The Properties of God – Br. Jim Woodrum

Br. Jim Woodrum

2 Peter 3:11-18
Mark 12:13-17

The other evening, I engaged in a discussion with a friend about the Prayer of Humble Access. This prayer, recited just before communion in the Rite I liturgy; of the Prayer Book, and is known for its poetic, though somewhat outdated, language. I pointed out to my friend that is a version of the prayer, in contemporary language, which begins: “We do not presume to come to this your table, O Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your abundant and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table; but you are the same Lord whose character is always to have mercy.” Opinions on this prayer vary; some may find its tone overly submissive, while others, like myself, prefer to focus on the aspects of God’s grace.

My friend observed that, for him, the modern language didn’t capture the depth he found in the more traditional language, especially highlighting the phrase: “But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy.” He argued that “characteristic” doesn’t convey the same depth as “property.” The term property refers to a quality or feature uniquely belonging to an individual or thing. Being a science enthusiast, he likened it to a “physical property of matter,” explaining that such a property is an attribute observable and measurable without altering the substance’s chemical identity. Properties observable only through chemical changes are chemical properties, whereas physical properties are apparent without change or during physical alterations. Examples include changing states of matter or altering matter’s shape through actions like folding or cutting. Physical properties are detectable through our senses, making them crucial for describing matter.[i] Applying this analogy to the Prayer of Humble Access, we recognize that mercy is an unchanging attribute of God amidst a constantly changing and evolving world. Read More

Belonging to God – Br. James Koester

Peter 3: 11-18

Psalm 90: 1-6, 13-17

Mark 12: 13-17

It was the spring of 1976 and Canada was in the throes of a federal election campaign. I had just turned 18 the summer before so this was the first time I would be able to vote. I decided I wanted to see an election from the inside, and to cover my bases I worked for three different candidates, from three different political parties. I worked for a Liberal Member of Parliament from Toronto, stuffing envelopes in his office on Parliament Hill. I went leafleting door to door for the New Democratic candidate running in the constituency where I lived in Ottawa and I did office work for a Progressive Conservative candidate in another Ottawa riding. One evening I attended an all candidates meeting in my guise as a Progressive Conservative party worker. That riding was clearly an important one for the two main parties to win as the Conservatives had put up a well known candidate hoping she would be able to take the riding from the governing Liberals. The Liberals wanted to keep the riding, so they sent the Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, to the all candidates meeting. Between them, the New Democrats didn’t have a chance. At the end of the evening, the moderator asked for one last question. I was standing at the back of the room and my hand shot up. I had a question for the Prime Minister and I wanted to ask it. Amazingly the moderator pointed to me and I got to ask my question.

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