Archive for January 2013

Feast of Christopher Wordsworth (March 20)   3 comments

Trinity College, Cambridge

Above:  Trinity College, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom, 1890-1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08091

Copyright Holder = Detroit Publishing Company

Print Number 10094

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CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH (OCTOBER 30, 1807-MARCH 20, 1885)

Anglican Bishop of Lincoln

I begin this post with a simple warning to my readers:  I mention three Christopher Wordsworths and two John Wordsworths.  I have tried to minimize or prevent confusion.  The Christopher Wordsworth to whom I devote the most attention is Christopher (Jr.), as I refer to him.  His father was Christopher (Sr.) and one of his sons was Christopher (III).

Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885), the subject of this post, was a son of one Christopher Wordsworth, Anglican Rector of Lambeth in 1807 and later the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.  Christopher (Jr.), the subject of this post, was both a brilliant student and a talented athlete at Manchester and at Trinity College.  His life, in fact, was that of a priest-scholar.  And he was in good company as a scholar, author, and clergyman.  William Wordsworth, his uncle, was a great poet.  John Wordsworth, a brother of Christopher (Jr.), was a scholar of antiquity.  Charles Wordsworth, another brother of Christopher (Jr.), was a bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church.  A second John Wordsworth, a son of Christopher (Jr.), became the Bishop of Salisbury.  And a third Christopher Wordsworth, also a son of Christopher (Jr.), became a liturgical scholar.

But what about Christopher (Jr.)?  He became the Bishop of Lincoln in 1868 and held that post until his death.  During his career he published much.  Among his works was The Holy Year (1862), a collection of hymns for each season of the Western Christian year.  And, in a series of volumes, he wrote a complete commentary on the Bible.  Christopher (Jr.) also published Ancient Writings Copied from the Walls of Ancient Pompeii (1837) and Church History Up to A.D. 451 (1881-1883).

John Ellerton (1826-1893), an Anglican priest and a prolific writer of hymns, considered Christopher (Jr.) to be

…a most  humble, loving, and self-denying man. And the man was reflected in his verse.  To read one of his best hymns is like looking into a plain face, without one striking feature, but with an irresistible charm of honesty, intelligence, and affection.

Since I am writing this post during the Season after Epiphany, I choose to share an Epiphany hymn from Christopher (Jr.).

Songs of thankfulness and praise,

Jesus, Lord, to Thee we raise,

Manifested by the star

To the sages from afar;

Branch of royal David’s stem

In Thy birth at Bethlehem;

Anthems be to Thee addrest,

God in Man made manifest.

—–

Manifest in Jordan’s stream,

Prophet, priest, and King supreme;

And at Cana wedding-guest

In Thy Godhead manifest;

Manifest in power divine,

Changing water into wine;

Anthems be to Thee addrest,

God in Man made manifest.

—–

Manifest in making whole

Palsied limbs and fainting soul;

Manifest in valiant fight,

Quelling all the devil’s might;

Manifest in gracious will,

Ever bringing good from ill;

Anthems be to Thee addrest,

God in Man made manifest.

—–

Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,

Present in Thy holy Word;

May we imitate Thee now,

And be pure, as pure art Thou;

That we like to Thee may be,

At Thy great Epiphany;

And may praise Thee, ever blest,

God in Man made manifest.

Those words from 1862 contain much theological depth, unlike the lyrics of certain contemporary (to 2013) praise songs, theological tidepools with repeated and few words.

Christopher Wordsworth (Jr.) devoted his art and intellect to noble pursuits, usually Christ.  (There was also much merit in the study of the ancient past.)  May we honor Christopher (Jr.)’s faithfulness, his intellect, and his craft with words.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 19, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SARGENT SHRIVER, U.S. STATESMAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CAESARIUS OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND SAINT CAESARIA OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT HENRY OF UPPSALA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT WOLFSTAN OF WORCESTER, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom,

and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Christopher Wordsworth,

and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth

we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and

the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Revised on December 24, 2016

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Proper 18, Year C   Leave a comment

01605v

Above:  A Prospector and His Dog in Alaska, 1900-1930

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-01605

Image Source = Library of Congress

Packing and Unpacking for Discipleship

The Sunday Closest to September 7

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost

SEPTEMBER 8, 2019

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The Assigned Readings:

Jeremiah 18:1-11 and Psalm 139:105, 12-17

or 

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and Psalm 1

then 

Philemon 1-21

Luke 14:25-33

The Collect:

Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for everAmen.

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Some Related Posts:

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-sixteenth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Confession:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-of-confession-for-the-sixteenth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-sixteenth-sunday-after-pentecost/

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I used to think that Onesimus was a runaway slave.  Authority figures in church told me that he was.  Commentaries and notes in study Bibles told me that he was.  Then, one day, I read another perspective, which prompted me to reread the short epistle again.  And it turns out that nowhere does Paul indicate why Onesimus and Philemon were in separate cities.  And the Greek text of verse 16 translates as

as if a slave,

not

as though a slave.

So the text itself does not indicate that Onesimus was a slave, much less a fugitive.  These close readings of the actual text–not the imagined one–prove to be useful reminders of the importance of reading what the Bible says, not what one thinks it says.

The definition of Christian discipleship is following Jesus.  One must pack lightly for that journey, leaving much behind.  (A partial list follows.)  One must leave behind misunderstandings and false preconceptions.  One must leave behind hatred, violence, grudges, and unfounded fears, which bring out the worst in human behavior.  One must leave behind the desire to scapegoat.  Jesus became a scapegoat and a victim of violence, but the Romans still destroyed Jerusalem in time.  And God reversed death, the major consequence of the violence which killed our Lord.  We must leave behind willful disobedience to God.  I refer you, O reader, to the rest of Jeremiah 18; that text speaks of willful disobedience, not ignorant sinning.  We must also leave behind ignorant sinning, which is also destructive.

Instead, may we pack, among other things, love and respect for God and each other.  Recently I reread Ephesians, a fine epistle which makes clear that how we treat others matters very much to God.  That letter encourages putting up with each other’s weaknesses and  not grieving the Holy Spirit, not committing violence against each other.  (See Chapters 4 and 5.)  May we pack the Golden Rule.  May we pack kindness.  May we pack the willingness to sacrifice self for another.  May we pack the awareness that what we do and do not do affects others.  May we pack compassion.  Our task demands no less of us.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 4, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF MIEP GIES, RIGHTEOUS GENTILE

THE FEAST OF SAINT DAVID I, KING OF SCOTLAND

THE FEAST OF GEORGE FOX, QUAKER FOUNDER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULINUS OF AQUILEIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH

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Feast of Eliza Sibbald Alderson and John Bacchus Dykes (March 18)   Leave a comment

Durham Cathedral

Above:  Durham Cathedral

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D4-73178

Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

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ELIZA SIBBALD DYKES ALDERSON (AUGUST 16, 1818-MARCH 18, 1889)

Poet and Hymn Writer

sister of

JOHN BACCHUS DYKES (MARCH 10, 1823-JANUARY 22, 1876)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

With this post I add two saints–a sister and a brother–to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  The father of Eliza Sibbald Dykes Alderson and John Bacchus Dykes was a banker by profession an d a musician by hobby.  Eliza and John were also artistic.  Eliza had gifts in language and painting.  John became his parish’s organist (at Hull, England) at age ten.  Both of them contributed to English hymnody.

Eliza  married the Reverend W. T. Alderson.  She left a fine legacy, one which includes twelve hymns.  Among them is “And Now, Beloved Lord, Thy Soul Resigning” (1868), which her brother asked her to compose.  Various versions of this Good Friday hymn exist.  Lest one think that hymnals published since the late 1960s have a monopoly on revising hymn texts, even the Scottish Presbyterian Church Hymnary from the 1920s includes an altered text.

John had a successful career as a musician and composer and a controversial career as a priest.  He studied music at Cambridge (1843-1847) before becoming an Anglican priest.  He served at two congregations before arriving at Durham Cathedral, where he wrote many of his almost 300 hymn tunes.  He received a Doctor of Music degree from the University of Durham.  Then he became the Vicar of St. Oswald’s Church, Durham, the following year.  He served that church for the rest of his life.  There, at St. Oswald’s, Dykes needed a second priest–a curate–for his growing congregation.  Thus the problems started in 1873, for Dykes was a High Churchman and his bishop was not.

These matters are unimportant to most contemporary Episcopalians and Anglicans.  So a priest wears a colored stole, people bow to high altars, and someone places candles on a high altar without controversy.  We have become accustomed to these practices.  But the Oxford Movement, of which we are beneficiaries, was very controversial at the time.  Many Low Church Anglicans thought that the Roman Catholic revival in The Church of England and the larger Anglican Communion was undesirable at best and Satanic at worst.  Thus Victorian Episcopalians and Anglicans argued among themselves harshly over candles, kneeling, and colored stoles the way many of his denounce each other over homosexuality these days and some of us still argue regarding the ordination of women.  The topics which prompt vitriolic arguments in one age will seem quite minor in a later century.

Dykes was a High Churchman; his bishop was not.  The Bishop agreed to add a curate so long as that person:

  1. never wore a colored stole (Black was the traditional color for Anglican stoles),
  2. never had “anything to do with incense,” and
  3. never stood “with his back to the congregation except when ordering the Bread.”

Dykes appealed to the Court of the Queen’s Bench, in London, in 1874.  He lost; the Court affirmed the Bishop’s authority.  The priest’s biographers agreed that the shock of this verdict, combined with the stress of the conflict, killed him two years later.

Dykes was one of the greatest composers of English hymns.  His list of hits is quite impressive.  Consider, O reader, this incomplete list:

  • Nicaea, the tune for “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God Almighty;”
  • Dominus Regit Me, the tune for “The King of Love My Shepherd Is;”
  • St. Agnes, a tune for “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee;”
  • Vox Dilecti, one tune for “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say;” and
  • Melita, the tune for “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.”

Eliza also had an unpleasant end.  All that I could find out about her demise is that, as James Moffatt wrote in his 1927 companion volume to the Scottish Presbyterian Church Hymnary,

The last years of her life were passed under much suffering.  (page 249)

She died at Heath, near Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, on March 18, 1889, just over thirteen years after her famous brother’s death.

Let us now sing the praises of famous men,

our ancestors in their generations….

There were…those who composed musical tunes,

or put verses in writing….

All of them were the pride of their times.

Some of them have left behind a name,

so that others declare their praise.

But of others there is no memory;

they have perished as though they had never existed,

they have become as though they had never been born,

they and their children after them.

But these were also godly men,

whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten ….

–Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1, 3a, 5, 7-10 (New Revised Standard Version)

Eliza seems relatively forgotten; I have not found her work in contemporary (to me) hymnals.  (I have not, of course, searched every extant contemporary hymnal.)  But John’s work–at least some of it–remains popular with hymnal committees.  Perhaps Eliza has become as though she had never existed and successive generations of hymnals include fewer John Bacchus Dykes tunes, but this brother and this sister were righteous.  May we who live in a time later than theirs remember them with honor.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 16, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE VICTIMS OF THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE, 2010

THE FEAST OF GEORGE AND LILLIAN WILLOUGHBY, QUAKER PEACE ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PACHOMIUS, FATHER OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNAL MONASTIC LIFE

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MEUX BENSON, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE EVANGELIST

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servants

Eliza Sibbald Dykes Alderson and John Bacchus Dykes.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder,

that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation

in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God,  now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Revised on December 24, 2016

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Proper 17, Year C   Leave a comment

christ-pantocrator-moody

Above:  Christ Pantocrator, Daphni, Greece

Duties to God and Each Other

The Sunday Closest to August 31

Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

SEPTEMBER 1, 2019

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The Assigned Readings:

Jeremiah 2:4-13 and Psalm 81:1, 10-16

or 

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 10:12-18 and Proverbs 25:6-7 or Psalm 112

then 

Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

Luke 14:1, 7-14

The Collect:

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; 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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Some Related Posts:

Proper 17, Year A:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/proper-17-year-a/

Proper 17, Year B:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/proper-17-year-b-3/

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-fifteenth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Confession:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-of-confession-for-the-fifteenth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-fifteenth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Jeremiah 2:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/week-of-proper-11-thursday-year-2/

Proverbs 25:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/devotion-for-june-21-and-22-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Hebrews 13:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/week-of-4-epiphany-friday-year-1/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/week-of-4-epiphany-saturday-year-1/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/devotion-for-the-seventh-day-of-easter-saturday-in-easter-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Luke 14:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/devotion-for-the-thirty-fourth-and-thirty-fifth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/week-of-proper-25-friday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/week-of-proper-25-saturday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/week-of-proper-26-monday-year-1/

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Let mutual love continue.

–Hebrews 13:1, New Revised Standard Version

Thus I find my theme for this post.  That theme unites the assigned readings for Proper 17, Year C.  The rest of the Hebrews lection speaks of our obligations to God and each other.  These duties exist in the context of mutual love.

I am, among other things, intellectually honest.  The readings from Jeremiah 2, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 10, and Psalm 81 speak of divine judgment for faithlessness among people for God has done much.  These lections do not seem loving.  And Psalm 112 sounds too much like Prosperity Theology for my comfort.  I can think of parts of both Testaments which contradict it.  If you, O reader, expect me to provide simple answers to these, I will disappoint you.  I could provide such answers, but I would do so insincerely and they would be useless.

I write these words during Advent 2012.  (I like to write ahead of schedule.)  During this time the words attributed to Hannah in 1 Samuel 2 and Mary in Luke 1 ring in my head.

The LORD makes poor and makes rich,

he brings low, he also exalts.

He raises up the poor from the dust;

he lifts up the needy from the ash heap,

to make them sit with princes

and inherit a seat of great honor.

–1 Samuel 2:7-8a, New Revised Standard Version

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He has routed the proud and all their schemes;

he has brought down monarchs from their thrones,

and raised high the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

and sent the rich empty away.

–Luke 1:51b-53, Revised English Bible

Those beloved passages are consistent with Jeremiah 2, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 10, and Psalm 81.  Whether this reversal of fortune is good news depends on who one is.

The context for this reversal of fortune is faithlessness to God, who has done much for us.  It is polite to be grateful to one who delivers, is it not?  So attitudes occupy the heart of the matter.  And we cannot love God, whom we cannot see, unless we love people, whom we can see.  Our deeds will reveal our creeds.  That much I know for certain.  As for the rest, ask God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 17, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARIA STEWART, EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF EGLANTYNE JEBB, FOUNDER OF SAVE THE CHILDREN

THE FEAST OF FRANK MASON NORTH, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER

THE FEAST OF SAINT OLYMPIAS, ORTHODOX DEACONESS

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Feast of Henry Scott Holland (March 17)   1 comment

St. Paul's Cathedral, London

Above:  St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England, United Kingdom, 1890-1900

Images Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08571

Title from the Detroit Publishing Co., Catalogue J foreign section, Detroit, Mich. : Detroit Publishing Company, 1905

Print no. “11096”

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HENRY SCOTT HOLLAND (JANUARY 27, 1847-MARCH 17, 1918)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

Social concern is a great biblical value.  Hebrew prophets condemned those who exploited others.  And, in the Parable of Lazarus and Dives, the main offense of the latter was that he knew about the presence of the former and did not care for him.  Sometimes apathy is the opposite of compassion.

Henry Scott Holland demonstrated compassion.  He, educated at Eton then Balloil College, Oxford, joined the ranks of the clergy of The Church of England in 1872.  He served at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, then at Truro, then at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, before returning to Oxford.  His final position was Professor of Divinity at Oxford, from 1910 to 1918.  In 1889 Holland cofounded the Christian Social Union.  From 1896 to 1918 he edited its publication, The Commonwealth.  The cause of Christian Socialism was close to his heart.

Holland wrote extensively.  His works included:

  • Creeds and Critics;
  • Logic and Life;
  • Christ or Ecclesiates;
  • On Behalf of Belief;
  • God’s Pity;
  • Vital Values; and
  • A Bundle of Memories.

He also worked on The English Hymnal (1906) and The New Cathedral Psalter (1909).  Among Holland’s hymns was “Judge Eternal, Enthroned in Splendour,” which appeared initially in a 1902 issue of The Commonwealth.

Judge eternal, throned in splendour,

Lord of lords and King of kings,

With thy living fire of judgement

Purge this land of bitter things;

Solace all its wide dominion

With the healing of thy wings.

—–

Still the weary folk are pining

For the hour that brings release,

And the city’s crowded clangor

Cried aloud for sin to cease;

And the homesteads and the woodlands

Plead in silence for their peace.

—–

Crown, O God, thine own endeavour,

Cleave our darkness with thy sword;

Feed the faint and hungry heathen

With the richness of thy word;

Cleanse the body of this nation

Through the glory of the Lord.

The Latin inscription on Holland’s memorial at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, translates as:

As beholding God invisible, he was unceasingly founding on earth His Heavenly Kingdom, in unshaken faith, lively hope, joyous love.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 15, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., NATIONAL BAPTIST PASTOR

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled, and

rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Revised on December 24, 2016

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Proper 16, Year C   Leave a comment

bonfire

Above:  A Bonfire

Image Source = Fir0002

A Consuming Fire

The Sunday Closest to August 24

Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost

AUGUST 25, 2019

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The Assigned Readings:

Jeremiah 1:4-10 and Psalm 71:1-6

or 

Isaiah 58:9b-14 and Psalm 103:1-8

then 

Hebrews 12:18-29

Luke 13:10-17

The Collect:

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; 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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Some Related Posts:

Proper 16, Year A:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/proper-16-year-a/

Proper 16, Year B:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/proper-16-year-b/

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-fourteenth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Confession:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-of-confession-for-the-fourteenth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-fourteenth-sunday-after-pentecost/

Jeremiah 1:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/fourth-sunday-after-the-epiphany-year-c/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/week-of-proper-11-wednesday-year-2/

Isaiah 58:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/fifth-sunday-after-the-epiphany-year-a/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/devotion-for-december-30-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/first-day-of-lent-ash-wednesday/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/fourth-day-of-lent/

Hebrews 12:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/week-of-4-epiphany-thursday-year-1/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-sixth-day-of-easter-friday-in-easter-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Luke 13:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/week-of-proper-25-monday-year-1/

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Many passages in the Bible speak of the imperative of obeying God.  Among them is Hebrews 12:18-29, which includes the promise of destruction for disobedience and concludes with

For our God is a consuming fire.

–12:29, The New Jerusalem Bible

That is scary, is it  not?

The Law of Moses is clear:  Anyone who works on the Sabbath day has earned a death sentence:

And the Lord said to Moses:  Speak to the Israelite people and say:  Nevertheless you must keep My sabbaths, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout the ages, that you may know that I the LORD have consecrated you.  You shall keep the sabbath, for it is holy for you.  He who profanes it shall be put to death:  whoever does work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his kin.  Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD:  whoever does work on the sabbath day shall be put to death.  The Israelite people shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout the ages as a covenant between Me and the people of Israel.

–Exodus 31:12-17a, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures 

(Fortunately this law does not apply to me, a Christian.  As I understand theology, the cultural details of the Law of Moses are not universal principles for all time.)

Jesus, a Jew, lived under occupation in his homeland.  One way the Jews of the time, a minority in the Roman Empire, retained and asserted their identity was to keep religious laws.  But there were Jewish sects, some of which disagreed with each other strongly, and therefore there was a multiplicity of interpretations of religious laws.  So, did Jesus violate the Sabbath laws when he healed on that day?  He did not think so, and I side with him:  Every day of the week is a good day to commit good deeds.

The readings for this Sunday speak of the imperative of repenting, literally turning around.  The prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah (all the Isaiahs) decried a variety of sins, from committing idolatry to exploiting the poor economically.  Observing holy rituals did not fool God into thinking that perpetrators of these perfidious acts were righteous, the prophets said correctly.  The Temple system at the time of Jesus was corrupt, demanding offerings from those who could not spare the money.  Jesus, of course, opposed that system.

Another there running through these readings is one which becomes clearer after one reads the lections in their literary contexts:  Many of those who consider themselves religious insiders, people close to God, are fooling themselves.  And many of the alleged outsiders are really insiders.

The God of these readings is the deity who cares for the widows and the orphans, executes judgment for the oppressed peoples, and whose kingdom is like a large, uncontrollable, and frequently unwanted pest of a plant that gives shelter to a variety of species, not all of whom like each other.  This is the God who defines “insider” and “outsider” differently than many people do.  This is the God whose Gospel comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.  This is the God I recognize in Jesus, who ate with notorious sinners, causing scandal.  This is the God each of us is called to follow.

A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989) offers a fitting conclusion to this post.  In the Eucharistic rite, just after a reading from Scripture, the lector says

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.

The congregation replies,

Thanks be to God.

With that in mind, I say

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church or just to one who reads this post.

Whether or not one who reads this post answers

Thanks be to God

sincerely reveals much about that person’s spiritual state.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 3, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARUTHAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MAYPHERKAT AND MISSIONARY TO PERSIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERNARD OF PARMA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN ASIA

THE FEAST OF JOHN OWEN SMITH, UNITED METHODIST BISHOP IN GEORGIA

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Feast of Albert Lister Peace (March 14)   2 comments

Glasgow Cathedral

Above:  Glasgow Cathedral

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-07595

Image Source = Library of Congress

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ALBERT LISTER PEACE (JANUARY 26, 1844-MARCH 14, 1912)

Organist in England and Scotland

Albert Lister Peace, born in Yorkshire, was a musical prodigy.  He demonstrated perfect pitch at age five.  From ages nine to twenty-one Peace played the organ for his parish at Holinfirth, Yorkshire.

Peace spent much of his life in Glasgow, Scotland.  At age twenty-one he became the Organist at Trinity Congregational Church.  He also served in that capacity at the University of Glasgow, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Hillshead Parish Church, St. Andrew’s Halls, and Glasgow Cathedral over time.  The Church of Scotland had lifted its ban on organs in 1865, so Peace, with his reputation as a skilled musician and his degrees from Glasgow and Oxford, worked during a Renaissance in Scottish organ music.  In fact, he opened two-thirds of the organs built in Scotland from 1865 to 1890.

Peace returned to England in 1897, becoming the Organist at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool.  He served in that capacity until his death.

Peace’s dedication to church music and the excellence thereof found expression in the service books he edited for the Church of Scotland:

  • The Scottish Hymnal (1885)
  • Psalms and Paraphrases with Tunes (1886)
  • The Psalter with Chants (1888)
  • The Scottish Anthem Book (1891).

He also composed at least two hymn tunes, Guild and St. Margaret.  Some readers of this post might recognize St. Margaret as the tune for “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.”

Worship matters.  Reverent worship–not entertainment masquerading as worship–is vital.  The examples of people such as Alfred Lister Peace reinforce that principle.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 15, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., NATIONAL BAPTIST PASTOR

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Albert Lister Peace.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder,

that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation

in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God,  now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Revised on December 24, 2016

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