Archive for the ‘Acts 5’ Tag

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

Above:  Saint Peter, by Marco Zoppo

Image in the Public Domain

Suffering

JUNE 2, 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 5:17-42

Psalm 46

1 Peter 4:12:5:11

Matthew 24:1-14

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Suffering and persecution are prominent in the assigned readings.  The passage from Matthew 24, set during Holy Week, precedes the crucifixion of Jesus.  Sometimes suffering is a result of obeying God, yet, as we read in Psalm 46:7 (The New Revised Standard Version, 1989),

The LORD of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge.

One might also think of lyrics Doris Plenn wrote in response to McCarthyism:

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,

And hear their death-knell ringing,

When friends rejoice both far and near,

How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile,

Our thoughts to them are winging;

When friends by shame are undefiled,

How can I keep from singing?

After all, God transformed a Roman cross, a symbol of humiliation and a means of execution, into the ultimate symbol of grace and victory over death and sin.

Here ends the lesson.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 2, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BLANDINA AND HER COMPANIONS, THE MARTYRS OF LYONS, 177

THE FEAST OF ANDERS CHRISTENSEN ARREBO, “THE FATHER OF DANISH POETRY”

THE FEAST OF MARGARET ELIZABETH SANGSTER, HYMN WRITER, NOVELIST, AND DEVOTIONAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN OF SWEDEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/06/02/suffering-part-iii/

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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 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Before the Second Sunday of Easter, Year C (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   2 comments

Goliath Laughs at David

Above:  Goliath Laughs at David, by Ilya Repin

Image in the Public Domain

Unexpected Agents of Grace

APRIL 21-23, 2022

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The Collect:

O God of life, you reach out to us amid our fears

with the wounded hands of your risen Son.

By your Spirit’s breath revive our faith in your mercy,

and strengthen us to be the body of your Son,

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 33

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Samuel 17:1-23 (Thursday)

1 Samuel 17:19-32 (Friday)

1 Samuel 17:32-51 (Saturday)

Psalm 150 (All Days)

Acts 5:12-16 (Thursday)

Acts 5:17-26 (Friday)

Luke 24:36-40 (Saturday)

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Hallelujah!

Praise God in his holy temple;

praise him in the firmament of his power.

Praise him for his mighty acts;

praise him for his excellent greatness.

Praise him with the blast of the ram’s horn;

praise him with the lyre and harp.

Praise him with timbrel and dance;

praise him with strings and pipe.

Praise him with resounding cymbals;

praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.

Let everything that has breath

praise the LORD.

Hallelujah!

–Psalm 150, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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The reasons to praise God are myriad, beyond any human capacity to count.  One of those reasons is that God frequently works via people some of us (at best) consider unlikely agents of grace.

Consider David, O reader.  Yes, I know that 2 Samuel 21:19 has Elhanan, son of Jair from Bethlehem kill Goliath of Gath, and that 1 Chronicles 20:5 has the same Elhanan kill Lahmi, brother Goliath.  If that is not sufficiently confusing, David plays the lyre for King Saul in 1 Samuel 16 yet has not gone to work for the monarch yet in chapter 17.  These contradictions result from the combining of differing traditions in the canon of scripture.  Such contradictions are commonplace in the Old Testament, starting in the early chapters of Genesis.  One needs merely to read the texts with great attention to detail to detect them.

I use 1 Samuel 17, in which David, not Elhanan, kills Goliath, for that is the version the framers of the lectionary I am following chose.

In 1 Samuel 17 young David seemed to be the least likely person to rid Israel of the menace Goliath posed.  A crucified troublemaker from the Galilee seemed to be an unlikely candidate for an inspiring and timeless religious figure.  Apostles hiding in fear after the crucifixion of Jesus seemed to be unlikely candidates for leaders in a movement to change the world.  They faced persecution; most of them died as martyrs.  As Jesus said,

Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

–Luke 6:22-23, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

The theme of seemingly unlikely agents of grace occurs in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  It is easy to overlook the fact that many in the original audience found the idea of a good Samaritan shocking, even beyond improbable.

The real question I address is not the identities of agents of grace but human biases regarding who is more or less likely to be one.  We mere mortals need to learn theological humility, especially regarding how we evaluate each other.  Do we even attempt to look upon each other as God perceives us?

The composite pericope from Acts 5 reminds us that functioning as an agent of grace might lead one to harm.  Sometimes people suffer for the sake of righteousness because the light exposes darkness for what it is.

…the light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness has not overcome it.

–John 1:5, The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2010)

Perhaps we do not recognize agents of grace sometimes because we are caught up in the darkness and are oblivious to that fact.  Mustache-twirling villains, commonplace in simplistic morality plays, are rare in real life.  Most “bad guys” imagine themselves to be good, or at least engaged in necessary, if unpleasant work.

Another reason for failing to recognize agents of grace is functional fixedness.  We simply do not expect something, so we do not look for it.  We seek agents of grace as we know them and miss those agents of grace who do not fit our preconceptions.

How might God surprise you, O reader, with unexpected (to you) agents of grace?  And what will that grace cost you?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 18, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARC BOEGNER, ECUMENIST

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/unexpected-agents-of-grace/

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Eighth Day of Easter: Second Sunday of Easter, Year C   7 comments

Above:  Lamb of God

Seeking the Peace of God

APRIL 24, 2022

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THE FIRST READING

Acts 5:27-32 (New Revised Standard Version):

When the temple police had brought the apostles, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying,

We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.

But Peter and the apostles answered,

We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.

THE RESPONSE:  OPTION #1

Psalm 118:14-29 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

14  The LORD is my strength and my song,

and he has become my salvation.

15  There is a sound of exultation and victory

in the tents of the righteous:

16  ”The right hand of the LORD has triumphed!

the right hand of the LORD is exalted!

the right hand of the LORD has triumphed!”

17  I shall not die, but live,

and declare the works of the LORD.

18  The LORD has punished me sorely,

but he did not hand me over to death.

19  Open for me the gates of righteousness;

I will enter them;

I will offer thanks to the LORD.

20  ”This is the gate of the LORD;

he who is righteous may enter.”

21  I will give thanks to you, for you answered me

and have become my salvation.

22  The same stone which the builders rejected

has become the chief cornerstone.

23  This is the LORD’s doing,

and it is marvelous in our eyes.

24  On this day the LORD has acted;

we will rejoice and be glad in it.

25  Hosanna, LORD, hosanna!

LORD, send us now success.

26  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;

we bless you from the house of the LORD.

27  God is the LORD; he has shined upon us;

form a procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.

28  ”You are my God, and I will thank you;

you are my God, and I will exalt you.”

29  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

his mercy endures for ever.

THE RESPONSE:  OPTION #2

Psalm 150 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Hallelujah!

Praise God in his holy temple;

praise him in the firmament of his power.

Praise him for his mighty acts;

praise him for his excellent greatness.

Praise him with the blast of the ram’s-horn;

Praise him with lyre and harp.

Praise him with timbrel and dance;

praise him with strings and pipe.

Praise him with resounding cymbals;

praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.

Let everything that has breath

praise the LORD.

Hallelujah!

THE SECOND READING

Revelation 1:4-8 (New Revised Standard Version):

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:  Grace to you and peace from him who is and was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

Look!  He is coming with the clouds;

every eye will see him,

even those who pierced him;

and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wait.

So it is to be.   Amen.

I am the Alpha and the Omega,

says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

THE GOSPEL READING

John 20:19-31 (New Revised Standard Version):

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said,

Peace be with you.

After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again,

Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,

Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him,

We have seen the Lord.

But he said to them,

Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said,

Peace be with you.

Then he said to Thomas,

Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.

Thomas answered him,

My Lord and my God!

Jesus said to him,

Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their 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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Some Related Posts:

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-second-sunday-of-easter/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-second-sunday-of-easter/

Prayer:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/prayer-for-the-second-sunday-of-easter/

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Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

–John 20:22b-23, New Revised Standard Version 

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Jesus had returned from the dead, a death which human authorities had ordered.  So, in Acts 5:27, St. Simon Peter could defy human authority in good conscience.  (That adds a wrinkle to an argument I made here.    Back in time, closer to the Resurrection, Jesus comforted his surviving eleven Apostles, saying

Peace be with you.

The Apostles’ task was to spread that peace to others.

What, then, does John 20:22b-23 mean?  In other words, who retains unforgiven sins?

Recently I watched The Twenty (2010), an independent movie which deals with that question.  The three main characters loathe themselves.  The recovering alcoholic who has been sober for just a few weeks before resuming drinking detests himself.  The pedophile who has apologized to his victims and lived as a recluse for twenty-two years is ashamed of himself.  Two of his three victims have forgiven him.  The third victim, now a bar waitress and a devout person, has yet to find a way to live with herself either.  The lack of forgiveness of others and of self causes problems for all three characters.  And all these lives intersect because of a message on a twenty-dollar bill, hence the title of the movie.

The film ends ambiguously.  Will the self-exiled pedophile confess his sins in public?  Will the bar waitress force him to do so?  Will the recovering alcoholic save his fragile marriage?  Will anybody forgive himself or herself and find a way to live with the person in the mirror?  And will anybody forgive anybody else?

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,

grant us your peace.

A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), page 426

Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MORAND OF CLUNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LIPHARDUS OF ORLEANS AND URBICIUS OF MEUNG, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF UGANDA

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/seeking-the-peace-of-god/

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Thirteenth Day of Easter   11 comments

Feeding of the Five Thousand (A Coptic Icon)

Recognizing Jesus (in the Eucharist)

April 29, 2022

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Acts 5:34-42 (Revised English Bible):

But a member of the Council rose to his feet, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in high regard by all the people.  He had the men put outside for a while, and then said,

Men of Israel, be very careful in deciding what to do with these men.  Some time ago Theudas came forward, making claims for himself, and a number of our people, about four hundred, joined him.  But he was killed and his whole movement was destroyed and came to nothing.  After him came Judas the Gaillean at the time of the census; he induced some people to revolt under his leadership, but he too perished and his whole movement was broken up.  Now, my advice is this:  keep clear of these men; let them alone.  For if what is being planned and done is human in origin, it will collapse; but if it is from God, you will never be able to stamp it out, and you will risk finding yourselves at war with God.

Convinced by this, they sent for the apostles and had them flogged; then they ordered them to give up speaking in the name of Jesus, and discharged them.  The apostles went out from the Council rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer humiliation for the sake of the name.  And every day they went steadily on with their teaching in the temple and in private houses, telling the good news of Jesus the Messiah.

Psalm 27:1-6 (Revised English Bible):

The LORD is my light and my salvation;

whom should I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life;

of whom then should I go in dread?

When evildoers close in on me to devour me,

is my adversaries, my enemies,

who stumble and fall.

Should an army encamp against me,

my heart would have no fear;

if armed men should fall upon me,

even though I would be undismayed.

One thing I ask of the LORD,

it is the one thing I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD

all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the LORD

and to seek him in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of misfortune;

he will conceal me under cover of his tent,

set me high on a rock.

Now my head will be raised high

above my enemy all about me;

so I shall acclaim him in his tent with a sacrifice

and sing a psalm of praise to the LORD.

John 6:1-15 (Anchor Bible):

Later on Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee [to the shore] of Tiberias, but a large crowd kept following him because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.  So Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.  The Jewish feast of Passover was near.

When Jesus looked up, he caught sight of a large crowd coming toward him; so he said to Philip,

Where shall we ever buy bread for these people to eat?

(Actually, of course, he was perfectly aware of what he was going to do, but he asked this to test Philip’s reaction.)  He replied,

Not even with two hundred days’ wages could we buy enough loaves to give each of them a mouthful.

One of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, remarked to him.

There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and a couple of dried fish, but what good is that for so many?

Jesus said,

Get the people to sit down.

Now the men numbered about five thousand, but there was plenty of grass there for them to find a seat.  Jesus then took the loaves of bread, gave thanks, and passed them around to those sitting there; and he did the same with the dried fish–just as much as they wanted.  When they had enough, he told his disciples,

Gather up the fragments that are left over so that nothing will perish.

And so they gathered twelve baskets full of fragments left over by those who had been fed with the five barley loaves.

Now when the people saw the sign[s] he had performed, they began to say,

This in undoubtedly the Prophet who is to come into the world.

With that Jesus realized that they would come and carry him off to make him king, so he fled back to the mountain alone.

The Collect:

O Lord, you have saved us through the Paschal mystery of Christ:  Continue to support your people with heavenly gifts, that we may attain true liberty, and enjoy the happiness of heaven which he have begun to taste on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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Gamaliel stated that Jesus might have been the genuine article.  He was waiting for further evidence, but his conditional statement was ultimately correct.  At least that member of the Sanhedrin did not reject Jesus reflexively.  Christian tradition holds that Peter and John baptized Gamaliel and his son some time later.  Given the account from Acts 5:34-42, this is plausible.  (Historically speaking, that is as far as I can go.)

The assigned reading from the Johannine Gospel is a variation on the “Feeding of the Five Thousand.”  The text is clear that there were five thousand men, without stating the number of women and children.  This detail amplifies the wondrous nature of the feeding of such a large crowd with so few loaves and fishes.  The Johannine narrative focuses on the bread, not the fishes, for it emphasizes the proto-Last Supper nature of the event.  Today we Christians can have frequent access to Jesus through the blessed host, which becomes the body of our Lord and Savior, and so we can partake of another glorious mystery.

Gamaliel recognized the possibility that Jesus was who and what people claimed he was.  Do we recognize Jesus in the Holy Eucharist?

KRT

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

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, April 29, Episcopal Church Lectionary

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Twelfth Day of Easter   14 comments

Christ the Redeemer, South America

Deeds Reveal Creeds

April 28, 2022

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Acts 5:27-33 (Revised English Bible):

When they  [apostles] had been brought in and made to stand before the Council, the high priest began his examination.

We gave you explicit orders,

he said,

to stop teaching in that name; and what has happened?  You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are trying to hold us responsible for that man’s death.

Peter replied for the apostles,

We must obey God rather than men.  The God of our fathers raised up Jesus; after you had put him to death by hanging him on a gibbet, God exalted him at his right hand as leader and saviour , to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses to all this, as is the Holy Spirit who is given by God to those obedient to him.

This touched them to the raw, and they wanted to put them to death.

Psalm 34:15-22 (Revised English Bible):

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous;

his ears are open to their cry.

The LORD sets his face against wrongdoers

to cut off all memory of them from the earth.

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears

and sets them free from all their troubles.

The LORD is close to those whose courage is broken;

he saves those whose spirit is crushed.

Through the misfortunes of one who is righteous be many,

the LORD delivers him out of them all.

He guards every bone of his body,

and not one of them will be broken.

Misfortune will bring death to the wicked,

and punishment befalls those who hate the righteous.

The LORD delivers the lives of his servants,

and no punishment befalls those who seek refuge in him.

John 3:31-36 (Anchor Bible):

[John the Baptist continued,]

The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth is earthly, and he speaks of an earthly plane.  The one who comes from heaven [(who) is above all] testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.  Whoever does accept his testimony has certified that God is truthful.  For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God; truly boundless is his gift of the Spirit.  The Father loves the Son and has handed over all things to him.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.  Whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

The Collect:

Grant, O Lord, that we may so live in the Paschal mystery that the joy of these fifty days may continually strengthen us, and assure us of our salvation; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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Deeds reveal creeds.

If we love Jesus we keep his commandments.  Chief among those commandments are to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves.  Post-resurrection, Apostles preached fearlessly, facing imprisonment and the possibility of martyrdom.  Their bold actions confirmed their words.

What does Jesus require of you?  What will it cost you?  And what will the cost of disobedience be relative to that of obedience?

KRT

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

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, April 28, Episcopal Church Lectionary

Tagged with , ,

Eleventh Day of Easter   9 comments

Moonlight

Image Source = Godoi

Light in the Darkness

April 27, 2022

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Acts 5:12-26 (Revised English Bible):

Many signs and wonders were done among the people by the apostles.  All the believers used to meet by common consent in Solomon’s Portico, no one from outside their number ventured to join them, yet people in general spoke highly of them.  An ever-increasing number of men and women who believed in the Lord were added to their ranks.  As a result the sick were carried out into the streets and laid there on beds and stretchers, so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on one or another as he passed by; and the people from the towns round Jerusalem flocked in, bringing those who were ill, or harassed by unclean spirits, and all were cured.

Then the high priest and his colleagues, the Sadducean party, were goaded by jealousy to arrest the apostles and put them in official custody.  But during the night, an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, led them out, and said,

Go, stand in the temple and tell the people all about this new life.

Accordingly they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching.

When the high priest arrived with his colleagues they summoned the Sanhedrin, the full Council of the Israelite nation, and sent to the jail for the prisoners.  The officers who went to the prison failed to find them there, so they returned and reported,

We found the jail securely locked at every point, with the wardens at their posts by the doors, but on opening them we found no one inside.

When they heard this, the controller of the temple and the chief priests were at a loss to know what could have become of them, until someone came and reported:

The men you put in prison are standing in the temple teaching the people.

Then the controller went off with the officers and fetched them, but without use of force, for being stoned by the people.

Psalm 34:1-8 (Revised English Bible):

I shall bless the LORD at all times;

his praise shall ever be on my lips.

In the LORD I shall glory;

the humble will hear and be glad.

Glorify the LORD with me;

let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD ‘s help; he answered me

and set me free from all my fears.

They who look to him are radiant with joy;

they will never be put out of countenance.

Here is one who cried out in his affliction;

the LORD heard him and saved him from all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD is on guard

round those who fear him, and he rescues them.

Taste and see that the LORD is good.

Happy are they who find refuge in him!

John 3:16-21 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

…Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave the only Son, that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.  For God did not sent the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned for refusing to believe int he name of God’s only Son.  Now the judgment is this:  the light has come into the world, but men have preferred darkness to light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone who practices wickedness hates the light, and does not come to the light for fear his deeds will be exposed.  But he who acts in truth comes into the light, so that it may be shown that this deeds are done in God.

The Collect:

O God, by the waters of Baptism you have renewed those who believe in you: Come to the help of those who have been reborn in Christ, that they may overcome the wiles of the devil, and continue faithful to the gifts of grace they have received from you; 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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The light came into the world.  This light shone in the darkness, and the darkness neither understood nor overcame it.  The darkness attempted to extinguish the light, and, indeed, the flame extinguished briefly.  Then, a few days later, the flame reignited.

The light multiplied and the darkness was powerless to extinguish the new lights, also.  The darkness destroyed some candles and lamps, but more candles and lamps took their places.  So the light multiplied again.  Then the darkness fought back, imprisoning certain candles and lamps, and agents of God liberated many of them.

The struggle continues.  God will win.  Thanks be to God!

KRT

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

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, April 27, Episcopal Church Lectionary

Tagged with , ,

First Day of Easter: Easter Sunday, Years A, B, and C–Evening Service   28 comments

He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

(The Supper at Emmaus, by Caravaggio)

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April 17, 2022

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Acts 5:29a, 30-32 (New Revised Standard Version):

But Peter and the apostles answered,

…The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.  God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses to these things, as so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.

1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 (New Revised Standard Version):

Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?  Clean out the old yeast that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened.  For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.  Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Psalm 114 (New Revised Standard Version):

When Israel went out from Egypt,

the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,

Judah became God’s sanctuary,

Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled;

Jordan turned back.

The mountains skipped like rams,

the hills like lambs.

Why is it, O sea, that you flee?

O Jordan, that you turn back?

O mountains, that you skip like rams?

O hills, like lambs?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the LORD,

at the presence of the God of Jacob,

who turns the rock into a pool of water,

the flint into a spring of water.

Luke 24:13-35 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now on that same day, the first day of the week, two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them,

What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?

They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him,

Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?

He asked them,

What things?

They replied,

The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.

Then he said to them,

Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?

Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying,

Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.

So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other,

Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?

That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying,

The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Collect:

Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Both services for Easter Sunday contain Gospel readings which tell of followers of Jesus encountering him and not recognizing him until he said or did something which revealed his identity.  I propose that one reason (if not the reason) people did not recognize Jesus was that they did not expect to see him, for they thought he was dead.  When they realized that he was alive, however, they told the eleven surviving Apostles and those gathered with them.

Imagine how traumatized the followers of Jesus in and around Jerusalem must have been.  The Roman Empire had just executed Jesus via a method meant to make an example of him.  Might they be next?  Then God acted and restored Jesus to life.  This was wonderful news indeed.  Who, upon encountering the resurrected Jesus, would not feel encouraged and compelled to tell others?

Ask yourself:  Where, in our daily lives, are we on a walk to Emmaus?  When does God act powerfully in our proximity and encourage us, and we do not recognize the divine action?  May we open our spiritual eyes and understand what God has done and is doing, and act according to what that demands of us.

KRT

Written on April 2, 2010

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/he-was-known-to-them-in-the-breaking-of-the-bread/