Last Sunday, I read the following article as a part of our Sunday School discussion. As we have looked at the role which a rule of life plays in the individual and communal life, it is a timely reflection on what religion is and how valuable it is to our spiritual journey as people and a parish. The popular notion of being spiritual but not religious, of wanting a relationship without the religion leaves something to be desired. I’ll let Fr. Mac Stewart take it from here.
I want a relationship, not a religion.
Most of our readers have probably come across this saying before, or some variation on it. In the present-day Episcopal Church, it often takes the form, “Jesus didn’t come to found a religion.” I understand the sentiment behind such slogans, and to a certain extent I am sympathetic with them, insofar as they reflect an earnest zeal to grow in and to draw others toward a deep personal intimacy with the living Christ and to avoid a stale, dead faith.
But, granted this sympathy, I have to say I rather like my religion, and I’m pretty sure it’s good for me.
Article continues on the Covenant Blog here.
As previously mentioned, we will be embarking on a 9 day period of intense prayer for revival and evangelism. Between the Ascension and Pentecost, we will pray for a “disruptive outpouring of the Holy Spirit” on us, our parish and diocese, and those communities in which we live and serve.
To assist with this time of prayer as individuals and families, a Novena has been prepared (based on materials from fullhomelydivinity.org).
You may find a PDF adaptation here: Diocesan Novena
O Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of thy people; Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calleth us each by name, and follow where he doth lead; who, with thee and the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.