Archive for the ‘UGA’ Tag

Devotion for the Fourteenth Day of Easter (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   5 comments

Above:  The Adoration of the Golden Calf, by Nicolas Poussin

Exodus and Luke, Part VI: Extending Compassion to Others

APRIL 22, 2023


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


The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 32:1-14

Psalm 92 (Morning)

Psalms 23 and 114 (Evening)

Luke 6:20-38


Be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

–Luke 6:36, The New Jerusalem Bible


And the LORD renounced the punishment He had planned to bring upon His people.

–Exodus 32:14, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures


Old habits are difficult to break.  This fact does not excuse anyone from not trying hard enough; no it just means that one might have to expend extra effort.  Among those habits is idolatry.  An idol can be an image, a concept, an activity, or a book.  One makes something an idol by allowing it to distract one form God.  Idols are ubiquitous.  I wonder, in fact, how many of the Ten Commandments yard signs I see are idols for those who have erected them.  And, living in Athens, Georgia, the most prominent idol seems to be University of Georgia athletics, especially football.  How many times have I heard fans describe to me as being “like a religion”?

In Exodus 32 we read of part of the notorious Golden Calf incident.  God, quite angry intends to destroy the Israelites there and then, but Moses talks God down.  I wonder where we would be had God’s Plan A (as presented in the chapter) become reality.  For the sake of truth and accuracy in biblical summary, there is plenty of bad news for the Israelites later in the chapter.  Yet I am trying not to get too far ahead of myself.

As I have written many times in various devotional posts, with God one finds both judgment and mercy.  Today’s readings emphasize the latter element.  And we are supposed to extend compassion to one another, just as God has done so to us.  But, if one insists on judging others, one should look out

…because the standard you use will be the standard used for you.

–Luke 6:38, The New Jerusalem Bible

The offset to this, of course, is grace.  Nevertheless, I am not a Christian Universalist, nor do I deny the reality of chastisement from God.

Each of us has a personality which marks us as an introvert or an extrovert.  These are the ways God has made us, and there is no sin in being the person God made one to be.  Indeed, different varieties of Christianity are tied more to one pole than to the other.  Evangelicalism, in my experience, is quite extroverted, whereas Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy, with their monastic traditions, recognize the spiritual validity and richness of introversion.  As an introvert, I feel drawn toward the latter, not the former.  I have adopted a lifestyle which is akin to a version of monasticism without a cloister or vows; I am monkish.  These lectionary-based devotional posts flow from some of the solitude I seek and find.  As for extroverts, they can be wonderful company, and I recognize their spiritual gifts.  I am merely wired differently.  If we were all the same, the world would be a greatly diminished place, would it not?

May each of us extend compassion to others in a manner consistent with how God made us.







Devotion for the Twenty-Eighth Day of Lent (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   9 comments

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

(A Screen Capture I Took Via PowerDVD)

Genesis and Mark, Part XXIV:  Disappointment, Grudges, Revenge, and Forgiveness

MARCH 25, 2023


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


The Assigned Readings:

Genesis 49:29-50:7, 14-26

Psalm 43 (Morning)

Psalms 31 and 143 (Evening)

Mark 14:1-11


A Related Post:



After everything from Genesis 45 forward, Joseph’s brothers still feared that he might bear a grudge against them.  He did not, fortunately.  Yet, in Mark 14:10-11, Judas Iscariot had a reason (which made sense to him) to agree to betray Jesus.  The placement of those verses immediately after an unnamed woman anointed our Lord’s head implies a link (explicit elsewhere) between the two.

The story of a woman anointing Jesus, by the way, occurs in some form in each of the four canonical Gospels.  The other citations are Matthew 26:6-13, Luke 7:36-50, and John 12:1-8.  Each account, although different from the others, contains the same core.

Back to our regular programming…..

Jesus will be at Gethsemane before Mark 14 ends.  That is how close to the end of that Gospel we are.  Yes, one unifying thread between the Old Testament and the New Testament readings is death.  Jacob died in Genesis 49 and Jesus was about to die in Mark 14.  And how did fears and anger play out at these occasions?  Joseph repeated his forgiveness of his brothers.  Chief priests, scribes, and Judas Iscariot plotted our Lord’s death.

Judas was arguably disappointed in Jesus, who seemed insufficiently zealous against the occupying Romans.  Those with whom Judas conspired collaborated with the Romans.  So these were natural enemies who became temporary allies for the sake of convenience.  It was all very unseemly.

Joseph could afford to forgive, of course; he was a powerful man in Egypt.  Yet powerful people have nursed old grudges.  But, even more impressive than Joseph’s forgiveness was that of Jesus, who did not even take a grudge to his cross.  That is a fine example to ponder.

As for me, I know about deep, abiding, and justified anger.  My time as a doctoral student at the Department of History of The University of Georgia was traumatic, ending prematurely.  I never came close to the desired credential.  My anger was justified.  Yet it was also spiritually poisonous, so I had to relinquish it.  I harmed myself inwardly while those who committed academic abuse faced no consequences.  The grudge was a burden too heavy to continue to bear.

As for judgment or mercy, I leave that to God.

Revenge is always a burden too heavy to bear; may each of us in the human race drop it if we are carrying it and refuse to  pick it up if we are not carrying it.









First Day of Easter: Easter Sunday, Year B–Principal Service   36 comments

Above:  Victory of the Resurrection

Raised–In an Altered Form

APRIL 4, 2021


The Assigned Readings for This Sunday:

Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 25:6-9

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43

John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8

The Collect:

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


Some Related Posts:

First Day of Easter:  Easter Sunday, Year A–Principal Service:

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


My devotion for this Sunday morning is subjective, whereas my text for the Easter Vigil is a straight-forward “He did rise from the dead” affirmation.  If you prefer that, follow the link.

The power of the Resurrection is that of restored life–in an altered form.  One cannot pass from life to death to life again without emerging changed.  I know this power well in my life.

I was a Ph.D. student at The University of Georgia from 2005 to 2006.  My program became a casualty of my major professor.  So I limped my way to the emotionally draining end of a dream.  I was burned out on being a graduate student.  Besides, in my understandable anger, I had burned my bridges.  There was no turning back, one way or another.

Then I faced legal charges, of which I was innocent.  Finally, in late June 2007, after making my life difficult for months, my prosecutor offered a compromise which entailed the court dropping all charges immediately.  I accepted; at least the case was over and I avoided a criminal record, a result I value because of my innocence.  (Yet I distrust the legal system to this day.)

The combined traumas of 2006 and 2007 killed (metaphorically speaking, of course) my former self.  Then, by the power of God, the new self began to emerge.  (Here is a link to my poem from that period,)  He looks like the former self outwardly and has many of the same memories as the former self, but is slower to judge and quicker to try to understand others.  The new self grasps better how much he depends on God and accepts this reality ungrudgingly.

Yes, I carry psychological scar tissue, but scar tissue is a natural result of surviving an injury or injuries.  I am grateful to be where I am spiritually, but do not look back fondly on my journey in 2006-2007.  It was truly painful, but it made me a better person. The bottom line, however, is this:  I am still here, a little worse for wear yet better off in many ways.  I still here because of God’s power, not my own.  [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]

Resurrection used to be abstract for me.  Not anymore.



Sixth Day of Lent   11 comments

The Lord’s Prayer in Greek

February 28, 2023

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


Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor


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.


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.


Written on February 19, 2010

Edited on October 27, 2010



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




[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]