Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Week of Advent: Tuesday


Genesis 3

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, `You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman, "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"

The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,

"Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

To the woman he said,

"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

To Adam he said,

"Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,'

"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.


Monday, November 29, 2010

First Week of Advent: Monday


Genesis 1:26-31

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.



First Sunday in Advent

Repent ye; for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. __ Matthew 3:2

Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. __ Isaiah 11:3

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord. __ Luke 2:10-11

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen. (The collect from the Book of Common Prayer)

Isaiah 9:2-6
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned...

For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NIV)


Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending : Lichfield Cathedral Choir

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Goodbye "Boo"

Boo had been rescued from an abandoned house in Pittsburgh a number of years ago, and adopted by Don Fusina (who is now my son-in-law).  She was an exceptionally sweet and gentle cat. Don and Becky miss her very much, as do we all. Boo was about 18 years old. (Photo by Rebekah Fusina)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010



The Collect.

Stir up, we beseech thee O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  __ Amen.

For the Epistle.
Jer. xxiii. 5.

BEHOLD, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

The Gospel.
St. John vi. 5.

WHEN Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,” There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?”

And Jesus said, “Make the men sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, “This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Gospel For Idiots

I am quite sure that the religion of Jesus Christ, was never intended for the highly-cultured only, or even for them in particular. Christ's testimony concerning his own ministry was, "The poor have the gospel preached to them" Matt 11:5; so, if you bring me a gospel which can only be understood by gentlemen who have passed through Oxford or Cambridge University, I know that it cannot be the gospel of Christ.

"I tell you, sirs, that your newfangled gospel is a lie, and I will stick to the old one, which a man, only a little above an idiot in intellect, can understand."

He meant the good news of salvation to be proclaimed to the poorest of the poor; in fact, the gospel is intended for humanity in general; so, if you cannot make me understand it, or if, when I do understand it, it does not tell me how to deliver its message in such plain language that the poorest man can comprehend it, I tell you, sirs, that your newfangled gospel is a lie, and I will stick to the old one, which a man, only a little above an idiot in intellect, can understand.

I cling to the old gospel for this, among many other reasons, that all the modern gospels, that leave out the great central truth of substitution, prevent the message from being of any use to the great mass of mankind. If those other gospels, which are not really gospels, please your taste and fancy, and suit the readers of Quarterly Reviews, and eloquent orators and lecturers, there are the poor people in our streets, and the millions of working-men, the vast multitudes who cannot comprehend anything that is highly metaphysical; and you cannot convince me that our Lord Jesus Christ sent, as his message to the whole world, a metaphysical mystery that would need volume upon volume before it could even be stated. I am persuaded that he gave us a rough and ready gospel like this:

"The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" Matt 18:11; Luke 19:10;

or this, "With his stripes we are healed" Isa 53:5;

or this, "The chastisement of our peace was upon him"

or this, "He died the Just for the unjust to bring us to God."

Do not try to go beyond this gospel, brethren; you will get into the mud if you do. But it is safe standing here; and standing here, I can comprehend how our Lord Jesus took the sinner's place, and passing under the sentence which the sinner deserved, or under a sentence which was tantamount thereto, could cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Ps 22:1; Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34

From a sermon titled, "The Saddest Cry from the Cross" -- Matt. 27:46
(from Spurgeon's Sermons, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Friday, November 12, 2010

"I Don't Need Jesus"

"No. I don't need Jesus, because I've got my own mind."

When I hear that, I realize that I am talking with someone who has fallen asleep to reality. I can understand that a person might say to me, "R.C., I don't want Jesus." But when they say to me, "R.C., I don't need Jesus," I ask, "Have you lost your mind? Do you hear what you are saying?"

If there is no God, of course you don't need Jesus. If there is a God, and he is holy and you are holy, you don't need Jesus. But if God is, and God is holy, and you are not holy, there is nothing in this universe you need more desperately than Jesus.

If God is, and God is holy, and you are not holy, there is nothing in this universe you need more desperately than Jesus.____R.C. Sproul

Quoted from Ligonier Ministries' video series, Choosing My Religion. Available from http://www.ligonier.org/

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Father: Bernard B. Boyd

Rockblitz, Germany (Around V-E Day)
France 1944

Friday, November 5, 2010

Arizona Sunset

Photograph by Joseph Boyd
4 November 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Numbers Don’t Add Up

The Numbers Don’t Add Up

Re-posted from the White Horse Inn Blog

I was recently looking at the (very long and detailed) bio page of a pastor of a large church in the Midwest. As I was reading, this struck me as being interesting:

In the eight years that Dr. ____ has been its pastor, the First _____ Church of _____ has seen amazing growth, with the average weekly attendance more than doubling. This growth caused the need for a new auditorium; so in March of 2005, the First _____ Church moved into a new 7500-seat auditorium and, throughout that same year, saw over 25,000 converts baptized. Their website also states, “…we have a baptism time at the end of every Sunday service. Those who have trusted Jesus Christ are baptized by immersion, making it as easy as possible to be baptized ...(Read entire article)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Innovations in Christian Unity

In the spirit of 21st Century ecumenism and friendship, members of St. Innocent the Firebrand Russian Orthodox Church, and The Little Pine Huguenot Church join together to present A Night of Liturgical Dance.

Cartoon by Richard Gunther