new cycle is not “forced” upon Christians; there is liberty and latitude to keep or not keep them. These observances are not truly required, but are helpful to remind us about the work of our Lord Jesus Christ and help us in our weekly worship of the Great God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Church’s basic yearly liturgical cycle is generally divided into Ordinary time and times of observances. Each Christian denomination, fellowship, association and ministry has its distinctive liturgical cycles and associated colors and portions of the Scriptures which are used to highlight the season(s). Each color carries with it meanings which are used to give emphases and lessons found within each observance.

The use of the Historic Christian Liturgical Cycle can help us focus upon our Lord Jesus Christ and his Salvation Acts in our lives. 

Benediction: May We each and all ever grow into a deeper worship relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, Today, Tomorrow and Forevermore. Amen.










Rev. Todd Crouch, Pastor

Topinabee Community Church

Topinabee,  Michigan

If You Would Like to Know More About or to Support the Ministry of Topinabee Community Church You Can go to Our Web Site.

https://topinabeechurch.org/index.html

You Can Follow Topinabee Community Church on Face Book 

https://www.facebook.com/Topinabeecommunitychurch

O Antiphones: Prayers for Advent Season

         Sapientia- Wisdom      O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other, mightily...