Gerasene Pigs
Jesus, the Gerasene, and the Unclean Spirits (James Tissot 1836-1902)

Let us pray (in silence) [that we praise, reverence, and serve God]

pause

Lord,
may we always love and revere your Holy Name,
for you never fail to help and guide those you establish firmly in your love;
through Jesus Christ, our Saviour
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Once again, we have yet another collect (opening prayer) held in common between Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and others. We have been praying this prayer, again, for at least thirteen centuries.

This collect will be added to my Book of Prayers in Common.

Click on this link to find my history, commentary, and reflection on this collect: Ordinary 12. It encourages reflection on God’s Name/Nature, God as our pilot, and points to reflections on this collect centuries ago.

In the Anglican Church of Or, as well as being the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, this coming Sunday is also given the option of being Te Pouhere Sunday.

The dynamic (I’m choosing that word on purpose) of the 3-year Revised Common Lectionary, of the Church Year, of the Bible actually, is that it tells stories of our God who acts. We celebrate the great acts of God. That’s also a rediscovery in the renewed Eucharistic Prayers – we proclaim together the mighty acts of God.

NZ Anglicans tried for a while using a themed, home-grown, 2-year Sunday lectionary. You can imagine why year after year of “Our lives” (page 631), “Our homes” (p633), “Our neighbours” (p634), “Our country” (p635) wore pretty thin, with readings chosen from a fat, black, floppy, Bible concordance…

Trinity Sunday sticks out in the Church Year. Rather than being the story of an acting God, it is the celebration of a doctrine…

And a week later, many Anglicans in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia celebrate Te Pouhere Sunday. Te Pouhere is our church’s constitution. Not the celebration of our God who acts. Not even the celebration of a core doctrine. This is an annual Sunday devoted to our church’s constitution – complete not with different readings for each of the Three Years. No. This is the Anglican Church of Or – you can, each year, choose from a combination of readings from:

Isaiah 42:10-20
2 Corinthians 5:14-19 OR Acts 10:34-43
John 15:9-17 OR Matt 7:24-29 OR Luke 6:46-49 OR John 17:6-26
It is recommended that a suitable psalm be chosen by those planning a celebration for this day.

[For mathematically-minded readers, the number of options in the Anglican Church of Or are: 2 (Isaiah or not) times 3 (2 Cor, Acts, or not) times 4 (Jn 15, Mt, Lk, or Jn 17) [or times 5 if it’s not a Eucharist] times 150 psalms (not mentioning verse options within psalms);…]

I have no issue with focusing on particular things on a Sunday: Refugee Sunday, AAW Sunday, Vocations Sunday,… but I really struggle to see why you would abandon our agreement to share in the international, ecumenical readings, and tie everything so constrictingly up with a tight bow by changing the readings to restrain to the tight theme as well.

Use the ecumenically agreed readings of RCL, and if you want to celebrate Te Pouhere – use more Te Reo, sing about it in the hymns, pray about it in the prayers, talk about it in the sermon [any reasonable preacher can get from the readings to what they really want to talk about in a paragraph 😉 ]

And if the preacher cannot connect Gal 3:28 “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”, or the Gospel set in the country of the Gerasenes, with Te Pouhere then they shouldn’t be allowed to preach…

Oh Yes – especially for those who have already started to email me what colour to use: it’s Green. This is simply the 12th Sunday in Ordinary (Counting) Time.

But wait… in the Anglican Church of Or… there’s more… many will, on Sunday, be celebrating The Feast of Corpus Christi, the Day of Thanksgiving for Holy Communion transferred from Thursday.

Textweek resources
Preaching Resources Down Under

Image source: Jesus, the Gerasene, and the Unclean Spirits (James Tissot 1836-1902)

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