Archive for the ‘Psalm 69’ Tag

Devotion for Maundy Thursday (Ackerman)   1 comment

Crucifix III July 15, 2014

Above:  A Crucifix

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The Suffering of the Innocent

APRIL 6, 2023


The Collect:

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

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

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

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

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

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236


The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 11:1-6; 12:29-36

Psalm 69:19-21

1 Corinthians 11:17-22, 27-34

John 15:18-25


The Corinthian congregation was fractious during and after the time of St. Paul the Apostle.  A generation after St. Paul, for example, St. Clement of Rome wrote his letter, called 1 Clement, to that church, which had recently deposed all of its presbyters.  Reinstate them, he instructed.  The issue at hand in 1 Corinthians 11 was the potluck meal, an early version of the Holy Eucharist.  The poorer members of the congregation depended on that meal, which some of the more fortunate members were abusing by eating ahead of time and/or taking the occasion of the potluck meal to become intoxicated.  These individuals were not contributing their fair share of the menu.

Jesus, unlike them, gave of himself selflessly and sacrificially.  He understood well that following God might make one unpopular to the point of persecution and even execution.  To make a mockery of the Holy Eucharist was (and is) to take Jesus lightly.

The author of the canonical Gospels were clear that Jesus was innocent of the charge (insurrection) upon which Roman imperial officials crucified him.  Also innocent were the firstborn Egyptian sons in Exodus; they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Maundy Thursday is an especially appropriate time, guided by these readings, to ponder the suffering of the innocent, whether at the hand of the state, selfish individuals, or any other actors.  It is also a fine time to consider how our religious tradition continues to ascribe much of this suffering of the innocent to God.  What are we accusing God of being like anyway?








Thirty-Seventh Day of Lent: Wednesday in Holy Week   34 comments

Jerome Pradon as Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar (2000)

(A Screen Capture I Took Via PowerDVD)


April 5, 2023

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer


Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Isaiah 50:4-9a (New Revised Standard Version):

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher,

that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.

Morning by morning he wakens–

wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.

The Lord GOD has opened my ear,

and I was not rebellious,

I did not turn backward.

I gave my back to those who struck me,

and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;

I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.

The Lord GOD helps me;

therefore I have not been disgraced;

therefore I have set my face like flint,

and I know that I shall not be put to shame;

he who vindicates me is near.

Who will contend with me?

Let us stand up together.

Who are my adversaries?

Let them confront me.

It is the Lord GOD who helps me;

who will declare me guilty?

Hebrews 9:11-15, 24-28 (New Revised Standard Version):

But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!

For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occured that redeems them from the transgressions of the first covenant.

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for when he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world.  But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Psalm 69:6-15, 20-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me,

O Lord GOD of hosts;

do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me,

O God of Israel.

It is for your sake that I have borne reproach,

that shame has covered my face.

I have become a stranger to my kindred,

an alien to my mother’s children.

It is zeal for your house that has consumed me;

the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.

When I stumbled my soul with fasting,

they insulted me for doing so.

When I made sackcloth my clothing,

I became a byword to them.

I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate,

and the drunkards made songs about me.

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.

At an acceptable time, O God,

in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.

With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire;

let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.

Do not let the flood sweep over me,

or the deep swallow me up,

or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Insults have broken my heart,

so that I am in despair.

I looked for pity, but there was none;

and for comforters, but I found none.

They gave me poison for food,

and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

John 13:21-35 (New Revised Standard Version):

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared,

Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.

The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.  One of his disciples–the one whom Jesus loved–was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.  So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him,

Lord, who is it?

Jesus answered,

It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.

So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.  After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him.  Jesus said to him,

Do quickly what you are going to do.

Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.  Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him,

Buy what we need for the festival;

or that he should give something to the poor.  So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out.  And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said,

Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.   If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.  Little children, I am with you only a little longer.  You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.


Matthew 26:1-5, 14-25 (New Revised Standard Version):

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples,

You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.  But they said,

Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.

[Note:  Verses 6 to 13 tell of an unnamed woman anointing Jesus’ head with “a very costly ointment” at the home of Simon the leper in Bethany.]

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said,

What will you give me if I betray him to you?

They paid him thirty pieces of silver.  And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying,

Where do you want us to eat the Passover?

He said,

Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, “The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.”

So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.

When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said,

Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.

And they became greatly distressed and began to say to one after another,

Surely not I, Lord?

He answered,

The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.  The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to the one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!  It would have been better for that one not to have been born.

Judas, who betrayed him, said,

Surely not I, Rabbi?

He replied,

You have said so.

The Collect:

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped, and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Judas Iscariot was a disappointed man.

Jesus was not the person Judas wanted him to be.  Judas did not understand the true meaning of Messiahship.  This is understandable, given the context, which was Roman occupation.  To expect a Messiah who was a national liberator was not unusual, given those circumstances.  This was a common expectation, after all.  Yet something else was wrong with Judas, for he betrayed Jesus.

Judas had some severe character faults–namely, greed and dishonesty.  And so the fatal cocktail of ingredients came into being.  Yet Judas played an important role in salvation history.  Let us remember this always.

Jesus commanded his Apostles to love one another as he loved them.  He loved them and everyone to the point of self-sacrifice.  History and tradition tell us that, of the eleven surviving Apostles, only John did not become a martyr, and that he endured his share of suffering.  And Matthias, Judas’s replacement, became a martyr.  Martyrdom, although not every Christian’s ultimate call, remains a real possibility for many Christians today.

In an earlier devotion I wrote of disappointment with Jesus.  I stated that Jesus was and is the person he should be.  He was and is what he should be.  Therefore, any disappointment with him indicates erroneous expectations, not any fault with Jesus.  Does Jesus disappoint us?  If so, we need to examine ourselves spiritually and seek divine aid in correcting this matter.  Let us not betray Jesus, too.  Rather, may we follow Jesus, whatever that entails.


Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on March 26, 2010