Thus far, I have preached twice since entering Nashotah House, once in St. Mary’s Chapel and once at the local parish I am serving at. I am an introvert. Yet, I have found thus far that I really enjoy preaching. I first preached on Advent I (1979 lectionary, year C) and had several weeks of preparation time. My second sermon (Advent III, 1928 BCP) had a much shorter prep time, as it was at the bringing of the week leading up to final exams.
They were two distinct sermons, I think, and have been told. Advent I was more of a meditative sermon; in a way, it was my meditation on what Advent is and how that related to Christmas and Christ the King. On Advent III, I asked the congregation this question, “Why are you here?” and pointed out the fact that there is so much else that they could be doing. I asked them what it meant to be a “steward of the mysteries of God” (based upon the Epistle reading), and told them that the world needed to know why we were in “a small church outside of a big city”.
I wonder what some of the greatest preachers in history have thought of it. John Chrysostom was “the golden tongued”. What makes a sermon different from reading out of the lectionary? I, personally, am not to the point where I would be confident preaching ad libitum, rather than from a manuscript.
As part of our seminary formation, we are trained as preachers. Students preach in the chapel on a regular basis, are expected to preach during internships and Field Education, and take at least two classes on homiletics. I look forward to this.
Christ the Lord is born: O Come, let us adore him.
One of my classes this semester is Greek. Our aim is to have enough knowledge of Greek that we will be able to do basic exegesis, use a Concordance and dictionary, and be able to attempt further study of the language (as many students do in the following two semesters of Greek that are offered).
One of the first hurdles is learning the alphabet. The video below contains a song that we have used that has been quite helpful.
Church Music is another class with new skills to learn. We are learning the basics of keyboarding, as well as how to do Anglican Chant. While I don’t think we will do this in chapel:
we do do this three times a week:
This academic journey is complements a spiritual journey. Nashotah’s emphasis on formation finds us all in the Chapel twice a day for Morning Prayer, Mass, and Evensong. Every day. Even during weekends, summers, and times when students are not on campus, the Offices and Mass are said day in and day out. Nashotah breathes prayer. The Rosary is said twice a week by the Society of St. Mary. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is offered on Wednesday Nights for those who want to attend. Professors begin class with prayer. The Angelus rings three times a day. The Benedictine way of life, as I have said before, teaches us to serve our neighbor. Our work crew assignments take us out into our community, cleaning buildings or repairing gutters or painting fences. It was this last task I found myself doing today.
Here are a couple of pictures to show you various parts of Nashotah’s campus.
Septuagesimatide is nearly over. Yesterday was Quinquagesima, tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday. And then, with the end of Compline, begins the season of Lent.
I’ve had minimal difficulty this year, thinking about my lenten devotions. I say the office nearly every day, and I am now obligated to say it anyway, so that does not count. There is no Mass available for me to attend, save on sundays, so that is out.
So, that’s what I cant do. Here’s what I can (and am):
1) Abstaining from Red meat and carbonated beverages for the entirety of Lent, and white meat on all days except:
Sundays: In honor of the Ressurection
Thursdays: In honor of the Eucharist
Saturdays: In honor of the Blessed Mother
with the caveat, that if there exists a viable alternative, I will use it. I do this because I am not in control of my food supply. Sodexho is, and I doubt they cater to my religious practices.
2) Recitation of the Jesus Prayer Office, or at least my rendition of it.
3) Reading, when able, The Practice of the Presence of God.