The third Sunday of Epiphany.

God Bless the Irish Faithful. The Church of Ireland has always been a minority, and has been far more faithful as a result. I have a burden about our local mainline churches, with whom I worshiped for years, but they are pleasing the leaders of our society overmuch, who want the churches strengthened, beautiful, and present, but without congregations (or bankrupt congregations).

My church hires the town hall. We would fit in the old Highgate Church, just. Before all this blew up, one of the congregations at Highgate was about the same size.

We are being opposed. This is not bad, because it is a time of clarity. You are either for Christ, or against him.

Almighty and everlasting God,
Mercifully look upon our infirmities,
and in all our dangers and necessities
stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is not a time to be sniping on theological grounds. The old divines would criticize us, saying that the Turk and Reaver have been invited in, and we need to preach the plain gospel first. When I read Calvin and Aquinas I find a correction to this time: for they are realists, knowing that we are living in a creation. Unlike moderns, their feet are firmly rooted in the earth and faith: unlike post moderns, they know both earth and faith are real. It is not a time for doctrinal fights. Our wars are with the spirit of this age, within the church and without.

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

10 I appeal to you, brothers,[a] by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarrelling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul”, or “I follow Apollos”, or “I follow Cephas”, or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Let us therefore pray that all the faithful will be revived, that the false prophets and destroyers within the church will have no victory, and that Christ will be glorified.

Almighty God,
whose Son revealed in signs and miracles
the wonder of your saving presence:
Renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.