The Daily Offices

The Daily Offices from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, (Canada 1962), including daily Bible readings and occasional sermons from the Cathedral of the Annunication of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa

Monday, May 29, 2006



These things have I spoken to you in parables: the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in parables, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.

How well the Good Shepherd knows His sheep.

How well He understands the mist through which we peer, searching half blinded for His reality and truth.

How well He sees us miss those things as they show themselves hesitantly through the fog and we do not recognize them.

If we see hazily, we hear no better. All too often the voice of reason is drowned by the ill tempered noise of this world. This is nothing new. Plato taught that the din of earth alone drowned the heavenly music to which the innumerable spheres move on their courses.

But through it all, as the centuries roll by, the reality and the truth remain; the heavenly music plays on, its divine symphony constant and changeless, awaiting those who would catch its tune. When, through the Grace of God, that happens, we join that great, timeless, symphony and can make our contribution to God’s plan.

It is not for us to know what that contribution is. We may not even see it in others. How many people recognized in Winston Churchill the great leader who emerged in his country’s time of need?

How many saw the genius in Shakespeare or Wordsworth until long after their deaths?

How many truly saw or see even now, the Son of God in Jesus Christ?

It is the sad, simple fact that we are most blind to the divine presence among us. Even the disciples who walked this earth daily in the company of our Blessed Lord were, for the longest time, not entirely sure.

We believe that thou camest forth from God, they told Him. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold the hour cometh, yea is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own and shall leave me alone.

Countless times since then men and women have left the Lord alone, ignoring His word, forgetting the Cross, blind to the outstretched loving hand, secure in their stunning arrogance that they can get by without Him.
This monumental failure to discern among us the working and the person of God has plagued mankind since the sin of Adam blinded our eyes to Him, closed our ears to the heavenly music and froze our hearts against the warmth of His Love.

How tempting it is to think that if we had been there with Jesus, if we had been daily in His company, we would have been different, we would for sure have known Him for who He was.

The good news is that we are, or can be, daily in His company. He promises us that, and His Resurrection extends to us that glorious gift.

The bad news is that almost all of us, at some time or another ignore His presence. We do not see His helping hand. We do not hear His voice. We do not open our hearts to the warmth of His Love. Such times are all too frequent.

And if we do not always know His presence, it is because the scales remain on our eyes, the din continues to disrupt our hearing and the ice still grips our hearts. But still Jesus asks, with a touch of sorrow in His tone, Do ye now believe?

He will keep on asking that question and what a great blessing it is. The Good Shepherd will never abandon His sheep. Do ye now believe?, is not so much a condemnation or our weak faith as it is encouragement to strengthen it. The very question, coming from our Beloved Saviour, urges us forward to learn yet more of His truth.

In this world ye shall have tribulation, Jesus says. Of course we will. Not one of us goes through this life without trials of some sort, varying in kind and in magnitude. But we have the extraordinary comfort of knowing that the Son of God, in His Incarnate form as man, joined Himself fully and completely to our trials. Indeed, His trials exceeded by far those which most of us will be called upon to endure. It is not possible to overestimate the sympathy which led Him to participate so thoroughly in our sorrows.

Nor can we place limits on the hope He brings through His life among us.

But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Those words destroy the walls which imprison our hope and then extend its boundaries beyond the horizon of our imagination.

They also point to our Lord’s entire sojourn upon this earth as a parable; a parable with which each of us must come to terms as best we can. It is a parable which in this life we will never fully understand, but yet we must not stop trying to do so. It is the parable of our reconciliation, undeserved but freely offered, to God.

With each new glimmer of understanding, the question will arise, Do ye now believe? But as we delve into its mysteries, Jesus also tells us, Ask the Father in my name. Rogation Sunday, today, and the Rogation Days which follow it remind us to do that.

And so asking should serve to remind us of the great message of our Risen Lord, - we are never alone. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you. And, I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever. John 14:16. The comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things. John 14:26.

Therein lies the all prevailing power of the sacrifice upon the Cross, the certainty that our prayers are answered in love and wisdom for Christ’s sake, That your joy may be full.

We are not alone and the more diligently we seek God, asking in Jesus name, the more often and the more plainly we shall see Him.

The breath of God will part the mists obscuring our view.

The peace of the Risen Christ will still the din and allow us to catch the tune of that divine symphony.

The Love of God, so manifest upon the Cross, will melt the ice hardening our hearts and open them up to the Holy Spirit.

Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you.

Peter Jardine+
Rogation Sunday, May 21st, 2006.