About Fr. Kevin+

Fr. Kevin Maney completed his studies for a Diploma in Anglican Studies at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA, and did his coursework almost entirely online. He was ordained as a transitional deacon in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) on February 9, 2008 and as a priest in CANA on May 1, 2008. He is now the rector for the new parish plant, St. Augustine's Anglican Church in Columbus, OH, part of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes and the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA).

Advent Antiphons

An antiphon is (in traditional Western Christian liturgy) a short sentence sung or recited before or after a psalm or canticle. Today begins the Advent Antiphons. But what are the “O Antiphons”? Below is an excerpt from the Catholic Education Resource Center by Father William Saunders. I wholeheartedly commend their use each of these seven days.

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat [Song of Mary] during O-Antiphons_02Vespers [Evening Prayer] of the [Roman Catholic] Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.

The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.

Read the whole article.

O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

cf. Ecclesiasticus 24.3; Wisdom 8.1 

Scot McKnight: Church: God with Us in Jesus

Timely food for thought.

An Advent Church knows who Jesus is.

The English teacher would tell the budding writer, “Get your book going with something that grabs the reader in the first sentence.” Unless you’re Matthew. He began with a sentence that grabs only the serious Bible student: “A record of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1, CEB). And the next set of lines is nothing but a list of names in Israel’s history, with the oddest choice of women to enliven the story, and this goes on for a whole page!

But for the serious Bible student, another message came through loud and clear: God’s way with Israel has been a story that has awaited some kind of chapter that would bring it all together.

And that story yearning for completion finds it in the birth of a little boy in the backwater of Israel, in Galilee, to two backwater people—Joseph and Mary—who are unknown to all but God and their families. God had decided that they are the way to bring this story to completion.

What is this completion? That the God who has been “with” Israel in many ways—in a smoking pot, in a cloud and a fire, in a tabernacle, and in a temple—has finally chosen to be with Israel in a single human being. Jesus is called “Immanuel,” God with us (Matt. 1:23).

Say it slowly now: God. With. Us.

Not quite, so say it like this: Jesus. Is. God. With. Us.

Advent is the day God pitched his tent to be with Israel. It is the day God became one of us. An Advent church knows Jesus is God with us.

Read it all.

Rejoice Always! You’re Kidding, Right?

Sermon delivered on Sunday Advent 3B, December 14, 2014 at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Columbus, OH.

If you prefer to list to the audio podcast of this sermon, usually somewhat different from the text below, click here.

Lectionary texts: Isaiah 61.1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126.1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24; John 1.6-8, 19-28.

Today is Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is Latin and means rejoice as in rejoice in the Lord always. Gaudete Sunday serves as a break from the heavy topics of the Four Last Things on which we reflect during Advent—death, judgment, heaven, and hell—and this theme of rejoicing is symbolized by the liturgical color of pink today. Appropriately enough, our epistle lesson begins with the apostle Paul commanding us to rejoice always. And we want to respond, “Seriously Paul?” This, of course, is the challenge the season of Advent presents us. How do we as Christians live out the hope that is ours in Jesus Christ? It is this question that I want us to look at briefly this morning.

We see today’s theme of rejoicing explicitly or implicitly in all our readings this morning and this makes us want to scratch our head and wonder what the various writers were thinking. I mean, do the family and friends of my old liturgics professor who died on Friday from cancer have a reason to rejoice? Does the Karageorge family have any reason to rejoice? How about Pat or Curt or Judy and Monroe? Or how about the rest of us with our secret sorrows and burdens? What about those who labor under cruel or tyrannical rule or who are victims of chronic injustice and/or poverty? Why in the world would they want to rejoice?

We ask these kinds of questions because we live in a world corrupted by human sin and evil. We also ask these questions because we try to create our own basis for rejoicing. But a moment’s thought will tell us how futile and ludicrous this latter attempt really is and this is one reason why so many people suffer from depression during the Christmas season. We want to tie our joy to our condition in this world and we expect life to keep serving up nothing but good things, primarily because most of us in this country have deluded ourselves into thinking we can overcome all that is wrong in our world with our money and our scientific and technological advancements. After all, doesn’t our own Declaration of Independence tell us we are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? That’s why it’s easy to have a merry Christmas when our houses our brightly lit, our families and friends are gathered around us to celebrate the season and there are the perfect gifts all wrapped beautifully under the tree. But what happens when the lights go out and our family and friends are no longer around or we are incapacitated so that we are forced to celebrate the season all alone? Or what happens when economic catastrophic strikes and we can’t even afford a Christmas tree, let alone put presents under it?

Do you see the point? When we make the things and people of this world the basis of our joy, we are bound to be disappointed and become depressed at some point because all things are transitory in this fleeting life of ours. But sadly this is our preferred source of joy and our worldly pleasures are the only way we think God ever blesses us. Please don’t misunderstand. I am not suggesting that material well-being or family and friends and the love involved are not important. They are hugely important and they are indeed a product of God’s rich blessings on us. But all these things are bound to fail us because of their fleeting nature.

But if we change the basis for our rejoicing to something more permanent and reliable than the fickleness of life, maybe the biblical exhortations to rejoice and give thanks always will become more relevant to us. I am of course talking about the challenge of developing a faith that is full of hope based on what God has done, is doing, and will finally do for us in Jesus to help us bear the burdens that come with living in a fallen world where bad things happen routinely, and here we see Paul laying out a framework to help us to do just that. Paul was no stranger to suffering. In fact, he suffered far more than most of us in this room. But on the basis of his faith in what God has ultimately done to rescue and heal us in and through Jesus the Messiah, Paul had a sure and certain hope that although evil, sin, and death are still with us, they have been soundly defeated on the cross of Jesus and he was further convinced we have been given a glimpse of our ultimate future in the resurrection of Jesus. Elsewhere, Paul compares living in this world to living in the darkness of night, but that each new day brings us closer to the light of the dawn of new creation and we are therefore to rejoice that God has won the day for us, even if we cannot always see how his victory is being worked out in this present dark age (Romans 13.11-14). In other words, Paul is reminding us what a true and deep joy is all about. It is about having the basis of our joy grounded in God’s promises and faithfulness. That is why we are called to have the same sure and certain hope that Paul and the other biblical writers had. And hope is not to be sneezed at because without hope we will shrivel up and die.

Likewise, Paul commands us to give thanks in every circumstance. Again we ask, say what? Paul is not telling us to develop a bizarre habit of thanking God for the bad things that happen to us (thank you, Lord, for afflicting my family with cancer, etc.). Rather, Paul is telling us to thank God because God loves us, is always present with us, and is sovereign over all the forces of this world and our lives, good and bad, even when that is not obvious to us. We believe this based on the many blessings in our lives and the consistent biblical witness that God continues to act in radically unexpected ways to demonstrate his love and sovereign power. Who, for example, would have thought God himself would become a human and enter his world as a vulnerable baby just like the rest of us do? Who would have thought God would rescue us from evil, sin, and death by allowing himself to be nailed to tree and suffer a criminal’s death? We’ve gotten so used to these stories (and others like them) that they cease to be scandalous and shock us anymore. We would therefore be wise to spend sufficient time reflecting on them during this Advent season so that we are once again shocked and scandalized by these stories because in them is the basis for our belief in God’s love and sovereignty, even when we cannot see or understand how it all is working out. Listen if you have humble ears to hear.

Paul commands us also to pray without ceasing. In other words, we are to incline our hearts and minds toward God, confident that he really is sovereign over his world and that he both hears and will act in ways that will accomplish his good will for us, even if we are unable to see how the circumstances in our life are working for our good and for the good of all creation (cf. Romans 8.28). This means that we can and must pray anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstance in addition to our regularly appointed time for prayer (you do have an appointed time for prayer, don’t you?). We are to do these things because this is God’s will for us as his people and doing these things will help strengthen our faith and help us learn to develop a real basis for having a joyful and thankful heart. But we will never know this to be true unless we are wiling to take the plunge and practice developing these holy habits. In other words, if we are going to live as Advent people, we must start acting like we believe our own story.

But Paul also reminds us that we do none of this in our own strength and power. We do it in the power of the Spirit who lives in us and who makes our Lord Jesus present and available to us each and every day we live. That is why he tells us not to quench the Spirit because to do this means we set ourselves up for failure as God’s people who live their lives in the world’s darkness but also as people whom Jesus can and will use to shine his light onto that darkness.

Having the Holy Spirit living in us will also help us test everything and cling to anything that is good. We must run away as fast as we can from any kind of evil or any kind of belief or thinking that encourages us to participate in evil because doing so will indeed quench the Spirit. We test everything by the light of Scripture and tradition, which in turn gives us guidelines to what is good in the Lord’s sight and what is not. Living holy lives where, for example, we care for each other, feed the hungry, and fight for justice, is the best way we can show ourselves and the world we are learning how to be Advent people who live with real hope.

But then Paul seals the deal. Too often we hear these kinds of exhortations and think that Paul is talking about a program of self-help where we make ourselves fit to be rescued by the Lord when he returns. But that of course is an exercise in futility because self-help in the realm of moral development is an oxymoron. And so Paul ends his list of commands with a breathtaking promise. The God who calls you will ensure that you can do all these things: rejoice, give thanks, pray, test, etc. and God will also ensure that we will be with our Lord when he returns to usher in his new creation. Not because of who we are. Not because we deserve any of it. But because God himself is faithful and he will do it. Do you want to learn real joy and give thanks in any circumstance, crazy as that sounds? Do you want to live with a sure and certain hope, even in the midst of seeming hopelessness? You can if you trust God to help you do these things so that you become someone who knows the love and power of God expressed fully in Jesus Christ our Lord at work in your life. Will you dare trust the Lord enough to take the plunge?

Let me be clear about all this. I am not suggesting that living by faith will suddenly make everything all right. Everything will NOT be all right because we still live in the darkness of a fallen world. But as our Lord himself told us, we are to take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16.32-33). Learning to live as Advent people with real joy requires that we really believe his promise and blessed are you who spend time reflecting on these things this Advent. God will surely give you the desires of your heart (cf. Psalm 37.4).

I started out by asking if some people should rejoice this Advent and I want to end by using one example to illustrate how this all works. I have lost a dear friend in Martha G., my old liturgics professor, to an evil death. So should I be rejoicing now because Christmas is coming? Well yes, but with a caveat. My heart aches for my loss and her family. But I know Martha’s great faith, hope, and love. She knew her Lord and so do I. That is why even in my sorrow I can rejoice because I know death is not the end for her. When our Lord returns and her mortal body is raised from the dead to live eternally in God’s new creation, there will be no more sorrow or sighing or sickness or death. And in light of this eternity, what she has suffered pales in comparison. That is not to diminish her suffering but rather to proclaim that God has redeemed her suffering and death and this gives me great comfort and hope so that in my sorrow I can rejoice.

This, I suggest, is a far better solution for facing the world’s darkness as we approach Christmas than trudging through malls in search of the perfect gift to cheer us up (or whatever else we try to do that will ultimately fail us). We’ve already been given the perfect gift in Jesus our Lord, God become human, whose birth we are preparing to celebrate, and when we fully appropriate this gift, we too will know with Paul and all the other saints of God what it means to live with a real Advent joy because it is all about God. God is faithful and he will do it. Do you believe this? However you answer this or wherever you are in your faith journey, I plead with you to start or continue to do the things we have talked about today in the power of the Spirit. When we learn what it means to have real joy, it means we also know we really do have Good News, now and for all eternity. To him be honor, praise, and glory forever and ever.

In the name of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Washington Post: Uniters and Dividers

Another spot-on analysis. See what you think.

Kentucky_Ohio_Bridge-0d9f5-1405Kasich does not accuse the police of bigotry, nor dismiss the concerns of minority communities whose relationship with the police has been strained and broken by recent events. Instead, he talks about what he can do to make sure everyone’s concern is heard and to emphasize America works when everyone feels like he or she has a chance for success.

He does not sound like many on the right who insist on drawing sharp lines, or whose concern for the poor and minority voters appears entirely opportunistic and selective (yes on drug reform, silence on an opportunity agenda; ignore them until you decide on a White House run). He surely doesn’t sound like the media and politicians on the left who talk directly to and solely on behalf of aggrieved communities, as if the problem is the rest of the country. In showing solidarity with the one segment of America, the knee jerk reaction is to condemn the rest of the country and the “system.”

These are the dividers, the people with sharp elbows and blinding political ambition. It is not strictly ideological: Right-wing talk show hosts, MSNBC talking heads, tea party politicians, Al Sharpton, Mayor Bill DeBlasio, and Attorney General Eric Holder all play the game, a dangerous and cynical one in which they “win” (votes, readers, viewers, attention) while the country goes up in flames, the government is torn asunder over excessive posturing and outside groups make money off of strife. They suffer from an over-abundance of ambition and a near total lack of empathy. Their world is narrow and self-serving.

Read it all.

Remember, Remember the 7th of December

Today is the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that drew the United States into the great conflagration known as World War II. Ask anyone who was living that day and they can tell you exactly where they were. It was an act of treachery and it proved to be foolishly short-sighted and ultimately fatal for the Japanese militarists. It was that generation’s 9/11.

Sadly the generation of Pearl Harbor is rapidly fading away. But its lessons remain and remind us that we must constantly be on guard as a nation because there are those out there who hate us and want to destroy us and end our way of life.

From the History Channel:

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

Read it all.

Fr. Ric Bowser: I’ll Take it from Here (NOT!)

Sermon delivered on Sunday, Advent 2B, December 7, 2014, at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Columbus, OH.

Lectionary texts: Isaiah 40.1-11; Psalm 85.1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3.8-15a; Mark 1.1-8.

There is no text for this sermon. To listen to the sermon podcast, click here.

Cleveland.com: On Ohio State’s Thank You Letter to Michigan QB Devin Gardner

Great letter. Great show of class in an increasingly classless society. Kudos to Gardner. Go Bucks!

16487194-mmmainHere’s the full text of the letter:

“I write, simply, to thank you for the inspiration you are and the class you showed as you consoled J.T. Barrett when he was injured this afternoon in your game against the Buckeyes.

“The Ohio State-Michigan game is important, but it pales in comparison to the humanity you displayed during that moment.

“As I think you know, J.T. Barrett has been an inspiration to the Buckeyes squad this season, coming in as he did when Braxton Miller was injured. He’s performed with maturity and poise well beyond his years. I suspect it’s been guys like you who have been his role models.

“You are an extraordinary young man and your example of sportsmanship and true humanity to thousands of young (and older) people this afternoon was, in my opinion, worth far more than any football statistics.

“Thank you again for showing us all how it should be done.”

Read it all.

Jesus Creed: Advent with Tim Spivey

I preached on this last Sunday. See what you think.

Here are four practical reasons I think churches should celebrate Advent and Christmas:

1. Advent helps keep people on-track spiritually through the holidays. It isn’t OK for us to lament people’s “greed” and/or materialism at the holidays if we aren’t willing to lift up Christ in special ways during a season of temptation for people. It’s a great time to help reestablish a Kingdom perspective about money and possessions and call people to generosity—and to do so with great intentionality. We also have a special opportunity to help people understand the importance of incarnating the Gospel as they deal with personal and family difficulties throughout the season. I could go on here—but the point is the holidays are spiritually poignant and Advent provides a unique opportunity to pastor.

2. Advent focuses us on theological themes that should be central to who we are: incarnation and the Second Coming of Christ. Most Christians understand the importance of these two themes. However, one is “in” and one is “out” in theological circles these days. In particular, the Second Coming is something that needs much more emphasis—and Advent provides a fantastic opportunity to focus on our Great Hope.

Read it all.

Fox News: ’12 Days of Christmas’ Items Cost More Than $116G

I’ll just settle for a new MacBook Pro, thank you. :-)

geese-chicagoThe cost of six geese-a-laying spiked considerably this year, while most of the items in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” saw little to no increase, according to the 31st annual PNC Wealth Management Christmas Price Index.

A set of gifts in each verse of the song would set you back $27,673 in stores, an increase of less than $300 — or 1 percent — from last year. But shoppers turning to the Internet would see a bigger bump of about 8 percent over last year’s online prices, bringing the set of gifts in each verse to $42,959. Buyers looking to purchase all the items each time they were mentioned in the song — 364 that is — would spend $116,273, a modest 1.4 percent increase from a year ago.

PNC’s sources for the Christmas Price Index include retailers, the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia-based PHILADANCO and the Pennsylvania Ballet Company.

See the whole list.