Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 250,000 readers More than 32,000 links Updated every Sunday
Will you help support
Anglicans Online?

The Paypal logotype

Noted This Week
Sites new to AO

News Centre
News archive

News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us by email
Be notified each week

Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Hong Kong
New Zealand

South Africa
Sri Lanka

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
About our logo
Our search engine


Mukawir, JordanHallo again to all.

It is impossible today to write about anything but the American epidemics of gun violence and mental illness. It is impossible today to write about anything but global cultures of active toleration toward the mistreatment of women. It is impossible today to write about anything but the ongoing nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula. It is impossible today to write about anything but the landmark installation of a woman as an archbishop in Australia.

Our words today would be inadequate to each of these emerging occasions, as we reflected this morning during the Great Litany in procession for the first Sunday in Lent. Each petition for mercy and deliverance seemed apt in its encompassing way: carrying our woes on prayer and foot in a form given us for this season by the Church in old wisdom. Although our parish life does not involve the use of Cranmer's Litany more than a few times in the year, there is never a day when its petitions are not true:

From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy, from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all want of charity.

From all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion; from violence, battle, and murder; and from dying suddenly and unprepared.

In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment.

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world; to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord; and to bestow freedom upon all peoples.

That it may please thee to show thy pity upon all prisoners and captives, the homeless and the hungry, and all who are desolate and oppressed.

That it may please thee to inspire us, in our several callings, to do the work which thou givest us to do with singleness of heart as thy servants, and for the common good.

That it may please thee to preserve, and provide for, all women in childbirth, young children and orphans, the widowed, and all whose homes are broken or torn by strife.

That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the bountiful fruits of the earth, so that in due time all may enjoy them.

That it may please thee to visit the lonely; to strengthen all who suffer in mind, body, and spirit; and to comfort with thy presence those who are failing and infirm.

That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts.*

In their steady cadence, the words washed over us this morning with a clarity we haven't known before. Each line is a reorienting of our hearts to turning and repentance, asking God to hear the sincerity of the praying Church in our wish to be more conformed to the mind of Christ and the needs of the world. The Litany is no panacea—it would be idolatrous against the events of this young year to suggest so—but it is at the least a common expression of our intention to change with the good help of a good God and our neighbours.

We went in our souls' eyes this morning during the Litany not to a cathedral close or even to the Green and Pleasant Land, but to the utter desolation of the first Lent: the imprisonment of John at Machaerus by the Dead Sea, the temptation of our Lord in the wilderness, the utter stillness and thinness of the mountain fortress of Herod where we hiked and sang and prayed in October. The site of Salome's request and the horrible beheading, this place provides no comfort. Its history has purged it of joy, and it is tended by a solitary Coptic refugee at a bus stop. One is left with one's words, one's body, one's eyes—the ability to walk and to pray, but an utter reliance on the mercy of God for sustenance and safety. Even in a modern tour group, this is not an illusion: imprisonment in such a place is almost natural, and fasting nearly inevitable. Was the Baptizer any more a prisoner in the mountain fastness than Herod? In the surgical precision of Litany, are any of us exempt from the world's imprisonments of sin, error, selfishness, failure?

We start the journey of Lent with the Litany, mindful of the manifest brokennesses we all know, but giving them—all of them—to the God who will in 40 days kill death with Love stronger than death. As we put each foot in front of the other, we acknowledge our duty to be a people who change: who change our hearts, who change our workplaces, who change our families, who change our governments, who change our parishes, who change wrong structures, who change through grace all that is not strong and brave and yielded. If the wilderness is clear to see, so are the guiding lamps that pierce it word by word, and action by action.

See you next week. Good Lord, deliver us.

Our Signatures

Richard Mammana


All of us at Anglicans Online

18 February 2018

*If you don't observe the custom of stomping a foot following the line That it may please thee to strengthen such as do stand, to comfort and help the weak-hearted, to raise up them that fall, and finally to beat down Satan under our feet, you should.

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2018 Society of Archbishop Justus
. Please address all spam to