Imago’s Common Prayer
Because we believe the Kingdom expands, darkness flees, and Christ is formed in us
When the Church Prays together.
Who knew that Easter was 50 days of party?!
That’s right, weeks of celebrating the pivotal event in human history that changed everything – the Victorious Resurrection of the Son of God. Jesus resurrection means the undoing of death, the reversal of the curse and the inauguration of the new creation. We can be free from sin, fear, addictions, loneliness and meaninglessness. In so doing, Jesus has reconciled us to our primary vocation as priests and regents over all creation, which means as his followers he is growing us up in our vocation to join with him in the restoration of all things! How are you exercising your new-found dignity? How will you engage your priesthood?
The “Priesthood of all Believers” is a biblical teaching that has gained a lot of traction since the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. But it means sooooo much more than just “you don’t need a priest to mediate between you and God so you can just bring your long list of wants to him directly in prayer.” Yes, it means unhindered communion with the Trinity, but it moves beyond being to doing. Beyond relationship to responsibility or representation. Eastertide will focus on our response to God’s victory by our participation in the New Creation as his co-regents.
The Priesthood of all Believers necessarily points to and reveals the Missionhood of all Believers. The saints in Heaven sing to the risen Jesus, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
You and I have been called to represent the King – it doesn’t matter how good you think you are or how much time you think you have or how much you know or don’t know - we are one with him. To be one with God means that we share in his mission, and his mission through Jesus is to redeem the world. God was the first missionary! We will never experience fullness of life in him unless we share everything with him, including his mission - until then we are not truly ONE.
We want you to start praying. Pray intentionally for the people in your life, neighbors, acquaintances, family members, friends, coworkers... are they “people of peace to you”? (Luke 10) Do they want to be around you, serve you, listen to you? We are starting a 3 for 30 campaign (more on this later in this booklet) prior to the Summer months. You will pick three (3) people of peace and pray for them every day for thirty (30) days as a lead in to engaging these people throughout the summer and finally inviting them to Alpha beginning September 4th.
The resurrection means new creation, and this necessitates mission. Will you go further in oneness with Jesus this Eastertide?
Download the PDF version of Imago’s Common Prayer for Holy Week: Booklet-Order version
at·one·ment – He’s drawing you closer
This week, 2000 years ago, Jesus the Messiah – fully human and fully divine – did what we could not do for ourselves and so transformed the course of human and natural history. He did what our first parents Adam and Eve could not do – he lived a sinless life in full communion with his Father. Jesus of Nazareth broke with the human pattern of sin thereby enabling him to be the perfect sacrifice required to take away our sins. He became what the bible calls a sacrifice of atonement. In Romans 3 we read,
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith.
The word translated as “sacrifice of atonement” refers to the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament and can be translated “expiation” (to wipe away) or “propitiation” (to satisfy or avert wrath). The lid of the Ark, between the cherubim, was referred to as the mercy seat, where the blood of a spotless lamb would be sprinkled to expiate the sins of the people and propitiate the justice of God. To refer to Jesus as the atoning sacrifice is to gather up both meanings and declare the goal of such sacrifice, namely to make us ONE with God: At-one-ment. Jesus’ death is the sacrifice, his blood makes atonement, and his body is the mercy seat. Those who receive (trust) in his death on their behalf are redeemed (bought back) from sin and made perfect in God’s sight – able to draw closer.
In her wisdom, the church has set aside a yearly remembrance of our God’s passion – we are entering redeemed time, the holiest time of the Christian year. The word translated “remembrance” in biblical Greek is anamnesis, which conveys no mere recollection of events that happened in the past, but it is a kind of recollection that brings those events forward into the “now” that we might experience them as present fresh realities and so experience their benefits – as if time and space no longer matter.
Draw closer this week. Do not look away. Do not pass by. Behold him who was pierced, wounded, and crushed because our sin separated us from Love. He pursued you even unto death. He’s drawing you closer. How will you respond?
“I am now going to allure her. I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.”
These are the words of a jealous God, spoken to the prophet Hosea. God’s people had been unfaithful to the covenant and to him. To bring them back he would make her as a desert, “slay her with thirst,” and “block her path with thornbushes.” The Lord would “wall her in so that she cannot find her way,” so that, “She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them.” For jealousy is a husband’s fury; Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. - Proverbs 6:34
The Lord reveals himself as a jealous husband, destroying her lovers, and eager for her to re-experience the romance of covenantal love and be exalted with him – but first she must acknowledge him in the desert. The desert wilderness is a powerful theme in Scripture. The Lord is harkening back to a time when he had her to himself in the wilderness of Sinai, in the days of her youth, when he established his covenant with her and she responded exuberantly. The desert wilderness is the place of encounter. It’s the place of weakness, vulnerability, testing, maturation, and complete and utter trust in the One whose protection and provision is perfect.
Moses was atop mount Sinai in the desert for 40 days, Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years, Elijah fasted and prayed for 40 days in the desert, and “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.”
Lent is about encounter, about returning to our first love - but we must first acknowledge him. This Lent we will let him hedge us in, slay us with thirst, block our path and rearrange our rhythms away from our other lovers. We will acknowledge him and learn together how to “redeem the time” by engaging practices that leave space for encounter.
Practices will include:
Imago’s Common Prayer
The Daily Examen
Are you willing to be allured? Are you willing to be led into the desert by the Spirit? Abandon other lovers and return to the Lover of your soul. Do this and you will live, do this and you will arise.
A Holy and blessed Lent to you and yours,
Epiphany is one of the principle Christian feast days celebrating the revelation of God in and through Jesus the Messiah. Since the beginning, Christians have proclaimed the exclusivity of Jesus of Nazareth as the ultimate and final revelation of God’s Divine Being and loving intentions for the world. If you want to know God, you must know Jesus. To see Jesus is to know God. To know him is to love him. Through Jesus, God unveils and unfolds the glorious mystery of his interior life, manifesting it to the whole world and inviting all of creation to participate in his Triune revelry.
The season of Epiphany is about manifestation and mission. The unveiling of God’s infinite beauty in the incarnation, life, teaching, death, resurrection and ascension of this Jewish man from Galilee strikes the human heart with such illuminating force that one’s soul is at once captured and enthralled by love. Our response is always the same: to know and love him more and make him known to others (mission). To enjoy him more, love one another more, and join with him for the restoration of all things.
Epiphany beckons us to participate in the mystery of God and ministry of Jesus, to know him and make him known. The Christian definition of “mystery” does not refer to that which is unknowable, but to that which is infinitely knowable. This Epiphany, let’s know the unknowable, fall in love, and join with Jesus in the mission of God.
Fr. Justin +