Today’s Readings for the Daily Office
Psalm 38 (Morning)
Psalm 119:25-48 (Evening)
Antony, Abbot in Egypt, 356
This morning we remember and celebrate the life of Antony of Egypt. In the late second century, C.E. Antony was born into a wealthy Christian family. After inheriting the family estate, Antony felt a call to renounce his possessions and to live in prayerful solitude in the desert. Twenty years later he returned from his desert hermitage and allowed a group desiring to follow his practice to form around him; he is credited with founding the Christian monastic movement.
Those who followed Antony lived a communal life of prayer, study, contemplation, and labor at a time of major transition in the life of the early church. Followers of Christ went from being persecuted outsiders to recipients of privileged status as members of the church of newly converted Emperor Constantine. It was during this period that Antony’s monastic order provided an avenue for Christian individuals to live out their faith in community and in a way that re-captured the original cruciform (cross formed) way of life that defined the character of the early church before Constantine – one of self renunciation and social ostracism for the Lord.
I have experienced St. Paul’s as a place where we too can live out our callings in a beloved community of worship, prayer, study, contemplation, and service in a way that is authentic ~ not just playing at church, but being the church – Christ’s body in the world.
This past Sunday I was talking with another church member at coffee time after the 11:00 am service. We were marveling at the way we have experienced so many church members, including ourselves, finding their religious vocations right here, in this community, without joining a monastery or becoming a priest, monk, or nun. We can discover and live into our own uniquely tailored callings right here and now, if we simply take the first step, whatever that might be . . . whatever it is that God has laid upon your heart . . . whatever the bread crumb the Holy Mystery has laid at your feet . . . following this is the first step of many to come.
Written by Trent Palmer
Trent is a Realtor by profession and enjoys reading, music – especially bluegrass, camping, hiking, and boating. He grew up United Methodist and was a pastor in the United Methodist Church for 10 years. Trent was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 2008 at St. Margaret’s in Little Rock, and has been a member of St. Paul’s since he and his family moved to Fayetteville in 2013. Trent and his wife, Kristi, have three children, Elizabeth, Carter, and Katherine. Trent attends the 11:00 am worship service, enjoys volunteering for Magdalene Serenity House, and being a Lay Eucharistic Minister and an EfM (Education for Ministry) Mentor.