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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

Acts 5:1-11

Psalm 66

1 Peter 4:1-11

Matthew 22:1-14

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisements

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

Acts 4:23-37

Psalm 31:1-9, 15-16

1 Peter 3:8-22

Matthew 20:1-16

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

Acts 4:1-22

Psalm 23

1 Peter 2:11-25

Matthew 13:44-52

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

Acts 3:1-10

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

1 Peter 2:1-10

Matthew 13:24-35

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Guide to Easter Devotions for April 2019   1 comment

Above:  St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, 1939

Photographer = Frances Benjamin Johnston

Image Source = Library of Congress

The tower and steeple have remained, having become a landmark.  The demolition of the building, which served a number of functions for more than a century, occurred in 1990.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

EASTER SUNDAY, YEAR C:  APRIL 21, 2019:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/devotion-for-easter-sunday-year-a-humes/

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/2012/06/01/first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-year-c-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 22:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/devotion-for-monday-after-easter-sunday-year-c-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 23:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/devotion-for-tuesday-after-easter-sunday-year-c-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 24:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/devotion-for-wednesday-after-easter-sunday-year-c-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 25:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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 26:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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 27:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/devotion-for-thursday-friday-and-saturday-before-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-c-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, YEAR C:  APRIL 28, 2019:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/devotion-for-the-second-sunday-of-easter-year-a-humes/

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

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

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/eighth-day-of-easter-second-sunday-of-easter-year-c/

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/eighth-day-of-easter-second-sunday-of-easter-year-c/

Ninth Day of Easter:  Monday, April 29:

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/2012/06/07/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 30:

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-tenth-day-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

Above:  St. Matthias

Image in the Public Domain

Resurrected Lives, Part II

APRIL 28, 2019

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

Acts 1:12-26

Psalm 16:5-11

1 Peter 1:3-9, 14-25

Matthew 28:11-20

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Since by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves so that you can experience the genuine love of brothers, love each other intensely from the heart….

–1 Peter 1:22, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As one’s soul rejoices in God, who resurrected Jesus, who has issued the Great Commission, one requires guidance in how to follow Christ.  Certain rules are specific to times and places, but principles are timeless.  In 1 Peter 1:22 and elsewhere the germane principle is genuine love for God and others.  Love of the unconditional and self-sacrificial variety, we read in 1 Corinthians 13, prioritizes others and is not puffed up.  Such love builds up others.

This is a high standard; each of us falls short of it.  By grace we can succeed some of the time, however.  Furthermore, we can strive for agape love more often than we act on it.  We need not attempt moral perfection, which is impossible, but we must seek to do as well as possible, by grace.  We are imperfect; God knows that.  Yet we can improve.

The surviving Apostles regrouped and restored their number to twelve.  They selected St. Matthias to fill the vacancy the death of Judas Iscariot had created.  St. Matthias became a martyr; he loved God to the point of dying for the faith.  We might not have to make the choice, but we still owe God everything.

Grace is always free yet never cheap.  In the wake of Easter it demands that we who accept it lead resurrected lives defined by love.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 30, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOAN OF ARC, ROMAN CATHOLIC VISIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF APOLO KIVEBULAYA, APOSTLE TO THE PYGMIES

THE FEAST OF JOSEPHINE BUTLER, ENGLISH FEMINIST AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LUKE KIRBY, THOMAS COTTAM, WILLIAM FILBY, AND LAURENCE RICHARDSON, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/resurrected-lives-part-ii/

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

Above:  Easter Celtic Cross

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Resurrected Lives, Part I

APRIL 21, 2019

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

Acts 2:22-41 or Job 19:7-27c

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Matthew 28:1-10

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The reading from Job 19 might seem at first to be an odd selection for Easter Sunday.  The choice makes much sense on this occasion, however.  The lesson reminds us that even innocent people suffer, despite what certain conventionally pious people, such as alleged friends who insult the afflicted, claim.  Reading the Book of Job and the Gospel of John together highlights the falseness of the arguments of Job’s alleged friends, for, in the Johannine Gospel, the crucifixion of Jesus is Christ’s glorification.

Psalm 118 is a prayer of thanksgiving for victory in battle.  The theme of victory certainly applies to Easter, central to the Christian liturgical year.  Likewise the resurrection of Jesus is central to Christianity, as 1 Corinthians 15, in its entirety, affirms.

The body of Christian doctrine is varied and frequently self-contradictory, given the wide variety of competing denominations.  An orthodox Christian in one denomination is simultaneously a heretic, according to the standards of many other denominations.  Yet, for all the variation in doctrines not essential to salvation, a few doctrines are mandatory.  The Incarnation is one.  The atonement (with at least three interpretations of it dating to the Patristic Era) is a second.  The resurrection of Jesus is a third.

In the academic study of history one, assuming that one’s facts are correct and one’s chronology is in order, one must still be able to answer one question satisfactorily:

So what?

St. Paul the Apostle, in 1 Corinthians 15, answers that question ably down the corridors of time.  Through the resurrection of Jesus, we read (especially after verse 11), we Christians, liberated from our former states of sin, have hope; we lead resurrected lives.  Otherwise, if the resurrection is false,

…we of all people are most to be pitied.

–1 Corinthians 15:19b, The Revised English Bible (1989)

Yet we are not, thanks to God.

Happy Easter!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 30, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOAN OF ARC, ROMAN CATHOLIC VISIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF APOLO KIVEBULAYA, APOSTLE TO THE PYGMIES

THE FEAST OF JOSEPHINE BUTLER, ENGLISH FEMINIST AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LUKE KIRBY, THOMAS COTTAM, WILLIAM FILBY, AND LAURENCE RICHARDSON, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/resurrected-lives-part-i/

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is post #400 of LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++