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The Rev. Canon Bahman Kalantari

Sunday December 4th 

Sermon on John the Baptist - 2022

 

Today’s Gospel reading is about John the Baptist. One of the main themes of the Advent season is John’s ministry. John is the greatest prophet and the prophets always swim against the flow.

 

His name, John or Yoḥanan, means Lord has been kind. John is raised in a holy and priestly family. But he has chosen a different ministry.

 

John chooses to live in the wilderness. He eats locust and wild honey. He wears an outfit made of coarse camel hair. John has chosen this strange lifestyle, because he intends to send a warning to the misleading shepherds and leaders of his society. These awful so-called leaders use religion for their own ambitions and gains. They have created a bitter and superficial version of religion for themselves that only suits them, and bears no fruit for the people who thirst for peace, compassion, hope for a humane future, and security.

 

The people have heard about John the Baptist and they rush towards him to be baptized by him. The people have realized who the true lover of God is.

 

On those days, strangers who wanted to convert to the Hebrew faith and embrace the one true living God had to be baptized first. Now, the people who already belong to the faith are approaching John for a new baptism. These people have surprisingly decided to start a new life that is going to bring them a new faith. There is something in the air, a new wind, an uplifting feeling, which is moving these people towards John the Baptist.

 

When John sees many of the leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, coming to where he was baptizing, he says to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

 

Why does John call the Pharisees and Sadducees brood of vipers? This designation “brood of vipers” is more than an insult. It reveals a truth about the so-called leaders’ behavior in Jesus’ time. The term Brood of vipers reveals that these leaders are half human half viper, that means they can express good words, but they can also bite and be poisonous. So, it’s very hard to follow and embrace them.

 

 John uses this designation to tell the Pharisees and Sadducees that they have forgotten the main thing: they have forgotten the true meaning of faith.

 

They have forgotten that their faith must bring purpose, peace, and hope into their lives as well as the people’s lives; they have ignored the message of their prophets; they have discarded their mission; they have forgotten that they are the ones who are supposed to bring the light into the world.

 

They have forgotten all these things, and instead, they have become obsessed with trivial things like, how to wash their hands, what to eat, what not to eat, what to wear, how to impress others with their lofty words and meaningless ideas.

 

These leaders have become pretentious and deceitful; and their religion has become a veil under which they can hide their arrogance, their lust for power, their lack of knowledge, and their insecurity. Most importantly, competition and jealousy have consumed their lives.

 

These are the reasons why the people cannot find hope, peace, and security in their lives. They feel that they are lost. With those kinds of leaders who can expect more from them.

 

John’s baptism is the last chance for everybody to embrace a radical change. This is the reason why John shouts and says to all:

 

“Turn away from your sins, change your hearts and be baptized; And show by your lives that you have changed”.

 

John is the greatest prophet. God’s true prophets bring hope, and present a new liberating lifestyle to all people; a prophet of God teaches the people about complete transformation, which means what the people need to do to embrace hope, gain divine strength, and practice heavenly justice with compassion; in short, the prophets bring God to the peoples’ lives.

 

 John, in the wilderness, shouts and preaches that the people should repent, be baptized, share what they have with the poor, and do not act like oppressors towards others. 

John the Baptist, by his lifestyle and preaching, is revealing to the people that food, dress, titles, and possessions can never bring peace, hope, and security to their lives. Human beings need the living God to be the center of their lives.

 

Because of this need, God the Father, through John’s ministry, prepares the people for the coming of his Son. The Son comes to live in our midst to look after us.

 

Jesus Christ, as the Good Shepherd, takes care of us. Christ sacrifices his life to save us. Christ takes us to the fertile pastures to feed us.

 

And when we are not aware of dangerous situations, Christ has his eyes on us to protect us. When there are wolves around us, Christ knows how to turn them from dangerous to harmless. He knows how to turn a violent situation into a non-violent one.

 

Jesus Christ calls himself the good shepherd, because he is teaching us that:

 

He has come to earth to feed people with food and wisdom,

He has come to bring peacefulness,

 

He has come to protect people from danger,

He has come to give people the joy they need,

 

He has come to offer the healing water to all people,

 

He has come to build a community of believers, AND,

He has come to turn all people into one great joyful family.

 

Thanks be to God , our Father, who is sending his Son, the Saviour to us. Amen.

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How to make the Anglican Rosary

Anglican Prayer Beads

A Form of Contemplative Prayer

Anglican Prayer Beads are a relatively new form of prayer, blending the Orthodox Jesus Prayer Rope and the Roman Catholic Rosary. The thirty-three bead design was created by the Rev. Lynn Bauman in the mid-1980s, through the prayerful exploration and discovery of a contemplative prayer group.

The use of the rosary or prayer beads helps to bring us into contemplative of meditative prayer—really thinking about and being mindful of praying, of being in the presence of God—by use of mind, body, and spirit. The touching of the fingers on each successive bead is an aid in keeping our mind from wandering, and the rhythm of the prayers leads us more readily into stillness.

Anglican Prayer Beads.

Symbolism of the Beads
The configuration of the Anglican Prayer Beads relate contemplative prayer using the Rosary to many levels of traditional Christian symbolism. Contemplative prayer is enriched by these symbols whose purpose is always to focus and concentrate attention, allowing the one who prays to move more swiftly into the Presence of God.

The prayer beads are made up of twenty-eight beads divided into four groups of seven called weeks. In the Judeo-Christian tradition the number seven represents spiritual perfection and completion. Between each week is a single bead, called a cruciform bead as the four beads form a cross. The invitatory bead between the cross and the wheel of beads brings the total to thirty-three, the number of years in Jesus’ earthly life.

Praying with the beads


To begin, hold the Cross and say the prayer you have assigned to it, then move to the Invitatory Bead. Then enter the circle of the prayer with the first Cruciform Bead, moving to the right,

go through the first set of seven beads to the next Cruciform bead, continuing around the circle, 

saying the prayers for each bead.

It is suggested that you pray around the circle of the beads three times (which signifies the Trinity)

in an unhurried pace, allowing the repetition to become a sort of lullaby of love and praise that enables your mind to rest and your heart to become quiet and still.

Praying through the beads three times and adding the crucifix at the beginning or the end, brings the total to one hundred, which is the total of the Orthodox Rosary. A period of silence should follow the prayer, for a time of reflection and listening. Listening is an important part of all prayer.

Begin praying the Anglican Prayer Beads by selecting the prayers you wish to use for the cross and each bead. Practice them until it is clear which prayer goes with which bead, and as far as possible commit the prayers to memory.

Find a quiet spot and allow your body and mind to become restful and still. After a time of silence, begin praying the prayer beads at an unhurried, intentional pace. Complete the circle of the beads three times.

When you have completed the round of the prayer beads, you should end with a period of silence. This silence allows you to center your being in an extended period of silence. It also invites reflection and listening after you have invoked the Name and Presence of God.

Closing your Prayers
The following ending can be used with any of the prayers in this booklet. After three circuits around the prayer beads, you may finish as follows:

Last time through:

Invitatory Bead
The Lord’s Prayer

The Cross
I bless the Lord.

Or, in a group setting:
Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God.


Prayers
You may mix and match or put together your own.

 

Bless the Lord

The Cross 

Blessed be the one, holy, and living God.
Glory to God for ever and ever. Amen.

The Invitatory
O God make speed to save me (us),
O Lord make haste to help me (us),
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciforms
Behold now, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord. You that stand in the house of the Lord, lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the Lord.

The Weeks
I lift up my eyes to the hills;
From where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord,
The maker of heaven and earth.


Trisagion and Jesus Prayer

The Cross
In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Invitatory
O God make speed to save me (us),
O Lord make haste to help me (us),
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciforms
Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy upon me (us).

The Weeks
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Have mercy on me, a sinner.

Or, in a group setting:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy upon us.

*Trisagion means "thrice Holy"


Agnus Dei Prayer

The Cross
The Lord’s Prayer

The Invitatory
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer."—Psalm 19:14

The Cruciforms
Oh, Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world
have mercy upon us,
Oh, Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world
have mercy upon us,
Oh, Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world
give us Thy Peace.

The Weeks
Almighty and merciful Lord,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
bless us and keep us.
Amen.

*Agnus Dei means "Lamb of God"


Julian of Norwich Prayer

The Cross
In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Invitatory
O God make speed to save me (us),
O Lord make haste to help me (us),
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciforms
God of your goodness, give me yourself,
For you are enough to me.
And I can ask for nothing less that is to your glory.
And if I ask for anything less, I shall still be in want, for only in you have I all.

The Weeks
All shall be well, and all shall be well,
And all manner of things shall be well.

Or

In His love He has done His works, and in His love He has made all things beneficial to us.

This prayer was created by Sister Brigit-Carol, S.D.
www.solitariesofdekoven.org

 

A Celtic Prayer

The Cross
In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Invitatory
O God make speed to save me (us),
O Lord make haste to help me (us),
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciforms
Be the eye of God dwelling with me,
The foot of Christ in guidance with me,
The shower of the Spirit pouring on me,
Richly and generously

The Weeks
Pray each phrase on a separate bead.
I bow before the Father who made me,
I bow before the Son who saved me,
I bow before the Spirit who guides me,
In love and adoration.
I praise the Name of the one on high.
I bow before thee Sacred Three,
The ever One, the Trinity.

This prayer was created by Sister Brigit-Carol, S.D.
www.solitariesofdekoven.org

 

Come Lord Jesus Prayer

The Cross
"Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."—Revelation 7:12

The invitatory
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble."—Psalm 46:1

The Cruciforms
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s Holy Name."—Psalm 103:1

The Weeks
"Come Lord Jesus, draw us to yourself."—John 12:32

 

 

Saint Patrick's Breastplate

The Cross


I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation, eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord.

The Invitatory
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

The Cruciforms
I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

The Weeks
1. I bind this day to me for ever, by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
2. his baptism in Jordan river;
3. his death on cross for my salvation;
4. his bursting from the spicèd tomb;
5. his riding up the heavenly way;
6. his coming at the day of doom:
7. I bind unto myself today.

1. I bind unto myself the power of the great love of cherubim;
2. the sweet "Well done" in judgment hour;
3. the service of the seraphim;
4. confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
5. the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
6. all good deeds done unto the Lord,
7. and purity of virgin souls.

1. I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven,
2. the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
3. the whiteness of the moon at even,
4. the flashing of the lightning free,
5. the whirling of the wind’s tempestuous shocks,
6. the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
7. around the old eternal rocks.

1. I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,
2. his eye to watch, his might to stay,
3. his ear to hearken, to my need;
4. the wisdom of my God to teach,
5. his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
6. the word of God to give me speech,
7. his heavenly host to be my guard.

Words: attributed to St. Patrick (372-466)
translated by Cecil Frances Alexander, 1889
Adapted for use with Anglican Prayer Beads by Laura Kelly Campbell


An Evening Prayer

The Cross
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Invitatory
Open my lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall proclaim
Your praise.


The Cruciforms
Guide us waking, O Lord,
and guard us sleeping;
that awake we may watch
with Christ, and asleep
we may rest in peace.


The Weeks
Jesus, lamb of God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world, give us your peace.

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