Services at St Michael and All Angels
Sunday 15 July, Seventh Sunday after Trinity
Intent: Purity, a day of devotion to the Holy Spirit
Sunday 29 July, Ninth Sunday after Trinity
Sunday 5 August, Tenth Sunday after Trinity
Sundays with no Eucharist service
at St Michael’s:
(Services are held at St Alban’s,
351 Wickham Tce, Brisbane)
Sunday 8 July, Sixth Sunday after Trinity
Intent: Steadfast Service
Sunday 22 July, Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Evolution – the bigger picture
The Sundays in Trinity continue in the month of July. These Sundays all have weekly “intents”, short statements which are offered to us for reflection and to incorporate into our meditations. An overarching theme that underpins the Church year is that of spiritual growth of all participants in the Christian traditions. We might term this process “spiritual evolution” and I would like to share some thoughts on this theme with you now.
Darwin’s book, “The Origin of Species”, was published in 1859. We can all imagine the impact that it had on the many different groups of people who were active in the Church at that time, and also on people separate from the Church, some of whom may have been engaged in a scientific occupation. The big controversy that Darwin’s book unleashed was, at its heart, whether God created the world (ascertained at that time at about 6000 years ago) and continued to maintain it, as is, or were there “other” forces in nature that produced slow changes in everything that we observe in the material world, including humans, these changes being labelled “evolution”.
This particular controversy does not raise much excitement in the present day, given the massive increase in scientific activity and the influence of science in our everyday lives, and also the very significant decrease in public attendance at church or acknowledgement of religion and God. I am not at all suggesting that science and church attendance are mutually opposed. There are many and varied influences in modern life that lead to declining church attendance. Today the controversies we debate publicly are the building of walls between peoples (eg the US and Mexico), immigration all over the world, terrorism and military threats and invasions.
The Liberal Catholic Church has as part of its teachings and general understanding the concept that the whole universe and everything in it is changing and evolving under a plan orchestrated by God. This rather bold statement, by being so brief leaves out all the interesting detail of the role of humans, science, cause and effect, leading a satisfying and useful life, and so on. In particular, this statement leaves out the complimentary teaching that the vast array of angels (also called Devas or “the shining ones”) assist with God’s plan of evolution by responding to the Divine Will and directing currents of evolutionary force through all the universe.
One of the expressions of this Divine Will is the energy released by the Christ during the Consecration, which is part of the Eucharist, in which the angels play a vital role.
During the Liberal Catholic Church Eucharist, as part of the Preface which begins the Prayer of Consecration, we recognise nine orders of angels as “Angels and Archangels, Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers, Cherubim and Seraphim”. We have an expectation that these angels act in a coordinated way and willingly cooperate with the Celebrant and all the participants of the Eucharist to channel the release of Christ’s blessing which consecrates, uplifts and knits together the prayers, emotions, thoughts and song of the Eucharist.
Angel fresco in Turin by Giuseppi Rollini 1889-1891
The Intent of the 5th Sunday after Trinity is “God as Peace”. Part of the Gospel appointed for this Sunday comes from St John and reads, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you”. This passage is a reminder to us that truly enduring peace that leads to a life of honest significance and contribution comes from inner sources of power and strength. These inner sources are inextricably linked to the Divine Will driving the evolutionary processes of which we are all a part. Recalling that we can always call on the cooperation and assistance of the hosts of angels in our journeys should give us a spring in our step, and on the not-so-good days, encouragement to smile and rejoice.
With God's blessing