Archive for the ‘Psalm 16’ Tag

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

Above:  St. Matthias

Image in the Public Domain

Resurrected Lives, Part II

APRIL 28, 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 1:12-26

Psalm 16:5-11

1 Peter 1:3-9, 14-25

Matthew 28:11-20

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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)

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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

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

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Devotion for the Great Vigil of Easter, Years A, B, C, and D (Humes)   1 comment

Above:  Icon of the Resurrection

Image Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The Light of Christ, Part II

APRIL 11-12, 2020

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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:

At least three of the following sets:

Genesis 1:1-2:4a and Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26

Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13 and Psalm 46

Genesis 22:1-18 and Psalm 16

Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 and Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18

Isaiah 55:1-11 and Isaiah 12:2-6

Ezekiel 20:1-24 and Psalm 19

Ezekiel 36:24-28 and Psalms 42 and 43

Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Psalm 143

Zephaniah 3:14-20 and Psalm 98

Then:

Romans 6:3-11

Psalm 114

Matthew 28:1-10

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The history of the Great Vigil of Easter is interesting.  We do not know when the service began, but we do know that it was already well-established in the second century C.E.  We also know that the Great Vigil was originally a preparation for baptism.  Reading the history of the Easter Vigil reveals the elaboration of the rite during ensuing centuries, to the point that it lasted all night and was the Easter liturgy by the fourth century.  One can also read of the separation of the Easter Vigil and the Easter Sunday service in the sixth century.  As one continues to read, one learns of the vigil becoming a minor afternoon ritual in the Roman missal of 1570.  Then one learns of the revival of the Easter Vigil in Holy Mother Church in the 1950s then, in North America, in The Episcopal Church and mainline Lutheranism during the liturgical renewal of the 1960s and 1970s.  Furthermore, if one consults the U.S. Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (1993) and The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), on finds the ritual for the Great Vigil of Easter in those volumes.

The early readings for the Easter Vigil trace the history of God’s salvific work, from creation to the end of the Babylonian Exile.  The two great Hebrew Biblical themes of exile and exodus are prominent.  Then the literal darkness ends, the lights come up, and the priest announces the resurrection of Jesus.  The eucharistic service continues and, if there are any candidates for baptism, that sacrament occurs.

One of the chants for the Easter Vigil is

The light of Christ,

to which the congregation chants in response,

Thanks be to God.

St. Paul the Apostle, writing in Romans, reminds us down the corridors of time that the light of Christ ought to shine in our lives.  May that light shine brightly through us, by grace, that we may glorify God every day we are on this side of Heaven.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 29, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PERCY DEARMER, ANGLICAN CANON AND TRANSLATOR AND AUTHOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONA OF PISA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC AND PILGRIM

THE FEAST OF JIRI TRANOVSKY, LUTHER OF THE SLAVS AND FOUNDER OF SLOVAK HYMNODY

THE FEAST OF JOACHIM NEANDER, GERMAN REFORMED MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/the-light-of-christ-part-iv/

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Devotion for the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Days of Easter, Year A (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   4 comments

Jesus Bookmark

Above:  A Jesus Bookmark

Image scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The Corporeal and the Spiritual

THURSDAY-SATURDAY, APRIL 16-18, 2020

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The Collect:

Almighty and eternal God,

the strength of those who believe and the hope of those who doubt,

may we, who have not seen,

have faith in you and receive the fullness of Christ’s blessing,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 32

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The Assigned Readings:

Song of Songs 2:8-15 (5th Day)

Song of Songs 5:9-6:3 (6th Day)

Song of Songs 8:6-7 (7th Day)

Psalm 16 (All Days)

Colossians 4:2-5 (5th Day)

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (6th Day)

John 20:11-20 (7th Day)

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My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;

my body also shall not rest in hope.

–Psalm 16:9, Book of Common Worship (1993)

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The Song of Songs, I heard growing up, is about the relationship between Christ and the Church.  Balderdash!  There is also a Jewish allegorical interpretation which claims that the book is about the relationship between God and Israel.  I do not accept that either.  No, the Song of Songs is exactly what it appears to be–a series of poetic texts about a love affair between a man and a woman who may or may not be married to each other but who are in danger because of their love.

Hence the Song of Songs is about human erotic relationships.  And it belongs in the Canon of Jewish and Christian Scripture.  As J. Coert Rylaardsdam writes in Volume 10 (1964) of The Layman’s Bible Commentary:

Its [the Song of Songs’] respect for life is expressed in the savoring of it; and it is this that makes it a very important commentary on the meaning of the confession that God is the Creator of all things.  The presence of the Song in Scripture is a most forceful reminder that to confess God as Creator of all things visible and invisible is to deny that anything is “common” (see Acts 10:9-16) or, to use the cliché of today, “secular.”  This book teaches that all life is holy, not because we, as Christians, make it so, but because it is made and used by the living God.

–page 140

If that analysis seems odd to one, that fact indicates a different worldview than the Song’s authors had.  As Rylaardsdam writes on page 138:

The people who wrote the Bible had no equivalent of our notion of the “secular”; they did not separate the natural from the sacred as we often do, for they took very seriously the confession of God as Creator of all.

As Dr. Amy-Jill Levine says in her 2001 Teaching Company Course, The Old Testament, much of what was normative in biblical times has ceased to be so.  That is certainly true for those of us in the global West, shaped by the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment.  Modernity differs greatly from antiquity, in ways both good and bad.

Much of the Christian tradition–including the legacy of St. Paul the Apostle, a great evangelist who suffered much, to the point of martyrdom–contains discomfort with the corporeal.  Human bodies can be messy and otherwise unpleasant, to be sure, but their potential for temptation has attracted much attention.  Much of Christian tradition has obsessed about the latter fact excessively, even encouraging a universal, false dichotomy between the flesh and the spirit–a dichotomy absent from the Song of Songs.

That frequent and erroneous distrust of the flesh has influenced the Christology of many people negatively, leading them to commit heresy.  To say that Jesus was fully human and fully divine is easy.  To deal with the “fully divine” aspect of that formulation can prove relatively uncontroversial.  Yet to unpack the “fully human” aspect holds the potential–often realized–to upset people.  In the early 1990s, for example, my father said in a sermon in southern Georgia, U.S.A., that Jesus had a sense of humor.  One lady, a longtime member of the congregation, took offense, claiming that he had insulted her Jesus.

Yet the Incarnation is about both the corporeal and the spiritual.  And the resurrected Jesus was no phantom, for he had a physical form.  The Incarnation means several things simultaneously.  Among them is an affirmation of the goodness of creation, including human physicality.  If that physicality makes us uncomfortable–if we perceive it as antithetical to spiritual well-being–we have a spiritual problem, one of erroneous categories and at least on false dichotomy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 14, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT VENANTIUS HONORIUS CLEMENTIUS FORTUNATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS

THE FEAST OF CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/the-corporeal-and-the-spiritual/

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Great Vigil of Easter, Year C   6 comments

Above:  St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, Atlanta, Georgia, April 7, 2012

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

Embrace This Mystery

LATE SATURDAY, APRIL 20-EARLY SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2019

(BETWEEN SUNSET AND SUNRISE)

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READINGS AT THE LITURGY OF THE WORD

(Read at least two,)

(1) Genesis 1:1-2:4a and Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26

(2) Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18, 8:6-18, 9:8-13 and Psalm 46

(3) Genesis 22:1-18 and Psalm 16

(4) Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 and Canticle 8, page 85, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

(5) Isaiah 55:1-11 and Canticle 9, page 86, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

(6) Baruch 3:9-15, 3:32-4:4 or Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6 and Psalm 19

(7) Ezekiel 36:24-28 and Psalms 42 and 43

(8) Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Psalm 143

(9) Zephaniah 3:12-20 and Psalm 98

DECLARATION OF EASTER

The Collect:

Almighty God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. or this O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

READINGS AT THE FIRST HOLY EUCHARIST OF EASTER

Romans 6:3-11

Psalm 114

Luke 24:1-12

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My custom regarding posts for the Easter Vigil is to list the manifold and myriad readings (most of which are optional) and to offer a brief reflection.  Consistent with that practice I invite you, O reader, to approach the question of divine power, which gave us the Resurrection, with awe, wonder, reverence, and praise.  The Resurrection of Jesus is a matter of theology; historical methods cannot analyze it properly.  I am a trained historian, so far be it from me to criticize methods which work well most of that time.  But I am also a Christian, and I recognize the existence of mysteries beyond the bounds of historical scrutiny.  Life is better with some mysteries than without them.  So I invite you, O reader, to embrace this mystery.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 31, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/embrace-this-mystery/

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Great Vigil of Easter, Year B   15 comments

Easter Vigil, St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church, Marietta, Georgia, April 4, 2010

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

He’s Alive!

LATE SATURDAY, MARCH 31-EARLY SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2018

(BETWEEN SUNSET AND SUNRISE)

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READINGS AT THE LITURGY OF THE WORD

(Read at least two,)

(1) Genesis 1:1-2:4a and Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26

(2) Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18, 8:6-18, 9:8-13 and Psalm 46

(3) Genesis 22:1-18 and Psalm 16

(4) Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 and Canticle 8, page 85, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

(5) Isaiah 55:1-11 and Canticle 9, page 86, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

(6) Baruch 3:9-15, 3:32-4:4 or Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6 and Psalm 19

(7) Ezekiel 36:24-28 and Psalms 42 and 43

(8) Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Psalm 143

(9) Zephaniah 3:12-20 and Psalm 98

DECLARATION OF EASTER

The Collect:

Almighty God, who for our redemption gave your only- begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. or this O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

READINGS AT THE FIRST HOLY EUCHARIST OF EASTER

Romans 6:3-11

Psalm 114

Mark 16:1-8

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A Related Post:

Great Vigil of Easter, Year A:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/great-vigil-of-easter-year-a/

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Recently, while listening to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio, I heard an interviewee say,

We danced our religion before we thought it.

This is objectively accurate.

I am an intellectual–an unapologetic one.  So I like to ponder various matters deeply, exploring their nuances.  This is healthy, for one ought to exercise one’s brain power frequently.  Yet sometimes intellect and reason cannot explain something.  The Resurrection of Jesus is one of these matters.

Without the Resurrection Christianity is a lie and we who affirm the reality of this event are pitiable fools, the the latest in a long line of deluded idiots.  Yet the saints who preceded us were not deluded fools, and Christ is risen indeed.

Happy Easter!

KRT

Forty-Seventh Day of Easter   12 comments

God With Us

Thursday, May 28, 2020

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Acts 22:30; 23:6-11 (Revised English Bible):

The following day, wishing to be quite sure what charge the Jews were bringing against Paul, he [the commandant] released him and ordered the chief priests and the entire Council to assemble.  He then brought Paul down to stand before them.

Well aware that one section of them were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul called out in the Council,

My brothers, I am a Pharisee, a Pharisee born and bred; and the issue in this trial is our hope of the resurrection of the dead.

At these words the Pharisees and the Sadducees fell out among themselves, and the assembly was divided.  (The Sadducees deny that there is any resurrection or angel or spirit, but the Pharisees believe in all three.)  A great uproar ensued; and some of the scribes belonging to the Pharisaic party openly took sides and declared,

We find no fault with this man; perhaps an angel or spirit has spoken to him.

In the mounting dissension, the commandant was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces, so he ordered the troops to go down, pull him out of the crowd, and bring him into the barracks.

The following night the Lord appeared to him and said,

Keep up your courage!  You have affirmed the truth about me in Jerusalem, and you must do the same in Rome.

Psalm 16:5-11 (Revised English Bible):

LORD, you are my allotted portion and my cup;

you maintain my boundaries:

the lines fall for me in pleasant places;

I am well content with my inheritance.

I shall bless the LORD who has given me counsel:

in the night he imparts wisdom to my inmost being.

I have set the LORD before me at all times:

with him at my right hand I cannot be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad

and my spirit rejoices,

my body too rests unafraid;

for you will not abandon me to Sheol

or suffer your faithful servant to see the pit.

You will show me the path of life;

in your presence is the fullness of joy,

at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

John 17:20-26 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

Yet it is not for these alone that I pray but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they all may be one, just as you, Father, in me and I in you, that they also may be [one] in us.  Thus the world may be brought to completion as one.  Thus the world may come to know that you sent me and that you loved them even as you loved me.  Father, they are your gift to me; and where I am, I wish them to be one with me, that they may see my glory which you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.  O Father most just, while the world did not know you (though I knew you), these men came to know that you sent me.  And to them  I made known your name; and I will continue to make it known so that the love you had for me may be in them and I may be in them.

The Collect:

O Lord, when your Son ascended into heaven he sent down upon the Apostles the Holy Spirit, as he had promised, that they might comprehend the mysteries of the kingdom:  Distribute among us also, we pray, the gifts of the selfsame Spirit; 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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As I ponder these readings I conclude that the most eloquent statement concerning their central theme comes from Robert Lowery (1826-1899).  So I share with you the words of one of his hymns, which I found in With One Voice:  A Lutheran Resource for Worship (1995), a supplement to the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978).

KRT

1.  My life flows on in endless song;

above earth’s lamentation,

I catch the sweet, though far-off hymn

that hails a new creation.

Refrain:

No storm can shake my inmost calm

while to that Rock I’m clinging.

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,

how can I keep from singing?

2.  Through all the tumult and the strife,

I hear that music ringing.

It finds an echo in my soul.

How can I keep from singing?

Refrain

3.  What though my joys and comforts die?

The Lord my Savior liveth.

What though the darkness gather found?

Songs in the night he giveth.

Refrain

4.  The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,

a fountain ever springing!

All things are mine since I am his!

How can I keep from singing?

Refrain

(And there is another verse with references to persecutions from the era of McCarthyism in the United States.–KRT)

In prison cell and dungeon vile

our thoughts to them are winging,

when friends by shame are undefiled

how can I keep from singing?

Refrain

Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 9, 2010

Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2020, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May 28

Tagged with , , ,

Twenty-Eighth Day of Easter   8 comments

Above:  Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega

“Show Us the Father”

Saturday, May 9, 2020 (Year A)

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Acts 13:32-52 (Revised English Bible):

(Note:  The Lesser Feasts and Fasts designates 13:32-43 for Year C and 13:44-52 for Years A and B.  I have merged these lections.)

[Paul continued,]

We are here to give you the good news that God, who made the promise to the fathers, has fulfilled it for the children by raising Jesus from the dead, as indeed it stands written in the second Psalm:  ‘You are my son; this day I have begotten you.’ Again, that he raised him from the dead, never to be subjected to corruption, he declares in these words:  I will give you the blessings promised to David, holy and sure.’  This is borne out by another passage:  ‘You will not let your faithful servant suffer corruption.’  As for David, when he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, he died and was gathered to his fathers, and suffered corruption; but the one whom God raised up did not suffer corruption.  You must understand, my brothers, it is through him that everyone who has faith is acquitted of everything for which there was no acquittal under the law of Moses.  Beware, then, lest you bring down upon yourselves the doom proclaimed by the prophets:  “See this, you scoffers, marvel, and begone; for I am doing a deed in your days, a deed which you will never believe when you are told of it.’”

As they were leaving the synagogue they were asked to come again and speak on these subjects next sabbath; and after the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and gentile worshippers went with Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to hold fast to the grace of God.

On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of God.  When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealous resentment, and contradicted what Paul had said with violent abuse.  But Paul and Barnabas were outspoken in their reply.

It was necessary,

they said,

that the word of God should be declared to you first.  But since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.  For these are our instructions from the Lord:  ‘I have appointed you to be a light to the Gentiles, and a means of salvation to earth’s farthest bonds.’

When the Gentiles heard this, they were overjoyed and thankfully acclaimed the word of the Lord, and those who were marked out for eternal life became believers.  Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region.  But the Jews stirred up feeling among those worshippers who were women of standing, and among the leading men of the city; a campaign of persecution was started against Paul and Barnabas, and they were expelled from the district.  They shook the dust off their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.  And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Psalm for Year C:  Psalm 16:5-11 (Revised English Bible):

LORD, you are my allotted portion and my cup;

you maintain my boundaries:

the lines fall for me in pleasant places;

I am well content with my inheritance.

I shall bless the LORD who has given me counsel:

in the night he imparts wisdom to my inmost being.

I have set the LORD before me at all times:

with him at my right hand I cannot be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad

and my spirit rejoices,

my body rests unafraid;

for you will not abandon me to Sheol

or suffer your faithful servant to see the pit.

You will show me the path of life;

in your presence is the fullness of joy,

at your right hand are pleasures evermore.

Psalm for Years A and B:  Psalm 98:1-6 (Revised English Bible):

Sing a new song to the LORD,

for he has done marvellous deeds;

his right hand and his holy arm have won his victory known;

he has displayed his saving righteousness to all the nations.

He has remembered his love for Jacob,

his faithfulness towards the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen

the victory of our God.

Acclaim the LORD, all the earth;

break into songs of joy, sing psalms.

Sing psalms in the Lord’s honour with the lyre,

with the lyre and with resounding music,

with trumpet and echoing horn

acclaim the presence of the LORD our King.

John 14:7-14 (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus said to Thomas,]

If you men really knew me, then you would recognize my Father, too.  From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.

Philip said,

“Lord, show us the Father.  That’s enough for us.”

Jesus replied,

Philip, here I am with you all this time, and you still don’t know me?  Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  So how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me?  The words that I say to you men are not spoken on my own; it is the Father, abiding in me, who performs the works.  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; otherwise believe [me] because of the works.  Let me firmly assure you, the man who has faith in me will perform the same works that I perform.  In fact, he will perform far greater than these, because I am going to the Father, and whatever you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

The Collect:

O Lord, you open the portals of your kingdom to those who have been reborn by water and the Spirit:  Increase the grace you have given to your children, that those whom you have cleansed from sin may attain to all your promises; 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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We trust in Jesus Christ, fully human, fully God.

Jesus proclaimed the reign of God:  preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.

Jesus was crucified, suffering the depths of human pain and giving his life for the sins of the world.

God raised Jesus from the dead, vindicating his sinless life, breaking the power of sin and evil, delivering us from death to life eternal.

–A Brief Statement of Faith of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), lines 7-26

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In God’s light we see light.  In Jesus we see God.

The Incarnation constitutes the foundation of my theology as a Christian.  God, although other and beyond total human comprehension, is not beyond reach and partial human comprehension.  We have far more than words and prophetic declarations; we have a life.

If we Christians attempt to be honest to our professions of faith, we will follow him whose name we claim.  This practice might place us in great risk–even deadly situations or other forms of persecution–but Jesus, the living Word of God, is not domesticated.  That is one reason many people wanted him dead.  But we know how that story ended, do we not?

In God’s light we see light.  In Jesus we see God.  Do others see Jesus in us?

KRT

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