By Ken Asel
A Reading from Psalm 150
Praise God in his holy temple;
praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts;
praise him for his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the blast of the ram’s-horn;
praise him with lyre and harp.
4 Praise him with timbrel and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe.
5 Praise him with resounding cymbals;
praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath
praise the Lord.
Several years ago, the senior warden in a parish I pastored decided to join an Anglican church in a Rocky Mountain community. While the rector of that church and I acknowledged that, in some ways, we were on opposite sides of the theological chasm, we found common ground in pastoral care that is the life blood of a parish priest. While we did not convince the other of the error of our ways, we did develop an appreciation for our mutual commitment to ministry.
When the Living Church Daily Devotionals editor gave me the opportunity to write during the Octave of Christian Unity, which actually begins tomorrow, I jumped at the chance! Not many congregations these days fully engage the full eight-day prayer vigil for Christian unity, but it is an observance close to my soul. The Octave was begun by the Society of the Atonement, a religious order which left the Episcopal Church for Rome in 1909. Ecumenism and reconciliation of religious communities has remained a primary work of these monastics since its origin.
The Daily Office lectionary psalms for this day celebrate in praise and dance, reaching a crescendo in Psalm 150, a joyous proclamation of God’s people. These three psalms — 148, 149, and 150 — are a fitting beginning reflection on the scandal of Christian disunity. Former Dean of Grace Cathedral, Alan Jones, begins this examination of a path to Christian unity with the following Elizabethan lament: “This may be counted among the greatest evils with which this age is infected, that they which are called Christians are miserably divided about Christ.” (Many of Dean Jones’ insights for these meditations are taken from his 2006 book, Common Prayer on Common Ground.) My intention in this week’s devotionals, while remaining faithful to the lections for Epiphany 2, is to explore our response to Jesus’ cry that we may become one as he and his Father are one.
(The Reverend) J. Kenneth Asel, D.Min. is a retired priest from the Diocese of Wyoming. Devvie & he have been married 30 years and reside in the Texas Hill Country.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Anglican Church of Australia
Trinity Episcopal Church, Vero Beach, Fla.