Archive for the ‘May’ Category

Guide to Easter Devotions for May 2019   1 comment

Above:  Hodgson House

Scanned from Henry Thompson Malone, The Episcopal Church in Georgia, 1833-1957 (1960)

Hodgson House–condemned in 2014 then demolished shortly thereafter

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Eleventh Day of Easter:  Wednesday, May 1:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/devotion-for-monday-tuesday-and-wednesday-after-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 2:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/devotion-for-thursday-and-friday-before-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 3:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/devotion-for-thursday-and-friday-before-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 4:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/devotion-for-saturday-before-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, YEAR C:  MAY 5, 2019:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/devotion-for-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-a-humes/

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/2012/06/08/fifteenth-day-of-easter-third-sunday-of-easter-year-c/

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, May 6:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/devotion-for-monday-tuesday-and-wednesday-after-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 7:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/devotion-for-monday-tuesday-and-wednesday-after-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 8:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/devotion-for-monday-tuesday-and-wednesday-after-the-third-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 9:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 10:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 11:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, YEAR C:  MAY 12, 2019:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/devotion-for-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-a-humes/

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/2012/06/09/twenty-second-day-of-easter-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-c/

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, May 13:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/devotion-for-monday-after-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 14:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/devotion-for-tuesday-after-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 15:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/devotion-for-wednesday-after-the-fourth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 16:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/devotion-for-thursday-before-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 17:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/devotion-for-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, May 18:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/devotion-for-friday-and-saturday-before-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, YEAR C:  MAY 19, 2019:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/devotion-for-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-a-humes/

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/2012/06/15/twenty-ninth-day-of-easter-fifth-sunday-of-easteryear-c/

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, May 20:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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/

Thirty-First Day of Easter:  Tuesday, May 21:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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/thirty-first-day-of-easter/

Thirty-Second Day of Easter:  Wednesday, May 22:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/devotion-for-wednesday-after-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/devotion-for-the-thirty-second-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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

Thirty-Third Day of Easter:  Thursday, May 23:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/devotion-for-the-thirty-third-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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

Thirty-Fourth Day of Easter:  Friday, May 24:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/devotion-for-the-thirty-fourth-and-thirty-fifth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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

Thirty-Fifth Day of Easter:  Saturday, May 25:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/devotion-for-the-thirty-fourth-and-thirty-fifth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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

THIRTY-SIXTH DAY OF EASTER:  SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C:  MAY 26, 2019:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/devotion-for-the-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-a-humes/

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

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

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/thirty-sixth-day-of-easter-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-c/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/devotion-for-the-thirty-sixth-and-thirty-seventh-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Thirty-Seventh Day of Easter:  Monday, May 27:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/devotion-for-the-thirty-sixth-and-thirty-seventh-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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

Thirty-Eighth Day of Easter:  Tuesday, May 28:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/devotion-for-the-thirty-eighth-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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

Thirty-Ninth Day of Easter:  Wednesday, May 29:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/devotion-for-wednesday-after-the-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/devotion-for-the-thirty-ninth-fortieth-and-forty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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

FORTIETH DAY OF EASTER:  FEAST OF THE ASCENSION:  MAY 30, 2019:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/devotion-for-the-feast-of-the-ascension-years-a-b-c-and-d-humes/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/devotion-for-the-feast-of-the-ascension-year-d/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/devotion-for-the-fortieth-day-of-easter-the-feast-of-the-ascension-years-a-b-and-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/devotion-for-the-thirty-ninth-fortieth-and-forty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/fortieth-day-of-easter-feast-of-the-ascension/

Forty-First Day of Easter:  Friday, May 31:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/devotion-for-friday-and-saturday-before-the-seventh-sunday-of-easter-year-c-elca-daily-lectionary/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/devotion-for-the-thirty-ninth-fortieth-and-forty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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

FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH:  MAY 31, 2019:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/devotion-for-the-feast-of-the-visitation-of-mary-to-elizabeth-years-a-b-c-and-d-humes/

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Devotion for the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, Years A, B, C, and D (Humes)   2 comments

Above:  Embrace of Elizabeth and the Virgin Mary

Image in the Public Domain

Humility and Arrogance

MAY 31, 2019

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The Collect:

Almighty God, in choosing the virgin Mary to be the mother of your Son,

you made known your gracious regard for the poor and the lowly and the despised.

Grant us grace to receive your Word in humility, and so made one with your Son,

Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 33

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Samuel 2:1-10

Psalm 113

Romans 12:9-16b

Luke 1:39-57

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Depending on the date of Easter, and therefore of Pentecost, the Feast of the Visitation can fall in either the season of Easter or the Season after Pentecost.

The history of the Feast of the Visitation has been a varied one.  The feast, absent in Eastern Orthodoxy, began in 1263, when St. Bonaventure introduced it to the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans), which he led.  Originally the date was July 2, after the octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24).  Pope Urban VI approved the feast in 1389, the Council of Basel authorized it in 1441, propers debuted in the Sarum breviary of 1494, and Pope Pius V added the feast to the general calendar in 1561.  In 1969, during the pontificate of Paul VI, Holy Mother Church moved the Feast of the Visitation to May 31, in lieu of the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which Pope Pius XII had instituted in 1954.  The Episcopal Church added the Feast of the Visitation to its calendar in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  The feast had long been July 2 in The Church of England and much of Lutheranism prior to 1969.  Subsequent liturgical revision led to the transfer of the feast to May 31 in those traditions.

The corresponding Eastern Orthodox feast on July 2 commemorates the placing of the Holy Robe of the Mother of God in the church at Blachernae, a suburb of Constantinople.

The theme of humility is prominent in the assigned readings and in the Lutheran collect I have quoted.  A definition of that word might therefore prove helpful.  The unabridged Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language (1951), a tome, defines humility as

Freedom from pride and arrogance; humbleness of mind; a modest estimate of one’s own worth; also, self-abasement, penitence for sin.

Humility refers to lowliness and, in the Latin root, of being close to the ground.  God raising up the lowly is a Lukan theme, as is God overthrowing the arrogant.  After all, the woes (Luke 6:24-26) follow the Beatitudes (6:20-25), where Jesus says,

Blessed are you who are poor,

not

Blessed are you who are poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).

The first will be last and the last will be first, after all.

Wherever you are, O reader, you probably live in a society that celebrates the boastful, the arrogant.  The assigned readings for this day contradict that exultation of the proud, however.  They are consistent with the ethic of Jeremiah 9:22-23:

Yahweh says this,

“Let the sage not boast of wisdom,

nor the valiant of valour,

nor the wealthy of riches!

But let anyone who wants to boast, boast of this:

of understanding and knowing me.

For I am Yahweh, who acts with faithful love,

justice, and uprightness on earth;

yes, these are what please me,”

Yahweh declares.

The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

St. Paul the Apostle channeled that ethic in 1 Corinthians 1:31 and 2 Corinthians 10:17, among other passages.

That which he understood well and internalized, not without some struggle, remains relevant and timeless.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 1, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR, CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAMPHILUS OF CAESAREA, BIBLE SCHOLAR AND TRANSLATOR; AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL STENNETT, ENGLISH SEVENTH-DAY BAPTIST MINISTER AND HYMN-WRITER; AND JOHN HOWARD, ENGLISH HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIMEON OF SYRACUSE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/humility-and-arrogance-part-ii/

https://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2018/07/12/devotion-for-the-feast-of-the-visitation-of-mary-to-elizabeth-years-a-b-c-and-d-humes/

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Devotion for the Feast of the Ascension, Years A, B, C, and D (Humes)   2 comments

Above:  Ascension.  Olivet With Clouds, Between 1934 and 1939

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-matpc-12383

Empowered by God

MAY 30, 2019

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The Collect:

Almighty God, your only Son was taken up into heaven and in power intercedes for us.

May we also come into your presence and live forever in your glory;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 22

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The Assigned Readings:

Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 47

Ephesians 1:15-23

Luke 24:44-53

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The Feast of the Ascension celebrates the enthronement of Jesus as the King of Heaven.  Ascension is an ancient commemoration, one nearly universal in the Church by the 300s.  On some calendars it falls on a Thursday, on the fortieth day of Easter, to be precise.  On other calendars it transfers to the following Sunday.  On still other calendars Ascension is absent, thrown out with the proverbial bath water of Roman Catholic tradition.

For many the rejection of tradition has become a tradition.

The departure of Jesus from this realm placed a great responsibility on the surviving Apostles, whose number did not yet include St. Matthias.  They were to have divine assistance, however.  So they did.  The Apostles’ responsibility to be witnesses of Jesus has passed to we Christians of today.  Fortunately, God’s assistance in fulfilling this mission has never ceased.

People have different abilities and personality types.  I, for example, am an introvert.  People who knock on my door with the intention of converting me always fail.  One reason is that I dislike that interruption when I am at home.  Annoying me is a bad first step.  Besides, I have always been uncomfortable while engaging in excessively extroverted activities for too long.  I will not, therefore, knock on anyone’s door with the intention of evangelizing him or her, but I feel at ease sitting at a computer keyboard.  What I do there can reach people I will never get to meet anyway.  There are many useful roles for introverts in the Church.

Whatever God is calling you, O reader, to do, God also empower you to do.  May you do it, for the glory of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 1, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR, CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAMPHILUS OF CAESAREA, BIBLE SCHOLAR AND TRANSLATOR; AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL STENNETT, ENGLISH SEVENTH-DAY BAPTIST MINISTER AND HYMN-WRITER; AND JOHN HOWARD, ENGLISH HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIMEON OF SYRACUSE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/empowered-by-god-part-vi/

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Devotion for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A (Humes)   1 comment

Above:  Parable of the Great Banquet, by Jan Luyken

Image in the Public Domain

A Faithful Response, Part IX

MAY 26, 2019

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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:

Acts 5:1-11

Psalm 66

1 Peter 4:1-11

Matthew 22:1-14

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The king’s action–burning the city in which the murderers lived–seems excessive in Matthew 22:7.  Yet, if one interprets that passage and the parable from which it comes in the context of the destruction of Jerusalem (70 C.E.), it remains problematic, but at least it makes some sense.  Might one understand the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. as divine judgment?  One might, especially if one, as a marginalized Jewish Christian in the 80s C.E., were trying to make sense of recent events.  A note in The New Interpreter’s Study Bible (2003) links this passage to Matthew 24:27-31  and divine judgment on the Roman Empire.

Scholar Jonathan T. Pennington, rejecting the consensus that “Kingdom of Heaven,” in the Gospel of Matthew, is a reverential circumlocution, contends that the Kingdom of Heaven is actually God’s apocalyptic rule on Earth.  The kingdoms of the Earth are in tension with God and will remain so until God terminates the tension by taking over.  That understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven fits well with the motif of divine judgment in the Gospel of Matthew.

We also read of divine judgment in Acts 5:1-11, which flows from the end of Acts 4.  The sins of Ananias and Sapphira against the Holy Spirit were greed and duplicity.  As I read the assigned lessons I made the connection between Acts 5:1-11 and Psalm 66:18 (The New Revised Standard Version, 1989):

If if had cherished iniquity in my heart,

the LORD would not have listened.

The brief reading from 1 Peter 4 is packed with themes and some theologically difficult verses, but the thread that fits here naturally is the call (in verse 8) to love one another intensely while living in and for God.  That fits with Acts 5:1-11 (as a counterpoint to Ananias and Sapphira) well.  That thought also meshes nicely with Psalm 66 and juxtaposes with the judged in Matthew 22:1-14.  At the wedding banquet a guest was supposed to honor the king by (1) attending and (2) dressing appropriately.  Infidelity to God brings about divine judgment, just as faithfulness to God (frequently manifested in how we treat others) pleases God.

That is a concrete and difficult standard.  It is one we can meet more often than not, though, if we rely on divine grace to do so.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 1, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR, CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAMPHILUS OF CAESAREA, BIBLE SCHOLAR AND TRANSLATOR; AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL STENNETT, ENGLISH SEVENTH-DAY BAPTIST MINISTER AND HYMN-WRITER; AND JOHN HOWARD, ENGLISH HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIMEON OF SYRACUSE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/a-faithful-response-part-x/

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Devotion for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A (Humes)   2 comments

Above:  Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, by Rembrandt van Rijn

Image in the Public Domain

A Faithful Response, Part VIII

MAY 19, 2019

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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:

Acts 4:23-37

Psalm 31:1-9, 15-16

1 Peter 3:8-22

Matthew 20:1-16

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The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) tells of the generosity of God.  The social setting is poverty created by rampant economic exploitation–in this case, depriving people of land, therefore depriving them of economic security.  The economics of the Kingdom of God/Heaven–in tension with human systems–the Roman Empire, in particular–are morally superior.

Trusting in God can be difficult during the best of times, given human sins and frailties.  Therefore trusting in God in precarious circumstances–such as persecution and/or systematic economic exploitation–can certainly prove to be challenging.  Yet, when faith communities do so and, acting on trust in God, take care of their members’ needs, grace is tangibly present.

Dare we have much trust in God?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 31, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/a-faithful-response-part-ix/

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Devotion for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A (Humes)   2 comments

Above:  The Sanhedrin

Image in the Public Domain

The Light of Christ, Part III

MAY 12, 2019

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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:

Acts 4:1-22

Psalm 23

1 Peter 2:11-25

Matthew 13:44-52

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One can find examples of God smiting evildoers in the Bible.  The fate of the evil in Matthew 13 falls into a side category, one in which angels smite evildoers–at the end, on the day of judgment.  Until then, as in Psalm 23, God simply outclasses and overpowers the wicked, who cannot keep up, much of the time.  The wicked cease to pursue the righteous; divine goodness and mercy pursue or accompany the righteous, depending on the translation one considers authoritative.

Although I am reluctant to label members of the Sanhedrin evil, I side with Sts. John and Simon Peter in the confrontation with that council.  I also rejoice that the Sanhedrin, for all its authority, lacked the power to prevent the Apostles from preaching.  I thank God that the Sanhedrin could not keep up with God and part of the public.

May we be on God’s side.  May we heed the advice of 1 Peter 2:12 and behave honorably always, to the glory of God.  Human authority is not always worthy of respect and obedience, and slavery (in all its forms) is always wrong, so I agree with part of the reading from 1 Peter 2, a text some have used to justify chattel slavery and submitting to the Third Reich.  The politics of early, persecuted Christianity aside, sometimes one must oppose human authority in order to live faithfully, in accordance with the divine commandments.  Those figures of authority cannot keep up with God either, and the call to live as one should–to manifest the light of Christ–is timeless.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 31, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/the-light-of-christ-part-v/

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Devotion for the Third Sunday of Easter, Year A (Humes)   2 comments

Above:  St. Peter, by Dirck van Baburen

Image in the Public Domain

A Faithful Response, Part VII

MAY 5, 2019

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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:

Acts 3:1-10

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

1 Peter 2:1-10

Matthew 13:24-35

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The theme of the power of God unites the assigned readings for this Sunday.

The Kingdom of God/Heaven, we read, is like a field of wheat with weeds growing up in it also.  We mere mortals should refrain from weeding the field, for unless we show that restraint, we will remove some wheat also.

The Kingdom of God/Heaven–in the Gospel of Matthew, God’s earthly, apocalyptic reign–has small, even invisible beginnings yet grows large and resists any human attempts to control it.  The Kingdom of God/Heaven and the Kingdom of Earth will remain in tension until the former supplants the latter.

By the power of God people can obtain salvation, healing, and status as a kingdom of priests.  By the power of God people receive grace.  With grace comes responsibility to serve as vehicles of grace to others.

I think of the man born lame (Acts 3:1-10) and wonder about the rest of his story.  The narrative moves in a different direction, following the Apostles he encountered that important day.  I conclude that the man, beaten down by the circumstances of his life, probably did not expect much, but that he received far more than he anticipated in his wildest dreams.  I wonder how that man spent the rest of his life.  I like to think that he devoted it to the glory of God.

Your story, O reader, might be less dramatic than his.  Mine is.  Yet we have the same mandate he did–to respond to God faithfully.  We mere mortals can never repay divine mercy, but we can serve God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 31, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/a-faithful-response-part-viii/

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