Friday, November 30, 2012

St. Andrew's Day (Repost from 2011)

Happy Patronal Feast to my Scottish and Russian friends, and of course, to me!  (It's my confirmation name, and I wasn't named after David of Wales so March 1 doesn't count.)  As a Christian, a Scot, and a Russophile, I wear a dual crucifix on a daily basis, the front side of which is the Romanov eagle with superimposed crucifix, the back is St. Andrew crucified on the X cross.

In looking for media for today I came across two pictures.  One is the Cathedral of St. Andrew in St. Petersburg, Russia, the other St. Andrew's from St. Andrew's, Scotland.  Guess which one is functioning today.

Interestingly, the Russian cathedral was severely damaged during the Soviet Era. In the 1920's protesters trying to save the icons clashed with Bolsheviks. It was closed in 1938 and the dome was used as an anti-aircraft emplacement during the 900 day siege.  The guns were actually placed under the dome where the altar would have been.  It was even rumored to be the storage locker for the Department of Anthropology for the University.  The cathedral was returned to the Church in 1992.  Today it is a thriving place of worship, and I had the honor of worshipping there in 2005.

The picture below is of St. Andrew's, Scotland which was "cleansed" in 1559 during John Knox's reformation and abandoned for a small parish church in 1561. 

Russia, former member of the USSR abandons secular materialism and is in the midst of religious revival.  Scotland, my land, in the midst of a secular materialist revival. Irony?

The Collect for St. Andrew's Day:

Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Breaking News!

I am now tired of all the political ads, wrangling, and phone calls asking for me to support any candidate.  If you are the last undecided voter in America would you please tell someone!  Maybe then they will leave me alone.

I am checking out for the next 48 hours and going on a media fast.  I am doing this for the sake of my soul and sanity.  I will vote tomorrow, and will be holding our election in my prayers.  I encourage you to do the same. I will be praying that the division in our nation, fostered by our ruling class in order to win elections and encouraged by the media in order to sell advertising, will by the grace of God be healed one day.

And now for something completely different, courtesy of Air New Zealand:

Maybe one day Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Communists, etc., can share the same flight in civility like the Wizards, Elves, Orcs, Hobbits, Humans, and Dwarves above.

Yes, I am a geek, and a dreamer!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

God Grant You Many Years...

... H H Tawadros, new Pope of the Coptic Church.

Here is the video of the selection from the BBC.

If you are interested in Coptic TVs coverage the entire liturgy is below.  The actual selection begins at about the 3:30 mark.

May God preserve the Coptic Church, and may H H Tawadros lead you well in your witness to Christ, and through your trials.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Election Time

It is election time.  No, I do not mean our secular election activities here in the States.  It is election time for the Coptic Church (often with the redundant modifier "of Egypt", as Coptic means Egyptian).  On Sunday the Church will elect its new Pope. Yes, there is a Pope not in Rome.  He will be the successor to such giants as Mark the Evangelist and Athanasius in the Apostolic See of Alexandria.  It will be quite an event for this minority population that has often been persecuted by the majority, and has especially suffered in the last several years.

The election process itself is of interest to me.  Last week over 2200 people (laity & religious), voted on a list of candidates for the position. The top three vote getters, all celibate monks as required by canon law, moved to the next phase of election.  On Sunday, November 4, the three names will be placed in a box on the altar of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria.  Following the liturgy, a blindfolded child will be led to the box and will select one name from within it.  That name will be read, and the individual acclaimed as Pope (Patriarch of Alexandria).  To dispel any thoughts that the election is rigged, the other names in the box will then be drawn and read.  This doesn’t sound like too bad a way to choose a leader to me, democratic with a Divine finish.

Please pray for the Coptic Church and its election, especially as the Pope has a significant task ahead of him in shepherding his flock through the complexity that is modern Egypt.

Now, as to our own elections, maybe the Copts are on to something?

Seriously, though, here are my musings for the month of November.

November 2012
“Memento mori (remember your mortality),” a servant would voice this phrase over a Roman general as he made his triumphal entry into the Eternal City.  It is a stark reminder of the impermanence of purely human endeavor and achievement.

As November opens, we will participate in a celebration of civic values by electing our national leaders.  On election day, I urge you to follow your conscience as you exercise your right to vote.  Vote for the person you think is the best candidate.  Vote with humility, recognizing that good Christian people who struggle with the call of the Gospel can, and will, disagree on the political solutions to our nation’s problems.   Vote remembering that sin compromises human political systems, solutions, and endeavors. Vote remembering that each of the candidates is mortal.  Vote remembering that we are not electing a savior from any party. 

It is not coincidental that the month of November ends with the Feast of Christ the King.  As we elect our national leaders, the Church reminds us that we serve a Risen King.   Remember that we have a Savior who was sent for us.  Remember that our true citizenship is in the Kingdom of God.  “Christ is Lord”, is the radical political and social claim that we make each time we celebrate the Eucharist.  It is the confession that recognizes the true triumphal entry of the One who through his Crucifixion and Resurrection can claim Lordship over all creation.  It is a confession that recognizes the victory of our God, and prays for the final transformation of all to Christ’s rule.

Remember that those who have put on Christ, who confess that he is Lord, “shall not die for ever”, and that his Kingdom endures unto the ages of ages.