Messiah Anglican Church, Philadelphia

‘Ponder it with your ears’

Theologian J. I. Packer’s favorite Bible book was Ecclesiastes. He said it tamed his cynicism and made him joyful. This week’s readings give us an opportunity to ponder how this could be. Psalm 49 sounds like Ecclesiastes. All nations are asked to meditate on our limits, to look past life’s distractions. True wisdom is not immediately obvious. This is one purpose of poetry, song, parable—we dwell with it, “ponder it with our ears,” slow down to see patterns, come back to chew on it, let its wisdom become part of our individual life and our life together.

We also have a selection from Ecclesiastes itself. The Preacher looks at all that is done “under the sun” and finds it “an unhappy business.” Both psalmist and Preacher speak of the failure of wealth and work and wisdom: all “perish alike and leave their riches for others.” The Preacher experienced true pleasure—and found it empty. And Jesus tells the pointed parable of the rich fool, who thinks he owns his own soul. His merriment is short-lived.

The emptiness—and brevity—of life under the sun is obvious when we look carefully. No wonder our culture is known for distraction.

The apostle Paul joins the theme as he tells the Colossians what it means to live the new life in Christ, who has put to death the old life under the sun. The Colossians, and we, should stop walking in “what is earthly” and put on “the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge.” What is the new knowledge? It has something to do with love, and with being “called in one body.” We are to instruct one another in all the wisdom that comes from the gospel. How? Well, look at that: “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”

So join us tomorrow for Morning Prayer. Dr. Thomas preaches.


But God shall save me from the power of death,*
for he shall deliver my soul.

Psalm 49.16

Join us this week!

Please join us in Germantown for Morning Prayer and lunch.

Morning Prayer Service for 31 July 2022

Online service link

Zoom link for Services

Wednesday Evening Prayer

On Wednesdays we gather at the church building for dinner and Family Prayer (BCP 1662). Please join us at 6:30 for dinner followed by prayer at 7:00. RSVP for dinner is welcome but not required. All are welcome.

Summer book group skipping this week

We have one more week of our summer book group on the great (and brief) classic of Christian doctrine, Athanasius’s On the Incarnation. The final meeting is next Thursday at 7pm at the Edman home in Philadelphia:

  • August 11 - Chapters 6-9: Refutations and Conclusion

Zoom link for Book Group (Thursdays, 7:00 p.m.)

RSVP to for the address if you can join us in person. Dessert and drinks will be provided.

From the Treasurer

We encourage you to support the work God is doing through Messiah Anglican Church. Checks can be mailed or brought to a church service. Giving through is easy, and you can also set up recurring gifts through that service.

Join us in prayer

  • For God’s blessing on recent visitors
  • For peace in Philadelphia and the world
  • For our discernment in this season, for clear vision, and a heart for our neighbors to know the good news of Jesus
  • Bishop Julian, Brenda, and the Diocese of the Living Word
  • For our clergy friends, especially Dr. Thomas, Archdeacon Henry, Fr. Eric, Cn Henry, Fr. Jason, Pastor Erik, and Fr. Marc.
Messiah Anglican Church
198 East Herman Street • Philadelphia PA 19144

Sunday Worship, 10:30 AM
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