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CRANMER THEOLOGICAL HOUSE ADVENT DEVOTIONAL 2017


CRANMER THEOLOGICAL HOUSE ADVENT DEVOTIONAL

The season of Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Advent is a time of reflection, repentance, and preparation for the return of Christ to judge the quick and the dead. It is also a season when we prepare our hearts to celebrate again the first advent of Christ in his incarnation. This Advent devotional is presented by Cranmer Theological House as a resource for meditation and contemplation. The devotions which are based on the Psalms are written by members of the faculty of Cranmer House as well as clergy and deaconesses in the Diocese of Mid America and the Reformed Episcopal Church. May our Lord richly bless you in this Advent season.

Prayer Grant, O Almighty God, that as thy blessed Son Jesus Christ at his first advent came to seek and save that which was lost, so at his second and glorious appearing he may find in us the fruits of the redemption which he wrought; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Cranmer Theological House


Day 1 December 3, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 110 How many centuries did God’s people hunger for that golden moment when David’s son would appear to take up his lofty seat in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, then called Salem (“Peace”), the royal Melchizedek, priest of God Most High, greeted Abraham with the gifts of bread and wine, and a blessing. This King of Peace, according to his name, is the King of Righteousness. How long did Israel thirst for that enchanted day when David’s son would ascend the throne of Melchizedek and inaugurate his reign as both king and priest and rule his people with perfect righteousness in a glorious age of enduring peace. It was to this psalm more than any other Old Testament passage that the New Testament authors harked back to present Jesus as David’s greater son – his son in time and his Lord in eternity. It was to this “prophecy in song” that our Lord himself turned to silence the Pharisees who challenged his divine authority. “And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore” (Matthew 22:46). Israel’s dim, far away hope is our present reality, pulsating like neon. The Promised One is seated at the right hand of his Father in Jerusalem on high, and of his kingdom there will be no end. Let the people rejoice. King Jesus is coming! King Jesus has come! King Jesus will come again!

Prayer Almighty God, Father of Jesus Christ our Priest and King, we bring you honor for his righteousness, we offer you glory for his peace, we sing your praises for his eternal reign; world without end. Amen. The Rev. Edward W. Fowler St. Michael's Church, Broken Arrow, OK

Cranmer Theological House


Day 2 December 4, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 2 The world loves temporal power above all. Those who love the world are willing to obtain it at any cost. Therefore, they conspire to procure their success. In secret, they break any rule and say anything to cover their tracks. They trust that power will serve as a cloak to protect them from judgment. They vainly suppose that power is there for anyone to seize. But there is a problem. Power is a gift from above. All earthly powers are delegated. All in positions of authority are stewards accountable to the King from whom authority comes. But who would that be? The Father solemnly declared: "I have set my king", "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You." "I will give the nations for your inheritance." This solemn promise established Christ as ruler over all. His incarnation marked the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise, which is now celebrated universally by his Church. All authority in Heaven and Earth belongs to Jesus. Every ruler is subject and accountable to Him. Rulers need instruction and wisdom to serve the Lord avoiding the wrath of his judgment. The Lord will return to judge the living and the dead. All who refused his rule will be excluded from his kingdom while those who owned it will reign with him. As we celebrate the beginning of his reign may we be mindful of its implications and prepare for his return, knowing that "Blessed are all that put their trust in him."

Prayer Oh, Father Most High, who has enthroned thy Son as ruler over all, grant us thy humble servants such heavenly wisdom and instruction that celebrating with willing hearts His incarnation we may receive the blessing of those who trust him at his return, for thine honor and glory. Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Benjamin E. Bernier, Rector, Providence REC, Corpus Christi, TX

Cranmer Theological House


Day 3 December 5, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 3 Psalm 3 is written in a time of great trouble for David. David’s own son, Absolom wants his father’s throne, his crown and his life. Even the people have turned from David to his son, who claims he is the rightful king. David has been forced to flee his own kingdom with only a faithful few remaining loyal. This seemingly hopeless situation prompts David to cry out: O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Have you ever found yourself in such a place? Deserted by family and friends because you will not set aside your faith? In our psalm, almost everyone has turned against David. But His faith tells him that God is his defender. So, it is with us. David’s trust is in the Lord. “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and He answered me from His holy hill." God provided prophets such as Moses and Joshua to judge defend and instruct the people of God, yet all were transitory, pointing to the One who would come as God and dwell among us. He would defeat every enemy- even death itself - and would establish God’s kingdom in our midst. One of the names for Christ is “Emanuel”, “God with us. In the incarnation, God Himself comes to dwell with us as our true defender. Come quickly, O Jesus. “O Come, O Come, Emanuel…”

Prayer O God of power and might, who has made us and redeemed us through the Incarnation of Thy Blessed Son; be Thou our shield and defender in this world and our eternal home in the life to come. Amen

The Ven. Dr. James T. Payne Rector, St. Thomas of Canterbury REC, Houston, TX

Cranmer Theological House


Day 4 December 6, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 8 Our King and Saviour draweth nigh; O come, let us adore him. This Advent antiphon beautifully summarizes Psalm 8, in which David extols the majesty of the Lord. Unlike mortal kings, who are crowned by others and whose realm and reign are limited, the King of kings and Lord of lords has forever “set [His] glory above the heavens” (v1). While no earthly monarch can claim to have created his own kingdom, the heavens are “the work of [God’s] fingers” (v3), along with the order of the heavenly bodies and the manifold forms of life in the sea and on earth (v3, 7, 8). David marvels that this Sovereign One chose to create man, “crowned him with glory and honor” (v5), and granted him dominion over the earth (v6). God empowers even His frailest children to “silence the enemy and the avenger” (v2). Although sin had robbed us of our crown, the transcendent Creator-King drew nigh at His first advent to reclaim what Adam lost. He took on a human body, and through His perfect life, obedient death, and glorious resurrection, this King has become our Saviour. In Him, earth’s dust has ascended to heaven’s throne. John the Evangelist, who was blessed with a vision of the majesty of the glorified Christ, asserts that Jesus “has made us kings and priests to God” (Revelation 1:6). At our Creator’s second advent, He will make all things new. Our King and Saviour draweth nigh; O come, let us adore him!

Prayer Eternal King, we praise You for the majesty of Your creation and the restoration that You are working through Your Church. Make us bold to speak Your truth until Your Kingdom is perfected and Your enemies, having become Your footstool, are silenced forevermore, to the glory of your Holy Name.

Dss. Teresa R. Johnson Secretary, REC Board of Foreign Missions

Cranmer Theological House


Day 5 December 7, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 24 In the first three verses, we are confronted with the fact that the “earth is the Lord’s, all its fullness.” Even those that dwell upon the earth belong to God. No one can escape this reality. Yet, this reality is not a cause for fatalism. It is cause for great joy. Even in choosing to rebel, the Lord still fights for His people as redeemer, as King over all. In the next three verses, we see how God cares for us, for His earth. Essentially, the only begotten Son of God, Christ the King, is the answer to all the questions posed in verses 3-4. Only Christ ascended the Hill. Only Christ stands in the Holy place, for us. Only Christ has clean hands and a pure heart. Only Christ has not lifted his soul to an idol. Only Christ has not sworn deceitfully. In such loving work for us, we receive blessing from the Lord and His righteousness. The last three verses describe Jesus Christ in His majesty and our reply to Him in worship. All we can do in response to God is worship, to get low. We repent and worship. He answers through coming in and forgiving us. He alone is the King of Glory. In Him alone are all our needs and inadequacies answered. Advent teaches us the patience in waiting on the Lord and His glory. We have nothing to fear.

Prayer Almighty God, help us to acknowledge you as our Creator, King, and Lord in our lives. Help us to submit to Christ and His righteousness. May we receive your blessings all our days. Lift up our heads, to rely solely upon You, through Jesus Christ, the King of Glory. Amen.

The Rev. Carl T. Lund Rector, Church of the Holy Trinity, Houston, TX

Cranmer Theological House


Day 6 December 8, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 25 The question in life is never “Will we suffer?” but always “What should we do when we suffer?” The Psalms are poetic, prayerful answers to this most human of questions, and Psalm 25 is no exception. When we suffer evil or pain of any kind, our first response is usually to think only of ourselves. We might consider how unfair our suffering is or what steps we’ll take to drown out the pain. David the Psalmist has chosen a more noble response, for he thinks not primarily about himself but about God. This is always the answer when suffering: turn to God and not to self. David boldly begins in verse 1 with: “To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You.” Throughout the Psalm, David continues his God-centered response, perhaps most strikingly when he cries in verse 15: “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” In his response, David is saying what Jesus, the Greater David, has said. For Jesus teaches us not to worry, but to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Seek God in all of your troubles and worries, for although God may not remove these things in the way you desire, you can be certain that when you seek Him, He will give you something of far greater value: Himself.

Prayer Almighty God, the true desire of every heart, I pray that when I experience trials or any kind of suffering in life that I would lift up my soul to You and trust in You, and not myself. Train my eyes to gaze intently at You and not my sorrow, knowing You to be a most loving and merciful God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Charles Erlandson Professor of Church History at Cranmer Theological House

Cranmer Theological House


Day 7 December 9, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 40 Now, more than ever, there seems to be cause to cry, “it has never been like this before. The culture glories in shame and scoffs, ‘aha, aha,’ (v. 15) ‘where is your God?’ (Ps. 42:3) Many Christians see the world and are tempted to despair. Christians must guard against despair, for “the devil has no other weapon in hand more fearsome than despair” because despair cuts us off from God (St. John Chrysostom, On Repentance, 1.2) The great antidote to despair is hope. The season of Advent and Psalm 40 offer us this theological virtue. This Psalmist shows the virtue of hopeful expectation. He says, “I waited patiently for the LOR. (v. 1)” This patient expectation that God will manifest His salvation is the essence of the Christian life. God has renewed the hope of His people in every age by types and prophecies. The evidence of God’s faithfulness, justice and mercy are legion, both in Holy Scripture and our personal experience. He “brought me out of a horrible pit, the miry clay (v. 2).” It is hard to deny that we live in a horrible pit, a land where the rivers of justice do not flow, and all experience the engulfing mire of sin (see also v. 12). And yet, “He has put a new song in my mouth,” we have seen the wondrous works of God (vv. 3,5) in the incarnation of His Son. The Redeemer has come and He continues saying, “Lo, I come.” May we yet hope in the Lord.

Prayer O God, who is the only expectation of thy saints, Whose Advent into this world is the hope of all that fear Thee, graft, we pray Thee, Thy Law in our hearts, to the end that we may be guarded from despair, and perpetually given to declare Thy righteousness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Rev. Jonathan M. Kell Rector, St. Stephen’s Anglican Church (REC), Flowood, MS

Cranmer Theological House


Day 8 December 10, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 42 "Deep calls unto deep" King David's metaphor is the desert wadi—sometimes dry, sometimes a series of deadly waterfalls. The deer, athirst in the desert, seeks the water-brooks, which sometimes become water falls, echoing their deadly power within the canyon. What is a thirsty soul to do? David remembers better days, happier days, feast days, and trusted friends. Now, in the lonely lands between memory and hope, his enemies taunt him for trusting God in vain. But even disquieted souls living between memory and hope may have proper confidence that their "King and Savior draweth nigh." Unconverted, unrepentant, and unbaptized souls migrate ever further from their Lord and Maker, while baptized, repentant, and converted, they trek their pilgrim way through the wilderness toward the saving wholeness of an undivided heart. During Lent we will journey, but Advent celebrates God's journey. Where is your soul this Advent? Between thirst and fear? memory and hope? baptism and full conversion? The faithful might well seek the cause of deep calling to deep, of heaviness, and of disquietude. But trust belongs with God, Who came in the incarnation (in carnē), will come in final judgment (in judicium), but comes today for thirsty souls (in mentē). Thirst is good for heavy souls—especially before the advent of the Water of Life Himself. Perhaps "deep calling unto deep" will finally be resolved as the eternal Voice of many waters subsumes the eternal depths of the Fall in disquieted souls—"far as the curse is found."

Prayer O GOD, who sees my whole soul, divided and vexed within me, fretting in lonely disquietude; my thirst is for Thee, to Whom belongs the whole of my heart. Prepare my soul to receive our Lord Jesus in the grace of Christmastide, for my health and salvation. Amen.

The Reverend Mr. John Peter Boonzaaijer Rector, The Chapel of the Cross REC, Dallas

Cranmer Theological House


Day 9 December 11, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 44 Israel has assembled in the sanctuary following a bloody defeat in battle to raise their voices to their God. And they are sore afraid. The blessed company of all faithful people trill out a little liturgy that begs to know the reason. The historical event and even the period are cloudy but the content of their lament is as plain as the horns of the altar. This time, they have been true to the covenant. This time, God cannot be punishing them for idolatry and rebellion. And still God has cast them off, broken them, covered them with the shadow of death. Their enemies laugh them to scorn. And their God with them. The opening recitation of the nation’s glories in the days of their fathers serves in the end only to make their humiliation worse. As it was then God and not they themselves who delivered them from their enemies it is now God and not their enemies before whom they lay prostrate. Why? Like Job, they are not innocent but, like Job, they have committed no sins deserving of affliction on this horrific scale. Elijah mocked the priests of Baal saying, “Maybe he is sleeping,” but now it is Yahweh who refuses to wake up. The Old Covenant never resolves the mystery of suffering for no apparent reason. We, however, may turn during Advent to Romans 8, where St. Paul cites 44:22: “For your sake we are killed all the day long,” and declares us who suffer for God fellow conquerors with Christ.

Prayer O Lord, make us ever mindful that for us who are in Christ suffering and death are steps we take with Him on the ascent to exaltation with Him in the glory of your presence. Amen.

The Rev. Edward W. Fowler St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Broken Arrow, OK

Cranmer Theological House


Day 10 December 10, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 46 2016 has been a year of great distress and destruction for the United States, the Caribbean islands, and Mexico. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria destroyed much of the gulf coastal regions of the U.S. California wildfires destroyed much of the wine country, taking vineyards, homes and lives. The earthquake in Mexico destroyed buildings, businesses, and lives as well. Anxiety, disquietude, and uneasiness still fill the lives of many. As Christians, we share in the same uneasiness and concern for our physical security and future. However, as Christians, amidst this chaos, our hope, trust, security and faith lie in a different place. “God is our hope and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1). The psalmist continues to note that though the greatest of things in the physical would can come upon us and wars and conflicts rage around the world, God is in our midst. Even with the uncertainty in the world, God is still in charge. In the midst of the chaos and clamor of the world, our call as Christians is to quietude and stillness. “Be still, and know that I am God…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Ps. 46:10-11) In the midst of our Advent preparation, let us find time to slow down, be quiet, acknowledge the great works God has done for us, especially in the persona and work of Jesus.

Prayer O Heavenly Father, who is our refuge and strength in the midst of a chaotic world. Grant us your peace which passes all understanding, that in our time of quietness and rest in you, we may call to mind your great works and offer praise and glory to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Rev. Wayland Coe Assistant Dean, Cranmer Theological House

Cranmer Theological House


Day 11 December 13, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 49 In our day of preoccupation with the things around us – politics, corruption, and the like feeding a “Chicken Little” cultural mentality. The Holy spirit speaks across the centuries through the psalmist to encourage us, reminding us that we are but travelers in this life and what is here, is not eternal. Although we would probably all like the journey here to be as pleasant as possible, in the end only some will see the light, others never. The difference is the One who comes, whose coming we joyfully celebrate in the “little lent” of Advent. He shows up, He shows the way, and He gives of himself, even unto death, and the foolish see Him not. There is a futility to living and laboring without God and whose who do the psalmist rightly labels foolish. Yet to some degree we are all foolish at times. Let us pray that the Lord of Light will assist us in being wise and lead us to consider how can we express his light through us this very Advent so that, by Him through us the foolish may be illuminated.

Prayer Lord, I ask that you illuminate me and shine light in the foolish corners of my life. Help me to keep my heart set on you and show forth your light as a witness to others as I strive to work and live for you. I pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Fr. Lawrence Jones Curate, St. Thomas of Canterbury

Cranmer Theological House


Day 12 December 14, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 62 Advent means “coming.” Coming implies waiting. Something is coming, someone is coming, and we are awaiting the arrival. Advent puts us in the mode of waiting, remembering that others before us waited through the darkness with candles kindled by hope: “Long lay the world, in sin and error pining /’till He appeared . . . “ The author of Psalm 62 was in Advent mode—he waited for God. Some personal crisis had provoked him to cry out: “How long will you attack a man?” (v. 3). How long must I wait? “My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him” (v. 5). For the psalmist, God is rock, God is refuge, God is salvation—there is no other to whom we should look, because no one else can help. He will not expect deliverance from any man, high or low, nor will he turn to sinful means to achieve his deliverance. He will wait. He has been moved, but not greatly. He is has been shaken, but he will not fall. He has known distress, but he will not lose faith. The psalmist cultivates a constant, determined, and dedicated patience until God comes, until He acts, until He delivers. What are you facing in your life at this moment? What deliverance do you require? Will you look to God alone? Will you wait? He is coming, He will act, He will rescue, for He is the Source of all mercy and power.

Prayer Almighty God, Who showeth mercy to all who wait upon Thee in hope, grant that we who look to Thee alone for deliverance, may find patience in our trials, and joy in Thy salvation, for the sake of Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord. Amen.

Fr. Jonathan Trebilco Rector, St. Francis Anglican Church, Spring, TX

Cranmer Theological House


Day 13 December 15, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 72 Psalm 72 is one of a handful of psalms described as “Royal Psalms”. Most likely written by Solomon as a tribute to his father David’s reign, it was also a prayer for his own. A prayer for the king to rule over his people with perfect justice and righteousness in accordance with God’s covenant with David, so his people would prosper. Originally, these psalms related to the reign of the Davidic kings. After the demise of the Davidic Kingdom, they were interpreted in relation to the coming Messiah – God’s Anointed One who would truly rule in accordance with the Davidic covenant (2 Sam 7:4-16 & 23:1-7). In light of the New Testament, we see those psalms referring to Jesus, the Christ. As the prophet Jeremiah reminds us: "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. . . He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:5-6). Today, we see our world suffering in turmoil and pray for justice and righteousness as the Israelites did long ago. Yet, as Christians, we know that God reigns eternal as perfect Judge. Out of His love for us, He sent His Incarnate Son, Jesus, to demonstrate His perfect righteousness as Judge and Paraclete - our intercessor, advocate, and defense.

Prayer O Almighty God, Righteous Judge and King Eternal, give us grace that we might reflect the righteousness of thy Son Jesus Christ to the world, so that darkness may be overcome by the light, and that those we meet might know His peace. Let not our sins and wickedness distort His countenance, but let it shine through, so that true wisdom and justice will render the whole world acceptable in thy sight at the time of His coming again in judgement; through Him who lives and reigns with thee and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Dss. Annette M. Johnson, B.S., M.A.R. Deaconess at the Cathedral of St. Matthias, Katy, TX

Cranmer Theological House


Day 14 December 16, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 75 When I was a young boy there was a pasture behind our house. Many different cattle grazed in that pasture from one year to the next. I don’t remember most of them, but there are a couple that I cannot forget. One of those was a massive Brahman bull. He had long, floppy ears, a huge hump on his back, and dark circles around his eyes. He also had an intimidating set of horns that looked like they could do some damage. I assume that they had done some damage because – and this is what I remember most – someone had looped a piece of rope around his horns and secured the lid of a metal trash can on the front of his head. The lid didn’t seem to bother him much, but when he raised his head, it prohibited him from seeing – and presumably charging – what or who was directly in front of him. In the Bible, horns symbolize power. In Psalm 75, the wicked and boastful are described as those who exalt themselves and ‘lift up their horns’. Their necks are stiff, their horns are high, and they make great boasts. But during this Advent season we look forward to the day when God, the Judge of all, will put down the wicked, cut off their horns, and exalt the horns of the righteous.

Prayer Heavenly Father and righteous judge, you have taught us through your Son that he who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted; grant us grace to walk in paths of lowliness, knowing that, in due time, you will lift us up with Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Rev. Canon Rusty Ellisor Rector, Church of the Resurrection, Crosby, TX

Cranmer Theological House


Day 15 December 17, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 80 There is a recurring request in Psalm 80 that becomes more intense as we move through the psalm. Asaph the writer calls out, “Restore us, O God” (v. 3), “Restore us, O God of hosts” (v. 7) and finally invoking the covenant Name he pleads, “Restore us, O LORD God of hosts” (v. 19). There is a real sense of urgency as Asaph prays for a renewed relationship with God. Psalm 80 is the psalm assigned for Morning Prayer on the Fourth Sunday in Advent. This is an appropriate choice because Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for the joyous Christmas season and also a time of soul searching as we anticipate the return of Christ. With the psalmist we pray, “Restore us, O God.” Is there any hope of restoration? Yes, indeed there is. In the first verse God is addressed as the “Shepherd of Israel.” Our Savior Jesus Christ picked up this beautiful image and proclaimed, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” (St. John 10:14, 15). Here we have the basis for our assurance that God will answer our prayer for restoration. It is the love of the Shepherd for His sheep. It is the Shepherd who is seeking us when we stray and places the desire for restoration in our hearts.

Prayer O Shepherd of Israel, we confess that we have strayed from Your ways like lost sheep. But You are the Good Shepherd who loves us and is ever faithful. Do forgive our sins and lead us in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Amen.

The Very Rev. Frank M. Levi Rector, St. Andrew’s, Tinley Park, IL

Cranmer Theological House


Day 16 December 18, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 84 Advent in the Courts of the Lord As we read the writings of the psalmists, we see how much they desired to engage in the public worship of God. In this 84th Psalm, we read, “How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord.” Though the glory of God is revealed in all creation, God chose to manifest his glory in the tabernacle in a special way. If the psalmists before the coming of Christ had this strong desire to be in the house of God to behold his glory, how much more should we! St. John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The word dwelt in this verse could be paraphrased as tabernacled. Because of the Advent of Jesus Christ, the glory of God is seen in a much richer way than it was in the tabernacle, for the tabernacle is with us in the person of Jesus Christ. Since we know that when we attend public worship we are going to see the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ, with even greater fervor than the psalmist, we say, “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord.”

Prayer Most gracious and merciful God, we beseech thee to reveal to us Thy glory in the face of Jesus Christ, so that we might always the love the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thine honour dwelleth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Rev. Dr. S. Randall Toms Vicar, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Baton Rouge, LA

Cranmer Theological House


Day 17 December 19, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 95 After proclaiming the greatness of God, the Psalmist paints a picture of the extent of this greatness. He declares that God has dominion over the depths of the earth and the heights of heaven. In the ancient world, the depths of the earth (or underworld) and the mountain tops (as the place where the gods lived) encompassed the totality of the supernatural spectrum. This is a declaration, therefore, that God's dominion and authority are second to none. He then describes Yahweh's control over the sea and His formation of dry land. In ancient times the sea was the ultimate image of chaos. God, in creating dry land, shows He can control and contain the chaos. This is a declaration that God is more powerful than the chaotic forces of the world around us. We are then invited to come, worship, bow down, and kneel before Yahweh, our Maker. He is the God who has supreme authority and is the God of peace who invites us to enter into His rest, wherein chaos is abolished and His holy order restored. As we enter into Advent, we await the coming of this One who welcomes us to return to the divine relationship for which we were created. He welcomes us to live in the midst of this chaotic world as those who have joy, peace, and hope that surpasses all understanding, because we trust in the authority and power of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Prayer O ALMIGHTY God, who hast conquered the chaos of the grave and overcome the power of death; Bestow upon us, who await the return of thy Son, thy hope and strength to withstand the torments of world and to bear witness of Your love and peace to all humanity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr. Timothy Reimer Rector, St. Luke's Anglican Church, East Aurora, NY

Cranmer Theological House


Day 18 December 20, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 97 In these days of Advent, we are called to join the whole creation in celebration of the reign of our LORD and to prepare ourselves for his soon appearing at the coming of His Righteous Kingdom. The Psalmist describes His reign of righteousness and justice as a fire that goes forth from his throne burning up all enemies before him; the earth trembles and the mountains melt like wax at the sight of his coming. When our King comes, the heavens will declare his righteousness and the whole word will see his glory. Though this coming fills the hearts and mouths of the righteous with joy and thanksgiving, those who serve carved images and boast of idols will be put to shame; for the unquenchable fire that goes before our coming King will consume all the worthless works of the idolaters. In these words, we should find a penetrating warning about ourselves. We must learn to judge ourselves that we would not be judged. Do not think that because you have no totem that you serve no idols. For an idol is anything that keeps you from denying yourself and going the way of the cross. It might be wealth, it might be comfort; even family can become an idol. Take these days of Advent to cleanse the temple of your heart, train your heart to long after the eternal. Embrace the purgative flame of Advent that your soul might be cleansed by the heat of our LORD’s fervent love.

Prayer Teach us, Lord, to order our hearts so that we might learn to long after the eternal. May the fire of your love burn away all that hinders, so that we, through your grace, may be united with You forevermore. Amen.

Fr. Damien Grout Rector, Holy Cross Anglican Church, Alpine, TX

Cranmer Theological House


Day 19 December 21, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 98 In 1719, Isaac Watts, the author of the Christmas carol Joy to the World based his new song on Psalm 98. You can almost hear the harp and trumpet and horn as choral voices shout in joy to all the world the glories of His righteousness. The song calls to all the people to rejoice with heaven and nature that sin and sorrow is no more; that God rules the world in Truth and Grace. The heavens rejoice, and creation repeats the sounding joy. There is another echo to the psalm as well, one far older than the carol: It is Mary’s new song, as she raises her voice in praise and rejoicing. Her Magnificat echoes the words of the psalmist who wrote of the marvelous things God had done, remembering His mercy and faithfulness to Israel, and how His strong right arm brought Him the victory. He brought us the victory, because without His Agony and Bloody Sweat, the Cross and Passion, His precious Death and Burial, His glorious Resurrection and Ascension, and the coming of the Holy Ghost, our salvation would be as nothing, our sins still crimson, our judgment to the eternal fire assured. Just as Mr. Watts did, and the psalmist and Mary before him, let us sing our new song of joy for the great and marvelous things our Lord has done for us, for His mercy, and the wonders of His Love.

Prayer O Lord, our Mercy and Salvation, we raise our voice to Thee in praise and worship for Thy faithfulness to us and to all Thy children. We ask only that we be found righteous in Thy sight, and that we may dwell in Thy House forever. Amen.

Dss. Nancy Jones Registrar, Cranmer Theological House

Cranmer Theological House


Day 20 December 22, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 111 “He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever…” Psalm 111:9 As we think about Psalm 111 in light of the Season of Advent, we are led to think particularly about verse 9 quoted above. From Israel’s perspective, under the old covenant, to recall the fact that God had “sent redemption to His people,” was to think about the great exodus. His people had been enslaved in Egypt and God sent Moses to announce to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” And after bringing them through the Red Sea by His mighty hand, God brought them to the foot of Mt. Sinai where He established His covenant with them as they made their way toward the Promised Land. From our perspective, when we hear “He has sent redemption unto His people,” we think of the greater exodus which has taken place through our Lord Jesus Christ. God sent Him to redeem us from sin, the devil and death. And when we hear, “He has commanded His covenant forever,” we think about the New Covenant which our Lord established through the shedding of His blood— “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” So, as we make our way through this season of preparation, let us pause to praise the LORD for the redemption that He sent us in Christ. And let us look to that day when we enter that greater land of promise.

Prayer Almighty God, we praise thy great Name for the redemption that is ours in Christ Jesus. During this Season of Advent, make us mindful of the great cost of our redemption, the precious blood of thy Son; and hasten the day when our faith shall become sight in the renewed creation. Amen.

The Rev. Canon Charles Camlin Rector, Church of the Holy Communion, Dallas, TX

Cranmer Theological House


Day 21 December 23, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 126 Think of a time when an enormous burden was lifted from you. Call to mind the feelings of relief, joy, and rest. Now, think about the Israelites being delivered from bondage in Babylon. Having spent decades under the oppressive rule of Nebuchadnezzar, they were finally freed by the decree of King Cyrus. Psalm 126, a Song of Ascents, describes that joy of the dream come true. Mouths filled with laughter and tongues with joy, they rejoiced in the great things God had done for them. With the incarnation of the second person of the blessed Trinity, Jesus, God has done even greater things for us. In and through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, God has delivered us from the bondage to sin and delivered us from the powers of death. Like Israel, our mouths are filled with joy as we rejoice in the great works Jesus has done for us in his Incarnation. The promise of God’s long-awaited Messiah has come to pass and we are the recipients of his great mercy and love. In his commentary on Psalm 126, St. Augustine wrote, “They (we) have done ill with themselves, for they have sold themselves under sin. The Redeemer came, and did good things for them (us).”

Prayer Heavenly Father, you have done great things for us in sending your Son, our Lord, to redeem us from the bondage of sin and death. Fill our mouths with praises of joy and thanksgiving for the wonderful incarnation of your Son; and grant that we might tell abroad the wonderful works of God; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Rev. Wayland Coe Assistant Dean, Cranmer Theological House

Cranmer Theological House


Day 22 December 24, 2017 Devotion on Psalm 19 The heavens declare the glory of God. All of God’s mighty works reveal the majesty of His glory, and evoke our praise that we might be drawn into joyful communion with our Maker. But we must cultivate ears that hear the voice of what is seen in creation, for their sound has gone through all the earth. God’s written word teaches us what to see and how to hear, for God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, has shined the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ in our hearts. All of God’s works and words are intended to reveal Christ and lead us to Him. Ps. 19 calls us to behold and meditate upon God’s works in this way. Advent is the season that prepares us for the glorious arrival of the Incarnate Son of God. He is the Sun of Righteousness that rises with healing in His wings. In the long, dark nights of Advent, the brightening sky anticipates the rising sun — a powerful image of the majestic arrival of the incarnate Son of God. Christ, the true Bridegroom, comes from His heavenly chamber crowned with glory, greeted by angels and men alike, vested in humility, shining the light of the gospel to the ends of the world. In His light may God help us to cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, for the day is at hand.

Prayer Almighty God, whose glory is manifest in all Thy works: Open our eyes, to see what is beautiful; our mind, to know what is true; and our heart, to love what is good; For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

The Rt. Rev. Walter R. Banek Suffragan Bishop, Diocese of Mid-America, REC

Cranmer Theological House

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Cranmer House Advent Devotional 2017  

Cranmer House Advent Devotional 2017  

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