Archive for the ‘Born Again’ Tag

Prelude to the Liturgy in the Moravian Church in America Series   8 comments

Moravian Hymnals July 13, 2014

Above:  Some of the Moravian Hymnals I Own:  1923, 1942, 1961, 1969, 1995, and 2013

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Last Summer I wrote about U.S. Lutheran liturgy.  This Summer I wrote about U.S. Dutch Reformed liturgy and left that series in such a state that I will be able to resume it and write about narrowly defined topics in subsequent posts.  Now, however, I turn to the Moravians, but I choose not to call the series “U.S. Moravian Liturgy.”  There are excellent reasons for this decision.

The Moravian Church consists of the global Moravian Unity (the Unitas Fratrum) and related denominations outside the worldwide church.  The Unitas Fratrum (Latin for “Unity of the Brethren”), with its Unity Board, consists of, as of May 2014, twenty-one unity provinces (those with voting rights on the Unity Board), six mission provinces, and thirteen mission areas (most, but not all, under the supervision of a unity province).  Four of these provinces are in North America.

  1. The Moravian Church in America consists of the Southern Province (1753), headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the U.S. congregations of the Northern Province (1741), headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
  2. The Moravian Church in Canada consists of the Northern Province congregations in Alberta and Ontario.
  3. The Northern and Southern Provinces constitute the Moravian Church in North America.
  4. The Alaska Moravian Church (1885), a.k.a. the Alaska Province, headquartered in Bethel, Alaska, has been working with indigenous peoples for almost 130 years.  Its founders were missionaries from the Northern Province.  It uses hymnals, songbooks, and rituals in indigenous languages as well as in English.
  5. The Moravian Church in Newfoundland and Labrador (1771), or the Labrador Mission Province, ministers among the Inuit people there.
  6. The Northern Province has 93 congregations, excluding fellowships.  Eight of these are in Alberta and one is in Ontario, for a total of nine churches in Canada.  The other churches are scattered across twelve states and the District of Columbia–from California to Maryland–with the greatest concentration (twenty-three) in Pennsylvania.
  7. The Southern Province has fifty-seven congregations, excluding fellowships.  These exist in four states, with North Carolina having the greatest concentration (forty-eight).  There is one Moravian congregation in my state of Georgia–to my southwest, in the metropolitan Atlanta area.
  8. The Labrador Mission Province has four congregations.
  9. The Alaska Moravian Church has twenty-four congregations.

Newfoundland and Labrador Flag

Above:  The Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador

Image in the Public Domain

The Unity of the Brethren, which Czech immigrants to Texas founded in 1903, does not belong to the Unitas Fratrum, but does relate ecumenically to the Northern and Southern Provinces and support the seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  This denomination has twenty-seven congregations–twenty-six in Texas and one in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Texas Flag

Above:  Flag of Texas

Image in the Public Domain

My study so far of the Moravian Unity has revealed diversity in worship styles–from traditional liturgies and trombone choirs on the classical end of the spectrum to Southern Gospel hymnody to Charismatic services.  The Charismatic movement has become quite popular with parts of the Unitas Fratrum and divided three provinces.  Thus there are a unity province and mission province each in Honduras and the Czech Republic, for example.  And Alaska has had, since 2012, its province and a “ministry group” (not quite a mission province).

Before I proceed I feel the need to make a few points clear:

  1. I am a staid, orderly Episcopalian.  On the head-heart spectrum of Christianity I give more priority to the former than to the latter.  I, unlike John Wesley, who founded the Methodist Church, to which I belonged as a youth, have never felt my heart strangely warmed.  I have never had a “born again” experience, but I have known God for as long as I can remember.  Experiential Christianity, which the Moravian Church emphasizes, is not my cup of tea.  I was born to be an Episcopalian.
  2. I have no interest in designating any person or party in the Alaska dispute a hero, villain, or anything else.  My goal relative to it is to summarize reality accurately while avoiding becoming lost in details.
  3. My Internet-based research via official Moravian websites has answered many questions and created others.  The latter category is unimportant to me, for I choose not to pursue many details unrelated to my primary interest here–the analysis of liturgies and hymnals in the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Unitas Fratrum.

Alaska Flag

Above:  Flag of Alaska

Image in the Public Domain

The “ministry group,” as the Unitas Fratrum‘s Unity Board defines it, is the United Alaska Moravian Ministry (UAMM), which broke away from the Alaska Moravian Church in 2011.  As best as I can determine, UAMM consists of four churches, one or two fellowships, and a preaching station in the southern part of the state.  The flagship congregation is Anchorage Moravian Church (old website here; current website here), a fellowship of the Alaska Province from 1973 to 2001.  Since the church left the Alaska Moravian Church for UAMM in 2011, the Alaska Province planted a new congregation, First Moravian Church of Anchorage, in 2012.  The Senior Pastor of Anchorage Moravian Church and Bishop of UAMM is the Right Reverend William Nicholson (born in Dillingham, Alaska, in 1951, and raised in the Russian Orthodox Church).  He has served as Senior Pastor of that congregation (with an interruption in his tenure) since 2001.

A Moravian bishop is a spiritual leader, not an administrator per se.  Often a Moravian bishop serves as President of the Provincial Board and is therefore an administrator in that capacity, but the episcopal office is a spiritual one.  The first indigenous Bishop of the Alaska Moravian Church was the Right Reverend Jacob Nelson, who served from 1983 to 2013.  The Synod elected Nicholson to serve as a bishop in 2008, and thus the Province had two bishops.  The Synodical records from 2009 spoke of the two bishops.  Then, in 2010, something happened, for the Alaska Provincial Board removed Bishop Nicholson from his post as Senior Pastor.  Church bulletins from the time listed the position of Senior Pastor as vacant (until an Interim Pastor was present) and Nicholson as the Church Administrator.  Synodical records from 2011 referred a resolution to endorse the Provincial Board’s decision to terminate Nicholson’s ministerial duties in the Alaska Moravian Church to that Board.  The UAMM, with Nicholson restored as Senior Pastor of Anchorage Moravian Church, started its existence apart from the Alaska Synod in 2011.  As of January of that year, however, Anchorage Moravian Church was still part of the Alaska Moravian Church.

The Unity Board of the Unitas Fratrum met in 2012 and rendered a decision relative to UAMM.  The new group, now under the supervision of the Unity Board, became a “ministry group.”  The Unity Board also encouraged reconciliation between UAMM and the Alaska Moravian Church, requested that Nicholson seek guidance from other Moravian bishops, instructed him to refrain from ordaining anyone until a province commissions that act, and forbade him to compete with the Alaska Province in villages.  The Unity Board also deferred a decision regarding mission province status for UAMM.

My research into the Alaska dispute indicates at least two major factors–the Charismatic movement and rural-urban differences–in the schism.  Official records of the Alaska Moravian Church indicate the presence of the Charismatic movement as well as opposition to it in that province.  The dispute had been brewing for a period of some years in 2010, when the Synod rejected, by a vote of 21 to 39, a resolution affirming both traditional and contemporary worship as “vital to bring life, retain the younger generation, and possibly bring revival to the Alaska Province.”  And, since 2006, some congregations had been celebrating Spiritual Feasts, informal gatherings of people for the Holy Spirit-led praise of God consisting of testimonies, songs, and brief sermons then a potluck meal.  Revivalism was nothing new to the Alaska Province, whose Book of Order permits revivals, but the Charismatic movement made many people uncomfortable.

The Anchorage Moravian Church (abbreviated as AncMC online) websites (former and current) have proven especially helpful to me, for they have, among things, included many bulletins.  Detective work has led me to identify (by matching hymns to hymn numbers) two of the hymnals that congregation uses.  They are The Celebration Hymnal (1997), a hymnbook for blended worship, and the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969), a resource of the Northern and Southern Provinces.  These bulletins also reveal a combination of Moravian liturgies (used in the Sunday morning service) and the absence of them (in the Sunday evening service).  And further evidence of the Charismatic nature of the congregation and UAMM is the ministry group’s covenant relationship the Honduras unity province, the Charismatic Moravian province in that country.  (The mission province is the traditional group.)

The rural-urban thread comes from the current website of Anchorage Moravian Church.  As Bishop Nicholson wrote:

In November 2012 because of being far removed from rural Alaska and its “Spirit-filled” Missions emphasis, the AncMC is now recognized as a member Church of United Alaska Moravian Ministry (UAMM), a Moravian Group recognized by the Moravian Unity Board. UAMM is seeking Mission Province status with the Moravian Unity Board. UAMM is made up of growing Moravian Fellowships and Churches in Manokotak, Big Lake, Kenai and Anchorage. UAMM’s mission is to “Further the Gospel” on the Alaska highway system and to other non-Moravian areas of Alaska and the world.

So ends that thread of this post.

I choose to focus the upcoming series of Moravian-related blog posts to the Northern and Southern Provinces because, in so doing, I contain the content to material I can cover well.  If I cannot do something well, I prefer not to do it at all.  Researching and writing that series will require time, more reading, and much concentration, all of which will be good for my mind and my spirit, especially as I analyze liturgical materials, one of my favorite activities.  Such tasks constitute a form of prayer for me.

Until later, O reader…A bientot.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 13, 2014 COMMON ERA

PROPER 10–THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

THE FEAST OF CLIFFORD BAX, PLAYWRIGHT AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT EUGENIUS OF CARTHAGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS SOLANO, “THE APOSTLE OF AMERICA”

THE FEAST OF ORANGE SCOTT, ABOLITIONIST

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UPDATE:

On February 24, 2018 Bishop Williamson of the United Alaska Moravian Ministry Group (not affiliated with the Worldwide Moravian Unity, the website says prominently) joined with other Moravian churches to form the Global Fellowship of Moravian Revival Churches (GFMRC) at a ceremony in Kenya.  The GMF describes itself as an “undefiled and evangelical movement.

KRT

April 24, 2018

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The Lineage of Faithful Community   1 comment

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Above:  The Plain of Esdraelon and the Carmel Ridge, Palestine, Ottoman Empire, 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-matpc-01202

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The Collect:

O God, our leader and guide, in the waters of baptism

you bring us to new birth to live as your children.

Strengthen our faith in your promises, that by your

Spirit we may lift your life to all the world through

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 27

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 51:1-3

Psalm 121

2 Timothy 1:3-7

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Some Related Posts:

Isaiah 51:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/devotion-for-december-26-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/devotion-for-tuesday-and-wednesday-after-the-first-sunday-after-epiphany-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/proper-16-year-a/

2 Timothy 1:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/devotion-for-january-29-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/week-of-proper-4-wednesday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/proper-22-year-c/

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I raise my eyes to the Mountain,

whence will my help come to me?

My help will come from the home of Yahweh,

who made heaven and earth.

He shall not put your foot in the Quagmire,

your guardian shall not slumber.

Indeed he never slumbers nor sleeps,

the guardian of Israel.

Yahweh is your guardian,

Yahweh is your shade,

the Most High is your right hand.

By day the sun

will not strike you

Nor the moon at night.

Yahweh will guard you

from every evil.

He will guard your life.

Yahweh will guard your going and your coming

from now unto eternity.

–Psalm 121, translated by Mitchell Dahood in The Anchor Bible (1970)

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The readings from 2 Timothy and Isaiah remind us of spiritual legacies.  Typical Jewish practice was to speak of the nature of God by retelling what God had done.  Thus we read in Isaiah 51 of Abraham, Sarah, and gracious acts of God in the context of other statements of divine faithfulness, mercy, and judgment.  In my copy of The Revised English Bible (1989), opened to Isaiah 51:1-3, I read of part of Chapter 49, in which God is like a mother who can never forget her child.  And, in 49:26, I read these words:

I shall make your oppressors eat their own flesh,

and they shall be drunk with their own blood

as if with wine,

and all mankind will know

that I the LORD am your Deliverer,

your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

When the oppressors refuse to cease oppressing, how can the situation be otherwise?

I, drawing from 2 Timothy 1, acknowledge that family inheritance helps explain why I am a Christian.  There is more to it than that, of course, but the family inheritance helps.  I grew up a Christian because of my family, but I remain one because of the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  As I check the lectionary I am following, I note that John 3:1-17 is the assigned Gospel reading to which one strain of these lections is building.  So I notice that 2 Timothy 1, in the context of John 3, ought not to become an excuse to rest on one’s spiritual inheritance.  The epistle confirms the necessity of active faith.

And, as for John 3, the proper English-language term is

born from above,

not

born again.

I, a Christian, have never had a

born again

experience, but I am familiar in my spiritual life with the Roman Catholic-Lutheran-Anglican sense of baptismal regeneration.  I follow Martin Luther’s advice and trust in the promises of God pronounced at baptism.

Psalm 121 speaks of divine protection–in this case, of religious pilgrims.  The Ancients knew of sunstroke, of course, hence one line of the text.  And many of them believed erroneously that the Moon could also be dangerous, hence terms such as

moonstruck

and

lunatic.

God, the psalm says, will protect also from the Moon.  Our fears, whether based in objective reality or not, are real, and we need grace for their alleviation.  May we welcome that grace and act boldly in faithfulness to God.  And may we join or continue in the line of those who have walked with God and bring others to the procession.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 25, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SQUANTO, COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEING

THE FEAST OF JAMES OTIS SARGENT HUNTINGTON, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF THE HOLY CROSS

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Adapted from this post:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/devotion-for-the-eighth-day-of-lent-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

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Something Old, Something New–Yet All For God   1 comment

Above:  Construction of the Tabernacle, by Gerard Hoet (1728)

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Exodus 40:17-21, 34-38 (Richard Elliott Friedman, 2001):

And it was:  in the first month, in the second year, on the first day of the month, the Tabernacle was set up.  And Moses set up the Tabernacle and put on its bases and set its frames and put on its bars and set up its columns.  And he spread the Tent over the Tabernacle and set the Tent’s covering on it above, as YHWH had commanded Moses.  And he took the Testimony and put it into ark, and he set the poles on the ark, and he put the atonement dais on the ark above.  And he brought the ark into the Tabernacle and set the covering pavilion and covered over the Ark of the Testimony, as YHWH had commanded Moses.

And the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and YHWH’s glory filled the Tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to come into the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud had settled on it and YHWH’s glory filled the Tabernacle.  And when the cloud was lifted from on the Tabernacle, the children of Israel would travel–in all their travels–and if the cloud would not be lifted, then they would not travel until the day that it would be lifted.  Because YHWH’s cloud was on the Tabernacle by day, and fire would be in it at night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel in all their travels.

Psalm 84 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

How dear to me is your dwelling, O LORD of hosts!

My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the LORD;

my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.

The sparrow has found her a house

and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young;

by the side of your altars, O LORD of hosts,

my King and my God.

3 Happy are they who dwell in your house!

they will always be praising you.

4 Happy are the people whose strength is in you!

whose hearts are set on the pilgrims’ way.

5 Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs,

for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.

6 They will climb from height to height,

and the God of gods will reveal himself in Zion.

LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;

hearken, O God of Jacob.

8 Behold our defender, O God;

and look upon the face of your Anointed.

For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room,

and to stand in the threshold of the house of my God

than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.

10 For the LORD is both sun and shield;

he will give grace and glory;

11 No good thing will the LORD withhold

from those who walk with integrity.

12 O LORD of hosts,

happy are they who put their trust in you!

Matthew 13:47-53 (J. B. Phillips, 1972):

[Jesus continued,]

Or the kingdom of Heaven is like a big net thrown into the sea collecting all kinds of fish.  When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore and sit down and pick out the good ones for the barrels, but they throw away the bad.  This is how it will be at the end of this world.  The angels will go out and pick out the wicked from among the good and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be tears and bitter regret.

Have you grasped all this?

They replied,

Yes.

Jesus returned,

You can see, then, how everyone who knows the Law and becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who can produce from his store both the new and the old.

When Jesus had finished these parables he left the place, and came into his own country.

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The Collect:

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The Book of Exodus with an emphasis on Moses.  Yet, at the end, Moses does not speak.  God once spoke to Moses in the leader’s own tent.  But, in Chapter 40, there is a new Tabernacle.  The emphasis is moving away from Moses to God.  The people are not to move until the cloud of YHWH moves; they are to follow God in more way than one.

If you are reading these words, O reader, you probably agree that you ought to follow God.  But what does that mean?  Jesus, in Matthew, provides a partial answer.  The parable of the fish in the net points toward an inclusive church, one that does not take upon itself the task of labeling some fish “bad” then throwing them back.  This is a repeated theme with Jesus.  For another example, consider the Parable of the Mustard Seed.  The mustard plant, a weed really, provides shelter to a wide variety of creatures.  Think, too, about the tares and the wheat.  The weeds and the wheat must grow up together until harvest time, and God will oversee the separation.  To do otherwise would damage valuable wheat.  Chapter 13 contains these parables, too.  The grouping is not accidental.

And, Jesus continues, coming to him does not mean beginning at square one, or forgetting all that one used to be.  Transformation follows, but one brings oneself–complete with one’s knowledge, skills, and abilities–to the spiritual journey.  The old has its proper uses, just for different purposes.

I know something about transformation.  I have never had a dramatic conversion experience of the “born again” variety, as many North American Evangelicals understand it.  Nor do I seek one, for it is not necessary.  I have a long-standing relationship with God which has grown during a long process, not from an event.  My life as I knew it collapsed in late 2006 and early 2007, resulting in a traumatic crisis, a death of sorts, and a resurrection in an altered form.  My former self ceased to exist, and a new self with the same outward appearances came into the world.  I became a better person by grace alone, and those who perceived this the most were those who knew me the best.  I am a new person, but all the knowledge, skills, and core personality type of the former self carry over.

Yet there are key differences.  I am more patient and kind than before.  Leniency comes more easily to me, and I am far less likely to despise unpopular and accused people.  As a recipient of grace, which is inherently extravagant, I am more likely to extend it to others.  I have not “arrived” spiritually, but I am closer to my destination.  God is responsible for this.  I draw upon the best of the former self, as well as the unpleasantness which constituted my death-resurrection crisis, to inform the new man.

And I hope that I follow God more often than not.  May you, O reader, do the same.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS,  ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF HUBERT HUMPHREY, UNITED STATES SENATOR AND VICE PRESIDENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

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Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/week-of-proper-12-thursday-year-1/

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https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/uga-and-me/

Born From Above   1 comment

Above:  Nicodemus and Jesus, by Alexander Ivanov (1850)

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Acts 4:23-31 (Revised English Bible):

As soon as they [Peter and John] were discharged the apostles went back to their friends and told them everything that the chief priests and elders had said.  When they heard it, they raised their voices with one accord and called upon God.

Sovereign Lord, Maker of heaven and earth and sea and of everything in them, you said by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of David your servant,

“Why do the Gentiles rage

and the peoples hatch their futile plots?

The kings of the earth took their stand

and the rulers made common cause

against the Lord and against his Messiah.”

They did indeed make common cause in this very city against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed as Messiah.  Herod and Pontius Pilate conspired with the Gentiles and with the peoples of Israel to do all the things which, under your hand and by your decree, were foreordained.  And now, O Lord, mark their threats, and enable those who serve you to speak your word with all boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and cause signs and portents to be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

When they had ended their prayer, the building where they were assembled rocked, and all were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke God’s word with boldness.

Psalm 146:5-10 (Revised English Bible):

Happy is he whose helper is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the LORD his God,

maker of heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them;

who maintains faithfulness for ever

and deals out justice to the oppressed.

The LORD feeds the hungry

and sets the prisoner free.

The LORD restores sight to the blind

and raises those who are bowed down;

the LORD loves the righteous

and protects the stranger in the land;

the LORD gives support to the fatherless and the widow,

but thwarts the course of the wicked.

The LORD will reign for ever, Zion

your God for all generations.

Praise the LORD.

John 3:1-8 (Anchor Bible):

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, who came to him [Jesus] at night.

Rabbi,

he said to Jesus,

We know you are a teacher who has come from God; for, unless God is with him, no one can perform the signs that you perform.

Jesus gave him this answer:

I solemnly assure you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being begotten from above.

Nicodemus retorted,

How can a man be born once he is old?  Can he re-enter his mother’s womb and be born all over again?

Jesus replied:

I solemnly assure you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being begotten of water and Spirit.  Flesh begets flesh, and Spirit begets Spirit.  Do not be surprised that I told you: you must be begotten from above.  The wind blows about at will; you hear the sound it makes but do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone begotten of the Spirit.

The Collect:

Let your people , O Lord, rejoice for ever that they have been renewed in spirit; and let the joy of our adoption as your sons and daughters strengthen the hope of our glorious resurrection in Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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Living in the U.S. Bible Belt, I am more familiar than I wish I were with Fundamentalist and Evangelical Protestant theology.  Among the ideas with which I disagree strongly is the popular interpretation of being “born again.”  Certain varieties of Protestantism err on the side of experience over intellect and on the side of the individual over the faith community.  The truth is that a balance in each case is necessary.  So, it is actually a case of both-and, not either-or.

Anyhow, the actual text means “begotten from above,” “born from above,” or “born from God,” not “born again.”  And it is a sacramental reference.  In the Christian context this refers to baptism, which is something God does, not something we do.   (Water baptism is one sacrament, an outward sign of God’s inward grace.)  A person who has not had a powerful religious experience can be a Christian.  I am, and I have not had a powerful, life-shaking religious experience.  My preferred variety of faith is lived, with an emphasis on works, in the style of the Letter of James.  In this regard I am more Roman Catholic than Protestant.

These works can assume a variety of forms, but love and holy boldness characterize them.  And these works are of divine, not human origin.  This is a simple matter:  one knows a tree by its fruit.  A spiritually healthy person produces spiritually healthy fruit.

This focus on divine actions via human beings runs counter to a strong strain in U.S. culture.  Many of us grew up hearing about self-made people who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.  Yet undomesticated Christianity teaches that we are all dependent on God.  This is a frequently unpopular message, but it is true.

Thanks be to God, upon whom everybody depends!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 6, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF CARTHAGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF ALBRECHT DURER, MATTHIAS GRUNEWALD, AND LUCAS CRANACH THE ELDER, ARTISTS

THE FEAST OF DANIEL G. C. WU, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MISSIONARY TO CHINESE AMERICANS

THE FEAST OF FREDERIC BARKER, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF SYDNEY

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Adapted from this post:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/ninth-day-of-easter/

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Posted March 26, 2012 by neatnik2009 in Acts of the Apostles 4, John 3, Psalm 146

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