Weekly Dispatch, August 26th, 2020
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St. John's Weekly Dispatch, v. 2

St. John's Schedule

A Message from Fr. Bryan

Dear Friends in Christ,

This Sunday I will resume my series on prayer by focusing on "The Prayer of Humble Access," which we say each week during our celebration of the Eucharist. This prayer is widely considered to be one of the Crown Jewels of the Anglican liturgy. Based on several ancient sources, it was written by Thomas Cranmer. You will certainly recognize it, and many of you likely have it memorized:

We do not presume to come to this your table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your abundant and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table; but you are the same Lord whose character is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood,
and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us.  Amen.

The prayer reminds us of several profound truths. First, we are not reconciled to God based on our own righteousness, but only because of God's loving mercy. Second, the whole eucharistic liturgy presumes that God himself is the gracious host of our gathering. He has called us together, and he has invited us to dine at his table. When we come forward to receive his body and blood, God is the giver of these gifts, so let's never presume otherwise. I look forward to exploring some of these truths more fully on Sunday.

Please also notice that I've scheduled a bi-weekly men's bible study for Tuesday nights, beginning on October 6th. One of the primary reasons for "men's" and "women's" studies, by the way, is that it enables parents of young children to cover childcare each week. The lectionary will take us through 1 Thessalonians beginning in mid-October, so our men's study will begin with this little book, which was most likely the first of Paul's letters and, therefore, the first New Testament text written after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Douglas Farrow has said of this little book, that it set the agenda for all of Pauls letters and, in many ways, the whole of the New Testament elucidates its content. If you want to begin preparing for this study, I recommend this little study guide, which will keep us grounded in the text itself.

Finally, as I've been doing each week, I'll recommend an essay that I've found helpful. Robert Wilken is among my favorite scholars of the early church, and in this classic little essay from First Things, he recommends that we pay attention to the early christians if we want to interpret the Bible rightly.

I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Grace & Peace,

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    "Assurances of Christ's Church," David Beer

    A message from the series "Sermons from Lectionary Texts." Dr. David Beer, political science professor at Malone University, preaches on the rightful builder of Christ's Church, namely, Christ himself, as well as the assurances this provides to the body of believers who make up this church, at St. John's Anglican Church in North Canton, Ohio.

    Read more

    The Daily Office

    Interested in a simple way to pray the daily office from the Book of Common Prayer? Follow this link for text and audio versions of morning, noon, and evening prayer. The site is hosted by our friend, Fr. Michael Jarrett.

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