St Hilda's Anglican Catholic Church Service Times

You are invited to join us for Anglican Catholic Holy Communion / Mass on:
Every Sunday, Maitland NSW Australia. Venue: St Marys School Chapel in Victoria St. Mass at 11am.
Fr Matthew Kirby for further details.
Check here for any additions or cancelations of services.

Monday 24 November 2014

The day I died.

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" Deuteronomy 31:6  (KJV)
"And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8 (KJV)
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-3(KJV)

Forsake me not Lord, for without you I am but an emtpy shell.
Embrace me in my time of need, letting the peace of God settle in my heart.
Let the word of Christ dwell in me, teaching me wisdom.
For whatsoever I now do, I do in the name of the Lord Jesus,
so that I can sing with grace in my heart to praise my God.


Saturday 15 November 2014

Shod with the preparation

Sermon Summary for Trinity XXI 2014 presented by Fr Matthew
My brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
"your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" +
What does St Paul mean by this? How is a soldier's shoe a "preparation"? What have the feet got to do with the Gospel, the good news?

He is referring to Isaiah 52:7. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Therefore, the feet are the feet of a messenger in the prophecy. In the original context, the messenger is to God's people, and his message is the good news that God is returning [52:8] "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." his exiled and scattered people to their homeland, out of the oppression of the Babylonians [52:4-5]. "For thus saith the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed." But the same chapter [vv.13-15]  foreshadows the overflowing nature of the prophecy, pointing to a servant "exalted ... very high", yet "marred more than any man" who shall "sprinkle [with his blood] many nations". In other words, this prophecy is directed finally at the Church gathered out of all lands and peoples, and at the crucified Christ.

So, we are to gladly proclaim our faith in Christ both to our fellow believers, for their encouragement, and to those yet to become so, to draw them in. Does this mean that we cannot be spiritual warriors unless we are evangelists, preachers? No, St Paul calls specific people evangelists, and notes that this is a gift for "some" [Ephesians 4:11], "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" not all, like every gift of the Spirit [1 Corinthians 12]. "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

But we must all be prepared to witness to our faith when the opportunity arises. That is why St Paul speaks of the "preparation" of the gospel of peace. The Greek word here is hetoimasia, meaning preparedness, readiness. It is based on the same root word as St Peter uses in his first letter, here: "Always be ready (hetoimoi) to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and reverence" [1 Peter 3:15] "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:". That translates to three obligations in this area.

One, outsiders should know that we are people of hope, because of what we do and say. Hence, our faith should not be a secret, even if we are not preachers, and our behaviour and attitude should speak hopefulness. They should sense something of another, better world.

Two, we should reflect upon our personal faith intelligently, and defend it with reasons. Christianity is not, contrary to common misconceptions, about believing things for no reason. Both our Lord and the Apostles and Evangelists often appeal to evidence, such as miracles and Creation itself [e.g., John 14:11, "Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." Acts 1:3, "To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:" Romans 1:19-20 "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" ]. Interestingly, the Greek word St Peter uses that we translate defence is the same word that is the basis for the term "apologetics", the branch of Christian thought that is devoted to explaining the rational basis for our beliefs. Think about what led you to or strengthened you in our faith, and form your own "testimony". Read Christian apologetics and learn to utilise it. Know where to point people for answers when you're own limitations are reached, but pray that God will transcend those limitations as he works through you anyway.

Three, our defence should be with gentleness and reverence, which means it is a defence of truth without being a personal attack. We must strike the balance between being forthright and being sensitive, as both are necessary.

Let us then, as the Scouts say, "be prepared". We can't all be evangelists like Billy Graham or Bp Patterson (an Anglican missionary martyr) or St Francis of Assisi.
But we can all manifest and defend the Faith, and support one another in it.

Thursday 13 November 2014

Redeeming Time, Heartfelt Melody & A Sinners Hospital.

Trinity XX 2014, Sermon Summary from Fr Matthew.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:15-21(KJV)
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:2-14
"See then that ye walk circumspectly" +
There are 3 practical lessons for Christian living in today's Epistle and Gospel that I would like to draw out.
1. Redeeming the time:
To redeem time, as St Paul makes clear, demands wisdom and will. We must really think about what we do with our time. That does not mean there is no time for rest and recreation, but it does mean that we must ensure time is given to good works, and no time is wasted on foolishness or sin.

And it also means that we should plan ahead as best we can, and consciously allocate time, at least in a general way. How many of us say "I meant to do that, but never got around to it"? Well, in the same way that jobs often don't get done in communities unless a particular person is responsible for each particular task -- everybody's responsibility is nobody's responsibility -- our own tasks can remain like the end of the rainbow, never reached, unless we choose a specific time. Being organised, insofar as one can, is part of living a disciplined Christian life.

Of course, it would be just as silly in the other direction to make an idol out of a schedule, and refuse to be flexible in the face of life's surprises and others' unexpected needs. We do our best to redeem the time, but God is still the Lord of time.

2. Making melody in your heart to the Lord:
St Augustine it was, I think, who said that to sing hymns is to pray twice. Music makes it easier to remember the words, and brings a greater intensity to them. Find the Christian music you like the most, and listen to it. Then, as far as you can, sing it, even if only internally.

Note the St Paul says it needs to be in the heart. It may or may not also be on your lips, depending on circumstances and your confidence in your voice. But the beauty of the words of Christian hymns and songs can be utilised even without the music. So, use Hymn Books in your prayers! In addition to the Book of Common Praise, I have found the Book of Common Praise, for example, a wonderful and inspiring resource for prayer. It can also be a tool for meditiation. E.g., Litanies 677-682, Eucharistic devotions (and catechism!) 234, 241, biblical paraphrases such as 547. Get a good hymnal, and use it, with or without music.
3. Both bad and good:
People often complain about hypocrites in the Church, and there's no doubt they exist. They will then see this as a reason to dismiss the Faith. Even some Christians will use unworthy Church members as an excuse to push for a "purer" church, to limit membership as much as possible and declare that the unworthy are not really part of the church at all. They may even claim that a Church that acknowledges such "bad apples" as part of the fruit basket proves itself no church at all. But Jesus tells us in today's parable that even those who make it into the banquet, can end up being rejected, though it may take till the king arrives in judgement. Similarly, even lifelong communicant members of the Church can be outside the kingdom in their hearts and behaviour. There is no point using such people, or apparent examples of them, as an excuse to reject the Church. Jesus gave us fair warning. And, the fact is that the Church is obliged to give its flawed members the benefit of the doubt, and only overtly exclude those who manifestly and seriously act against its teaching in word or deed. Even then it is to reach out in the hope of reconciliation.

The Church is bigger than any merely human individual, good or bad. The Church, in its transcendental and fundamental identity, is the Body of Christ. But it's also a hospital for sinners, some of whom don't co-operate with their doctors or take their advice. Just like a normal hospital!

Accept the full reality. +

Sunday 2 November 2014

Prayers for All Souls Day

By Thy resurrection from the dead, O Christ, death no longer hath dominion over those who die in holiness. So, we beseech Thee, give rest to Thy servants in Thy sanctuary and in Abraham's bosom. Grant it to those, who from Adam until now have adored Thee with purity, to our fathers and brothers, to our kinsmen and friends, to all men who have lived by faith and passed on their road to Thee, by a thousand ways, and in all conditions, and make them worthy of the heavenly kingdom.
(prayer drawn from the Byzantine Divine Liturgy)
O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in purgatory. Remember not their offenses and negligence's, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfil their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: "Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, and rise in glory. Amen.
Join St Hilda's Parish
for Anglican Catholic Mass / Communion / Prayer / Worship for All Souls,
Monday evening 3rd Nov 2014 at 6pm.
St Marys Campus Chapel of the All Saints College,
Victoria Street Maitland NSW.

Prayers for All Saints Day

Almighty God,
who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Your Son, Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen
Book of Common Prayer, 1979
God,  source of all holiness, you have given us all the saints, our brothers and sisters, as models of Christian life. Known and unknown, named and unnamed, they are gathered now around Your table in heaven, where they enjoy the company of Your Mother Mary; your angels and one another. As pilgrims on the journey of faith on Earth, they showed their love, friendship, and care for us' still assisting us on our journey may their prayers lead us at last to the joy of the Eternal Jerusalem. We ask this through Christ the Lord.
(Carlo Saraceni 1590-1620)