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St. Mark 25 April

 Saint Mark the Evangelist
[25 April]

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrine of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ephesians iv. 7. St. John xv. 1 & Homily.

Abide in Me


The Fourth Sunday after Easter

O ALMIGHTY God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ezekiel xxxix. 21, Psalm 147, St. James i. 17. St. John xvi. 5.

He will guide you into all truth

Fourth Sunday after Easter Home

In the Gospel appointed for this fourth Sunday after Easter, Jesus told his disciples that he would go to his Father, but that it was necessary for him to do so in order that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, could come to them. Jesus calls him the Spirit of Truth, and told the disciples that the Spirit would guide them into all truth. This promise is really the foundation for the living Church. God is with us, and our assurance is that he will guide us into all truth.

What a wonderful promise this was. The disciples, feeling sorrow that Jesus was to leave, are told a mystery. God's spirit would dwell with them in the place of Jesus, and would tell them of all the things that Jesus did not have the time to tell them. On the Day of Pentecost God sent his Holy Spirit upon the apostles to be present with them specifically, and upon all members of the new Church. The Spirit taught them many new things and led the Church in its formation and practice.

The Early Church embraced this promise and witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit through gifts, miracles, and signs. They also recognized something else: Sometimes there were disagreements in "truths". Some came with their belief that Jesus was the Son of God and divine, others that he was just a regular man. Some discerned a Triune nature of God. Some that Jesus, the Spirit, and the Father were co-equal and of the same substance. Some believed that they had freedom to live in any way they chose, regardless of what the old law had said. With so many claiming that they had a new revelation that was a "truth" inspired by the Holy Spirit, the church fathers sought ways to discern the truth.

One of the early movements of the Holy Spirit was to open the Church to Gentiles. We know of this truth being revealed to Peter when he was given a vision and went to Cornelius the Centurion, and then reported this truth to his brothers in a Church council [Acts 10 & 11]. Later Paul was moved to rebuke those Christians who taught that Gentiles must undergo circumcision and other rituals of the Jews. He brought this matter to a Church council who discerned by discussions amongst themselves what the Spirit had revealed. Later in the First Ecumenical Council the Church addressed the nature of Jesus, and denied the teachings of a large group of Christians who taught that Jesus had been created by the Father. Their discernment of the truth led to the Nicene Creed that most Christians affirm.

Today the Church is divided. The last truly ecumenical council was in the Eighth Century. Since then the Church has had many different elements claiming they were led by the Spirit in a different way. It is difficult for me to imagine there are many truths, but we continue in this pattern. It is often difficult to know who is right. We know that some changes are not addressed by Scripture and represent one way of many of worshipping or organizing. However, other innovations are contradictory to both Scripture and tradition - and are rejected out-of-hand by most Christians. The words of our collect seem so appropriate to these movements for today: among the many diverse and manifold changes of the world, may our hearts be fixed on our Lord. May we look to the example of those of Berea, who searched the Scripture diligently to see if those things taught by were to be found. Let us also consider the Wisdom of tradition, the Holy Spirit working in the Church, as we consider truth and error. Even though the Church is divided, may the many different factions of the Church Militant stand together in strength against innovations that threatened our core beliefs, and may God lead us as Christian brothers in all truth.

The Reverend Mark Carroll 2005

George, Centurion , Martyr - April 23rd

A big day for England and Anglicans was always St. George Day
Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
There is, in fact, every reason to believe that George was a genuine martyr who suffered at Lydda before the time of Constantine. Indeed, certain accounts record his death to be in the year 307. It is written that George was an officer in the Roman army who, after giving his goods to the poor at the outbreak of persecution, confessing his Christian faith and refusing to sacrifice to the gods, suffered "terrible tortures" which lasted for seven years and was eventually beheaded. St George Day Site


Prayer for Benedict XVI

The Cardinals have elected Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope, who is the Bishop of Rome [ ], was recognized as the first among equals in the ecumenical councils. He will lead the largest component of the Church Militant. I bid your prayer for him. You might like to use this ancient form from The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome ca 215 AD which was said by the senior bishop at the consecration of a new bishop.

FOR Benedict XVI
God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Father of mercies and God of all consolation,
you who live in the highest, but regard the lowest

you who know all things before they are,
you who gave the rules of the Church through the word of your grace,
who predestined from the beginning the race of the righteous through Abraham,
who instituted princes and priests,
and did not leave your sanctuary without a minister;
who from the beginning of the world has been pleased
to be glorified by those whom you have chosen,
pour out upon him the power which is from you, the princely Spirit,
which you gave to your beloved Son Jesus Christ,
which he gave to your holy apostles,
who founded the Church in every place as your sanctuary,
for the glory and endless praise of your name.
Grant, Father who knows the heart,
to your servant whom you chose for the episcopate [
as See of Rome],
that he will feed your holy flock,
that he will wear your high priesthood without reproach,
serving night and day, incessantly making your face favorable,
and offering the gifts of your holy church;
in the spirit of high priesthood having the power to forgive sins according to your command;
to assign lots according to your command;
to loose any bond according to the authority which you gave to the apostles;
to please you in mildness and a pure heart, offering to you a sweet scent,
through your son Jesus Christ,
through whom to you be glory, power, and honor,
Father and Son,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the Holy Church,
now and throughout the ages of the ages.


The Third Sunday after Easter - Pope John Paul ii vis-a-vis the ECUSA

The Third Sunday after Easter

ALMIGHTY God, who showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1 Samuel ii. 1b, Psalm 113, 1 St. Peter ii. 11. St. John xvi. 16.

the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed
[1 Sam ii]

Easter Three Home

Pope John II was buried this week, and there was an outpouring across the world of praise and admiration for the leadership he had provided to the Roman Catholic Church and his example in the Christian world. Four-million people gathered in Rome at John Paul's funeral. John Paul II's reign as head of the Roman Church will be remembered in history as remarkable. Why was this? Each will remember him for different things; for me it was because he was strong in the faith and did not let pressures of a humanistic and secular world-vision rule his words and actions. He looked to God, the Scriptures, and tradition for his guidance and through love conveyed the ancient truths to his generation in a way that helped to strengthen the entire Church Militant and free millions of Europeans from the tyranny of atheistic Communist rule. The world weighed his actions by God's word, and found him to be a faithful servant of his Master and true minister to his flock. The words of the prophet Samuel from our Old Testament reading echo in our ears this day, the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed

Ironically, this week in the Anglican Communion we see quite a different picture, but one that is based on the same principle of weighing actions against the Word of the Lord. This week the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) withdrew its representatives from the Anglican Consultative Council at the request of the primates of the Anglican Communion. Why? It was because the ECUSA had consecrated a practicing homosexual to the episcopacy, and had authorized serivces of the blessing of same-sex unions. The primates found that these actions not only were contrary to the clear word of Scripture, they violated a specific pronouncement of the primates meeting at Lambeth in 1998 that homosexual lifestyles were incompatible with Scripture. As late as 2002, the Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA had assured his fellow primates that the ECUSA would respect this strongly-held precept of the Communion. The actions of the ECUSA broke trust in the Communion. The primates, perhaps considering the words of Samuel, weighed the actions of the ECUSA against the Word of the Lord and found it to be wanting. So much so that many refused to take communion with the Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA when the primates met in Ireland in February 2004. They have in effect excommunicated those Anglicans who were involved in these innovations. The primates further asked that bishops, who participated in or voted for the consecration, relieve themselves from Anglican Communion meetings. Finally, they asked the ECUSA to place a moratorium on same-sex blessings and consecrations of homosexual bishops, withdraw its voting members from the Anglican Consultative Council, and to present before that council a Scriptural justification for their actions. These are not mere requests; failure by the ECUSA to respond positively could result in a formal expulsion from the Anglican Communion.

These seemingly disparate events this week are linked at the deepest level by the simple but profound precept of orthodox Christianity -- the relevancy, truth, and authority of Scripture. The world weighed John Paul's leadership and actions and found a man who endeavored to live the Gospel and measured his own leadership against the Word of God and traditions of the Church. The world assessed the ECUSA and found it had violated trust among the brethren and ignored the Word of the Lord.

The words of today's collect are as appropriate for our times as they were when recorded in the Prayer Book in the 16th century. A fellow centurion this week reminded me that we have a duty to do; we should pray that God show those who are in error the light of his truth, with the intent that they may return to righteousness. May he help us, and all Christians, to avoid those things that are contrary to the profession of our common faith; and finally, may we follow the leading of his Holy Spirit and Word in all such things as are agreeable to Christianity. It is my hope that centurions will pray this collect throughout the week, being mindful of recent events and our need for God's Grace Amen

The Reverend Mark Carroll 2005

Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart


Prayers for Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen/Marines/etc.

Offered below are specific prayers for deployed troops/sailors/marines/airmen.  These came for the Book of Common Prayer. I modified the Navy prayer so both prayers would be suitable for any of our centurions to use regardless of their nationality.

I added links to the prayers on our Order's "Prayer" page, just below the prayer of the Order.  The links are also on the Chapel page

For the Army (and Air Forces).

O LORD God of Hosts, stretch forth, we pray thee, thine almighty arm
to strengthen and protect the soldiers of our country; Support them in
the day of battle, and in the time of peace keep them safe from all
evil; endue them with courage and loyalty; and grant that in all
things they may serve without reproach; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For the Navy  (Marines, Coast Guard, Mechant Marines)

O ETERNAL Lord God, who alone spreadest out the heavens, and rulest
the raging of the sea; Vouchsafe to take into thy almighty and most
gracious protection our country's Navy, and all who serve therein.
Preserve them from the dangers of the sea, and from the violence of
the enemy; that they may be a safeguard unto our country, and a
security for such as pass on the seas upon their lawful occasions;
that the inhabitants of our land may in peace and quietness serve thee
our God, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Second Sunday after Easter

I bid your prayers of thanksgiving this Sunday and throughout the week for the life and service of John Paul ii,
ALMIGHTY God, we remember this day before thee thy faithful servant, John Paul ii , we give thanks for his leadership and example in your Church, and we pray thee that, having opened to him the gates of larger life, thou wilt receive him more and more into thy joyful service; that he may win, with thee and thy servants everywhere, the eternal victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
********************************************** Today's Collect *********************************
The Second Sunday after Easter

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

One Flock, One Shepherd

1 St. Peter ii. 19. St. John x. 11 & Homily.



The Great Unifier

I commend this article to you:
The Great Unifier Pope John Paul II. by Jaroslav Pelikan

As we remember the impact of John Paul II, certainly his efforts toward reconciliation are most vivid. I believe most if not all orthodox Christians, East West and Protestant had a warm spot in their hearts for this man and a respect for his principals and accomplishments. 

A few months ago I viewed on television a special service between the Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Pope for the return of relics of two saints that had been removed from Constantinople by Crusaders in the 1200s.  I was moved by the symbol and the most important meaning of this service and the translation of the relics back home.

Within the Order of Centurions we have Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant members... all who  share an "orthodox and universal" understanding of the essentials of our faith -- that is our common ground. I pray that all religious fellowships everywhere might seek the common ground and walk hand in hand with their "orthodox" brothers of the One Church Militant. The unity of the church in the next century may be one not so much of regaining unity in administration and jurisdiction,  as in unity through a common bond with the essentials and against emerging heresies that could destroy the faith once delivered.

Unity in essentials, Diversity in non-essentials,
and above all, Charity