Archive for the ‘April’ Category

Guide to Easter Devotions in April 2018   1 comment

Above:  Flower Field Under Blue and White Clouds

Image in the Public Domain

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FIRST DAY OF EASTER:  EASTER SUNDAY:  APRIL 1, 2018:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/devotion-for-easter-sunday-ackerman/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/devotion-for-easter-sunday-morning-year-d/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/devotion-for-easter-sunday-evening-year-d/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-year-b-principal-service/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-years-a-b-and-c-evening-service/

Second Day of Easter:  Monday in Easter Week:  April 2:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-in-easter-week-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-second-day-of-easter-monday-in-easter-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/second-day-of-easter-monday-in-easter-week/

Third Day of Easter:  Tuesday in Easter Week:  April 3:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-in-easter-week-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-third-day-of-easter-tuesday-in-easter-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/third-day-of-easter-tuesday-in-easter-week/

Fourth Day of Easter:  Wednesday in Easter Week:  April 4:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/devotion-for-wednesday-in-easter-week-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-fourth-day-of-easter-wednesday-in-holy-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/fourth-day-of-easter-wednesday-in-easter-week/

Fifth Day of Easter:  Thursday in Easter Week:  April 5:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/devotion-for-wednesday-in-easter-week-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-fifth-day-of-easter-thursday-in-easter-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/fifth-day-of-easter-thursday-in-easter-week/

Sixth Day of Easter:  Friday in Easter Week:  April 6:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/devotion-for-friday-and-saturday-before-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-sixth-day-of-easter-friday-in-easter-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/sixth-day-of-easter-friday-in-easter-week/

Seventh Day of Easter:  Saturday in Easter Week:  April 7:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/devotion-for-friday-and-saturday-before-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/devotion-for-the-seventh-day-of-easter-saturday-in-easter-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/seventh-day-of-easter-saturday-in-easter-week/

EIGHTH DAY OF EASTER:  SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER:  APRIL 8, 2018:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/devotion-for-the-second-season-of-easter-ackerman/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/devotion-for-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-d/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/eighth-day-of-easter-second-sunday-of-easter-year-b/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/devotion-for-the-eighth-day-of-easter-second-sunday-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Ninth Day of Easter:  Monday, April 9:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/devotion-for-the-ninth-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionay/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/ninth-day-of-easter/

Tenth Day of Easter:  Tuesday, April 10:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/devotion-for-the-tenth-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/tenth-day-of-easter/

Eleventh Day of Easter:  Wednesday, April 11:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/devotion-for-wednesday-after-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/devotion-for-the-eleventh-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/eleventh-day-of-easter/

Twelfth Day of Easter:  Thursday, April 12:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-thursday-and-friday-before-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/devotion-for-the-twelfth-and-thirteenth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twelfth-day-of-easter/

Thirteenth Day of Easter:  Friday, April 13:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-thursday-and-friday-before-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/devotion-for-the-twelfth-and-thirteenth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirteenth-day-of-easter/

Fourteenth Day of Easter:  Saturday, April 14:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-saturday-before-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/devotion-for-the-fourteenth-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/fourteenth-day-of-easter/

FIFTEENTH DAY OF EASTER:  THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER:  APRIL 15, 2018:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/devotion-for-the-third-sunday-of-easter-ackerman/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/devotion-for-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-d/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/fifteenth-day-of-easter-third-sunday-of-easter-year-b/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/devotion-for-the-fifteenth-day-of-easter-third-sunday-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Sixteenth Day of Easter:  Monday, April 16:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-sixteenth-and-seventeenth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/sixteenth-day-of-easter/

Seventeenth Day of Easter:  Tuesday, April 17:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-sixteenth-and-seventeenth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/seventeenth-day-of-easter/

Eighteenth Day of Easter:  Wednesday, April 18:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-wednesday-after-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-eighteenth-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/eighteenth-day-of-easter/

Nineteenth Day of Easter:  Thursday, April 19:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-nineteenth-twentieth-and-twenty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/nineteenth-day-of-easter/

Twentieth Day of Easter:  Friday, April 20:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-nineteenth-twentieth-and-twenty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twentieth-day-of-easter/

Twenty-First Day of Easter:  Saturday, April 21:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-nineteenth-twentieth-and-twenty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twenty-first-day-of-easter/

TWENTY-SECOND DAY OF EASTER:  FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER:  APRIL 22, 2018:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/devotion-for-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-ackerman/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/devotion-for-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-d/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/twenty-second-day-of-easter-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-b/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-twenty-second-day-of-easter-fourth-sunday-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Twenty-Third Day of Easter:  Monday, April 23:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-monday-tuesday-and-wednesday-after-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/devotion-for-the-twenty-third-and-twenty-fourth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twenty-third-day-of-easter/

Twenty-Fourth Day of Easter:  Tuesday, April 24:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-monday-tuesday-and-wednesday-after-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/devotion-for-the-twenty-third-and-twenty-fourth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twenty-fourth-day-of-easter/

Twenty-Fifth Day of Easter:  Wednesday, April 25:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/devotion-for-monday-tuesday-and-wednesday-after-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/devotion-for-the-twenty-fifth-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twenty-fifth-day-of-easter/

Twenty-Sixth Day of Easter:  Thursday, April 26:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/devotion-for-the-twenty-sixth-twenty-seventh-and-twenty-eighth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twenty-sixth-day-of-easter/

Twenty-Seventh Day of Easter:  Friday, April 27:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/devotion-for-the-twenty-sixth-twenty-seventh-and-twenty-eighth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twenty-seventh-day-of-easter/

Twenty-Eighth Day of Easter:  Saturday, April 28:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/devotion-for-the-twenty-sixth-twenty-seventh-and-twenty-eighth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/twenty-eighth-day-of-easter/

TWENTY-NINTH DAY OF EASTER:  FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER:  APRIL 29, 2018:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/devotion-for-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-ackerman/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/devotion-for-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-d/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/twenty-ninth-day-of-easter-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-b/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/devotion-for-the-twenty-ninth-thirtieth-and-thirty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Thirtieth Day of Easter:  Monday, April 30:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesay-after-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-b-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/devotion-for-the-twenty-ninth-thirtieth-and-thirty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirtieth-day-of-easter/

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Devotion for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Ackerman)   2 comments

Above:  Mephibosheth Before David

Image in the Public Domain

Hesed

APRIL 29, 2018

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The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

2 Samuel 9:1-13a

Psalm 68:17-20

Revelation 19:1-10

Mark 8:1-10

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The reading from 2 Samuel 9 contains a wonderful Hebrew word, hesed, which can mean “faith” or “kindness.”  For example, in 9:1 we read,

David inquired, “Is there anyone still left in the House of Saul with whom I can keep faith for the sake of Jonathan?”

TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

The New Revised Standard Version (1989) uses the other translation:

David asked, “Is there anyone left of the House of Saul to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

Kindness is not always a simple matter.  Treating Mephibosheth, the self-described “dead dog” and crippled son of Jonathan with mercy and prestige is easy enough.   Furthermore, the miracle (the Feeding of the 4000) in Mark 8 is an example of extravagant and unambiguous kindness.  But what about the contents of the other readings?

Babylon (the Roman Empire) has fallen in Revelation 18.  The regime based on violence, oppression, and economic exploitation is no more.  Those who benefited from relationships to the empire mourn its passing.  We read of rejoicing in Heaven in Revelation 19.  But what about the innocent victims of the fall of the empire?  Might they also mourn the passing of the empire?

In Psalm 68 (a liturgy for a festival celebration in the Temple), taken in full, we read of God’s judgment and mercy.  Yes, divine hesed is present, but so is God crushing the heads of his enemies (verse 21).  As I have written repeatedly, good news for the oppressed is frequently catastrophic news for the unrepentant oppressors.  Perhaps the enemies whose heads God crushes were harming the widows and orphans mentioned in verse 5.

There is more than enough divine hesed to go around, but each of us has the individual responsibility to practice hesed toward each other also.  Furthermore, we have the collective responsibility to practice hesed institutionally, including as nation-states.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 14, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT METHODIUS I OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCH

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY FRANCES BLOMFIELD GURNEY, ENGLISH POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HANS ADOLF BRORSON, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/hesed/

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Devotion for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Ackerman)   2 comments

Above:  The Good Shepherd

Image in the Public Domain

Good and Bad Shepherds

APRIL 22, 2018

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The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Ezekiel 34:25-31

Psalm 28

1 Timothy 4:6-16

Luke 15:4-10

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On the Revised Common Lectionary the Fourth Sunday of Easter is Good Shepherd Sunday.   David Ackerman’s Beyond the Lectionary (2013) continues this custom.

Shepherd is a sufficiently common metaphor for monarch in the Hebrew Bible that serious students should not be surprised to encounter it.  In Ezekiel 34 the bad shepherds are Kings of Judah who have ignored the Law of Moses, practiced and condemned idolatry, presided over economic exploitation, and generally harmed the people.   Toward the end of the lifespan of the Kingdom of Judah some of the last kings are about to experience the just desserts the author of Psalm 28 sought for his enemies.

In contrast to the bad shepherds of Ezekiel 34 we find Jesus in Luke 15 and St. Timothy in 1 Timothy 4.  Pastors are shepherds too, after all, and sound teaching matters greatly.  In the temporal context of 1 Timothy 4, when certain doctrines we Christians of today take for granted were developing and others did not exist yet, the definition of sound teaching depended more on oral tradition than it does today–on written sources and established creeds.  Some of the particulars of 1 Timothy are culturally specific, but one can identify timeless principles behind those examples.  As for Jesus, he is the good shepherd who seeks everyone, although not all lost sheep will repent.

May leaders seek and effect the best interests of the people, by grace.  These might be political, institutional, or religious leaders, but all of them are shepherds.  May they be good shepherds.  Whenever any are bad shepherds, may they repent and become good shepherds.  If, however, they insist on being bad shepherds, may good shepherds replace them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID JAESCHKE, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER; AND HIS GRANDSON, HENRI MARC HERMANN VOLDEMAR VOULLAIRE, MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MINISTER

THE FEAST OF MILTON SMITH LITTLEFIELD, JR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN AND CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, U.S. POET, JOURNALIST, AND HYMN WRITER

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/good-and-bad-shepherds-2/

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Devotion for the Third Sunday of Easter (Ackerman)   2 comments

Above:  David and Jonathan, by Rembrandt van Rijn

Image in the Public Domain

Loyalty and Self-Sacrifice

APRIL 15, 2018

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The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Samuel 20:12-23, 35-42

Psalm 18:46-50

Acts 4:13-22

John 21:20-25

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The Living Bible (1971) renders 1 Samuel 20:30-31 as follows:

Saul boiled over with rage.  “You son of a bitch!” he yelled at him.  “Do you think I don’t know that you want that son of a nobody to be king in your place, shaming yourself and your mother?  As long as this fellow is alive, you’ll never be king.  Now go and get him so I can kill him!

Later printings of The Living Bible changed “You son of a bitch!’ to “You fool!”  The original rendering captured the flavor of the Hebrew text well, for King Saul was cursing.  In verse 30, in fact, he referred to genitals, although many English-language translations have not reflected that subtlety.

A more common translation is one such as in TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985):

You son of a perverse, rebellious woman!

Yet scholars agree that Jonathan, not his mother, was the object of the swearing, hence the Everett Fox version:

[You] son of a twisted rebellion!

The Early Prophets (2014), page 378

Via that “twisted rebellion” Jonathan stood by his friend (David) while ensuring that he (Jonathan), the heir apparent to the throne, would not become King of Israel.  Jonathan exemplified loyalty and self-sacrifice.

So did St. Simon Peter (eventually crucified upside-down) and St. John the Evangelist (who spent time in exile).  They performed great deeds, to the glory of God and the benefits of others, and found themselves in legal jeopardy.  But they persisted.

May we be loyal to God and willing to pay the price that might demand of us.  May we glorify God, regardless of circumstances.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID JAESCHKE, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER; AND HIS GRANDSON, HENRI MARC HERMANN VOLDEMAR VOULLAIRE, MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MINISTER

THE FEAST OF MILTON SMITH LITTLEFIELD, JR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN AND CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, U.S. POET, JOURNALIST, AND HYMN WRITER

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/loyalty-and-self-sacrifice/

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Devotion for the Second Season of Easter (Ackerman)   2 comments

Above:  Icon of Sts. Simon Peter and Paul

Image in the Public Domain

Qualifying the Called

APRIL 8, 2018

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The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 5:22-6:13; 7:1-6

Psalm 18:1-6

Acts 3:1-10

Matthew 28:11-15

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God is more powerful than any empire or state–in this case, ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire.  Furthermore, human stubbornness is no obstacle for God.  Consider, O reader, the Pharaoh (whichever one he was) and Moses.  In the narrative of the Book of Exodus God overpowers the Pharaoh and sends Aaron to be the spokesman for Moses.

This segue brings me to my next point:  We can trust God, who will empower us to fulfill our divine vocations.  As an old saying tells us, God does not call the qualified.  No, God qualifies the called.  Consider, O reader, Sts. John the Evangelist and Simon Peter in Acts 3.  Compare them in that passage to their depictions in the Gospel of Luke, the first volume of Luke-Acts.  Also compare them in Acts 3 to their depictions in the Gospel of Mark, in which they were more clueless than in Luke.  As of Acts 3 the two had eaten their spiritual Wheaties, so to speak.

What is God calling and qualifying you, O reader, to do?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWIN PAXTON HOOD, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, PHILANTHROPIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ENMEGAHBOWH, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF SAINT FREDERICK OF UTRECHT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR; AND SAINT ODULF OF UTRECHT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOHN MORISON, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/qualifying-the-called/

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Devotion for Easter Sunday (Ackerman)   2 comments

Books and a Globe, from the Library, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, June 9, 2017

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

God’s Work, Our Task

APRIL 1, 2018

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The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

2 Kings 4:18-20, 32-37

Isaiah 52:1-2

Acts 13:26-31

Mark 16:9-20

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In the lessons for this day, we read of different forms of death and resurrection to life.

The Shunammite widow’s son was essential to her well-being in that patriarchal society, in which widows and orphans were particularly vulnerable.  The revivification of the son by God via the prophet Elisha was for the benefit of both mother and son.

The death of the Kingdom of Judah and the ensuing Babylonian Exile was traumatic.  The exile did end, however, albeit without the restoration of the kingdom.  Indeed, the realities of life after the conclusion of the exile did not march the promises recorded in scripture.  The Jews lived under foreign rule in a poor province, after all.  Eventually Judea experienced independence for about a century, but then the Romans came.  The Jews of Palestine lived in exile at home.

The resurrection of Jesus was a game changer.  Without it we Christians would have a dead Jesus and would be the most pitiable people anywhere (1 Corinthians 15:19).  Yet Jesus did not remain on the Earth for long afterward.  No, he gave his followers a mandate.

The work of God is properly our task as human beings.  We have orders to love sacrificially, build each other up, and care for each other’s needs.  We have commands to share the good news of the Incarnation via Jesus and of his saving life, death, and resurrection.  I do not pretend to grasp the full meaning of Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), but I affirm that the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus play crucial parts in that truth.

May we, by grace, being glory to God, draw people to Christ, and strengthen others in their faith.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 11, 2017 COMMON ERA

TRINITY SUNDAY, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT BARNABAS THE APOSTLE, COWORKER OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/gods-work-our-task/

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Devotion for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year D)   1 comment

mosaic

Above:  Mosaic, Church of the Multiplication, Tabgha, Israel

Image in the Public Domain

Spiritual Blindness

APRIL 29, 2018

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The Collect:

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Samuel 21:1-15 or 2 Kings 4:38-44

Psalm 49:(1-12) 13-20

Matthew 15:29-39; 16:10-12 or Mark 8:1-26

2 Corinthians 8:1-6 (7-15) 16-24

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Stories of a holy person feeding a multitude with a small amount of food and having leftovers rhyme, if you will, O reader, in the Bible.  This day we read an account of Elisha feeding 100 men and parallel stories of Jesus feeding 4000 men (plus uncounted women and children) in Matthew 15 and about 4000 people in Mark 8.  The mechanics of such feelings do not interest me, but the theological importance of them does.  The Kingdom of God is here, and we can perceive that reality, if we are spiritually attuned.  In the Kingdom of God one finds abundance for everyone; artificial scarcity is a human creation.

Meanwhile, in 2 Corinthians 8, St. Paul the Apostle is raising funds for the Church at Jerusalem.  This becomes explicit in Chapter 9.  He, quoting Exodus 16:18, originally about manna, makes a point about wealth, monetary and physical:

The one who had much did not have too much,

and the one who had little did not have too little.

–2 Corinthians 8:15, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

After all, we cannot take our money and possessions with us when we die.  In this life we ought to use them for positive purposes.  So, for example, if a rebel leader (David) pretending to be in the employ of King Saul needs bread for himself and his men takes the display bread reserved for priests to eat, the physical need overrides the ritual rules.  (Yet, in 1 Samuel 22, the lie had fatal consequences for the priests.)

In the Kingdom of God scarcity is absent.  So is the violence of someone such as King Saul.  The ways of God are not the ways of human beings, despite our repeated attempts to make God fit into our categories.  Part of this problem of attempting to make God fit into our categories is unavoidable, for, when we ponder God, we must do so from a human perspective.  It is the only way we can think about God.  Yet we must, if we are wise, recognize that our point of view is rather restricted.  Our perspective might be, for example, the spiritual blindness of the Apostles of the leaven of the Pharisees.  Reality is much broader than our narrow perspectives, we read.  Are we willing to open our spiritual eyes?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 12, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN DOBER, MORAVIAN BISHOP AND HYMN WRITER; JOHANN LEONHARD DOBER, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; AND ANNA SCHINDLER DOBER, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDITH CAVELL, NURSE AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENNETH OF SCOTLAND, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT NECTARIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, ARCHBISHOP

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/spiritual-blindness-2/

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