Readings for Tomas Bray: Priest and Missionary (15 FEB 1730)
“Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid.” (Luke 10:7)
Jesus sent out the seventy with strict instruction to be entirely present with those they were with, whose house they were in. He told them do not go from house to house looking for the best deal. Being sent takes a lot of pressure off because it’s not about the one sent but rather the Sender. We are representing the Sender. We just deliver the message. We also report back to the Sender about what we saw and what we were able to do in the Sender’s Name.
Thomas Bray was sent by the Bishop Henry Compton, Bishop of London, in 1696. Bishop Compton appointed Bray as his commissary to organize the Church of England in the Colony of Maryland to see how the priests were conducting themselves in the New World. Bray did not talk to the priest so much as he conversed with the people. He talked to the people about how the priest conducted themselves on the voyage; whether they were given to drinking too much of chasing after women and such. He also inquired as to whether they held regular hours of prayer and study of God’s word and did the conduct Sunday services in keeping with the Church of England.
Bray was not in the colonies long. And all of his time was spent in the Colony of Maryland. But he advocated for the liberation and education of African slaves and Native Americans. He also began the SPG (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) and an educational and publishing society, SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge), both of which are still active today.
Thomas Bray was quite a priest. I was blessed to see a stone monument dedicated to him and others while on Sabbatical in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Christ Episcopal Church down town Philadelphia. It does my old heart good to see the history I read so much about being made manifest in such a real way.
I highly encourage anyone who can, to go to Christ Church Philadelphia and take in some of our Church history. We are still being sent out. And as we go, we are to be thankful and grateful for hospitality received. We are to spread the good News of Jesus Christ and be comfortable where God leads and sends us.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people.
This is the first point of my second star and it is about Discipline.
In my pondering I very early on realized that if I am not determined and committed to doing all the things necessary to make me a better man I was wasting my time to even come up with ideas in the first place. My pondering was a waste if I was not going to follow through. So I have to have discipline. I have to have the discipline to refrain from doing what should not be done and the discipline to make myself do that that needs to be done. This is hard work. It is not for the faint of heart.
As a result I maintain a rigorous daily physical exercise program, I study scripture and the life of the saints daily, I commit myself to spiritual counseling for family and parishioners and I practice music, golf, cabinet making and free masonry; all disciplines that I think will assist me in being a better man. Every man or woman should discern what works for them. For me, discipline is both doing the things we ought to do, and not doing the things we ought not to do. It takes a lot of will power and self determination. Have you ever thought about this? Can or will you try to discipline yourself, with God’s help of course?
“Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” (From the 3rd verse of Praise to the Lord)