April 04, 2014

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What Makes Us Lucky? What makes us lucky? We think of luck as simply a positive reversal of fortune or chance occurrence that worked out in our favor. Like winning the lottery. Jesus sees it as far more. He knows it takes more than changing your conditions and surroundings to make you lucky. It takes more than money or comfort or success. It takes the arrival of the kingdom of God. And that is no chance occurrence. The crowd that gathered to hear Jesus’ pronouncements of blessing—the Beatitudes—were not the important big-city types. Those would come later, when Paul joined the team and traveled to various cities. These first followers were country folks. Simple, well-meaning, kind-hearted peasants. Luke, the gospel writer, doesn’t mention a name we might know or even a grouping—like Pharisee or Sadducee or scribe or lawyer—we might recognize other than “the disciples.” This is simply a crowd. A crowd of ordinary, unspectacular people. Sure, the twelve He had chosen were there, but they may not have looked like the most promising bunch either. So when Jesus began to speak, it’s important to remember that He wasn’t sermonizing, delivering a prepared oratory masterpiece to a mass generic audience. It wasn’t a canned speech He had taken on the circuit. Jesus, full of compassion, sat on the plain and spoke. To them. To the unlucky, to the outcast and the insignificant, to the overlooked and undervalued. And He began with this word: “Blessed.” ____________________ Except it wasn’t quite that word. Both Luke and Matthew chose the Greek word makarios to capture our Lord’s opening word in the Beatitudes. Makarios simply means “fortunate, happy.” In secular Greek literature, it is used to describe the blissful state of the gods. It is not an inherently religious word. The Greek word more like our words “blessed”...
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Evangelicals and the Book of Common Prayer Alan Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Baylor University and former professor of English at Wheaton College, wrote a sweeping (yet not dense), elegant "biography" of the Book of Common Prayer. It is part of Princeton University Press's "Lives of Great Religious Books" series and is one of ny favorite recent reads. In an interview published by Christianity Today, Jacobs explains why the Anglican prayerbook has had such an impact. The whole interview-- not too long to read in a few minutes-- is well worth and read and can be found HERE. Some of my favorite bits are excerpted below: What makes the Book of Common Prayer a distinctively evangelical form of worship? Well, I'm not sure it is, at least in its liturgies. Cranmer strove to maintain as much continuity with traditional forms of worship as he could, given his commitments to the Reformation. So in the liturgies themselves there is little that a medieval Catholic Christian could find fault with—except that they are in English... [The second difference-- of two-- between the Book of Common Prayer and existing Catholic liturgies of its day] and for Cranmer most important, is the strong emphasis on a lectionary that took people through the whole Bible—and, if people went to Morning and Evening Prayer, read through the whole of the books of Psalms each month. Cranmer wanted the literate to read the Bible thoroughly and faithfully, and for the illiterate to hear it read every day...Saturation in Scripture was Cranmer's primary goal for the people of England, and I don't think you can get more evangelical than that! What about some of the problems that evangelicals have had with the BCP over the years? ...[S]ome evangelicals have viewed the prayer book as a kind of rote formalism that quenches revival and...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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