Feast of Narayan Seshadri of Jalna (September 13)   Leave a comment

Part of India, 1945

Above:  The Germane Part of a Map of India, 1945

Image Source = Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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NARAYAN SESHADRI OF JALNA (DIED JULY 21, 1891)

Indian Presbyterian Evangelist and “Apostle to the Mangs”

This saint’s name came to my attention via The Book of Worship of the Church of North India (1995), which lists his feast day as September 13.

The Free Church of Scotland emerged from the Great Disruption in the Church of Scotland in 1843.  The new denomination’s first convert in India was Narayan Seshadri, a Brahmin, who became a Christian on September 13, 1843.  This happened despite strong opposition (including a court case) from his family.  Our saint, ordained in 1854, ministered in Bombay and Poona until 1862, when he departed for Jalna, in the Nizan territory of Hyderabad.  At Jalna he founded the Bethel Mission, through which he ministered to the poor, especially the Mangs, the outcaste poor of the region.  Our saint, who received a D.D. from the University of Montreal, traveled in Scotland and North America to raise funds for the Bethel Mission.  He died en route to Scotland on July 21, 1891.

The poor, as Narayan Seshadri of Jalna and St. Laurence of Rome understood, are the treasures of the Church.  The radical message to defend the poor from the onslaughts of exploitation and artificial scarcity is evident in the Law of Moses, the words of Hebrew prophets, and the ethics of the New Testament.  Yet it remains a radical message, one which some critics within the Church accuse readily and falsely of being dangerous, perhaps even communistic or (gasp!) socialistic.  Yet “Blessed are the poor,” Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Luke.  The poor will always be with us for a number of reasons, especially unjust socio-economic-political systems, but the proportion of economic justice to economic injustice can increase.

May no agent of the Church ever scorn the poor.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 13, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMENEGILD, VISIGOTHIC PRINCE AND ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT HUGH OF ROUEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP, ABBOT, AND MONK

THE FEAST OF MIKAEL AGRICOLA, FINNISH LUTHERAN BISHOP OF TALLINN

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may do justice,

love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight,

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer,

who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 736

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