Wednesday, April 23, 2003

The First Sunday after Easter (the Book of Common Prayer, 1662 etc)


A little early but in good time for the coming Lord's Day.

"Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification: Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen"

The Epistle: 1 John 5:4-12 Gospel: St John 20:19-23

This one sentence Prayer is another excellent example of how to express reverence, doctrine and petition in a concise way.

Only in this Collect in The Book of Common Prayer is the specific invocation, "Almighty Father" actually used to begin a prayer. And in Eastertide this is most apt for, by the almighty power of God, Jesus was raised from the dead and by his resurrection his disciples are given the privilege of calling God, "Father", as they are adopted as his children, to be the brethren of Jesus Christ, the true Son.

The recital of what the Son of God has done for us is based upon Romans 4:24-25. "Jesus was delivered for our offences and raised for our justification." Jesus died as the Substitute for our sins, bearing them in his own body on the Tree (1 Peter 2:24). He was raised for our acquittal and justification. That is, God the Father raised him from the dead and by this glorious act proclaimed his acceptance of Christ's Atonement for the sins of the world and the basis of the receiving by him of repentant, believing sinners. Thus in the Gospel for this day (John 20:19-23) the Resurrected Jesus comes on the day of his Resurrection to his disciples in the upper room with the word of peace, grace and forgiveness.

The petition ("Grant us so to put away.") is based upon what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:7,13: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore, let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness." It is a firm prayer that we shall put away all forms of spiritual and moral evil and serve God both in moral soundness and doctrinal soundness. Both immorality and heresy can cause great harm to souls, individually and corporately. (The reference to leaven makes sense when we remember that for seven days after the Feast of the Passover the Jews sought to keep themselves clear from every kind of leaven.)

The Collect ends with a recalling that our salvation is not earned by us or deserved by us or won by us; but, it is only given to us by the grace and mercy of God the Father through the merits of Jesus Christ, who died as our Substitute and Representative and rose again for us to bring us acquittal before God the Judge and salvation from sin into the family and kingdom of God the Father almighty.

Hear the Easter sermon at www. - a reformed catholic jewel

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Here are some interesting web links for early archaeological evidence for the existence of Jesus and early Christians believers (e.g., ossuary inscriptions expressing belief in Him within 10 or so years of His crucifixion). Handy for rebutting those who claim there is no such evidence and that it was all fabricated 1-2 generations later. to JA for the above)

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Easter - Resurrection not Resuscitation

Christ is Risen. Alleluia.

What happened to Jesus on Easter morning was not resuscitation. The human soul did not reunite with a revived body to create a resuscitated, revived Jesus.

In no way whatsoever, could Resuscitation have ever been the proclamation by the Holy Trinity to those with ears to hear of the victory of the Incarnate Son over sin, evil, darkness, death and demonic power.

Resuscitation could never have been the statement that a new covenant between God and man was in place, that the old mosaic covenant was obsolete, and that there was atonement, redemption, salvation, reconciliation & forgiveness of sins available through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And neither could modern views of resurrection as "the spirit of Jesus surviving death" (and his body lost) be the statement of God's victory over darkness, evil, sin, death and Satan.

What happened on Easter morning was a miracle that was more, much more, than the resuscitation of the dead body of Jesus and its reuniting with his soul. The Miracle of Easter is that Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, was raised from the dead into a new order of being and as a new form of humanity. His resurrection from the dead, while a continuance in personal identity, was at the same time a transformation of his human nature and body so that he became a resurrected, glorified, supernaturalized and immortalised Man (yet more than Man). His humanity, wholly transformed by the Spirit of God, contained and displayed the new order of being that is the kingdom of God. The Person of the Son of God now had not only his eternal divine nature with a human soul (as from Good Friday through Holy Saturday) but also a totally perfected, glorified, supernaturalised and immortalised human nature.

Thus the cry, "Jesus is risen from the dead", is also the announcement that the new covenant between God and man is in place and is centered on the Mediator, Jesus. The new order and covenant reveals perfect human nature glorified through a perfect response to the Spirit of the Lord. It shows us the goal for which human nature was created by God, and to which it will be raised when the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets men free from the law of sin and of death. It shows both the crown of the purpose of God in holy Scriptures and the crown of his purpose in the created world, wherein a new, dynamic, everlasting level & order of life succeed to old levels that pass away.

Jesus rose as the new Adam, the head and representative of a new humanity, the firstfruits of those who would follow him (see 1 Corinthians 15).

This explanation of the raising of Jesus as the Resurrected Lord of life and not as the resuscitated Rabbi makes it possible for us to see why Jesus did not appear to those who had handed him over to death (the Jewish Sanhedrin & the Roman Procurator and their helpers). By the laws of the new covenant and of the kingdom of heaven, the miracle of the Resurrection could only be made known to those who responded in penitence and faith to the new level of spiritual existence which it disclosed. It was not a portent that could be shown to anyone & everyone to press them or to scare them into belief! It was a miracle belonging to the realm of the kingdom of God and only those with eyes to see could see it.

The new Order of Being manifested and revealed in the risen Lord Jesus, the Messiah, needed a corresponding spiritual discernment to see its nature and reality, Thus Jesus appeared only to the disciples and to them on several occasions. In them he had sown the seed of faith and insight and they, as quickened by the Spirit of God, were able to begin to see him in his new identity, in his transformed and glorified manhood. That is they were able to receive the Revelation of his true identity as the Risen Lord and then worship him (as did Thomas) as "My Lord and my God".

To state all this is to agree with the Gospel records which make it absolutely clear that Jesus made no attempt whatsoever to appear to any others than his disciples.

However, to make this essential point about the revelation of a new order of being is not to discount historical evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus. There is historical testimony that points to the Resurrection of Jesus with overwhelming probability -- for example (a) the disciples did not really expect the Resurrection; (b) the existence of the Church despite the great setback of Good Friday; (c) the claims of the disciples that Jesus actually appeared to them; (d) the empty tomb and (e) the absolutely new appreciation and understanding of the Scriptures by the apostles and disciples.

Ultimately, we must say that, what it took on Easter Day and during the next 40 days first to SEE and then to receive Jesus as the Resurrected Lord, with his new covenant and kingdom, is ultimately what it takes now - a penitent, believing heart that begins to see. "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved."

Easter Morning, 2003

P.S. To hear a classic Easter sermon, written for the use of the whole Church of England in 1560 go to

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Saturday, April 19, 2003

"Ecclesia de Eucharistia" Is John Paul II's Most Personal Encyclical Includes Autobiographical Notes and Poetic Quotations

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 17, 2003 ( The encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," published by John Paul II this Holy Thursday, is the most personal of the 14 he has written.

The encyclical has some vivid poetic passages, interlaced with phrases in which the Pope expresses his intense love for the Eucharist. The style is testimonial, common to papal documents of this type.

Described in the presentation by the Vatican Press Office as "a relatively short document (78 pages in the version published by the Vatican), but profound in its theological, disciplinary and pastoral aspects," the encyclical is a text of six chapters, plus an Introduction and Conclusion, and 104 footnotes, the majority taken from the Second Vatican Council.

More than in any other of his documents, the Pope writes this encyclical in a very personal manner.

He does so by giving autobiographical notes, poetic quotations, metaphors and singularly personal topics, as well as unexpected contributions, such as the decision to dedicate the last chapter to Mary, whom he defines as a "Eucharistic" woman.

The Pope "confesses" to the reader the importance of the Eucharist in his ministry.

"From the time I began my ministry as the Successor of Peter, I have always marked Holy Thursday, the day of the Eucharist and of the priesthood, by sending a Letter to all the priests of the world. This year, the twenty-fifth of my Pontificate, I wish to involve the whole Church more fully in this Eucharistic reflection," he writes.

The Holy Father's memories in connection with the Eucharist are expressed in point No. 7, in which he says: "When I think of the Eucharist, and look at my life as a priest, as a Bishop, and as the Successor of Peter, I naturally recall the many times and places in which I was able to celebrate it."

"I remember the parish church of Niegowic, where I had my first pastoral assignment, the collegiate church of Saint Florian in Krakow, Wawel Cathedral, Saint Peter's Basilica and so many basilicas and churches in Rome and throughout the world."

He continues: "I have been able to celebrate Holy Mass in chapels built along mountain paths, on lakeshores and seacoasts; I have celebrated it on altars built in stadiums and in city squares. ... This varied scenario of celebrations of the Eucharist has given me a powerful experience of its universal and, so to speak, cosmic character.

"Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world. It unites heaven and earth. It embraces and permeates all creation."

Gratitude is another sentiment reflected in the encyclical. The Pope acknowledges that he takes up again the theme of his first reflections on the eucharistic mystery, during the early years of his apostolic ministry in the Chair of Peter.

He expresses "with even greater emotion and gratitude in my heart, echoing as it were the words of the Psalmist: 'What shall I render to the Lord for all his bounty to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.'"

John Paul II, who began his ministry with the encyclical "Redemptor Hominis," focused on Jesus Christ, "center of the cosmos and of history," now takes up, in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the issues that have concerned him most in this quarter of a century, which he considers decisive for the future of the Church.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Holy Saturday - where was Jesus?


In the quiet of this day, let us reflect.

Holy Saturday

After he had borne in his own soul and body the sins of the world (reflected in his Cry of Dereliction from the Cross), expressed his desire for full restored Communion with the Father ("I thirst" - for thee my Father), and announced the victory over evil, sin and darkness ("It is finished"), Jesus died ("Into thy hands, I commit my spirit"). And he died as the sacrificial Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. He voluntarily handed over his human spirit to the Father, remaining in death the Lord of life. His body and soul separated, the body to be given burial in Jerusalem and the soul/mind/spirit/human nature to remain in perfect union with the divine nature in the one Person of the Incarnate Son.

Thus the Son of God incarnate lives without his body for the period from between 3 - 4 p.m. on Friday until say 1.a.m. on Sunday. He remains in full communion with his Father continuing to do the work that the Father gave him to do. For this period of time his work is proclaiming his Victory wrought on the Cross, that is preaching the Gospel of the New Covenant, sealed by his shed blood. He proclaimed this Gospel to those of the old covenant who had died in faith looking for the Messiah to come, so that they could embrace him as their Messiah and Lord and go with him to the heaven to be created around him by the Father at his exaltation to the right hand of the Majesty. He also proclaimed to others, the disobedient, this same Victory.

The Apostles' Creed confesses that Jesus the Son and Lord was crucified, dead and buried. Then, before moving on to the Resurrection, it declares: "descendit ad inferna" ("he descended into hell"). This is a reference to where Jesus spent the time from his expiry on the Cross to his resurrection from the dead and exaltation into heaven. He entered the underworld, Hades, and according to 1 Peter 3:18f., he "preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey." Or as St Peter put it, "the gospel was preached even to the dead" (1 Peter 4:6; cf., Ephesians 4:6; Revelation 1:18). The saving work of Jesus extends not only to those alive when he was on earth, but also to those who had died before the Incarnation.

His Atonement has an infinite and eternal value covering all space and all time and all humanity.

On Easter morning, the Incarnate Son was raised from the dead - that is, the Father restored to him his body so that soul and body became one again. But while it was in essence the same body which was crucified it was a changed body, for now it was an immortal body, a resurrection body, a body of glory and a supernatural body - a body for the new heaven and the life of the age to come, and a body to be the model for the resurrection bodies of his people.

He rose victorious from the grave. By his resurrection the Father proclaims to the world that the victory of the Son over sin, evil, death, darkness and satanic forces is accomplished. Now - the now of grace - there is salvation in him and him alone and this salvation is for all, Jew and Gentile, who believe this Gospel.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon Holy Saturday 2003
May I also say that at my church website, you can hear the sermon on the meaning of Good Friday/the Cross now and from midnight British time tonight (19/20 April) the sermon on the Resurrection from the Book of Homilies of the Church of England.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Foot washing by Rowan & Good Friday Homilies


On Maundy Thursday Rowan Williams revived the medieval practice in his Cathedral at Canterbury of washing the feet of twelve of the parishioners, to fulfill our Lord's command.

Today, Good Friday, The Times newspaper of London has pictures and an account on the front page and other national daily papers also cover it.

There is apparently a real place in our secular age for dynamic symbols of the Christian Faith as part of the Apology for this Faith.

May I add that those who want to hear sound sermons on the meaning of Good Friday could visit my church website where they can hear today and tomorrow two of the official sermons of the C of E (from the Book of Homilies) for Good Friday; then from midnight Saturday and all day Sunday and in Easter week they will be able to hear the Homily on Easter & the Resurrection. These are all solid biblically based sermons which for me was a joy to read and record.

thank you

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Good Friday - two complementary themes

Why was Jesus crucified at Golgotha?

On the human level, Judas betrayed him to the priests, who in turn handed him over to Pilate, who in turn gave him to the soldiers, who obediently crucified him.

Seen from heaven (and by us in retrospect through revelation) the Father gave up his Incarnate Son and the Incarnate Son, Jesus, gave up himself voluntarily, to die for the sins of the world, and thus for us. From this perspective, it is true to say: "Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas, for money; not the Jews for envy; not Pilate for fear; but the Father, for LOVE."

The apostle Peter makes this double point of the evil intentions of men and the loving providence of God using the evil of man for the good of man in Acts 2:23 & 4:28 (cf. also 1 Peter 1:19-20).

The cross both exposes the sin & evil of man, Jewish and Gentile, and, at the same time, reveals the divine purpose of the Holy Trinity to bring salvation, redemption, and grace upon grace to the same evil man through the voluntary death of the Second Adam, the Son of God incarnate.

Let us this Good Friday spend time with the Blessed Virgin Mary, John the apostle and other disciples at the foot of the Cross of Jesus.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

More On Malaysian Bible-Banning

Dear Dr. Toon,

Thanks for highlighting our problems.The Bibles are still available from the Bible Society as of yesterday - the Christians and one opposition party are protesting but this may be something that augurs trouble in the days ahead.

As you are probably aware, many Ibans are staunch members of the Anglican church.

I wrote to Touchstone about it yesterday - here is more news.The first excerpt is a piece published by the Star newspaper in Malaysia.Among the Christian titles banned are books by Stott and Packer-spelled Scott and Parker for some reason.

The Bible in Malay and Indonesain remains banned and we are only allowed to use it in church and at home.All this despite the fact that the Bible was the first book printed in Malay(the first gospel was translated in 1612).


Sarawak churches: Review ban on Iban-language bible

KUCHING: The Association of Churches in Sarawak has appealed to the Home Ministry to review the ban on the Iban-language Bible, Bup Kudus, saying it has been widely used by churches in the state for 15 years.

The Bup Kudus Bible was among 35 books banned by the ministry last week.

According to the Home Ministry's Film Censorship and Publication Control Division enforcement chief in Sarawak Elias Mat Rabi, Bup Kudus was banned because it breached the guidelines for non-Islamic religious books.

The association, which said it had not been notified of the ban, said it was dismayed to read about it in the newspapers.

"We, the Christians in Sarawak, do not understand why the Bup Kudus was banned, after all the Penyangup Baru - the New Testament in Iban language - has been in use for many years in our churches throughout Sarawak.

"The Bup Kudus - the complete Bible in the Iban language - has been in use since the first edition came out in 1988.

"To find Bup Kudus banned now has caused confusion, anxieties and alarm among the Christian community in Sarawak," the association said in a press statement signed by heads of its member churches from different denominations.

The signatories were the association chairman Pastor Lawrence Banyie (also Seventh-day Adventist Church president), deputy chairman Rt Rev Datuk Made Katib (also bishop of the Anglican Church, Sarawak and Brunei Darusalam), Datuk Peter Chung (archbishop of Roman Catholic Church), Rev Jonathan Jelanding (Iban Annual Conference Methodist Church president), Rev Ting Daik Choung (Chinese Annual Conference Methodist Church president) and Pastor Kalip Besar (Sidang Injil Borneo president).

Pastor Banyie said Bup Kudus was the only Bible used by Iban-speaking Christians in hundreds of churches statewide.

"Without the Iban Bible, we cannot conduct the church services," he said.

Malay Bible -- why banned?

From: John William
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2003 10:12 AM
Subject: Please highlight this in your newspaper

Malaysian News : General

April 16 , 2003 15:30PM

Christian Community Wants Govt To Explain Ban On Iban-Language Bible

KUCHING, April 16 (Bernama) -- As Christians in the country get ready to celebrate Easter this weekend, many Iban parishioners in Sarawak attending church services want the government to clarify the Home Ministry's ban on the Iban-language Bible, "Bup Kudus". Benedict Nawas, 35, who attends Iban services at his local parish here, said the government should not only review but explain the ban as it had caused a lot of confusion and anxiety among the congregation.

"While educated Iban-speaking Christians can refer to English versions of the bible, rural parishioners in the longhouses depend on their mother tongue to understand the scriptures since most are illiterate," he told Bernama here,Wednesday.

Bup Kudus, the complete bible with the Old and New Testaments in the Iban language, has been widely used by churches in Sarawak since its first edition in 1988. It was among 35 books banned by the ministry last week.

Another churchgoer, Norma Entimok, 33, also expressed unhappiness over the ban because she was concerned that many among the Christian community might become misled due to the lack of reliable religious materials in the Iban language.

In calling for the ban to be lifted, she said the Bup Kudus had served as a guideline for worshippers as it was the only bible used by Iban-speaking Christians state-wide.

Iban churches of various Christian denominations throughout Sarawak could not conduct church services without the Iban bible following the ban.

On Thursday, the Association of Churches in Sarawak, in a joint statement, said that Christians in Sarawak did not understand why the bible was banned.

"The member churches are shocked and dismayed to read that Bup Kudus is among the 35 books banned by the Ministry of Home Affairs," it said.

The statement was jointly signed by the association chairman and Sarawak Seventh-Day Adventist Church president Lawrence Banyie, deputy chairman and Sarawak Anglican Church Bishop Datuk Made Katib, Sarawak Roman Catholic Church Archbishop Datuk Sri Peter Chung, Iban Annual Conference Methodist Church president Jonathan Jelanding, Chinese Annual Conference Methodist Church president Ting Daik Choung and Sidang Injil Borneo president Kalip Besar.

"To find Bup Kudus banned now has caused confusion, fear, anxiety and alarm among the Christian community in Sarawak," it said.


Malaysia Bans Christian Books, Including the Iban language Bible

A Letter from a former student of mine who has a Master's degree from London University.
Dear Friends,

Last Wednesday, the Home Ministry of Malaysia announced a ban on 35 books, most of them Christian in the national language (BM), which huge chunks of East Malaysian churches pray, read & worship in.

More serious was the ban on the Iban Bible (Ibans-Christians in Sarawak). Today, key church leaders issued a challenge to the gov't to explain this ban. The statement said"...To find the Bup Kudus (Iban Bible) banned now has caused confusion, fear, anxiety and alarm among the Christian community in Sarawak".

The ban affects hundreds of thousands of native Christians. A 3-year jail sentence is stipulated for possession of it and a Malaysian Dollar $20.000 fine( US $ 1= 3,80).

It will be a grim Easter this year. Please pray for boldness among ethnic Christians. Pray for the Sarawak Council of Churches & other Christian bodies in Malaysia. In the 1980s the Alkitab- the Indonesian Bible was banned. It was subsequently lifted after strong protests from Church leaders.

John William (Malaysia)
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Tuesday, April 15, 2003


"O Lord Jesus Christ, who out of thy silence upon the Cross didst bequeath to thy Church seven words: Grant that we may ponder them as the inexhaustible Gospel of thy love and of the world's redemption; and learn likewise both by speech and silence to glorify our Father in heaven; who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end."


The first word from the Cross is a prayer and shows the Lord Jesus making beauty out of a thing of shame. He prayed for his murderers and this was a new way of dying. Death as such is not redemptive, but he made it redemptive both by the perfection of his character and by the way he accepted and transformed it.

The men who nailed Jesus to the Cross were doing their duty, carrying out a routine job. So the Lord Jesus gives them the benefit of the doubt, making generous allowance for excusable ignorance. We know that they were under orders and paid hands putting into effect the evil plans of other men's minds.

Jesus anticipated that in the future they would actually come to recognize his full identity and believe on him as the Lord and Saviour unto salvation. Then these words would ring in their ears and echo in their hearts and they would be able to forgive themselves for what they did. Jesus not only could foresee he also fore-acted. He prays for their forgiveness before they are repentant of their sin.

What was a prayer for the soldiers is also a pray for us. It is the petition of the great high priest as he offers the one complete sacrifice of himself as the Lamb of God for the sins of the world.

"Blessed Lord, who in thy forgiving love didst pray for those who nailed thee to the Cross, and hast taught us to forgive one another as thou hast forgiven us: Take from us all bitterness and resentment towards our fellows, and give us the spirit of mutual forgiveness and brotherly love; that so, in perfect charity, we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom; for thy name and mercy's sake. Amen."


The second word of the Lord Jesus from the Cross is a promise in the form of a personal assurance.

The presence of the Third Man, the Lord Jesus, between the two criminals on Mount Calvary exposed the inner core of each of them. One was abusive. "Save thyself and us" he mockingly cried. The other found himself deeply touched by the Man in the center and he simply asks to be remembered, "Lord, remember me." [which request we may extend to mean, "Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to thy loving kindness remember thou me, for thy goodness' sake, O Lord", Psalm 25:6,7.]

And what a response he got. "Today" - not at some future distant point; "thou shalt be with me" - in the presence of the King in the kingdom of God the Father; and it will be "in Paradise", not in some shadowy realm of the dead but in God's pleasure garden, the new Eden, the foot-hills of heaven.

We recall and rejoice "That we might go at last to heaven, saved by his precious blood" is the possibility opened up to all by the Cross!

And we recognize this word as the charter for death-bed conversions! Any of us can ask for mercy as we approach death and know we shall be heard. But how better to ask for mercy in the midst of life.

"Blessed Saviour, who when hanging on thy Cross didst welcome the penitent sinner: We beseech thee, by that same compassion, to pardon the guilty, heal the wounded, recover the fallen, restore the wandering; that casting themselves upon thy mercy they may return with penitence to the embrace of thy love, and enter at last into the joy of thy presence; for thy love's sake. Amen."


In his third word from the Cross, the Lord Jesus creates new family ties and new boundaries of responsibility.

In terms of human feeling, perhaps the two who felt the Crucifixion the deepest were Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John, the beloved disciple.

By his Cross Jesus has a transforming effect on human relations. In the kingdom of God they are lifted to a new level and caught up in a higher order. John found a new mother and Mary found a new son. Here at the foot of the Cross God's new family, the household and family of God the Father, is being created.

The Church proceeds from the sacrifice of the Son of God; and the union of the Beloved Disciple and the Mother of the Lord Jesus prefigures and foreshadows the charity/love of the Ecclesia [church] of God.

It has long been said that Mary becomes here the mother of the faithful (Revelation 12:5ff.) and that John represents the ideal Christian convert.

While the unity of the Church is symbolized by the seamless robe (John 19:23-4), the nature of the unity is declared in the new family relation of Mary and John.

"Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister and mother" (Mark 3:35).

"O Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy holy incarnation didst enter the human family, and on the cross didst commend thy mother to the care of the beloved
disciple: Purify our homes by thy abiding presence; sanctify all our human relations; and grant that united with one another in thee, we may together attain thy heavenly kingdom; for the honour of thy great name. Amen."

The last four words from the Cross

Four MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME? (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46)

At the birth of the Incarnate Son of God there was brightness at midnight as the angels celebrated in holy song (Luke 1-2); at the death of the Incarnate Son of God, there was darkness at noon.

A great darkness descended and covered Calvary for three hours. At the end of this period, people heard the anguished cry of Jesus, the Messiah, the agonising prayer of the Son of Man to his Father in heaven.

The physical darkness of that time pointed to the evil darkness that Jesus had been facing since his arrest - "This is your hour and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53) he had said to those who would destroy him.

On the Cross the conflict between God and evil, between God and sin, between God and the devil and his hosts, between God and death, and between God and darkness was fought out in the body and soul of the new Adam, the Messiah, the Son of God Incarnate. And it had to reach a conclusion. There could be no draw, no treaty, no compromise, no co-existence and no cessation until it ended. One side had to win and the other had to be annihilated.

We can imagine Jesus as the God-Man feeling, in his divine nature, the horror and repulsion that the Holy One always knows in the presence of sin and evil, and we can imagine him, in his human nature as the Suffering Servant of God, feeling the divine wrath and displeasure that the sinful one must always know in the presence of the Holy One.

Here is the heart of the Cross where the righteous Man, the new Adam, is crucified and dies on behalf of the unrighteous, sinful race of Adam, and in suffering and dying he bears the weight and guilt of that sin and unrighteousness in his own pure soul and body.

Thus, as the Messiah, as the Representative, Substitute and Suffering Servant, experiencing the weight of sin, he cries out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1)

O generous love! That he who smote
In Man for man the foe,
The double agony in Man
For Man should undergo.

Because he who wins the battle is truly the God-Man [and thus has double agony], that which he has achieved in his human nature is given eternal and infinite value by the union with his divine nature; and so anyone, anywhere, at any time can call upon the name of the Lord and be saved -- saved that is by the precious blood of this one Person, made known in two natures, divine and human.

"O Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy most bitter passion hast tasted death for every man, and hast borne our sins in thine own body on the Tree: Grant us, we beseech thee, a broken and a contrite heart for all thy sorrows, and the loosing from our sins in thy precious blood; that we may live henceforth as those who have been bought with a price, and glory only in the cross. Amen."

Five I THIRST (John 19:28)

When Jesus is sure that the work he had come to do is accomplished, and that the will of the Father for the salvation of the world is done, he utters a cry, " I thirst." Naturally the soldiers took this as the cry of a suffering man with a parched throat and hastened to give him liquid! But Jesus was thirsty in a deeper way than in the physical sense. He was deeply immersed in the devotion of the true Israelite and was praying in words made familiar to us by the Psalms - e.g.,

"My soul is athirst for God, even for the living God" (42:2); "My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh also longeth after thee" (43:1).

Jesus longed for the fullness of communion with his Father. He thirsted for God the living God.

Yet even in the action of the soldiers in offering to him vinegar [rather than water] for his physical thirst there is symbolic truth declared. The reed/twig of hyssop used by them was used in Hebrew ritual cleansing (Leviticus 14:4,6; Numbers 19:18; Psalm 51:7) and it had been used to sprinkle the doors of the Jewish homes during the first Passover in Egypt.

Since Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the Door (John 10:7) the action of the soldiers reminds the reader that the redemption of the Passover is fulfilled with this sacrifice on Calvary of the true Paschal Lamb by whom people enter into the kingdom of God through his precious shed blood.

And even as the Incarnate Son of God thirsted for communion with the living God, his Father, so ought his disciples to do likewise.

"Blessed Lord, who on the Cross didst endure the thirst both of spiritual desire and of physical anguish; Satisfy the longings of our hearts, we humbly beseech thee, and sanctify our sufferings by thine own; for the love' s sake. Amen."

Six IT IS FINISHED (John 19:30)

Jesus did not die with the groans of a murdered man, nor with the resignation of a martyr. He died with the shout of a conqueror. He died knowing that he had completed the work that his Father had given him to do. His mission was now complete.

(Note that Psalm 22 from which Jesus took his cry of dereliction (verse1) "My God, My God..", actually has a theme of ultimate triumph of God's cause and ends with a note of victory for God's cause. Perhaps Jesus had this in mind when uttering this cry.)

From the Cross itself the Lord Jesus shouts his victory. Of course to every other eye a dying man on a cross looked like and was defeat. But God's ways are not our ways and here on the Cross God had not only the world but also the devil fooled!

We need to be clear that the victory of Jesus Christ was won on the Cross itself. What had been the instrument of his execution he made the symbol of his triumphant reign. On the Cross of Calvary, before sundown on Good Friday and before the actual dying of Jesus, the victory was complete. He had done all that the Father required for the reconciliation of the world to himself, for the redemption and salvation of mankind, for the forgiveness and remission of sins, for abundant life in the kingdom of heaven of the age to come and for communion and friendship with the Father through the Son and by the Holy Ghost.

Therefore Easter is the glorious sign and announcement that the victory has been won. And the church preaches the message of the Risen Lord Jesus who is also "Christ crucified."

"O Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world: Grant that as thy sacrifice for our redemption was full, perfect, and sufficient, so nothing may be wanting in our service and sacrifice for thee as members of thy mystical body; for the honour and glory of thy great name. Amen."


The first and last words from the Cross were addressed to the Father, to the "my Father" of the Lord Jesus. The first was a prayer for pardon and this is a prayer for peace. The drama of Calvary's cross begins with the making of forgiveness real and certain and it ends with a victory that is complete and a peace that is indestructible.

In this last word and prayer the Lord Jesus turned to the Psalms and used for himself the verse that millions of believers would use in the office of Compline (Psalm 31:5 - into thy hands I commend my spirit). We may even suggest that this was the going to sleep prayer he had learned on Mary's knees. But of course he adds to it the most important word, "Father" for he is the only Son of the Father.

And this prayer points to the act of Jesus, the voluntary act of Jesus, whereby he hands over his spirit to the Father. On the Cross in his final moment he declares that he is the Lord of life and the Lord of death who nevertheless is obedient to his Father as the Incarnate Son.

"O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who at the ninth hour of the day, with outstretched arms and bowed head, didst commend thy spirit to God thy Father, and by thy death unlock the gates of paradise: Mercifully grant that in the hour of our death our souls may come to the true paradise, which is Thyself; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen."

"Most bountiful and benign Lord God, we, thy humble servants, freely redeemed and justified by the passion, death, and resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ, having our full trust of salvation therein, most humbly desire thee so to strengthen our faith and illumine us with thy grace, that we may walk and live in thy favour; and after this life be partakers of thy glory in the everlasting kingdom of heaven; through the same Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen."

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

To assist with your meditation in Holy Week.

The traditional English name for the Thursday of Holy Week is Maundy Thursday.

The most probably explanation of this expression is that it is based upon the Latin, "Dies Mandata", meaning "the Day of the Commandments." It will be recalled that according to the Gospels the Lord Jesus Christ on this day gave to his disciples commandment (1) to commemorate his death [Luke 22:14ff.], (2) to wash one another's feet [John 13:14-15], and (3) to love one another [John 15:12ff.].

Various practices are traditionally associated with this day which originated in the early Church - the repetition of the Creed by the Catechumens who are to be baptized on Easter Eve, the public absolution of penitents and the consecration of the chrism (the baptismal oil and oil for anointing the sick).

The classic Book of Common Prayer (1662) envisages that there will be a Service of Holy Communion on this day at which will be commemorated the institution of the Lord's Supper and the narrative of the Passion will be read.

The institution is celebrated through the reading of St Paul's account of the commandment of Jesus "to do this in remembrance of Me" ( 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). The Gospel is Luke's Gospel 23:1-49 and is the continuation of the BCP method of reading the Passion narrative in all four Gospels during Holy Week. Thereby the contents of the Gospel take us through Good Friday and we hear of the Crucifixion of the Lord before it has (liturgically in the calendar) occurred.

The Collect used is that has been used on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; it takes its inspiration in part from Paul's poem of the Incarnation and Death and Exaltation of Jesus in Philippians 2:5ff.

The western catholic traditions of reserving the sacrament for use on Good Friday, of stripping the altars and of keeping watch with Jesus into the night have been taken over by some Anglican parishes in modern times. Further, some Anglican dioceses have a service in the Cathedral for the consecration of the chrism/oil and at this (in recent times) clergy have been asked to renew their ordination vows.

For those who cannot go to church services there is much benefit to be gained on this special Day in reading and then meditating upon the three commandments given by our Lord on this day.

"This do in remembrance of me" opens us vistas of possibilities of fruitful thought concerning the way we know Jesus in the Sacrament!

"Wash one another's feet" presents us with a vivid picture of what serving and loving others is all about. No task is too menial for the servant of the servants of the people of God.

And "Love one another as I have loved you" takes us into the depths of meaning of "agape" and "caritas" which is presented to us by the example of our Lord and is explained in brief by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.

Maundy Thursday stretches out, as it were, to grasp Good Friday even as Good Friday reaches out and forward for the message of victory proclaimed on Easter Day!

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Monday, April 14, 2003

GOOD FRIDAY - a short meditation


Some thoughts to help prepare for Friday in Holy Week.

This name is peculiar to the Church of England (and thus to English culture where the Church has had an impact).

Of all Fridays of the year, there are profound reasons for giving this one the title of "GOOD."

It is the Day when the only One who was GOOD enough as a Person (for he was righteous and without sin) to pay the price of our sin, actually paid that price as the sacrificial Lamb on the Cross.

It is also the Day when the supreme GOOD of mankind - communion and friendship with the Lord - was made possible when the Son of God incarnate took away all barriers to realising and experiencing that good. The supreme end and good of man is to enjoy and glorify God forever and this is only possible through the reconciliation wrought by Christ Jesus on the Cross.

Further it is the Day when GOOD triumphed over evil as God the Father turned what could have been the world's greatest tragedy - the crucifixion of the most innocent of men - into the salvation of mankind, and as He turned an evil act and apparent defeat into the victory over Satan, sin and death and showed it in Resurrection.

Finally, it is the Day which provides the world with GOSPEL, that is GOOD NEWS, a message of hope to all the nations. The GOOD news is that there is forgiveness, a right relation with the Father, eternal life in the age to come, and friendship with God through the saving work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross.

Yet, while it is most certainly and surely a GOOD Friday, it is also a day of Fasting for the Bride of Christ, since it is the Day when the Bridegroom is taken away from his Bride [the Lord Jesus from his disciples - see Mark 2:19-20] as he descends into Hades to announce and proclaim his finished, saving and good work to those who have died and wait for their full redemption.

Thus the Church fasts for this whole day, or even for this day and the next day, until the great cry - CHRIST IS RISEN. ALLELUIA - is heard on Easter morning. Then with the victorious and faithful Bridegroom returned she can eat with him at his banqueting table and her first food is his sacramental body and blood, at the Easter Eucharist.

The Book of Common Prayer (1662) provides Collects, an Epistle and Gospel for this GOOD Friday and the general Anglican tradition has been to have only Ante-Communion this day and to encourage meditation, prayer and quiet in church and at home.

In the Roman Missal there were eight collects for Good Friday and the three in The Book of Common Prayer are adapted from these. They take their themes from the Priestly Prayer of Jesus uttered before he went into the Garden of Gethsemane and recorded in John 17 - his prayer of consecration and for his disciples and those who would be converted by them. The first Collect refers to the Church as the Family of the Redeemed, the second to the Church as a living organism, and the third embraces all outside the Church of God that they will be converted to Jesus Christ, the good Shepherd.

Though the Church of England in 1549 removed and eliminated all the solemn medieval ceremonies/features of this day [e.g. special intercessory prayers, the veneration of the Cross and the Mass of the pre-Sanctified] some of them have been restored in some parishes, especially those of an Anglo-Catholic disposition.

What it seems is wholly inappropriate to revive and encourage today is any form of devotion or piety that has as its aim to weep for Christ in his pain and agony before and on the Cross. While such was common in late medieval times and is still found today, it is quite wrong for it sets us above the Lord Jesus and encourages wrong emotions in our souls. One hymn even has the line, "Have we no tears to shed for him?"

Christ does not want our pity but our total consecration to him.

The affections of the soul of the believer who contemplates the Lord Jesus on his Cross on this GOOD Friday ought to be occupied with profound reverence and awe, adoration and praise, before the overwhelming reality of the Incarnate Son of God engaging in holy battle with all the enemies of God and man, in order to gain victory through his redeeming, reconciling and atoning work.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Encouragement for Holy Week


Holy Week has begun.

I write this as much to encourage myself as others. We all need encouragement to be what we are called to be and do.

Whatever be our churchmanship or denomination, let us resolve this week to stay with Jesus the Christ as closely as possible. That is, let us accompany him daily into and out of Jerusalem until the day, Friday, that he does not leave the city in the evening. And then let us stay with him in Jerusalem, at Calvary and by his tomb, until we are exhausted by devotion and commitment.

First, to those who use the classic Prayer Book of the Anglican Way. In "The Book of Common Prayer" (1662/1928) there is a Gospel Reading printed and provided for every day of this week and with it comes an Epistle and at least one Collect. Perhaps no services are provided daily or perhaps we cannot get to those provided in our church, but let not this be an excuse for us not to stay with Jesus. Let us all set apart, in a church or in suitable place, the time to read slowly and prayerfully the appointed Gospel text daily.

If we follow some other Lectionary let us do likewise. The main thing is to get into the sacred text and let its narrative become our narrative for this week.

Or let us take one of the Gospels, or two or more of them, and read systematically the Narrative of what happened from what we call Palm Sunday through to Holy Saturday. Each Gospel has a large amount of text devoted to what we call Holy Week and the Passion of the Incarnate Son of God (see e.g., Matthew 21ff; Mark 11ff; Luke 19ff & John 13ff.).

In our reading of the sacred text, let us use our imagination and our reason to visualize what we read, and then, let us place ourselves, each one of us, into that scene so that we actually watch Jesus, note his demeanour, hear his words, and see how others treat him. Especially let us join the women and the disciples at the foot of his Cross on Good Friday. This will take time and so let us make time, for we cannot meditate and contemplate quickly. BUT this is Holy Week and we are in mediation and through the mysterious union caused by the Holy Ghost part of the most important events ever to occur on planet earth!

Let us thank his Father and him for being there for us, for taking our place as our Representative and Saviour, and for providing for us through his Passion not only an example to follow in terms of patience, humility, submission to God etc., but also redemption, reconciliation and atonement with God his Father. Then let us examine ourselves and be contrite before him, asking how what he is doing for us actually ministers to our real needs and saves us today.

If we follow this route and identify with the Lord of glory in his suffering, death, and burial, then we shall be spiritually prepared to celebrate the Resurrection of the same Lord Jesus on Easter Day. The rejoicing on the Feast Day of feasts and the Festival of festivals will be real and profound for we shall know in our inner selves and in the congregation of the faithful, the sure presence and grace of the risen Lord Jesus. The Joy follows sorrow, the Resurrection follows the Crucifixion.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Anglican Marketplace


May I give you the full address of the new PBS marketplace.

Some of you tried the shortened address (up to and it did not work.

Please try this one.

thank you for your patience.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

On the Jussive Subjunctive in Liturgical Absolutions


More for you to think about as you pronouce the Absolution in Holy Week.

At the beginning of the Latin Mass after the Confession of sins, the Priest says, "Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam" and the people respond with "Amen". Then he Priest says, "Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum, tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus" and the people respond with "Amen".

Here we have the use of the Jussive Subjunctive, that form of the Subjunctive which normally expresses a command or order. Fiat Lux - Let there be light.

Now there is no doubt but that Roman Catholic doctrine presupposes that an ordained Priest has been given authority by the Lord Christ to pronounce surely and really the absolution, remission and pardon of sins to the penitent. Thus the use of the Jussive Subjunctive in the Absolution is to be understood as putting this doctrine into place and action so that what the Priest says is a sure word of the Lord to the penitent.

So in whatever way we translate the Latin into English we must communicate this certainty, which is a divine certainty.

If we look in The Book of Common Prayer at the Absolutions there, which were written in the sixteenth century as translations of Latin originals, we find that the jussive subjunctive is rendered thus: "Almighty God, our heavenly Father,.have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins." Here the Priest utters a sure word of God to those who are repentant and believe the Gospel.

If we look in the Anglican Missals, produced by Anglicans to enrich the Order of Holy Communion in the Prayer Book from the Latin Mass, we find that the Latin quoted above is translated thus: "Almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to everlasting life" & "The Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of sins."

However, when we turn to several of the Missals of the 1950s and 1960s for use by Roman Catholic laity in the USA and where the Latin is on one side and an English translation on the opposite side, we find a different approach to translation. For example, in The Marian Missal (Regina Press, NYC, 1963), the English translations are: "May almighty God be merciful unto you, and forgiving you your sins, bring you to everlasting life" & "May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution and remission of our sins."

And in the official translation of the modern Roman Catholic Mass, the use of "May" continues: "May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life." However, if one examines the German, French, Spanish, Portugese and Italian translations of the Latin they are more like the traditional English translation of the Anglican Missals, expressing a performative power of divine certainty.

Modern Anglican liturgists, while not abandoning completely the traditional English style and form of Absolution, seem to prefer the modern Roman Catholic way. In Common Worship (2000) of the Church of England, where a large variety of Absolutions are provided, the greater proportion of them is in the "May" form.

In that we are told that modern liturgy is to be simple, intelligible, accessible and meaningful, then the common sense meaning of the verbal form of "may" needs to be taken seriously. Very few people understand the mysteries of the subjunctive, let alone the jussive subjunctive, but, generally speaking, most people regard the use of "may" as not communicating a certainty - e.g. "I may come to see you" is far from certain and "May you get better" is merely the expression of a wish.

Why this preference for "may" forms in the new liturgies? Here are three possible answers which need not be mutually exclusive. The first is the general ignorance and awkwardness of liturgical language devised by committees of liturgists who are not specialists in language per se. For some, it appears, inserting the word "may" makes the text more elegant. The second is the possible egalitarianism of members of these liturgical committees,so that they prefer to avoid giving the impression that the priestly office carries with it some special authority or power of absolution that is not inherent in "the whole people of God. And the third is that with the generally lowered sense of sin in church people today, the desire for an absolution that is certain and clear is not intense.

It would appear that Thomas Cranmer and his fellow editors of the Prayer Book had the right sense of the jussive subjunctive in Absolutions and their style of translation is the correct one, if, and only if, we intend that the Absolution be a sure word of God to the penitent

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

The Sixth Sunday in Lent commonly called PALM SUNDAY

"Almighty and Everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Philippians 2:5-11 St. Matthew 27: 1-54

Holy Week begins as we first pray this Collect. Its moving content takes themes from the Epistle and Gospel in order to lead us to God the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord in recollection and in petition.

We have learned from the regular reading of the Gospel through the Christian Year of the great love, mercy and compassion of God the Father for the world, even for those who being his creatures, still rebel against his authority and goodness. Thus we remember as we address the omnipotent and eternal Father that it is of his tender love towards mankind that he sent his only-begotten Son into the world to be the Saviour of the world and care for us in our sinfulness.

We also remember from hearing the Christmas message that the same Son of God took to himself in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary human flesh, that is a human body and mind. Thus he became by his incarnation (to use the language of the Church) One Person made known in two natures [divine & human]. And having become the Incarnate Son he assumed the vocation of the Suffering Servant of God, set his face steadfastly towards Jerusalem, and took upon himself suffering, crucifixion and death in a representative and substitutionary capacity, for the world and for us and for our salvation.

From the Epistle, we learn of the great humility of the eternal Son of God, who being equal with the Father in divinity and Godhead, he nevertheless took upon himself our human nature and became a servant, so as to save us from our sins and into a right relation of love with the Father. Thus we also remember before God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, his Son, in this Collect, that (by his help and grace) we are called to follow the example of his great humility, which we see especially in the narrative of his Passion (Suffering & Death).

From the Gospel we learn of the patience of the Lord Jesus so that our petition, "Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of his patience", has solid meaning for us. In Matthew 26 - 27 (which was the older longer Gospel for the Day in the Sarum Use) we learn of the patience of Jesus under the agony (26:42), patience towards Peter (26:40), patience towards Judas (26:50), patience towards those who arrested him (26:52), patience when being mocked and spat upon (26:67; 27:29,30), patience before the high priest (26:62,63), patience before Pilate (27:13-14); patience before revilers (27:29-30) and patience when abandoned by God (27:46). By imitating his patience we learn humility and in being humble before God, we believe that we shall be made partakers of the resurrection from the dead and life eternal with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We pray this Collect daily until Good Friday even as we also read further accounts of the Passion from the other Gospels for the next five days, as provided in The Book of Common Prayer (1662).

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Sunday, April 06, 2003

(This visit to Qatar for the Dialogue with Muslim theologians and to visit the church was planned a long time ago--P.T.)


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will visit the Anglican Church community in Qatar on Sunday 6 April. Dr Williams will confirm 16 people from 7 countries and preach during a confirmation service in the English School.

During the service, which will be conducted by the Rt Revd Clive Handford, the Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, Dr Williams will also bless a cross-shaped stone for a new church building due to be constructed later this year. The Church of the Epiphany, Doha, will be the first church built in Qatar since the seventh century.

As previously announced, Dr Williams will be attending the second 'Building Bridges' seminar on Christian-Muslim dialogue in Doha from 7-9 April.

Archbishop's Christian-Muslim initiative continues in Qatar


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is to convene the second 'Building Bridges' seminar from April 7-9 in Doha, Qatar. The conference is being hosted by the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and follows on from a similar gathering last year at Lambeth Palace.

Around thirty Christian and Muslim scholars from across the world will hold detailed discussions over three days. This year the gathering will focus on the place of scripture in the two faith communities; speakers will address issues such as the contemporary interpretation of scripture and scriptural perspectives on those from other faith traditions. The format of this year's conference includes both open lectures and private sessions. As with the first conference last year, it is hoped that an account of the deliberations will be published in book form.

The conference was planned well in advance of the military conflict in Iraq and is part of a continuing process of engagement between Christian and Muslim scholars. Dr Williams underlined the importance of dialogue:

"Christians and Muslims have much to learn from each other, and much to share, despite all the differences we acknowledge. A meeting such as this is a clear demonstration that we do not have to be imprisoned in mutual hostility and misunderstanding when our encounters are shaped by the scholarship and experience of people such as those who will be contributing to this meeting."

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Meditating in Passion Week & Holy Week

The two official sermons of the Church of England on the Meaning of the Death of Jesus Christ (from the 2nd Book of Homilies, 1562) are now posted on the Website of my little parish.

They are about 25 mins each and provide a reformed catholic view of the reason for and meaning of our Lord's suffering and death.

Hear them read (not by Bishop John Jewel, I regret) but by me at via your own home computer.

May they help the ending of your Lenten discipline and meditations.

If you have time, tarry at the website and hear other sermons written by the leaders of the reformed Church of England in the 16th century and read by me (O that I were a better reader/preacher of these great sermons).

Thank you for your patience.

I thank Barbara Rabett for her work in putting these sermons on line.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Tuesday, April 01, 2003



Below is a brief meditation on the Collect for Passion Sunday and the text of a Collect for this day composed in 1689 with the purpose of being "more affecting" - raising the affections to God - than the ancient one from the Sarum Missal and in the Cranmerian BCP.

Lent 5 (Passion Sunday)


We beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Hebrews 9:11-15 The Gospel. St John 8: 46-59

The Church has arrived in her Christian Year at the point when she is only 14 days from Easter. In the Jewish Year there was/is 14 days of preparation before the Passover when on the 14th Day of Abib the Passover lamb was slain. So this Sunday is called Passion Sunday as the suffering and death of Jesus as the Lamb of God is much in view - see the Epistle which makes mention of the shedding of Christ's blood.

Human kings that do their duty take care of the governing according to righteousness and preserving in peace of their subjects. The King of kings, Almighty God, the Omnipotent One, also takes care of his people and preserves them unto everlasting peace. And he does do in their total being, for the Christian hope is not merely of the immortality of the soul but also the resurrection of the body to life everlasting in the courts of heaven. The reason he cares for the whole person, soul and body, is because of "thy great goodness"

As the worst that the world can do to the Son of God incarnate - reject and crucify him - is to be the theme of some of the Church's reading and meditation until Good Friday, it is good and right that on this day the Church asks her King in his mercy and grace, and by his great goodness, to hear her prayer and to govern and preserve his Church in this particular time. God's people in this part of the Christian Year especially need to know that despite all the evidence to the contrary in a world of sin God is still not only the LORD but the bountifully good Lord.

In 1689, in the proposed revisions to The Book of Common Prayer, it was decided to replace the present Collect with another written by the Bishop of Chichester. Though this revision scheme failed, the Collect is worth remembering and praying for it does fit neatly into the theme of the latter part of Lent.

"O Almighty God, who hast sent thy Son Jesus Christ to be an High Priest of good things to come, and by his own blood to enter in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us; mercifully look upon thy people, that by the same blood of our Saviour, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to thee, our consciences may be purged from dead works, to serve thee, the living God, that we may receive the promise of eternal inheritance; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon