Friday, February 28, 2020

Silent Screams. Silent Responses.

With the end of the week upon us, I think it time to look at three responses – or lack thereof –  to the U. S. Senate failing to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act thanks to all but two Democrats opposing it.  Remember that PCUCPA would have outlawed most abortions after 20 weeks.  And you have to be grossly ignorant or devoid of ethics to be okay with elective abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.   I choose the three responders, or non-responders, because they are of particular interest to ACNA Anglicans, as you shall see, and because these three claim to be for “social justice” and also pro-life.
The first is Tish Harrison Warren.  Her twitter response to President Trump speaking to the March for Life was that it was negative for the pro-life cause.  And she used the occasion to point people to Liberal/Left “pro-life” groups, including the AND Campaign.
The second is the AND Campaign.  As we have exposed, it is likely more a Democrat front group than it is pro-life.  The failure of PCUCPA gave it an opportunity to prove me somewhat wrong.  Did it?
The third is Archbishop Foley Beach’s Canon to the Ordinary in the ACNA Diocese of the South, Greg Goebel.  His twitter response to Trump’s appearance at the March for Life was . . . well, judge for yourself.

So how did these respond to the failure of PCUCPA on twitter?
Tish Warren should be cut some slack because she does not tweet frequently.  But she did tweet about the Democrat debate this week. Yet she has not mentioned the failure of PCUCPA.  So, to her, Trump speaking to the March for Life is a “set-back” worth noting, but Democrats defeating the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act apparently is not.
The oh-so “pro-life” AND Campaign?  Crickets.  
Greg Goebel? He is a very frequent tweeter.  And surely after using Trump’s appearance at the March for Life as an occasion to bash him, he would be even harder on those Democrat Senators who defeated protecting late term unborn children, so late they even experience pain.
And, let’s see, this week he tweeted about clergy self-care and losing weight, about Lent quite a lot – good, about making too much vegetable soup.  He tweeted a photo of pancakes and much, much more.  So surely he also tweeted his disgust with Democrats defeating a bill protecting the unborn after 20 weeks.
But no.  As of this writing, there is nothing this week on the failure of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on Goebel’s twitter feed.  Trump is the first President of the United States to personally appear at a March for Life, and Goebel’s response is ORANGE MAN BAD.  Democrats kill protections for late stage unborn, and . . . crickets.
I am no mind reader. Readers may draw their own conclusions about the priorities of these three.  But sometimes silence is louder than words.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Pain Capable Unborn Act Vote

Last week, I noted that a Senate vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was coming. The bill would have outlawed most abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.
The vote came yesterday and was much as expected.  The bill did not gain the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster. 53 voted for the bill, among whom were only two Democrats, Casey and Manchin.  44 voted for it, among whom were two Republicans, Collins and Murkowski.
Three Democrats running for President, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar, did not vote. But they did have a debate last night, and we pretty much know how they would have voted.  Yes, including Klobuchar.  She voted against a similar bill in 2018.
Otherwise, the vote was party line – the Democrats for babykilling, the Republicans against.
I am watching to see how “pro-life” “social justice” church types are responding or not responding. I have issues with the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and its leader Russell Moore, but to their credit, they have denounced this failure to protect late stage unborn.
On this Ash Wednesday, keep the unborn in your prayers, and the terrible record of the U. S. in not protecting them in your penitence.

Monday, February 24, 2020

It’s St. Matthias Day . . . I think.

Normal people do not know it is St. Matthias Day.
Pious people, such as my humble self, look at a church calendar and know it is St. Matthias Day.
Liturgy geeks, of which I can be after too much wine or incense or Oxford, remember it’s a Leap Year and . . . oh boy, dating St. Matthias Day gets a bit complicated.  My calendar says it’s today, but if you want to get really serious about it, you could argue it’s tomorrow, and argue and…
A reader wrote in to ask why, in the traditional rite, the feast of St Matthias the Apostle is moved from February 24th to the following day every leap year. The answer lies in the very ancient Roman calendar, which is still part of the Church’s liturgy to this day; it is used in the calendars printed at the beginning of the Missal and Breviary, and in the Martyrology, the names of the days are still read out according to the Roman system.

In the Roman calendar, each month has three days which are called the Kalends, Nones and Ides; the first of these three is the first day of each month. In March, May, July and October, the Nones are on the 7th, and the Ides on the 15th; in all other months, they are on the 5th and 13th….
The Romans named the days of each month by counting backwards from these three points. Thus, Julius Caesar was killed on the day which we call March 15, but which they called “the Ides of March”; their name for the 14th was therefore “the day before the Ides of March.” As every Latin students knows, this system becomes difficult to keep track of because the Romans counted inclusively, not exclusively; therefore, the day we call “March 13” was called “three days before the Ides of March”, (not “two days before”), including the day itself, the day before the Ides, and the Ides themselves.
Hold on, it gets better.
When the Julian Calendar was instituted in 46 BC, establishing the regular leap day every four years, the leap day itself was added by counting “the sixth day before the Kalends of March” twice. From this, the Latin term for “leap year” is “annus bisextilis”, meaning “a year in which the sixth day (before the Kalends of March) occurs twice.” This term for leap year is still used in all the Romance languages, as in Italian “anno bisestile”, and was even adopted by the Greeks, (“disekto etos” in the modern language), even though the ancient Greeks had their own very different calendar….
When the feast of St Matthias came into the Roman Rite sometime between the 9th and 11th centuries, it was fixed to this “sixth” day before the kalends of March, which we call February 24. The precise reason for this choice is unknown, but it is surely not mere coincidence that nine other months have the feast of an Apostle or Evangelist within their last ten days, thus distributing them more or less evenly through the year. In a leap year, when there are two such days, Matthias’ vigil is kept on the first of the two, and his feast on the second.
The Apostles drew lots for this? It’s enough to give the pious a headache.
Well, I am taking the easy way out.  I am sticking to the Book of Common Prayer.  I did Morning Prayer for St. Matthias Day this morning.  So there.  
Hey, love or hate Thomas Cranmer, but the man knew how to keep it simple.
Anyway, have a blessed Feast of St. Matthias . . . or Eve of the same.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Truro Church an Object Lesson on the Importance of Church Governance

I rarely recommend any article from the Washington Post, and I am not privy to goings on at Truro Church, but there is an interesting and apparently fair article on the resignation of Tory Baucum from Truro Church and how that church is dealing with the aftermath.
The article goes into some different viewpoints behind the causes of the resignation, and I am in no position to get into that.  But it does seem clear that Baucum was tyrannical in dealing with some or most of his staff.  The Vestry was alerted.  It, through the Senior Warden, confronted Baucum.  And, whether or not the confrontation precipitated it, Baucum resigned.
Now one could argue that Baucum should have been dealt with sooner.  No form of church governance that relies on imperfect people will be perfect.  But Baucum eventually was dealt with, and Truro Church is to be commended for that.
Not all churches can say the same.  Among the reasons are that many churches lack a local church governing body with enough independence to say no to a pastor.  Other churches lack an authority above and outside the local church to say no. Many churches lack both. Therefore many churches are ruled by the pastor, which relies too much on one man and invites abuse of power. Now there are godly men that lead their churches well with that much power in their hands.  But trusting one man too much to lead a church can and does result in shipwreck for individual Christians and for local churches.  The same could be said about putting too much power into the hands of a paid staff as I’ve seen for myself.
One of the strengths of Anglicanism in an American context is local churches have both governmental checks to keep a parish and its leader in line.  At the local level, there is the Vestry.  Above the local level, there is the Bishop.  And both have the power to say no to an errant Rector.
I know what some are thinking: “That form of governance did not save The Episcopal Church.”  And that is correct.  No form of church governance can save a church if the leaven of apostasy is not confronted and cleaned out early enough.  Good church governance structures are tools, not cure-alls.
Nonetheless, the recent events at Truro Church demonstrate Anglican church governance working well. And that includes Baucum’s erstwhile “school of peace and reconciliation.”  In that case, authority above the local parish in the form of orthodox bishops stepped in and put that down.
Now I am not saying, “Look at us Anglicans.  We govern ourselves so much better than thou” . . . although I am tempted so to do.  What I am saying is that it is important to have bodies of authority able and willing to correct and if necessary dismiss errant pastors and staff.  And those bodies must be both at the local church level and above the local church.  The recent years at Truro Church have demonstrated that well.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Important Abortion Vote Coming

Next Week, the Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act is scheduled to come up for votes in the U. S. Senate. This will be worth watching not only because protecting the unborn is of paramount importance, but only because of the political ramifications.
Alabama Senator Doug Jones is among the Democrats not thrilled about the political ramifications. If a 2018 vote repeats itself, Democrats and two or three RINOs will filibuster the bill.  However Democrats choose to oppose the bill this time, it will put them on the record during this crucial election year as extreme supporters of legal abortion.
For the bill outlaws abortions after 20 weeks unless medically necessary.  I believe there are exceptions for rape and incest as last time.  And the bill targets abortion providers, not women seeking abortions.
I know enough biology to know that after 20 weeks, the unborn child is very much a baby; it is almost entirely a matter of growth after that.  That the child can experience pain is only part of the picture.  And women know they are pregnant weeks before that point.  There is no excuse for seeking an elective abortion after 20 weeks except in the most extreme, life-threatening circumstances. One does not have to be a pro-lifer to see that the Pain-Capable Act is the very least we should do to protect unborn children.
So in the next week or so, the country will likely get a reminder what a bunch of baby killers Democrat politicians are. It will be interesting to see if those Senators running for President, including Bernie Sanders, even show up for the vote and so expose their monstrous abortion extremism.
It will also be interesting to watch those, in and out of the church, who claim to be pro-life yet usually support Democrats.  How will “social justice” “pro-lifers” respond to this vote, before, during, and after?  I do not have expectations in that regard, and some will surely be more active than others, but it may reveal just how pro-life they really are – or are not.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Shy Trump Voters?

(Disclaimer and TRIGGER WARNING: There is not much Anglicanism in this post but mainly political analysis that some may find unpleasant.  See my post yesterday for more explanation.)

Opinion polls have (Anglican Understatement Alert) limited usefulness this far out from an election. But a current odd phenomenon is that while most polls show Trump behind potential Democrat nominees, Democrats sure are not acting like it as one wag has noticed.
I suspect even Democrats know there is a Shy Trump Voter phenomenon about.  This, of course, is a variant of the Shy Tory phenomenon: some who vote Tory will not tell pollsters they are so doing.  Polls have thereby understated Tory support in past elections.  This has been seen in other elections as well.  When I lived in North Carolina, I noticed Jesse Helms always did better in elections than polls indicated.  
Shy right-of-center voters occur not because they are more prone to lying or dissembling or that they are ashamed of their political choices, as much as some Leftists may like so to think.  In a number of circumstances, letting it be known that one intends to vote for a right-of-center candidate invites social disapproval, even rejection, getting flack, or worse, including “cancelling”.  Yes, there are surely circumstances in which letting it be known that one intends to vote for a Lib/Left candidate invites grief, but that is far more often the case for conservative voters.  For many Leftists have a totalitarian streak that is less than tolerant toward political opponents.
In the U. S., openly supporting Trump can harm one’s career in a number of fields.  Wearing a red MAGA cap or just a red cap risks getting smacked upside the head and worse in several cities.  Besides that, some people would rather not be defamed as RACIST or the like. They might even want to keep friends and family on good terms; imagine that.  With not all Trump supporters desiring political combat on a toxic battlefield, it is to be expected that there is a significant Shy Trump Voter factor in this election and the accompanying polls.
Bret Stephens, no Trump supporter, is on to this:
…Perhaps the biggest whisper network of all: the one involving inner flashes of sympathy, frequently tipping into support at the ballot box, for President Trump.
Plenty of people are aware of this phenomenon: One recent academic study noted that so-called secret voters supported Trump over Hillary Clinton by a two-to-one (54 percent to 27 percent) margin in 2016. That statistic should be every bit as alarming to Democrats this time around, not least because it suggests that polls may be dramatically underweighting the scale of Trump's support.
Yet beyond the question of why people might want to conceal their voting preferences -- reputation management, social harmony, and so on -- it's worth asking whether the very fact that a vote for Trump was supposed to be shameful is also what made it so attractive. After all, forbidden fruit is appealing not because it is fruit, but because it is forbidden. For every voter who pulled the lever for Trump out of sympathy for his views, how many others did so out of disdain for the army of snickering moralists (at the time including me) telling them that a vote for Trump was unpardonable?
My hunch: probably enough to make the difference in the states that made the difference.
I would also guess that the number has only grown as the censorious left has become more aggressive and promiscuous in its condemnations.
Methinks his hunch and guess is correct.
By the way, I am posting this because I have long found the Shy Tory and related phenomenon interesting. I am not  posting this to encourage any complacency on the part of those inclined to vote for Trump.  Instead, as I’ve stated after the Impeachment Trial acquittal, it is important that we not merely defeat but punish Democrats in November because they have gone far beyond being mistaken on policy to opposing our Constitutional democracy itself.
Nor do I want Leftists to stop vilifying and harassing us evil racist Trump supporters.  Keep up the good “justice work”!  You are not reminding us of the importance of defeating you, not at all.
But then if by chance you are so reminding us, many of us will not let you know thanks to your righteous work.  The Shy Trump Voter is your creation, you know . . . or don’t know.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Blog Update: MOAR HISTORY! (and current events and no telling what)

I’ve long wrestled with how to handle blog posts that are pretty much unrelated to Anglicanism.  For some time, I’ve put some posts over on a sister blog, but that has not attracted much traffic.  In addition, I now have a hard time with the logistics of posting there.  The font is unreadable, videos won’t embed, and so on.
So I think it would best to bring posts back to here.  I may warn when something has little to do with Anglicanism.  Maybe I will even have trigger warnings. HA!.... 
…Actually I might. I very much oppose mandatory trigger warnings.  But giving them as a courtesy has its place.  (I hope I did not make any readers faint from shock there.)
Other than that, the main change is that there will be more posts here related to history and current events and culture.  I know there have been some readers that have wished I would stick more to Anglicanism.  I listened.  I tried.  And it just has not worked out.
Besides it is often good to broaden our horizons.  Speaking of which, I post on twitter much more often than here.  But – TRIGGER WARNING, AAAAA, AAAAAAAAA! – my twitter is often politically incorrect and never woke.  
Oh.  You already knew that?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

What You Are Probably Not Being Told About the Boy Scouts Bankruptcy

This morning comes the sad news that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has filed for bankruptcy.  The “news” media will let you know they did so because of mounting lawsuits concerning sexual abuse.  But there are important factors most of the news media and the Left (But I repeat myself.) are either downplaying or hiding.
First, I will say I am no apologist for the Boy Scouts.  Although I know of men who had excellent experiences in the Scouts, I have never been in Scouting, and I disapprove of how BSA is currently run as you shall see.
Having said that, the vast majority of the suits against BSA are based on alleged abuse decades ago. From AP:
Most of the newly surfacing cases date to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s; the organization says there were only five known abuse victims in 2018. The Boy Scouts credit the change to an array of prevention policies adopted since the mid-1980s, including mandatory criminal background checks and abuse-prevention training for all staff and volunteers, and a rule that two or more adult leaders be present during all activities.
Back then, there was a lot of ignorance in society about child abuse, its harm, and how to prevent it. BSA has since taken a number of measures to prevent it.  The same could be said about many organizations that work with children. How many of them do we wish to drive into bankruptcy?
A big reason these past abuse cases now necessitate bankruptcy is that states such as New York, Arizona, New Jersey and California have after the fact changed their statue of limitation laws to allow law suits for abuse so long ago.  I take the unpopular stand that statue of limitation laws have a good purpose.  Memories weaken after so many years.  And, yes, there are false memories.  It is harder to defend oneself against allegations of acts long ago.  And, especially in the area of sexual abuse, false allegations are frequent; greatly lengthening or eliminating statues of limitation enable false allegations. 
In addition, it is unprincipled, to say the very least, to change the law, then allow criminal prosecution or lawsuits based on allegations of acts before the law was changed.   Such are ex post facto laws rightly forbidden by the Constitution.  But who cares about the Constitution or the Rule of Law any more?  (Yes, yes, I know lawyers will argue that changing statues of limitations, then suing on the basis of that is not ex post facto law. Guess what I think of such lawyers and the hacks in black and unprincipled legislators that enable them.)
Having said that, it is gross negligence that BSA allowed some abusers to return to Boy Scouts. Again, there was a lot of ignorance about child abuse and abusers back then, but that is inexcusable.
But past child abuse is not the only reason behind the BSA bankruptcy.  AP is typical in hiding as much as it reports:
The Boy Scouts’ finances have been strained in recent years by declining membership and sex-abuse settlements.
The number of youths taking part in scouting has dropped below 2 million, down from more than 4 million in peak years of the 1970s. The organization has tried to counter the decline by admitting girls, but its membership rolls took a big hit Jan. 1 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — for decades a major sponsor of Boy Scout units — cut ties and withdrew more than 400,000 scouts in favor of programs of its own.
What AP does not tell you is that admitting girls has harmed membership.  Boys and young men desire male spaces as they aspire to and grow into manhood. Taking that away drives many of them away.  AP also does not tell you that the 2015 decision to allow gay scout leaders alienated many families involved in scouting, families that tend to be more traditional than average. These changes and subsequent membership declines in the past decade have made it that much more difficult for BSA to deal financially with the lawsuits.
Once again we see the phenomenon of “Go Woke; Go Broke.”
All this is not to downplay the difficulties men have gone through due to past abuse.  This is to say the bankruptcy of the Boy Scouts of America is not as simple as you are being told.  Unprincipled changes in the law and politically correct changes the Left pressured BSA to make have significantly contributed.
P. S.  Obama once said that “nobody should be barred” from Scouting.  But now Leftists cheer as the Boy Scouts are sued into bankruptcy precisely because people were not barred from Scouting.  Make up your minds, Leftists.  Or was destroying Boy Scouts your plan all along?

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Roger Stone Controversy and MOAR Impeachment Speaks Volumes

The controversy about the sentencing of Roger Stone combines four subjects that can get me to rant and foam at the mouth: prosecutorial misconduct, two-tiered justice, corrupt Democrat hacks-in-black judges, and the perpetual coup against Trump and Constitutional democracy.
Now although my having a prolonged wall-eyed fit may be entertaining, it might not be edifying. So instead I point you to two videos from yesterday that summarize this situation very well.  The first is from Tim Pool (who is not a Trump voter by the way) on Democrats using the controversy as a pretext to continue their coup against Trump.
The second is Tucker Carlson summarizing the facts of the Roger Stone case, including the first excessive sentence request and the jury foreman being a rabid Trump hater who apparently lied to get on the jury.
Again, there is so much I could rant, I mean, say.  But I will confine myself to the reaction of Democrats.
Democrats are oh-so for “justice” and against “fascism.”  So one would think they would speak out against prosecutors attempting to create a political prisoner through excessive sentencing.  One would think they would be upset by a jury being rigged by being led by a rabid political opponent of the defendant.
But, no.  Instead, when they see Trump speaking out against this outrage and Attorney General Bill Barr trying to undo some of the damage the four prosecutors have done, Democrats immediately use that as a pretext to open the door to impeaching Trump again and to impeach Barr.
All this illustrates once again how Democrats cannot be trusted with Constitutional democracy and justice.  They apparently have no problem with turning political opponents into political prisoners.  They certainly have no problem with two-tiered justice rigged for them and against political opponents.  And they so disrespect elections they don’t win, especially the 2016 election, that they are still continuing the perpetual coup against Trump, this time because he did a horrible thing: he opposed a kangaroo court turning Roger Stone into a political prisoner.
And the reaction from some in the church speaks volumes as well.  Some leaders in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), in the Southern Baptist Convention, and in The Evangelical Church of What’s Happening Now smear Trump and smear his supporters, especially his supporters within the church.  But does this “social justice” crowd say a peep about the injustice against Roger Stone?  Do they say a word about Democrats’ perpetual coup against Trump and disrespect for Constitutional democracy unless they win?  If so, they sure are awful quiet about it.
Maybe some of this “social justice” “evangelical” crowd is more Leftist than they are Christian.

Friday, February 07, 2020

About Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast

I hear our President, Still-Your-President Donald Trump, ruffled some feathers at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday.
The details may be found elsewhere.  I would not have said everything he said in that setting.  But you know what?  I have not had the coup against me that Trump has endured for over three long years. (Well, actually it was a coup against my vote.)  And, especially with coup participant Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has long not respected the President nor his election, sitting there, I can understand Trump getting a bit hot.
It also should be remembered that Trump is President of the United States; he is no bishop and no priest.  And I am thankful, both for his office and that he does not hold churchly offices.  There’s one advantage of not having an established church right there.
But you know what else? If some pundit has been silent about the coup against Trump or worse has supported the coup yet now bashes Trump for being a bit hot upon his impeachment trial acquittal, he can shut up.  Yes, I said it.  That goes double for perverters of the faith like Jesuit LibPapist James Martin.
Such need to shut up and repent far, far more than President Trump.  And the rest of us would do well to use the following rule of thumb. If a pundit on American politics has not opposed or at least questioned the coup against Trump, he probably is not worth listening to whether he or she is a person of the Left or the Right or something in between. 
If you think that would mean listening only to Trump supporters, not so.  Remember Democrats Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley have opposed impeachment.  Both very much merit listening.  Even Van Jones, a slightly Left-wing opponent of Trump, who nonetheless has come to earn my respect and my ear, has questioned the wisdom of impeachment.
Don’t get me wrong. I am very much for free speech as longtime readers know.  And dialogue is vital in a democracy.  But there are still lines that should not be crossed. And the coup against Trump and against the 2016 election of him long ago crossed the line between legitimate policy disputes and illegitimate attacks on our Constitutional democracy.
It’s important that we get that and punish the perpetrators rather than give any credence to them or to their sycophants. 

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Sermon for Presentation of Christ in the Temple - "We Are All Jews"

If today, February 2nd, 2020, you were to ask someone, “What day is it?”, he or she would likely answer, “Sunday.” And of course it is. If someone is alert to it being February 2nd, he might answer, “It’s Groundhog Day.”  If he enjoyed numbers, he might note that it’s 2-2-2020.  Or if that person is a football fan, the answer for February 2ndthis year is, of course, “it’s Super Bowl Sunday.”
Those are all correct answers.  And Super Bowl Sunday is certainly a feast day in the secular American calendar.  But for some reason, it is not to be found in the Book of Common Prayer. 
Instead the Book of Common Prayer has today as the day of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.  And so it has been in the church since the 6thor 7thcentury if not before.  In times past, this was a major feast day especially in the medieval Western church.  The custom of blessing and distributing candles and then processing with the lit candles became especially popular in the medieval church to the point that Candlemas became a common name for this day.  Some more high church congregations still break out the candles today as did my Oxford home away from home, Pusey House, this morning.  
So today many are still observing the Presentation with enthusiasm. But it is safe to say that it is not as well observed or as well known today as in times past.  Even for some in this pious congregation, to hear that today is a holy day called the Presentation of Christ in the Temple might be a surprise. 
So what is today about?  Well, if we were having Holy Communion, the Gospel would be from Luke 2:22-40.  That passage tells us all about the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple, so let’s turn there.  (And if you don’t have a Bible handy, you can find this passage in our Book of Common Prayer on page 250.)
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to presenthimto the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. (v. 22-24)
We see here Mary and Joseph, with the baby Jesus, obeying the Mosaic Law in two ways.  First, forty days after the birth of a son, the mother is to become ritually pure by the sacrifice of a lamb or of two doves. For this reason, today is often called the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The option of two doves is a concession in the Law for those too poor to afford a lamb.
Mary and Joseph could not afford a lamb so they offered two doves. But, although they probably did not know it, Mary and Joseph werepresenting a lamb; they were presenting Jesus the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. 
By the way, it is interesting how so much of the Mosaic Law, the Torah, is a foreshadowing of what God was going to do through Jesus Christ.  This is only one such case.  The Law designating a lamb to be presented for sacrifice 40 days after the birth of a son foreshadows Jesus, the Lamb of God, being presented in the Temple 40 days after his birth. 
The second requirement of the Law observed here is that every first born son was to be offered to God.  BUT remember that the Lord does not like human sacrifice.  So the first born was to be presented then redeemed by making a monetary offering. (Numbers 18: 15, 16)
Note the humility of the Holy Family.  Mary knew that her birth was different, a virgin birth by the operation of the Holy Spirit just as it had been announced to her by the angel.  And unlike other children, Jesus was not a sinner.  So there was hardly any need for purification.  But they complied with the Law anyway.
As for Jesus being presented to God, how do you present God to God? But in this and in any number of ways, Jesus and his parents complied with the Mosaic Law.  Remember that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.
Up to now, if one had been there, Jesus and his parents probably seemed like any other family of modest means fulfilling their religious duties in the Temple.  But then something very different happens.
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose namewasSimeon; and the same manwasjust and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
If these words seem familiar, it is because this is the Nunc Dimittis which we sing at Evening Prayer.  Simeon proclaimed Jesus as the Salvation of God and as the Light of the World, and we do so also.  In this significant way, we remember the Presentation of Christ in the Temple every time we do Evening Prayer. 
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, thischildis set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And shewasa widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but servedGodwith fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
St. Paul, while making a defense for the Faith before King Agrippa, said these things have “not been done in a corner.” (Acts 26:26) He was referring mainly to the Passion, death and resurrection of Christ.  But the same could be said about the birth of Christ.
Not only did angels proclaim his birth to shepherds, and the shepherds passed on that proclamation.  A star proclaimed him in the East.  Magi came from the East and proclaimed his birth in the courts of Jerusalem. And now as the baby Jesus is presented in the crowded Temple, two prophets, Simeon and Anna, greet him and proclaim him also. 
By the way, do you notice echoes of Christmas in the Presentation of Christ in the Temple?  You have a baby Jesus.  You have Mary and Joseph. You have the theme of light. Remember Simeon proclaimed him a light to the Gentiles in the Nunc Dimittis. In Christmas, in Epiphany, and in the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, you have people of all sorts, Jews and Gentiles, shepherds and magi and prophets coming seemingly out of nowhere saying, “It’s Him! It’s the newborn Savior! It’s the newborn King of the Jews! It is Christ the Lord!” 
It’s no wonder that for some, Christmastide does not end until today, forty days after Christmas, on the Feast of the Presentation of Christ.
And you think I am bad about prolonging Christmas!  I will have you know I took my Christmas tree down only two weeks after Epiphany.
But echoes of Christmas do continue into the Presentation of Christ in the Temple and really throughout the church year.
The passage on the Presentation of Christ concludes:
And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
And this prompts me to make two very practical and somewhat difficult applications of the Presentation of Christ.  This is such a rich episode and passage – so much could be said!  And kick-off isn’t until after 5! But I will be merciful and confine myself to two matters.
First, note that Jesus, though unique and sinless and divine, Jesus grew. Jesus matured.  And his growth into maturity was a process.  Luke makes this point again at the end of the next passage about Jesus returning to the Temple at age 12:
And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Luke emphasized biographical detail more than the other Gospel writers.  And there surely was curiosity around about the childhood and youth of Jesus. There certainly was later on when a so-called Gospel of Thomas came out.  Of course, it was neither a Gospel nor written by St. Thomas. But it supposedly has episodes from the childhood of Jesus.  And in it, Jesus is something of an obnoxious Superboy; whose super powers were causing such problems that neighbors pleaded with Joseph and Mary to take Jesus and move away.
Luke lets us know it was not like that.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
In other words, Jesus was a good neighbor. Neighbors were glad to have him around.
And as unique and perfect as Jesus was, his growth was a process. He grew; he increased in wisdom and in stature.  He was not Superbaby or Superboy.  Not only that, remember Jesus did not begin his public ministry until he was about age 30.  Now if anyone was ever entitled to take shortcuts to maturity, it was Jesus Christ.  Yet he did not.
If God saw it as necessary for Jesus to growinto godly maturity, how much more is that the case for us!  To become godly men and women of God is a process.  That process is part of sanctification.  And just as physical growth and health is an everyday process, so it is with sanctification.  It’s much more than just one morning a week for us – and  for our children.
A whole series of sermons could be preached on this process of sanctification, of growth into Christian maturity.  So I will confine myself to pointing you to an excellent passage on raising children, Deuteronomy 6: 6, 7.  This is the Lord speaking:
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Raising and teaching children into Christian maturity is an everyday process.  And so is tending to our own learning and Christian growth.
At this point, I want to speak especially to the youth and young adults here this morning.  So if you were up too late last night, wake up and listen up!
You might think that teaching children is a parent’s responsibility, and you’re right; it is.  But teaching children is also your opportunity.  Children really look up to older youth and young adults like you.  They watch you, and they listen to you.  And as I see often in this congregation, they love you and want to be with you.
What an opportunity to teach these children that so look up to you!  And I’m not saying you have to have an organized Bible study with them – although that might be a good idea.  But use everyday life and everyday opportunities to teach them from God’s word both in what you say and in what you do.
But guess what is necessary to teach God’s word to the next generation.  Youneed to learn God’s word.  You need to read and study the Bible just about every day. We study the Bible, not just for our own benefit and growth – although that is certainly important: we read and study the Bible so we can teach the next generations.
So let us not be lazy about this, especially you men.  I say this because I’ve been around long enough to see that men are worse about spiritual laziness than women are. That may be sexist for me to say that, but I don’t care; I’m right.  And when men are lazy that way it does great harm to the generations that come after them.  So I plead with you men, young and old, fathers and future fathers, big brothers, uncles and older friends, do not do that to the next generations.  Don’t drop the ball!  
Yes, I have to remind myself of that as well.
So this is a vital way we all need to be more like Jesus -- to learn from scripture and to grow into Christian faithfulness and maturity as an everyday process, not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of others, especially for the benefit of the next generations.

The second point I want us to note – and forgive me for stating the obvious – Jesus and his parents were Jews.  And they were observant Jews, “perform[ing] all things according to the law of the Lord.”  Sometimes it is easy to miss the obvious, but let’s not miss that Jesus was Jewish.  And because of the Incarnation, he remains Jewish.  When Jesus ascended to the Father, his humanity was glorified but it was not wiped away. Instead he took his humanity, our humanity, into the presence of the Father to be our Intercessor.  And that humanity includes his Jewishness.
And beyond that, all of the Old Testament and most of the New Testament was written by Jews.
So, friends, there is no place for anti-semitism among God’s people.  Again, forgive me for stating the obvious, but it has to be said given the resurgence of anti-semitism in the West – there is no place for anti-semitism among God’s people or in a decent society.  Given the Jewishness of Jesus, to be anti-semitic is really to be anti-God.
A year ago, I stood before you and expressed my concern about the resurgence of anti-semitism in the West.  In the year since then there have been some encouraging developments and some discouraging ones.  If I may venture into British politics, I am encouraged that one factor behind the results in the recent General Election is that many rejected the anti-semitism that has been running rampant in one of the two major parties there. To their credit, even many longtime supporters of that party voted differently this time in part because they were rejecting anti-semitism.  There has to be a political cost to politicians who coddle anti-semitism, and I am glad that was the case in the U K General Election. And they have set forth a good example for us here in the United States. 
But a few weeks after that, in New York City, there was a rash of violent attacks on Jews during Hanukkah.  And the response of authorities there was often to let the attackers go right back out on the streets.
As I said a year ago, it is beyond sad that we in the United States and Europe still have not adequately learned the lessons of the past.

Instead, let us remember and be like Roddie Edmonds.  The following is from a Fox News story in December 2015:
It was January, 1945 and Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds had a gun to his head.
The commandant of the Stalag IXA POW Camp near Ziegenhain, Germany, ordered Edmonds, of the 422nd Infantry Regiment, to turn over the Jewish-American soldiers under his command. Edmonds and his men – Jews and non-Jews alike – stood together in formation.
"They cannot all be Jews," the German said, looking over the more than 1,000 POWs.
"We are all Jews," Edmonds responded.
"I will shoot you," the commandant warned.
But Edmonds had his own warning: "According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war you will be tried for war crimes."
The commandant stood down.
Those four words uttered by Edmonds echo 70 years later, as a testament to the solidarity he and his men showed to their Jewish brothers in arms. And because of that, Edmonds’ name will be etched in history when he becomes the first American soldier to receive the Yad Vashem Holocaust and Research Center’s Righteous Among the Nations recognition and medal.
Only four other American civilians have received the honor – Israel’s highest for [Gentiles] who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II.
Edmonds saved an estimated 200 Jewish soldiers, whose chances of survival if turned over to the Nazis were slim.
Instead of cooperating with Nazi anti-semitism, Roddie Edmonds stood his ground and said, “We are all Jews.”
Let us follow his good example and stand our ground against anti-semitism.
And in all of life let us follow the example of Jesus Himself, who with perseverance and patience, by God’s Holy Word and by the Holy Spirit, grew every day into godly maturity and faithfulness.  May we all, young and old, do likewise by his ever present help for His glory, for our sake and for the sake of the next generations. 
Let us pray.

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.