Archive for the ‘Psalm 18’ Tag

Devotion for Wednesday in Holy Week, Years A, B, and C (ILCW)   1 comment

Above:  Judas Iscariot, by James Tissot

Image in the Public Domain

Judas Iscariot

APRIL 5, 2023

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According to the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship (ILCW) Lectionary (1973), as contained in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Lutheran Worship (1982)

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Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm 70:1-2 4-6 (LBW) or Psalm 18:21-30 (LW)

Romans 5:6-11

Matthew 26:14-25

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Almighty God, your Son our Savior suffered at the hands of men

and endured the shame of the cross. 

Grant that we may walk in the way of his cross

and find it the way of life and peace;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 20

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Merciful and everlasting God the Father,

who did not spare your only Son

but delivered him up for us all that he might bear our sins on the cross;

grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in our Savior

that we may not fear the power of any adversaries;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Lutheran Worship (1982), 43

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In context, Isaiah 50:4-9a is an odd lection to read on this Sunday.  The speaker–the prophet/servant (Second Isaiah)–is pious yet merely human, therefore, sinful.  He believes that the suffering of the exiles during the Babylonian Exile has been justified.  Yet he also anticipates the divine vindication of that exiled population, for the glory of God.  Applying this reading to sinless Jesus (who suffered an unjust execution as an innocent man) requires astounding theological gymnastics.

Judas Iscariot played an essential role in a divine plan.  The writers of the four canonical Gospels portrayed him negatively, for one major obvious reason.  The Gospel of John added that Judas was an embezzler (John 12:6).  Despite all this, Judas was not outside the mercy of God.  And he had not committed the unpardonable sin–blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:28; Luke 12:10).  Judas may have thought that he knew what he was doing, but he did not.  Recall Luke 23:24, O reader:

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

I do not pretend to know the ultimate fate of Judas Iscariot.  I am not God.  I do, however, repeat my position that the only people in Hell are those who have condemned themselves.  God sends nobody to Hell.  Divine mercy and judgment exist in a balance I cannot grasp, for I am not God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 12, 2022 COMMON ERA

HOLY TUESDAY

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND HIS NEPHEW, WILLIAM SLOANE COFFIN, JR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT DAVID URIBE-VELASCO, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1927

THE FEAST OF SAINT JULIUS I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZENO OF VERONA, BISHOP

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Link to the corresponding post at BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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Devotion for Tuesday in Holy Week, Years A, B, and C (ILCW Lectionary)   1 comment

Above:  Icon of Christ Pantocrator

Image in the Public Domain

Following Jesus

APRIL 4, 2023

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According to the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship (ILCW) Lectionary (1973), as contained in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Lutheran Worship (1982)

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Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 71:1-12 (LBW) or Psalm 18:1-7, 17-20 (LW)

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

John 12:20-36

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Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you. 

Grant that our love may not grow cold in your service,

and that we may not fail or deny you in the hour of trial.  Amen.

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 19

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Almighty and everlasting God,

grant us grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s Passion

that we may receive the pardon of our sins;

through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Lutheran Worship (1982), 42

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In context, the identity of servant in Isaiah 49:1-6 is vague.  The servant is probably the personification of a faithful subset of the exiled population during the Babylonian Exile.  I do not look for Jesus in the Hebrew Bible as if he is Waldo in a Where’s Waldo? book.  Therefore, I conclude that linking Isaiah 49:1-6 to Jesus so as to identify him as the servant in that text requires extraordinary theological gymnastics.

Salvation is a process, not an event.  To be precise, salvation is a process the Church mediates via the sacraments.  That statement indicates the influence of Roman Catholicism in my theology.  (And I grew up a Methodist!)  Read 1 Corinthians 1:18 again, O reader:

…but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

The divine passive indicates that God is doing the saving.  God is the central actor.  Human selfishness places people in the center of theology.  (Now I sound like Karl Barth.)

As we barrel toward the crucifixion of Jesus, we read John 12:25:

Those who love their life will lose it, and those who hate their live in this world will keep it for eternal life.

The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

Eternal life, in Johannine theology, is know God via Jesus.  Johannine eternal life may begin in this life.

“Hate” is an unfortunate translation choice in John 12:25. The operative Greek word means “love less than.”  Reading John 12:25 in the context of John 12:26, 12:25 should read:

…and those who love their life in this world less than me (Jesus) will keep it for eternal life.

In the four canonical Gospels, we read of Jesus issuing individualized calls to discipleship, depending on circumstances.  Yet the common thread is subordinating everything to Jesus.

Why not?  Jesus gave himself.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 9, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DIETRICH BONHOEFFEFR, GERMAN LUTHERAN MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF JOHANN CRUGER, GERMAN LUTHERAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN SAMUJEL BEWLEY MONSELL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET; AND RICHARD MANT, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DOWN, CONNOR, AND DROMORE

THE FEAST OF LYDIA EMILIE GRUCHY, FIRST FEMALE MINISTER IN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

THE FEAST OF MIKAEL AGRICOLA, FINNISH LUTHERAN LITURGIST, BISHOP OF TURKU, AND “FATHER OF FINNISH LITERARY LANGUAGE”

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM LAW, ANGLICAN PRIEST, MYSTIC, AND SPIRITUAL WRITER

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Link to the corresponding post at BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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Devotion for the Third Sunday of Easter (Ackerman)   1 comment

Above:  David and Jonathan, by Rembrandt van Rijn

Image in the Public Domain

Loyalty and Self-Sacrifice

APRIL 23, 2023

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The Collect:

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

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

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

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

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

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Samuel 20:12-23, 35-42

Psalm 18:46-50

Acts 4:13-22

John 21:20-25

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

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

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

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

You son of a perverse, rebellious woman!

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

[You] son of a twisted rebellion!

The Early Prophets (2014), page 378

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

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

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

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 13, 2017 COMMON ERA

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

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

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

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

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Devotion for the Second Sunday of Easter (Ackerman)   1 comment

Above:  Icon of Sts. Simon Peter and Paul

Image in the Public Domain

Qualifying the Called

APRIL 16, 2023

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The Collect:

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

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

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

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

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

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

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

Psalm 18:1-6

Acts 3:1-10

Matthew 28:11-15

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

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

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

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF ENMEGAHBOWH, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

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

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

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

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Thirty-Third Day of Lent   12 comments

Jeremiah

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Friday, March 31, 2023

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Jeremiah 20:7-13 (Revised English Bible):

You have duped me, LORD,

and I have been your dupe;

you have outwitted me and prevailed.

All the day long I have been made a laughing-stock;

everyone ridicules me.

Whenever I speak I must needs cry out,

calling,

Violence!

and

Assault!

I am reproached and derided all the time

for uttering the word of the LORD.

Whenever I said,

I shall not call it to mind

or speak in his name again,

then his word became imprisoned within me

like a fire burning in my heart.

I was weary with holding it under,

and could endure no more.

For I heard many whispering,

Terror let loose!

Denounce him! Let us denounce him.

All my friends were on watch for a false step,

saying,

Perhaps he may be tricked;

then we can catch him

and have our revenge on him.

But the LORD is on my side,

a powerful champion;

therefore my persecutors will stumble and fall powerless.

Their abasement will be bitter when they fall,

and their dishonour will long be remembered.

But, LORD of Hosts, you test the righteous

and search the depths of the heart.

To you I have committed my cause;

let me see your vengeance on them.

Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD;

for he rescues the poor

from those who would do them wrong.

Psalm 18:1-6 (Revised English Bible):

I love you, LORD, my strength.

the LORD is my lofty crag, my fortress, my champion,

my God, my rock in whom I find shelter,

my shield and sure defender, my strong tower.

I shall call to the LORD to whom all praise is due;

then shall I be made safe from my enemies.

The bonds of death encompassed me

and destructive torrents overtook me,

the bonds of Sheol tightened about me,

the snares of death were set to catch me.

When in anguish of heart I cried to the LORD

and called for help to my God,

he heard me from his temple,

and my cry reached his ears.

John 10:31-42 (Revised English Bible):

Once again [some of] the Jews picked up stones to stone him [Jesus].  At this Jesus said to them,

By the Father’s power I have done many good deeds before your eyes; for which of these are you stoning me?

The Jews replied,

We are not stoning you for any good deed, but for blasphemy: you, a man, are claiming to be God.

Jesus answered,

Is it not written in your law, “I said: You are gods”?  Is it those to whom God’s word came who are called gods–and scripture cannot be set aside.  Then why do you charge me with blasphemy for saying, “I am God’s son,” I whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world.?  If my deeds are not the deeds of my Father, do not believe me.  But if they are, then even if you do not believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may recognize and know that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

This provoked them to make another attempt to seize him, but he escaped from their clutches.

Jesus withdrew again across the Jordan, to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and stayed there while crowds came to him.

John gave us no miraculous sign,

they said,

but all that he told us about this man was true.

And many came to believe in him there.

The Collect:

O Lord, you relieve our necessity out of the abundance of your great riches: Grant that we may accept with joy the salvation you bestow, and manifest it to all the world by the quality of our lives; 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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One New Testament ethic teaches that one knows a tree by its fruit and the quality thereof.  The same principle applies to human beings, with attitudes and deeds as the produce.

In this day’s readings obedience to God (certainly good fruit) leads to danger from fellow human beings.   Sometimes this peril is life-threatening, leading the psalmist to refer to Sheol. [Note: The psalmist’s reference to Sheol is to a pre-Heaven and Hell concept of the afterlife.  In widely accepted ancient Near Eastern cosmology the world was flat, with a subterranean underworld–Sheol, or “the Pit,” to the Hebrews–and water below the earth and above the dome of the sky.  The St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible contains an illustration of this on the page opposite Genesis 1.] The experiences of Jeremiah, the psalmist, and Jesus contradict prosperity theology, which teaches that faithfulness leads to happiness and prosperity.  (In the North American context witness many television evangelists, namely Robert Tilton and the Reverend Ike.)

Out of these readings I derive three main points.

First, may each of us bear good fruit indicative of God.  This is possible by grace.

Second, may we who are blessed with religious liberty support as best we can (at least with prayer) our fellow Christians who face persecution.  Many of them live in predominantly Islamic cultures in Asia, where there was no Enlightenment.  Yet history and current events reveal the identities of other persecutors.  Protestants have persecuted each other and Roman Catholics.  Roman Catholics have persecuted Protestants and Eastern Orthodox.  Eastern Orthodox have persecuted Roman Catholics and Protestants.  And Atheistic regimes  have persecuted Christians of all stripes, to the present day.

Third, let us remember Jesus’ command to pray for persecutors and enemies, too.  He led by example.

KRT

Written on March 14, 2010

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/spiritual-good-fruit/