Above: Thomas Edison, 1925
Image Source = Library of Congress
Via Words and Deeds
MAY 8, 2016
Acts 16:16-34 (Revised English Bible):
Once, on our way to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination and brought large profits to her owners by telling fortunes. She followed Paul and the rest of us shouting,
These men are servants of the Most High God, and are declaring to you a way of salvation.
She did this day after day, until, in exasperation, Paul rounded on the spirit.
I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her,
he said, and it came out instantly.
When the girl’s owners saw that their hope of profit had one, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the city authorities in the main square; bringing them before the magistrates, they alleged,
These men are causing a disturbance in our city; they are Jews, and they are advocating practices which it is illegal for us Romans to adopt and follow.
The mob joined in the attack; and the magistrates had the prisoners stripped and gave orders for them to be flogged. After a severe beating they were flung into prison and the jailer was ordered to keep them under close guard. In view of these orders, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas, at their prayers, were singing praises to God, and the other prisoners were listening, when suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken; the doors burst open and all the prisoners found their fetters unfastened. The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open and, assuming that the prisoners had escaped, drew his sword intending to kill himself. But Paul shouted,
Do yourself no harm; we are all here.
The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and threw himself down before Paul and Silas, trembling with fear. He then escorted them out and said,
Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Put your trust in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,
and they imparted the word of the Lord to him and everyone in his house. At that late hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds, and there and then he and his whole family were baptized. He brought them up into his house, set out a meal, and rejoiced with his whole household in his new-found faith in God.
Psalm 97 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):
1 The LORD is King;
let the earth rejoice;
let the multitude of the isles be glad.
2 Clouds and darkness are round about him,
righteousness and justice are the foundations of his throne.
3 A fire goes before him
and burns up his enemies on every side.
4 His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees it and is afraid.
5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD,
at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
7 Confounded be all who worship carved images
and delight in false gods!
Bow down before him, all you gods.
8 Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O LORD.
9 For you are the LORD,
most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
10 The LORD loves those who hate evil;
he preserves the lives of the saints
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light has sprung up for the righteous,
and joyful gladness for those who are truehearted.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy Name.
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21 (New Revised Standard Version):
At the end of the visions I, John, heard these words:
See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates….It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.
The spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift….
The one who testifies to these things says,
Surely I am coming soon.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
John 17:20-26 (Anchor Bible):
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.
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Some Related Posts:
Forty-Third Day of Easter: Seventh Day of Easter, Year A:
Forty-Third Day of Easter: Seventh Day of Easter, Year B:
Prayer of Praise and Adoration:
Prayer of Dedication:
Words can be powerful. They can inspire one to act boldly or badly, for the benefit of others or to their detriment. As an old U.S. Supreme Court ruling tells us, there is no constitutional protection for crying “fire” in a crowded theater. And, in a related matter, speech which incites violence is illegal, so long as the state disapproves of that violence. On the other hand, speech which decries state-approved violence, such as war, has, as history proves, often been criminalized, if not merely considered in appropriate. Consider the examples of Eugene Victor Debs and a host of anti-World War I activists, for example. And how much hell did Martin Luther King, Jr., catch for opposing the Vietnam War?
Yet, as powerful as words can be, actions matter more. Sometimes one tries and fails, but at least one did something. Failure has led to ultimate success, as the example of Thomas Edison attests. We must not anathemize failure, just giving up when one ought to persist. Edison did fail many times before he succeeded. The light bulb in the floor lamp behind my head as I type these words attests to his ultimate success.
It is through the words and actions of others of many men and women who have preceded us that we know of Jesus Christ. Actions flow from attitudes, and words explain deeds when deeds do not belie them. So I emphasize deeds, along with the Letter of James and sound Roman Catholic theology. Sometimes good and faithful works will get us into legal trouble, as in the case of Sts. Paul and Silas. (Yet the incident gave them an opportunity to convert a household.) And sometimes good and faithful works will lead to martyrdom, as in the case of those in Revelation 22 who had washed their robes in the blood of the lamb. Yet may we persist in good and faithful deeds. There will be (even if only in the afterlife),
joyful gladness for those who are truehearted.
–Psalm 97;11b, 1979 Book of Common Prayer
The company of the truehearted includes both those who are already in Christ and those whom the first group adds to their number. This is about more than evangelism, which is vital. It is also about discipleship and service. To love one’s neighbor as oneself might entail social activism, for what use is it to wish one fed while not feeding him or her or supporting a system which keeps him or her hungry? And what use is it to wish one at peace while supporting a system which keeps him or her at war?
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JUNE 21, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF ALL FAITHFUL MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY
THE FEAST OF SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, JESUIT
THE FEAST OF HENARE WIREMU TARATOA OF TE RANGA, COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEING
THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN JONES AND JOHN RIGBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS