Monday, March 22, 2010

Holy Week and Easter in Jerusalem and Hippo[1]

The 4th century Jerusalem church got ready for Easter by tracing the steps of Jesus from one traditional place to another in the course of Holy Week. Egeria, a Spanish pilgrim, narrates her Diary the movement of the Jerusalem faithful around the holy places available to them: the Mount of Olives, Golgotha, the anastasis (the place of resurrection) and other places. The Jerusalem Christians lived where these landmarks were and so could experience Jesus’ passion and resurrection as historical events “remembered.” It must have been impressive and powerful “to walk where Jesus walked.” In Jerusalem, if someone asked, “How do you know Christ lives,” the people could answer, “There is where he was crucified and here is where he was raised.”

In early 5th century Hippo, a city in North Africa where Augustine was bishop, Christians experienced the resurrection differently. They didn’t have the “props” of the historical places. What did they do? These Christians celebrated baptism on the eve of Easter (as did the Jerusalem church) and the evidence of the resurrection was not an empty tomb; it was new and wet daughters and sons of God coming up out of the pool as those who had died and been raised with Christ! (Romans 6: 3-11) They were called infantes—infants, the newly born, the twice born. Though most were adults, they were newly born of water and the Spirit and so were, by grace, signs of the power of God to start a person’s life all over again—from darkness to light, from blindness to sight, from death to life, from sin’s slavery to life lived to God. In these, the missionary church saw the new being available in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.

If someone asked the Christians of Hippo how they knew Christ lived, they would point to the infantes and the bread and wine of Holy Communion. In Hippo, Resurrection was much more than a singular historical event; it was the continuing reality of the risen Lord in the church and in its actions in daily life in the world where God placed them.

Our North American churches are more like Hippo than Jerusalem: The evidence of the continuing life of Jesus is in the Meal we share with him, who commissions us anew each week to “love and serve the Lord” in all the places where he sets us—home, work or school, leisure, local and world politics, and yes, church. I commend to you the MemberMission website for theoretical and practical help in such worldly enactment of our faith.

“Alleluia! Christ is risen!” is not just a slogan or a liturgical exclamation to use on Easter Sunday. It is a cry of recognition when we see the risen Lord in acts of costly compassion and courageous justice. It is the cry of joy at the holiness of life we are becoming!

Unfortunately, much of Christian preaching and liturgical celebration in Holy Week and Easter in our North American context, absent the font and new sons and daughters born from the waters of baptism and welcomed to the feasting with the church around the table, will lack the evidence of present resurrection. And so, Easter festivities are impoverished and dependent on attempts to assert the historicity of something remembered. Note: I am not dismissing the historical core of the Paschal mystery. Rather, I am yearning for present-day apostolic witness of the church to and with those whom Christ is raising from death to life in the mysteries of a present Easter.

I wonder if there is a positive correlation in our experience of the resurrection and the degree to which we take seriously those who are asking questions, searching for deeper meaning and turning from death into the mystery of grace in the waters of baptism.

Conversely, how many 21st century North American churches are content to remember Easter as an past event and simultaneously resist the risks of present pregnancy in attending to those around us who God is birthing by water and the Spirit?

I will confess my bias here and my yearning for 21st century North American churches to rediscover and engage in catechumenal ministry[2] as enactment of the Paschal mystery in relation to the dominant culture.

Jerusalem or Hippo? Symbols of a profound choice!

1. I am indebted to Dr. Walt Knowles for his unpublished paper, “Holy Week in Hippo: the Weeks Surrounding Easter in a North African Parish” (dated 08/04/09) for the contrast of liturgical observance in Jerusalem and Hippo. I have not done his work justice here, and the questions and conclusions I draw from it are my own.
2. For those unfamiliar with the “catechumenate” I encourage you to find out more consulting the following links: See “Making Disciples in the 21st Century” or “What Is the Catechumenate?” Also explore Christian the North American Association for the Catechumenate webite.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Apples and Advent: Doxology, Sin and Paradox
by Daniel T. Benedict, Jr.

Last night in Lessons and Carols for Advent Sunday at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Honolulu I was struck by the paradoxical nature of doxology in pre-Enlightenment texts. It seems that our ancient Christian siblings could not color within the lines the Enlightenment set out for us, their posterity, and so we borrow from those whose doxology knew no constraint in rejoicing in God’s saving work. Two examples come to mind: the medieval “Adam lay ybounden,” (the full text at bottom) often sung in services of Advent Lessons and Carols, and the “felix culpa” (“O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam”) text in the Easter Vigil’s ancient Exsultet. (See for full text. Accessed November 30, 2009.)

I will not explore here the scholarly apparatus and history of these examples, as that is amply done in other places. (Begin by searching wikipedia for both “felix culpa” and “Adam lay ybounden” for online starting points.) What strikes me as a pastor and student of liturgy is the phenomenon of otherwise and supposedly rational men and women, singing such words as “Blessed be the time/That apple taken was” and “O happy fault,/O necessary sin of Adam,/ which gained for us so great a Redeemer!” (Missale Romanum, 1970). What is it about the liturgy that allows us to entertain and embrace paradoxes we otherwise stumble over or go to great lengths to prop up with theological constructions and jargon?

In regard to the “O happy fault,” it is interesting to note that the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church in the United States does not include the felix culpa lines. I suspect that that omission was an intentional avoidance of the paradox of sanctifying sin. The BCP Exsultet does rejoice in Jesus Christ, the Paschal Lamb, “who at the feast of the Passover paid for us the debt of Adam's sin….” Was this a theological accommodation to the Enlightenment’s prizing of consistency at the expense of the liturgy’s freedom to play with paradox? (I would be happy to have correction and insight as to the reason for this omission.)

I hope that “play” is not too offensive a word to bring to this consideration. I use play not in the sense of irresponsible diversions or frivolous activity, but in the sense that Erik Erikson used the term: ritualized play by which we find home and a center. Without this play we are helpless and sidelined. Ritual activity links and expands our perceptive capacities for living in a world by orienting and centering us. (See Erik Erikson, Toys and Reasons: Stages in the Ritualization of Experience (Toronto: McLeod, 1972), p. 49 and my book, Patterned by Grace: How Liturgy Shapes Us (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2007), p. 26.

“Blessed be the time/That apple taken was” is not a theological premise to be defended or refined as much as it is ritual play, poetry, and doxology. It is a way to sing and dance our relationship with God in Christ: “Therefore we moun singen,/Deo gracias.” It is rejoicing within our liturgical, theological, and devotional inheritance (the biblical narrative in Gen. 3:1-15; the evolved doctrine of original sin, St. Augustine’s writings, “necessity,” and all the richly nuanced struggle of the church through the ages). It is playful acceptance of our place in God’s universe and of our reconciliation with God in our “great Redeemer.”

So, let us share in the imaginative play of those bards and deacons who still visit us from time to time in the church’s liturgy and delight with them in Adam’s apples, his happy fault, and the mystery of our reconciliation.

Adam lay ybounden,
Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter,
Thought he not too long.

And all was for an apple,
An apple that he took.
As clerkes finden,
Written in their book.

Ne had the apple taken been,
The apple taken been,
Ne had never our ladie,
Abeen heav'ne queen.

Blessed be the time
That apple taken was,
Therefore we moun singen.
Deo gracias! Anonymous 15th century

Illustration: William Blake's "The Temptation and Fall of Eve" for Milton's Paradise Lost.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Passion/Palm Sunday and Children

Children cry out at the most inopportune times. That is what parents and many adults think. But as a grandpa and a liturgical observer, I find they cry out at most appropriate times. Not always, of course, but sometimes at just the right moment and awaken the dead--all of us who are ho-humming through a Sunday morning.

Today at the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew in Honolulu, (confession time here--I did not have a pen to make notes of the precise spot in the order of service) there was a point when an infant cried out as if to give an exclamation point to the moment--perhaps at the conclusion of "Holy, Holy, Holy...Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest." All I remember is that it the timing was right on!

Another instance of this happend last All Saints Sunday at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Centreville Virginia. The congregation dutifully sang "This is the feast of victory for our God, for the Lamb who was slain has begun his reign...." With the concluding "Alleluia" came a young child's shout, "Yeah!" It couldn't have been scripted so well if anyone had tried! During the sign of the peace, I went to the mother and asked the child's name. "Lula," she said. I could tell she was a bit embarrassed by it and I said, "Don't be embarrassed--it was just right!" I later asked the pastor if he knew who Lula was. He said, "No." Maybe the family was new--they had sat in the last row (a pretty good sign of new comers). What do children bring to worship that is uniquely theirs to contribute? Themselves--just as they are.

Does your congregation welcome both the limitations and the gifts of children?

We need the children whose rhythms and needs create intersections with and within the ritual so that we have to wake up and be more alert to the moving traffic and recognize that the Holy Spirit is working not only in what the tradition offers, but in the very breath and heart beat and childlike responses of the children among us. And the child within us!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hawaii, Habu and Humility—the Mongoose Factor

Hawaii, where I live, and Okinawa, where my grandsons live, have something in common: the mongoose. This hyper-extended mammal lives in both places as witness to human capacity for miscalculation. In Hawaii the mongoose was introduced to rid the islands of mice and rats that had come on ships with the sailors who introduced all sorts of misery to the “Sandwich Islands.” On Okinawa, the mongoose was introduced to control the habu, a native poisonous viper. In neither case was the mongoose a solution. The reason: a miscalculation. Both mice and rats, and habu are nocturnal and the mongoose is a creature of the day. Hence a creature that was supposed to stabilize earlier human miscalculations further destabilized the environment and habitat.

Our human capacity for miscalculation is legion. Should humanity cultivate a deeper capacity for humility and husbandry of the earth? Obviously we should, but will we?

The current divide in American politics appears to have reached a tipping point. A nation that was largely in favor of toppling Sadaam Husein shortly after September 11, 2001 was in November of 2006 recognizing that the action had destabilized Iraq with no way to get the “tooth paste” back in the tube. Now in the first third of 2007, a majority of Americans want out but can’t agree on how to leave without further miscalculation and destabilization in the region.

Americans are equally divided on the question of global warming. Apparently the truth proposed in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” is a contested truth. Are the calculations of the majority of scientists that we are heading for an environmental melt down going to be taken seriously or not? Bewilderingly, many conservative pundits are ready to bring in the economic and technological mongoose to correct the situation. The scary thing, as I see it, is that our island home—the planet earth—is all that we have. Oh, yes, space exploration may mean that we become the mongoose in some other intergalactic habitat, but so far we spending most of our money on the war on terror so we don’t have it for space exploration and our life raft to the stars. In the meantime, the smart wager is to take seriously both global warming and our human capacity to destabilize almost anything that we touch. (Chaos theory must have something to say to all of this, but I don’t pretend to understand it!)

I hardly dare to reference the Biblical narrative, but I will. The writer of Genesis puts in God’s mouth to the first humans the much abused manifesto: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28). Perhaps that was “good” before the Fall. (“Fall” as in Eugene O’Neill as much as Genesis 3) Did the Mystery also miscalculate what human perversity and grasping would do to destabilize “the fish of the sea and…the birds of the air and…every living thing that moves upon the face of the earth”? Call it the “mongoose factor.”

Humility and husbandry have something in common: the earth and all that makes for this incredibly rich, diverse, and evolving mystery we call life. Humus and humility (and human) come from the same root: the delicate generativity inherent in the gift of the earth (my hybrid definition).

Humility is the capacity to appreciate and reverence this gift and to recognize that the earth and all who inhabit are vulnerable to our misuse and miscalculations. Wendell Berry* writes, "We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. . . We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it."

Husbandry has to do with contentment and humility as stewards of the earth. It is seeking to live in harmony with the ecosphere, tending it, caring for it, investing ourselves in it without exploiting it, and recognizing that in its wellbeing is our own. Can our urban, technological culture appreciate and embrace this alternative way of being in the world?

We delay humility and husbandry as our common vocation at our own expense. The conversion will be necessarily radical and uncomfortable. The margin for error is great. Walking much more gently on the earth and tilling the soil with gratitude and proportion will be our prayer.

Bottom line, the mongoose won’t do it for us.


*Wendell Berry is a spokesperson for a contemplative husbandry in the emerging future. For a relevant work see his book, The Way of Ignorance.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Permission Granted—Grace in an Episodic World

“Permission” brought us together on the phone. He, in Michigan at a major university—a piano tuner, father, robust Catholic Christian, and much more than I will ever know. I, in Hawaii—retired, United Methodist Christian, working at play and playing at work, musing, making a gate so my toddler granddaughter won’t fall down the stairs when she comes to visit each day. He (I imagine) in snow boots and a heavy coat nearby (16 degrees on this February day). I, in my shorts and floppies—my daily uniform. I had emailed him early in the morning. He replied, “Call me” and gave his phone number. So we were talking on the phone by the weavings of grace. I had found (ah, Google search!) his posting of startlingly engaging photos of the baptism of his son and I wanted to use one of them for a web article I had written. He needed to know if the usage was legit and not some scam.

In this postmodern world grace is dynamic, seemingly random, and episodic. It happens in the *interstices of heart beats, butterfly wings and plumeria blossoms. What and how grace weaves into life’s fabric amazes me. I was prompted to write the above mentioned web article by a hilarious and very playful letter from a colleague who had been sleuthing the reason why her annual church meeting was not up to snuff on an official change in terminology for members—previously “full members”—now “professing members.” (United Methodists deal with such fine points!) My writing the article led to the photo search that led to the baptism picture that led to the permission request that…. You get the picture. What more will come of this twisting of threads will be known later.

Grace—call it friendships on the fly, episodic existence, moments of opening to the wider world—happens. I was encouraged by the mix of generosity, artfulness, and wariness of my “one morning friend” in Michigan. Over the years, on saint’s days, I have often used the Book of Common Prayer antiphon for “All Saints and Other Major Saints’ Days”—“Alleluia. The Lord is glorious in [the] saints. Come, let us adore him. Alleluia.” I felt it appropriate for this day too!


*For a short blog on “interstices” go to “Leadership & Wrestling” on Executive Zen by Toby Thompson.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

“Kyrie Eleison”—A Prayer for When We Don’t Know How to Pray?
President Bush just completed his speech from the library of the White House, outlining his current plan for a final go at victory/salvage in Iraq. By now the blogosphere is churning with positions on the Presidents proposal. Viva democracy in these United States. But what are we Christians to do? Shall we join in partisan debate, give thumbs up or down, and further enflame the polarization of America? Undoubtedly, many of us will do so, right, left and middle.

However, on deeper reflection, I wonder if as Christian communities of prayer, we should at least pray; indeed, is not prayer the distinctive thing we are called to do. But how do Christians pray in such times without rehearsing our own political views, telling God (and coincidentally, others with whom we pray) where we are as another hellish moment comes upon the world? Lord have mercy on us when we engage in extemporaneous prayer in such times: we will likely use way too many words and expose how little charity, grace and wisdom there is in our hearts, wherever we stand on the Iraq situation.

An alternative could be silence before firing off our opinions; a worthy prelude to any time of prayer. Or, in some traditions we could consider praying in tongues, trusting the Spirit to make good our prayer as we repent and rest from mental pugilism.

And, we could join the saints in praying or singing the ancient (dated at least as early as the 4th century in the East and the 5th in the West) Christian Greek prayer, Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy). It offers the church words with sufficient simplicity and depth to take us with our anguished world into the mercy of God. At its simplest, it is Kyrie eleison—Lord, have mercy. A latter elaboration (according to Gregory the Great in 590) is:

Kyrie eleison. Lord (Sovereign)have mercy.
Christe eleison. Christ have mercy.
Kyrie eleison. Lord(Sovereign) have mercy.

This prayer is so much a part of the liturgical inheritance of the church that it has been said in many ways, often in the vernacular, and sung with many settings.

Lucien Deiss (in Vision of Liturgy and Music for a New Century—The Liturgical Press, 1996) reminds us of this prayer’s biblical significance. Kurios=Lord/LORD in the OT was the stand in for the ineffable name of God, Yahweh. In the NT, kurios is evocative of the risen Christ and is the name above every name at which every knee will bow (Phil. 2:9-11). Christe is vocative—address—of the Christ, the Messiah. Eleison is the imperative form of eleein, to have mercy or pity. So, in the presence of God we implore, plead for, cry out for deliverance, salvation, wholeness and mercy. Like Bartimaeus (Mark 10:47-48; Matt. 20:31; Luke 18:39) or the dauntless Canaanite woman (Matt. 15: 22) kyrie eleison allows us an unrestrained ritual cry to God for a situation with which we don’t know how to cope. As Deiss puts it, “[t]he Kyrie eleison of the Gospels draws all the misery of humanity to itself, a humanity in search of Christ’s mercy.” (p. 164-165) There is also an eschatological dimension to this prayer which in one form or another we will breathe and sing until there will be no more chaos and war, no more night, no more crying, no more death (Rev. 21:1-4). Indeed, in this vein it could be seen as a militant anticipation, even a confrontation with the powers (Jaques Ellul).

This prayer is a cry of penitence, hope, dependence—exactly where God’s people always stand i and with world. It gives us a vehicle for saying what we have no other words to express. In a sense Kyrie eleison is a form of liturgical groaning—a deep, almost in articulate cry for mercy (Rom. 8:26-28) that the Spirit takes up in pleading to God. Its antiquity and ecumenical use connect those who pray it with all people in their cry for mercy.

Most of our hymnals and other collections of historic, ecumenical and contemporary song have eminently singable settings. The United Methodist Hymnal, which which I am most familiar has three (482 contemporary American, 483 Russian Orthodox liturgy, and 484 Taize Community). Any of these can be used by themselves or as a repeated response to biddings or segments of a litany.

Another, an extended kyrie found in The Faith We Sing (no. 2275, arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram) is based on Anton Dvoƙak’s movement II from Symphony No. 9 (The New World Symphony), familiar to many Americans as “Going Home.” Given its sustained flow and largo pace this setting allows feeling and emotion to well up and carry the assembly ever more deeply into the heart of Christ for the life of the world. I can imagine congregations singing supported by different instruments with each repetition while members of the congregation come to light candles placing them in a box of sand or a votive rack.

How shall we pray? How shall we cry out in this dark night? Kyrie eleison may be a good place to begin and return as the church’s cry for mercy.

As illustration I included a photo of Serb Orthodox Christians praying for missing and killed dear ones.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Amazing Feasts of Comites Christi—Praying the Days after Christmas

Christmas comes and in our imaginations we surround the Incarnate Word, the Babe of Bethlehem with star struck shepherds and gift-laden star gazers. The church in its zig-zag evolutionary wisdom of praying with Christ discovered other “companions of Christ” (comites Christi) who confront our mix of culture and gospel with contrasting visions of Christmas: Stephen, the first Christian martyr, John the evangelist, and the innocent children whom Herod maniacally slew as the Holy Family escaped to Egypt.

These characters are like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide swabbed on a wound: they sting our easy and facile revelry with the surface of the Christmas story and invite us into the paradox and mystery of Emmanuel—God with us. They help us to confront our questions about all the things that don’t fit “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night, Holy Night.” In no way am I proposing that we should not celebrate Christmas with all of the riches of its popular traditions. But like the emerging practice of celebrating “Blue Christmas Services” with those who mourn and those who experience the nativity heavy with the sense of loss—loss of a child, a spouse, a parent, a marriage, a job, one’s health or well-being—these “companions of Christ” becomes lenses through which to see expansively the meaning of Christ among us. They expand the story to include our stories--and the diverse voices of those who are also the companions of Christ; sometimes the unlikely companions of Christ.

Instead of further prosaic commentary on these companions of Christ, I invite you to pray these “saints” whom the church has juxtaposed with Christmas. Indeed, they are commemorated on the second, third and fourth days of the twelve days of Christmas. What follow are prayers I composed a decade or more ago for use in The Daily Office of the Order of Saint Luke, Volume I (Second Edition published in November 1998. (See the copyright notice at the end of this blog.) I post them here with the kind permission of the Order’s office of publication.

As you pray, allow the unexpected and the unbidden to appear, dance, and come into your awareness as you pray.

Dec. 26—The Second Day of Christmas: St. Stephen, the Martyr
The feast of St. Stephen can be traced back to the 4th century in the East and from the beginning of the 5th century in the West.

Lord Jesus, when the teeth of rage and resistance threaten us,
fix our vision on you at the right hand of God.
With Stephen, make us free to yield ourselves to you
and ask for mercy upon those who would destroy us. Amen.

O God of stars and martyrs,
we wonder with thanksgiving at the Christian mysteries.
With Mary at the manger and with Stephen outside the city,
we ponder the paradox that we can rejoice and mourn at the same reason.
With the shepherds and the saints,
we bow in adoration at the wonderful exchange:
Christ’s blessedness for our wretchedness.
We give you unceasing thanks for your richness toward us,
and for the mystery that we remain in possession
of Christ’s own inexhaustible riches
though we be assaulted or suffer any hardship for his sake. Amen.
Based on a text from Fulgentius, 6th cent.

God of mercy,
in baptism you call us to share your cross and passion.
In the hour of extreme demand when our flesh and heart would fail,
be our strength and portion forever,
through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

Dec. 27—The Third Day of Christmas: the Feast of St. John, the Evangelist
The feast of John the Evangelist also dates back to the 4th century in the East. John, whose symbol is the eagle, approaches the meaning of Christ Jesus, soaring in language of Word, Light, Grace and Truth.

O Mystery!
O Wondrous God,
we thank you for our revelation in the Word made flesh
and for the record of eye-witnesses
who declared what they had heard and seen and touched.
We thank you for the intimacy of community
with all in your church
as we abide in common fellowship
with you and with your Son, Jesus Christ.
We bless you for the forgiveness of sin and all the means of grace by which we remain in the Light. Amen.

Everlasting God,
in the Word made flesh,
we have seen your glory, full of grace and truth.
We rejoice today with John, your evangelist,
who declared the mystery of the incarnation
and wrote of Jesus with the eagle’s view.
Evermore bring us to believe in your son
and to have life in his name. Amen.

God of many names,
bring us again and again to know eternal life
by the One who is
bread from heaven,
light of the world,
gate for the sheep,
resurrection and life,
the way, the truth, and the life,
the true vine. Amen.

Dec. 28—The Fourth Day of Christmas: Holy Innocents
The earliest mention of the feast of the Holy Innocents dates back to the city of Carthage in 505. These companions have close connections with the stories of Christmas.

Lord Jesus, from your birth, you are “martyr-master.”*
We thank you for your love poured into our hearts,
even when we do not comprehend the darkside of your blessing.
In this time of Christmas joy,
we are grateful that,
when the darkness of the world comes
with senseless wasting of lives,
you make victims your dearest prize
and enable us to see “sweet heaven astrew in them.”*
Now hear us as we lift dark circumstances
into your holy and perfecting light:
the troubles and as –yet-senseless sufferings of our own lives…
all victims of abuse, political oppression, economic degradation and disease…
the people and leaders of nations who struggle in the world’s present darkness…
the people of God in our quest to be faithful…
those areas of our lives which we lift up asking for mercy and grace….
*Phrases from G. M. Hopkins’ “The Wreck of the Deutschland”

O God of mercy and protection,
we thank you that you maintain the cause of the needy
and execute justice for the poor and innocent.
We thank you for every prompting of grace
that enables us to look beyond the shadows of present suffering
to see the Light of your eternity.
We thank you that a day will come when all victims and tyrants,
all innocents and terrorists,
will be “wound with mercy round and round”*
and every knee shall bow to the Babe of Bethlehem,
the Crucified Jesus, the First-born from the Dead.
We thank you for the vision of every tear wiped away and no more death.
Hear us as we pray for
all victims…
all who are advocates and defenders of the oppressed…
the prophetic ministry of the church…
those concerns that present themselves to us now…
*Phrase from G. M. Hopkins’ “The Wreck of the Deutschland”

When we have tasted the “cup” of these companions of Christ in our prayers and musings, we return with the church in prayer and praises rejoicing in the festivities of
Christmases’ fifth through twelfth days with a deeper sense of the mystery of what it means to be the companions of Christ in our own time for this world.

The prayers above are copyright © 1998 OSL Publications, P.O. Box 22279, Akron, Ohio 44302-0079 (e-mail: They may be printed, copied, distributed, reprinted in church bulletins or newsletters, or otherwise used for nonprofit local church worship or education with the inclusion of the copyright citation. They may not be used for profit or republication without prior permission. They may not be reproduced on any website without permission, though other websites are welcome to link to them on this blog (

Dan Benedict