Archive for the ‘Psalm 34’ Tag

Devotion for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year D (Humes)   1 comment

Above:  Jesus Before Pilate, First Interview, by James Tissot

Image in the Public Domain

Human Agents of God

APRIL 3, 2022

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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:

Hosea 14:1-9 (Protestant and Anglican)/Hosea 14:2-10 (Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox)

Psalm 34

Colossians 3:12-4:6

John 18:28-40

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He who is wise will consider these words,

He who is prudent will take note of them.

For the paths of the LORD are smooth;

The righteous can walk on them,

while sinners stumble on them.

–Hosea 14:10, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

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I would feel better about Colossians 3:12-4:6 if it did not accept slavery.

Repent and return to God, Hosea 14, urges.  Accept divine forgiveness and act accordingly.  Forgive each other.  After all, everybody needs forgiveness.  And, although grace is free, it is not cheap.  Become a vehicle of grace.  Remain a vehicle of grace.  And do not be an in instrument of injustice, as Pontius Pilate was.  That is my composite summary of the four readings.

And, of course, never accept cultural practices that run afoul of the Golden Rule.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 8, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT THORFINN OF HAMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF A. J. MUSTE, DUTCH-AMERICAN MINISTER, LABOR ACTIVIST, AND PACIFIST

THE FEAST OF ARCHANGELO CORELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF NICOLAUS COPERNICUS AND GALILEO GALILEI, SCIENTISTS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET BEDELL, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS AND MISSIONARY

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2021/01/08/human-agents-of-god-part-ii/

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Devotion for the Thirtieth and Thirty-First Days of Lent (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   11 comments

Above:  The Burning Bush Logo of The Church of Scotland

Exodus and Mark, Part III:  Unlikely Instruments of God

APRIL 5 and 6, 2022

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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 everlasting 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 2:23-3:22 (30th Day of Lent)

Exodus 4:1-18 (31st Day of Lent)

Psalm 34 (Morning–30th Day of Lent)

Psalm 5 (Morning–31st Day of Lent)

Psalms 25 and 91 (Evening–30th Day of Lent)

Psalms 27 and 51 (Evening–31st Day of Lent)

Mark 14:53-72 (30th Day of Lent)

Mark 15:1-15 (31st Day of Lent)

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Some Related Posts:

A Prayer by St. Francis of Assisi:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/a-prayer-by-st-francis-of-assisi/

Prayers:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/prayer-for-tuesday-in-the-fifth-week-of-lent/

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/prayer-for-wednesday-in-the-fifth-week-of-lent/

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Moses was a fugitive and a murderer with a speech impediment.  Yet God sent him (along with Aaron, his eloquent brother) back to Egypt to help liberate the Hebrews.  The Book of Exodus is quite clear:  God liberated the Hebrews, yet had human agents.

Simon Peter denied Jesus three times while the Sanhedrin condoned perjury and held the flimsiest excuse for a trial of our Lord and Savior.  Yet, a few weeks later, the Apostle became the rock of faith Jesus saw in him.  Peter was still prone to speak when he should have remained silent, but he was a very different man in other ways.

We come to God as we are, complete with virtues, vices, shortcomings, flaws, and fortes.  God knows all of them better than we do.  Yet we can, by grace, become instruments of God, whose image we bear.  Another indicator of grace germane to his one is that strengths can emerge from our flaws and our striving to overcome them.  We make a spiritual pilgrimage in God because we know of our need to do so.  And the journey proves quite rewarding in and of itself.  So, without minimizing or denying the realities of sin and human frailties, I encourage you, O reader, to look within yourself and to recognize them as opportunities for growing spiritually and helping others.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 29, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE FIRST U.S. PRESBYTERIAN BOOK OF CONFESSIONS, 1967

THE FEAST OF JIRI TRANOVSKY, HYMN WRITER

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

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/exodus-and-mark-part-iii-unlikely-instruments-of-god/

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Devotion for the Twenty-Fourth and Twenty-Fifth Days of Lent (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   5 comments

Above:  The Widow’s Mite

Image Sources = Johannes Bockh and Thomas Mirtsch

Genesis and Mark, Part XXII: Sincerity (Or the Lack Thereof)

MARCH 29 and 30, 2022

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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 everlasting 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:

Genesis 43:1-28 (24th Day of Lent)

Genesis 44:1-18, 32-34 (25th Day of Lent)

Psalm 34 (Morning–24th Day of Lent)

Psalm 5 (Morning–25th Day of Lent)

Psalms 25 and 91 (Evening–24th Day of Lent)

Psalms 27 and 51 (Evening–25th Day of Lent)

Mark 12:13-27 (24th Day of Lent)

Mark 12:28-41 (25th Day of Lent)

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Some Related Posts:

Prayers:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/prayer-for-tuesday-in-the-fourth-week-of-lent/

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/prayer-for-wednesday-in-the-fourth-week-of-lent/

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As I read the assigned lessons I arrived at a unifying theme:  sincerity (or the lack thereof).  Joseph’s brothers demonstrated the sincerity of their change of heart by

  1. not objecting to preferential treatment for Benjamin, the youngest brother, in Genesis 43:33-34, and
  2. defending Benjamin, whom they thought was about to become a slave in Genesis 44:18-34.

They passed the test with flying colors.

In contrast, collaborators tried to trick Jesus into sounding like a rebel in Mark 12:13-17.  There were more Roman soldiers than usual in the city at the time.  But Jesus was no fool.  And the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection of the dead, asked an obvious trick question about levirate marriage and the afterlife.  Yet our Lord did field an honest question–one regarding the greatest commandment–and witnessed a desperately poor widow make an offering.  In the immediately prior passage he had denounced scribes who

devour the property of widows….

–Mark 12:40b, The New Jerusalem Bible

I have covered the widow’s mite in other posts linked to this one, but I choose to write the following here and now:  The widow should have kept her money and spent it on her needs.  But at least she was sincere.

May we refrain from playing destructive games with God and each other.  Instead, may we seek the best for each other and the community, be honest in that, and be sincere in our love.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD BIGGS, ACTOR

THE FEAST OF ROTA WAITOA, ANGLICAN PRIEST

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/genesis-and-mark-part-xxii-sincerity-or-the-lack-thereof/

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Devotion for the Eighteenth Day of Lent (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   5 comments

Above:  Children with Cats

Image Source = Nancy Collins

Genesis and Mark, Part XVII:  Attitudes, Potential, and the Kingdom of God

MARCH 22, 2022

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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 everlasting 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:

Genesis 35:1-29

Psalm 34 (Morning)

Psalms 25 and 91 (Evening)

Mark 9:33-50

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Some Related Posts:

A Prayer to See Others  as God Sees Them:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/a-prayer-to-see-others-as-god-sees-them/

Prayer:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/prayer-for-tuesday-in-the-third-week-of-lent/

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Jacob was a trickster, schemer, manipulator, and a swindler.  Yet God gave him a new name:  Israel, literally

God rules.

Take your pick of origin story for this name, O reader; you have two options–the wrestling match in Genesis 32 and the less dramatic account in 35:10.  (The Sources Hypothesis makes more sense the more I read the Hebrew Scriptures.)

God works through a variety of interesting people.  For a few examples we need not look beyond this day’s readings.  We have Jacob/Israel, of course.  And we have the unnamed non-Apostle from Mark 9:38-40.  After all,

Anyone who is not against us is for us.

–Mark 9:40, The New Jerusalem Bible

If that were not enough, the greatest in the Kingdom of God is the

servant of all.

–Mark 9:35, The New Jerusalem Bible

Among the wonderful themes in the Gospel of Mark is this:  If you think that you are an insider, you almost certainly are mistaken.  Almost everybody except the people closest to Jesus in that text knows who he really is, for example. So the teaching that the Kingdom of God functions differently than society fits well with the rest of Mark.  And it meshes well with the story of Jacob.  How else could a man of such dubious character became an agent of God’s plans?

Character matters, of course; it is a person’s destiny.  But my point is that God can make anyone–regardless of character–an effective agent of divine plans.  Yes, I write of the sovereignty of God.  As for character, the most sterling example of it of which I have knowledge is Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Roman Empire executed as a criminal.  So I place limited confidence in official estimates of a person’s character.  As I recall, our Lord socialized with many disreputable people.  He must have recognized much potential in them.  And God must have recognized much potential in Jacob/Israel.

Do we recognize potential in others and in ourselves?  Do we see each other as God sees us?  And how does the manner in which we regard others and ourselves influence our actions?  How do those actions affect others and shape society?  Think about it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 22, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD BIGGS, ACTOR

THE FEAST OF ROTA WAITOA, ANGLICAN PRIEST

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/genesis-and-mark-part-xvii-attitudes-potential-and-the-kingdom-of-god/

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Devotion for the Eleventh and Twelfth Days of Lent (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   15 comments

Above:  Christ Rescuing Peter from Drowning

Genesis and Mark, Part XII:  Wonders, Jealousies, Fears, and Violence

MARCH 14 and 15, 2022

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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 everlasting 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:

Genesis 18:1-15 (11th Day of Lent)

Genesis 21:1-21 (12th Day of Lent)

Psalm 119:73-80 (Morning–11th Day of Lent)

Psalm 34 (Morning–12th Day of Lent)

Psalms 121 and 6 (Evening–11th Day of Lent)

Psalms 25 and 91 (Evening–12th Day of Lent)

Mark 6:14-34 (11th Day of Lent)

Mark 6:35-56 (12th Day of Lent)

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Some Related Posts:

Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, Martyr (August 29):

http://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/feast-of-the-beheading-of-st-john-the-baptist-martyr-august-29/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/feast-of-the-beheading-of-st-john-the-baptist-martyr-august-29/

Prayers:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/prayer-for-monday-in-the-second-week-of-lent/

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/prayer-for-tuesday-in-the-second-week-of-lent/

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ALPHA:

The Feeding of the Five Thousand is a story which all four canonical Gospels tell.  Here are the citations:

  1. Mark 6:30-44
  2. Matthew 14:13-21
  3. Luke 9:10-17
  4. John 6:1-15

There are five thousand men in Mark.  There is no indication of an estimate, such as “about” or “as many as.”  Neither is there any mention of women and children.

Matthew 14:21 tells us of

about five thousand men…, to say nothing of women and children.  (The New Jerusalem Bible)

Luke 9:14 has

about five thousand men.  (The New Jerusalem Bible)

And John 6:10 mentions

as many as five thousand men.  (The New Jerusalem Bible)

So the women and children occur explicitly in the Matthew reading, although the Johannine version implies them.  (I read the text in several translations quite closely and consulted commentaries.) Such details interest me.

BETA:

Sometimes a lectionary becomes too choppy.  I understand the need to avoid placing too much material on one day.  The Lutheran daily lectionary I am following provides for

two readings of 15-25 verses each….one from the Old Testament, the other from the New Testament.

Lutheran Service Book (2006), page 299

Yet this system divides the passage describing the Feeding of the Five Thousand (men) in Mark into two readings across as many days.  One of my methods in composing these posts is combining days of material as necessary to maintain a certain degree of textual unity, not that I need to defend myself in this matter.  This is a purely procedural notice.

We read today of wonders coexisting with sad news.  Abraham and Sarah become parents in their old age yet expel Hagar and Ishmael, victims in the narrative.  Our Lord heals people, feeds five thousand men with a small amount of food, and walks on water.  Yet Herod Antipas, the man responsible for the death of John the Baptist, wants to meet Jesus.  The wondrous and the unfortunate rub shoulders with each other.

That is the nature of the world, is it not?  The Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth.  His life was at risk before he was born and remained so after his birth.  And the Roman Empire executed him–not for being a nice guy who told people to love their neighbors, by the way.  Authorities perceived him as a thread to their power.  And he was, but not in the way in which zealots would have preferred him to be.

Jealousies and fears arise within us, bringing out the worst of our natures.  Sometimes we project them onto God and convince ourselves that God commands us to expel or execute those who, by their existence, threaten our positions, status, or ego.  May God forgive us, regardless of whether we know what we do.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE FIRST U.S. PRESBYTERIAN BOOK OF COMMON WORSHIP, 1906

THE FEAST OF CAROLINE CHISHOLM, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF PIRIPI TAUMATA-A-KURA, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/genesis-and-mark-part-xii-wonders-jealousies-fears-and-violence/

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Devotion for the Sixth Day of Lent (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   7 comments

Above:  The Subsiding of the Waters of the Deluge, by Thomas Cole

Genesis and Mark, Part VII:  God and Crises

MARCH 8, 2022

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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 everlasting 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:

Genesis 7:11-8:12

Psalm 34 (Morning)

Psalms 25 and 91 (Evening)

Mark 3:20-35

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A Related Post:

Prayer:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/prayer-for-tuesday-of-the-first-week-of-lent/

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The world of early Genesis mythology was a flat with a dome on top.  There were waters beneath the land and there were waters above the dome.  Thus, in 7:11b (TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures), we read:

And the fountains of the great deep burst apart,

And the floodgates of the sky broke open.

As Richard Elliott Friedman wrote of the flood on page 38 of his Commentary on the Torah (2001),

It is more than ordinary rain.  It is a cosmic crisis, in which the very structure of the universe is endangered.

Meanwhile,  in Mark 3, some of our Lord’s relatives think that he might be out of his mind.  Parts I and II of this story bracket an allegation by some scribes that Jesus is in league with Satan. This is how the author the the Gospel of Mark presents the material.  So, in Mark, Jesus has to contend with disbelief by scribes and

his mother and his brothers (verse 31, The New Jerusalem Bible)

In the Gospel of Mark our Lord’s true identity is apparent to demons, God, and himself–yet not to his family members and to his Apostles–that is, until his death.  Wilhelm Wrede, in Das Messiasgeheimnis in den Evangelien (1901), called this the Messianic Secret.  (There was much more to his hypothesis, of course, but I will not chase that rabbit here and now.)  In contrast, in the Gospel of John, there is no secret.  In Mark, Jesus tells people he has healed to say nothing.  (They disobey, of course.)  Yet, in John, he never tries to conceal anything.  The Markan premise makes sense to me, for it fits well with human relationships.  We have blind spots regarding people who are very close to us, do we not?  Often a stranger has more insight than does a friend, a relative, or an associate.

Anyhow, on to my main point..

In Genesis the world itself was in danger.  The only protection for the intended survivors came from God.  Certainly the boxy boat was not much compared to the water.  And, in Mark our Lord’s personal world was in turmoil.  Even worse, his life had been at risk since 3:6.

The Pharisees went out and began at once to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.  (The New Jerusalem Bible)

Even the life of the incarnate Son of God was endangered.

Such passages and themes of scripture cause me to wonder how anyone can, with a straight face, defend Prosperity Theology.   Not only does the Book of Job raise questions regarding it, but the life of Christ and those of he Apostles (including Paul) disprove it.  Furthermore, what about almost two thousand years of Christian martyrs?  And there is the matter of the suffering prophets of God.  But Jesus, Paul, and others knew that God was in charge.  So, when one’s world is falling apart, God is still in charge.

That is a lesson worth taking to heart.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 8, 2012 COMMON ERA

 THE FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT II, BISHOP OF ROME

 THE FEAST OF DAME JULIAN OF NORWICH, SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAGDALENA OF CANOSSA, FOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY AND THE SONS OF CHARITY

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER OF TARENTAISE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/genesis-and-mark-part-vii-god-and-crises/

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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 , ,

Twenty-Seventh Day of Lent   15 comments

Jesus:  Alpha and Omega

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Friday, April 1, 2022

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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Wisdom 2:1a, 12-24 (New Revised Standard Version):

For they [the ungodly] reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves,

Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,

because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;

he reproaches us for sins against the law,

and accuses us of sins against our training.

He professes to have knowledge of God,

and calls himself a child of the Lord.

He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;

the very sight of him is a burden to us,

because his manner of life is unlike that of others,

and his ways are strange.

We are considered by him as something base,

and he avoids our ways as unclean;

he calls the last end of the righteous hapy,

and boasts that God is his father.

Let us see if his words are true,

and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;

for if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him,

and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.

Let us test him with insult and torture,

so that we may find out how gentle he is,

and make trial of his forbearance.

Let us condemn him to a shameful death,

for, according to what he says, he will be protected.

Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray,

for their wickedness blinded them,

and they did not know the secret purposes of God,

nor hoped for the wages of holiness,

nor discerned the prize of blameless souls;

for God created us for incorruption,

and made us in the image of his own eternity,

but through the devil’s envy death entered the world,

and those who belong to his company experience it.

Psalm 34:15-22 (New Revised Standard Version):

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,

and his ears are open to their cry.

The face of LORD is against evildoers,

to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears,

and rescues them from all their troubles.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted,

and saves the crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,

but the LORD rescues them from them all.

He keeps all their bones;

not one of them will be broken.

Evil brings death to the wicked,

and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

The LORD redeems the life of his servants;

none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

John 7:1-2, 10, 35-30 (New Revised Standard Version):

After this [many disciples abandoning Jesus followed by Jesus predicting his betrayal, in 6:60-71] Jesus went about in Galilee.  He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews [not all of them, as I wrote in a previous devotion–KRT] were looking for an opportunity to kill him.  Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near.

But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret.

Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying,

Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill?  And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him!  Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah?  Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”

Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the Temple,

You know me, and you know where I am from.  I have not come on my own.  But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him.  I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.

Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.  Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying,

When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?

The Collect:

O God, you have given us the Good News of your abounding love in your Son Jesus Christ:  So fill our hearts with thankfulness that we may rejoice to proclaim the good tidings we have received; 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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You might have noticed the increased amount of foreshadowing of Holy Week in this day’s readings relative to previous days’ lections.  I did as I typed them.  Lent has forty days, and the end of that season is near to March 19.  As we near the conclusion of Lent and prepare to enter the Easter season, let us give all the details of the Passion narrative their due.  These are not celebratory, as is Christmas.  Yet they are no less crucial to Christianity.

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus reflect the abounding love of God for sinful human beings.  May we rejoice to proclaim these good tidings we have received.  But do we recognize the good tidings we have received?  One of the themes of the Gospel of Mark is the Messianic Secret.  The meaning of being the Messiah was not to expel the occupying Roman forces from the Jewish homeland, as many people expected and hoped.  Rather, the Messiah was the Suffering Servant, and this became clear through his death.  Yet let us continue the story in due season, for if we stop at Good Friday we have dead Jesus.

But let us not get ahead of ourselves.

Prior to the failed experiment called Prohibition one of the most prominent Evangelical organizations in the rural United States was the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).  A story (perhaps apocryphal) about the WCTU follows:  A woman traveling the WCTU lecture circuit spoke in a certain town.  After delivering her stump speech about how God wants all people to abstain from alcohol, she asked if anyone in the audience had any questions.  One young man raised his hand politely, and the lady called on him.  He asked, “If what you say is true, how do you explain Jesus turning water into wine at Cana?”  The woman answered, “I would like him better if he had not done that.”

Does Jesus disappoint us?  If so, this is our problem, not his.  He is the abounding love of God incarnate.  Jesus is exactly who and what he should be.  If he does not live up to our expectations, we need to reexamine our presumptions.

KRT

Written on March 3, 2010

Sixth Day of Lent   11 comments

The Lord’s Prayer in Greek

March 8, 2022

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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Isaiah 55:6-11 (New Revised Standard Version):

Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;

let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts;

let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them,

and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty,

but is shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Psalm 34:15-22 (New Revised Standard Version):

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.

The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all.

He keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken.

Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Matthew 6:7-15 (New Revised Standard Version):

[Jesus said,]

When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Pray then in this way:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, and we also have forgiven our debtors.

And so not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.”

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

The Collect:

Grant to your people, Lord, grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only true God; 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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Forgiving can prove difficult, as I know well.  You might have the same experience.  Life includes many injustices and other causes of resentments.  This has been part of the story of my life during the last few years since 2006.  One side of my mind tells me of the wisdom of forgiveness, and the other strives to find a way to stick it to those SOBs.  I know what Jesus would have me do, so why is it so hard?  I feel like the Apostle Paul in Romans 19-25; I do that which I know I should not do and do not do that which I know I should do.  Fortunately, as Paul knew, deliverance comes from God via Jesus.

May God forgive me for being slow to forgive.  I pray this in the same breath and I thank God for being patient and otherwise merciful toward me.  Like all people, I depend on grace.

KRT

Written on February 19, 2010

Edited on October 27, 2010

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ADDENDUM:

Forgiveness occurred some time ago.  I became conscious of it only after the fact.

https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/uga-and-me/

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 17, 2013 COMMON ERA

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[Update: Those negative emotions washed out of my system years ago.  I would not have been human had I not had such emotions, but I would have been foolish not to drop that burden years ago.–2017]

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