Twenty-Sixth Day of Easter   13 comments

A Soil Profile by the United States Department of Agriculture

Humility

Thursday, April 26, 2018

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Acts 13:13-25 (Revised English Bible):

Sailing from Paphos, Paul and his companions went to Perga in Pamphylia; John, however, left hem and returned to Jerusalem.  From Perga they continued to their journey as far as Pisidian Antioch.  On the sabbath they went to synagogue and took their seats; and after the readings from the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent this message to them:

Friends, if you have anything to say to the people by way of exhortation, let us hear it.

Paul stood up, raised his hand for silence, and began.

Listen, men of Israel and you others who worship God!  The God of this people, Israel, chose our forefathers.  When they were still living as aliens in Egypt, he made them into a great people and, with arm outstretched, brought them out of that country.  For some forty years he bore with their conduct in the desert.  Then in the Canaanite country, after overthrowing seven nations, whose lands he gave them to be their heritage for some four hundred and fifty years, he appointed judges for them until the time of the prophet Samuel.

It was then that they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin.  He reigned for forty years before God removed him and appointed David as their king, with this commendation:  “I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my own heart; he will carry out all my purposes.”  This is the man from whose descendants God, as he promised, has brought Israel a saviour, Jesus.  John had made ready for his coming by proclaiming a baptism in token of repentance to the whole of Israel; and, nearing the end of his earthly course, John said, “I am not the one you think I am.  No, after me comes one whose sandals I am not worthy to unfasten.”

Psalm 89:20-29 (Revised English Bible):

I have found David my servant

and anointed him with my sacred oil.

My hand will be ready to help him,

my arm to give him strength.

No enemy will outwit him,

no wicked person will oppress him;

I shall crush his adversaries before him

and strike down those who are hostile to him.

My faithfulness and love will be with him

and through my name he will hold his head high.

I shall establish his rule over the sea,

his dominion over the rivers.

He will call to me,

You are my father,

my God, my rock where I find safety.

I shall give him the rock where I find safety.

I shall give him the rank of firstborn,

highest among the kings of the earth.

I shall maintain my love for him for ever

and be faithful in my covenant with him.

I shall establish his line for ever

and his throne as long as the heavens endure.

John 13:16-20 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

Let me firmly assure you, no servant is more important than his master; no messenger is more important that the one who sent him.  Now, once you understand this, happy are you if you put it into practice.  What I say does not refer to all of you: I know the kind of men I chose.  But the purpose is to have the Scripture fulfilled:  ‘He who feeds on bread with me has raised his heel against me.’  I tell you this now, even before it happens, so that, when it does happen, you may believe that I AM.  Let me firmly assure you, whoever welcomes anyone I shall send welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes Him who sent me.

The Collect:

Lord God Almighty, for no merit on our part you have brought us out of death into life, out of sorrow into joy:  Put no end to your gifts, fulfill your marvelous acts in us, and grant us who have been justified by faith the strength to persevere in that faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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“Humble” comes from Old French, which draws from Latin, as in the word humilis, which means “lowly.”  The origin of humilis is humus, or “earth.”  So to be humble is to be close to the ground.  (Source = Encarta World English Dictionary, New York: St. Martins Press, 1999)

In the Bible people from humble origins rise to great heights.  In this day’s readings we have references to King Saul (who came from the least populous Hebrew tribe), King David (who tended smelly sheep), and Jesus of Nazareth (who, although a skilled artisan, was not upper class).  Today, when many people speak of the Emperor Augustus, they do so in the context of Jesus.  How many people would have expected that during Jesus’ lifetime?

Spiritual humility entails recognizing one’s proper role and accepting it, with the understanding that God knows best.  John the Baptist pointed the way to Jesus, not himself.  Jesus, he said, must decrease, but he (John the Baptist) must decrease.  Paul, whose writings indicate a powerful ego, nevertheless submitted himself to God.  And Jesus, of course, submitted himself to divine instructions, also.

So humility is not considering oneself worthless.  Every human being bears the image of God.  As I heard growing up, God did not make garbage.  But neither should we think ourselves greater than we are.  And we need to remember who is in charge, whose we are, and to think and act accordingly.  That is humility.

KRT

Posted originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

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Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2018, April, Easter, Episcopal Church Lectionary

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