Archive for the ‘April 10’ Category

Feast of William Law (April 10)   1 comment

Above:  Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM LAW (1686-APRIL 9, 1761)

Anglican Priest, Mystic, and Spiritual Writer

Feast Day (Anglican Church of Canada) = April 9

Feast Day (The Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia) = April 10

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If we are to follow Christ, it must be in our common way of spending every day.  If we are to live unto God at any time or in any place, we are to live unto him in all times and in all places.  If we are to use anything as a gift of God, we are to use everything as his gift.

–William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728)

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William Law changed his mind about certain major points throughout his life. He did, of course; he was a human being.  He was consistent in obeying his conscience, however.  He was simultaneously conservative and revolutionary.  Law was sui generis.

Law became an academic and a churchman.  He, born in King’s Cliffe, Northamptonshire, England, in 1686, matriculated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1705.  He, ordained to the Anglican diaconate in 1711, became a fellow of Emmanuel College later that year.  He had to leave four years later, though.

Law affirmed the divine right of the House of Stuart.  In 1714, when Georg, the Elector of Hanover, became George I, the King of Great Britain, our saint refused to swear loyalty to the new monarch.  Law lost his position at Emmanuel College in 1715.  The state and the church were far from separate.

Law spoke and wrote his mind freely; he was a controversialist.  On March 31, 1717, Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, preached before King George I on John 18:36.  Bishop Hoadly insisted that the Gospels provide no warrant for any visible ecclesiastical authority.  Law participated in the Bangorite Controversy; he wrote Three Letters to the Bishop of Bangor (1717), defending High Church principles.  Likewise, Law vigorously opposed Deistic, rationalistic influence in The Church of England.  In The Case of Reason (1732), he argued against the Latitudinarian downplaying of dogma, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization.  Law also opposed wars of empire.

Law, although a High Church Anglican who affirmed the divine right of kings, became an influential figure among many Anglican Evangelicals.  Our saint, the tutor to the young Edward Gibbon (the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire decades later) from 1727 to 1737, had published The Absolute Unlawfulness of Stage Entertainment Fully Demonstrated (1726) and Practical Treatise Upon Christian Perfection (1726).  His screed against plays proved to be controversial.  (I refuse to defend anti-theater moralizing excesses.)  A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728), a work of mysticism and moral discipline well within traditional bounds, became influential for a long time.

Law, ordained a priest in 1728, moved back to King’s Cliffe in 1740; he had inherited an estate.  Our saint spent the rest of his life praying, writing, living simply, and founding schools and almshouses.  He also moved deeper into mysticism, past the bounds many of his contemporaries considered acceptable.  Law read works by German mystic Jakob Böhme (1575-1624) then moved to the edge of the Quaker doctrine of the Inner Light.  Our saint wrote The Spirit of Prayer (1749, 1752), The Way to Divine Knowledge (1752), and The Spirit of Love (1752-1754).  All of these works were controversial.  John Wesley, once an admirer of Law, disapproved of these works.

Law, aged about 75 years, died in King’s Cliffe on April 9, 1761.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NERSES I THE GREAT, CATHOLICOS OF THE ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH; AND SAINT MESROP, BIBLE TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AGNES TSAO KOU YING, AGATHA LIN ZHAO, AND LUCY YI ZHENMEI, CHINESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHISTS AND MARTYRS, 1856, 1858, AND 1862; SAINT AUGUSTE CHAPDELAINE, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MISSIONARY, AND MARTYR, 1856; AND SAINT LAURENTIUS BAI XIAOMAN, CHINESE ROMAN CATHOLIC CONVERT AND MARTYR, 1856

THE FEAST OF BERNARD BARTON, ENGLISH QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH C. CLEPHANE, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HUMANITARIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MASSEY H. SHEPHERD, JR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST, ECUMENIST, AND LITURGIST; DEAN OF AMERICAN LITURGISTS

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Almighty God, who called your servant William Law to a devout and holy life:

grant that by your spirit of love and through a faithfulness in prayer,

we may find the way to divine knowledge and so come to see the hidden things of God;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Common Worship:  Daily Prayer (2005), 462

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Holy and merciful God, you filled the heart of William Law

with devotion and zeal in your service;

set us afire with love and obedience, that,

encouraged by his teaching, we may grow in true holiness of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

or 

God, you called us to hunger and thirst for what is right,

and to follow your servant William in his serious call to devout and holy living;

grant that we who preach to others may never find ourselves rejected.  Amen.

Tobit 1:16-18

Psalm 119:113-120 or 119:137-144

Romans 6:20-23

Luke 11:33-36

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

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O God, you kindled the flame of your love in the heart of William Law

and made him a shining light and sure guide in calling many to a devout and holy life.

Grant us so to practice the rule and discipline of faith,

that we walk in the ways of your love as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Philippians 3:7-14

Psalm 103:1-5

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

–The Anglican Church of Canada

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Almighty God, whose servant William Law taught us to hear and follow your call to a holy life,

grant that we, loving you above all things and in all things,

may seek your purpose and shape our actions to your will,

that we may grow in all virtue and be diligent in prayer all the days of our lives,

through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Ghost

be all honor and glory now and forever.  Amen.

Philippians 3:7-14

Psalm 1

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018, 227

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Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany (March 8-April 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of the Raising of Lazarus

Image in the Public Domain

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A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is one of my hobbies, not a calendar of observances with any force or a popular following.  It does, however, constitute a forum to which to propose proper additions to church calendars.

Much of the Western Church observes January 18 as the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter the Apostle, the rock upon which Christ built the Church.  (Just think, O reader; I used to be a Protestant boy!  My Catholic tendencies must be inherent.)  The celebration of that feast is appropriate.  The Church does not neglect St. Martha of Bethany, either.  In The Episcopal Church, for example, she shares a feast with her sister (St. Mary) and her brother (St. Lazarus) on July 29.

There is no Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany, corresponding to the Petrine feast, however.  That constitutes an omission.  I correct that omission somewhat here at my Ecumenical Calendar as of today.  I hereby define the Sunday immediately prior to Palm/Passion Sunday as the Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany.  The reason for the temporal definition is the chronology inside the Gospel of John.

This post rests primarily on John 11:20-27, St. Martha’s confession of faith in her friend, Jesus, as

the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.

The combination of grief, confidence, and faith is striking.  It is one with which many people identify.  It is one that has become increasingly relevant in my life during the last few months, as I have dealt with two deaths.

Faith frequently shines brightly in the spiritual darkness and exists alongside grief.  Faith enables people to cope with their grief and helps them to see the path through the darkness.  We need to grieve, but we also need to move forward.  We will not move forward alone, for God is with us.  If we are fortunate, so are other people, as well as at least one pet.

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Loving God, who became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth

and enjoyed the friendship of Saints Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany:

We thank you for the faith of St. Martha, who understood that

you were the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who was coming into the world.

May we confess with our lips and our lives our faith in you,

the Incarnate, crucified, and resurrected Son of God, and draw others to you;

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jeremiah 8:18-23

Psalm 142

1 Corinthians 15:12-28

John 11:1-44

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

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Feast of Henry Van Dyke (April 10)   6 comments

Above:  Henry and Ellen Van Dyke, Between 1910 and 1915

Image Source = Library of Congress

Image Publisher = Bain News Service

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ggbain-17998

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HENRY JACKSON VAN DYKE (NOVEMBER 10, 1852-APRIL 10, 1933)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer

Henry Van Dyke was a Presbyterian minister, a diplomat, a poet, a theologian, a liturgist, and an author of pious fiction.

The great man debuted at Germantown, Pennsylvania, on November 10, 1852.  He graduated from the Polytechnic Institute, Brooklyn, New York, in 1869.  Then he studied at Princeton University (B.A., 1873; M.A., 1877).  Next Van Dyke traveled abroad before returning to the United States.  He became a Presbyterian minister in 1879.  Our saint married Ellen Reid of Baltimore, Maryland, in December 1881.  The couple had five children:

  1. Frances (age 16 at the time of the 1900 census);
  2. Terticus (1887-1956), a poet who wrote a biography (1935) of his father;
  3. Dorothea (age 12 at the time of the 1900 census);
  4. Elaine (age 8 at the time of the 1900 census); and
  5. Paula (age 1 at the time of the 1900 census).

Van Dyke served as the pastor of two congregations.  He was at the United Congregational Church, Newport, Rhode Island, from 1879 to 1883.  Then he served at The Brick Presbyterian Church, New York, New York, from 1883 to 1900.  Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1858-1901), author of “This is My Father’s World,” succeeded him.  Our saint became a respected scholar and writer, as well as a popular orator.

Two of Van Dyke’s gifts were poetry and prose.  He brought these to this position as a Professor of English Literature at Princeton University, starting in 1900.  Our saint also brought his literary skill to bear on The Book of Common Worship (1906), the first formal liturgy the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. authorized, created, and published, although not the first formal liturgy it published.  He served as the chairman of the committee that produced the volume, which many in the denomination considered too Roman Catholic.  During his time at Princeton Van Dyke also served as the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1902-1903), was a lecturer at the University of Paris (1908-1909), became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (in England, 1910), and began to serve as the President of the National Institute of Arts and Letters (starting in 1912).

Van Dyke’s life became more international in 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson, his friend and former boss at Princeton, appointed him to serve as the Minister  (Ambassador) to The Netherlands and Luxembourg.  Our saint resigned that post in late 1916 and returned to the United States.  The following year he became a U.S. Navy chaplain with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  Van Dyke, a Commander of the Legion of Honor since 1918, returned to civilian life in 1923 and devoted himself primarily to literary matters.

Van Dyke, who received many honorary doctorates, made one final contribution to Presbyterian liturgy.  In this late seventies he served as the chairman of the committee that produced The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932).

One might know of Van Dyke as a writer, probably for The Story of the Other Wise Man (1895) and/or his most famous hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (written in 1907 and published two years later).  The list of our saint’s publications long and impressive, including even a play.  I refer you, O reader, to archive.org, where you can find electronic copies of many of Van Dyke’s published works, not least of which is The Poems of Henry Van Dyke (1911).

I have added some of our saint’s hymns addressed to God at my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Van Dyke died, aged 80 years, at Princeton, New Jersey, on April 10, 1933.

His legacy survives.  His hymns survive, although most have fallen into disuse.  The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which published the sixth incarnation of the Book of Common Worship in 1993, is working on the seventh version.  [Aside:  The versions were those of 1906, 1932, 1946, 1966, 1970, and 1993.]  And, of course, one can read what he published.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

PALM SUNDAY:  THE SUNDAY OF THE PASSION, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT CASILDA OF TOLEDO, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF JOHN SAMUEL BEWLEY MONSELL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET; AND RICHARD MANT, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DOWN, CONNOR, AND DROMORE

THE FEAST OF LYDIA EMILIE GRUCHY, FIRST FEMALE MINISTER IN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Henry Van Dyke)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Howard Thurman (April 10)   1 comment

Above:  Howard Thurman

Image in the Public Domain

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HOWARD WASHINGTON THURMAN (NOVEMBER 18, 1899-APRIL 10, 1981)

U.S. Baptist Minister, Mystic, and Theologian

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The religion of Jesus makes the love-ethic central.

–Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited (1949; 1996 reprint, page 89)

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Howard Thurman was an important force for social justice in the United States.  Although he was not on the front lines of the civil rights movement, he did produce a theology of reaching beyond fear and hatred that inspired many who were on the front lines.

Thurman, born on November 18, 1899, at Daytona, Florida, was a son of the church.  His father was Solomon Thurman (a railroad worker) and his mother was Alice Ambrose Thurman (a domestic worker).  Our saint learned much about the Bible from his maternal grandmother, a former slave.  Thurman, educated at Florida Baptist Academy, Jacksonville, Florida (1915-1919), then at Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia (1919-1923), became a Baptist minister in 1925.  His first church as pastor was Zion Baptist Church, Oberlin, Ohio.  The following year our saint graduated from Rochester Theological Seminary.  Then Thurman continued his education at Oberlin School of Theology and Haverford College.  At the latter institution he learned from Rufus Jones (1863-1948), a prominent Quaker philosopher.  In 1929 Thurman became both a professor of religion and the director of religious life at both Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, Atlanta.  While in Atlanta he married Sue Bailey, in 1932.

From 1932 to 1943 Thurman served on the faculty of Howard University, D.C.  He, President Mordecai Johnson, and Dr. Benjamin Mays (the Dean of the School of Religion), provided leadership at that institution and beyond.  Thurman’s titles were Chairman of the Committee on Religious Life and Professor of Christian Theology.  Our saint worked behind the scenes with many of the early leaders of the civil rights movement.  These great men and women included W. E. B. DuBois, A. Philip Randolph, and Mary McLeod Bethune.  During a tour of India in 1935 and 1936 Thurman met Mohandas Gandhi and became convinced of the wisdom of applying nonviolence to the struggle for civil rights in the United States.  Our saint also expanded his understanding of religious freedom with regard to human freedom and the struggle for it.

Thurman left Howard University in 1943 to co-found the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, San Francisco, California, an early example of a multicultural congregation in the United States.  His co-pastor was Alfred G. Fisk, who was white.   While in San Francisco, Thurman wrote Jesus and the Disinherited (1949), in which he laid the theological foundation for the use of nonviolence in the civil rights movement and portrayed Jesus as one who helped disinherited people as they dealt with oppression.  Black Liberation Theology, which James Cone went on to develop, grew out of this volume, a copy of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., carried with him.

Our saint left San Francisco in 1953, when he accepted the job as Dean of the Marsh Chapel and Professor of Spiritual Disciplines and Resources at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.  That year Life magazine described Thurman as one of the twelve greatest preachers of the twentieth century.  He applied that rhetorical skill at the Marsh Chapel until 1965, when he retired.

For the rest of his life our saint directed the Howard Thurman Educational Trust.

Thurman died at San Francisco on April 10, 1981.  He was 81 years old.

His message of nonviolent resistance to oppression is timeless, however.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 8, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY MELCHIOR MUHLENBERG, PATRIARCH OF AMERICAN LUTHERANISM; HIS GREAT-GRANDSON, WILLIAM AUGUSTUS MUHLENBERG, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND LITURGICAL PIONEER; AND HIS COLLEAGUE, ANNE AYRES, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERHOOD OF THE HOLY COMMUNION

THE FEAST OF JOHANN CRUGER, GERMAN LUTHERAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT JULIE BILLIART, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

THE FEAST OF RANDALL DAVIDSON, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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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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Feast of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (April 10)   2 comments

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Above:  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Image in the Public Domain

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PIERRE TEILHARD DE CHARDIN (MAY 1, 1881-APRIL 10, 1955)

Roman Catholic Priest, Scientist, and Theologian

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Lord, since with every instinct of my being and through all the changing fortunes of my life, it is you whom I have ever sought, you whom I have set at the heart of universal matter, it will be in a resplendence which shines through all things and in which all things are ablaze, that I shall have the felicity of closing my eyes.

–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, quoted by his friend, Father Pierre Leroy, S.J., in the biographical sketch in The Divine Milieu:  An Essay on the Interior Life (first Harper Torchbook edition, 1965), page 42

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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), 73 years old, died of a stroke on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955, in the City of New York.  He was more famous as a scientist than as a theologian, for the Roman Catholic Church, of which he was a priest, had forbidden him to publish any spiritual, theological, or philosophical works since the 1920s.  He was, by the standards of the Roman Catholic Church at the time, a heretic.  His funeral was a small event, with ten friends present.  Teilhard de Chardin’s reputation grew posthumously with the publication of once-forbidden works.  His death created the opportunity for his spiritual, theological, and philosophical writings to go to the printing presses.

Cinephiles among the readers of this post might know The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), a pious movie with a flawed script which leaves too many dangling plot threads.  Anthony Quinn does a wonderful job of portraying Pope Kiril (I), a native of the Ukraine.  Kiril is a compassionate man with a Pope Francis-like common touch and desire to effect peace where military conflicts rage.  Among Kiril’s friends is Father David Telemond, whose theological orthodoxy is suspect.  Telemond is the Teilhard de Chardin figure in the story, based on Morris West’s 1963 novel.

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Our saint was a Frenchman.  The native of Orcines, Auvergne, France, was the fourth of eleven children of Emmanuel and Berthe-Adele Teilhard de Chardin.  Emmanuel was a gentleman farmer, and Berthe-Adele was a great-grandniece of Francois-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), a.k.a. Voltaire, snarky author of Candide, or Optimism (1759) and one of the most famous author of the Enlightenment.  The 18-year-old Teilhard de Chardin entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) at Aix-en-Provence in 1899.  The realities of French government policy required him to continue his studies in Jersey, England, from 1902 to 1905.  Our saint taught chemistry at the Jesuit high school in Cairo, Egypt, from 1905 to 1908.  Then, from 1908 to 1911, he studied in Hastings, England.  There, in 1911, he became a priest.

A scientific career followed.  In 1912 Teilhard de Chardin commenced doctoral studies in paleontology and geology at the Sorbonne.  World War I (1914-1918) interrupted those plans, for he was a stretcher-carrier in the French Army for a few years.  After the war our saint returned to the Sorbonne, where he completed his doctorate in 1922.  That year he became the Chair of Geology at the Institute Catholique, Paris.

That was when the trouble started for Teilhard de Chardin.  Pope Pius X (reigned 1903-1914), with the anti-intellectual mindset he learned from his peasant background, was a theological stalwart.  He condemned Modernism, born out of an effort to reconcile faith and theology with developments in science and other secular knowledge.  Among these developments was evolution, extant since Greek antiquity yet restated and revived powerfully in the writings of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and Alfred Wallace (1823-1913).  Pius X (beatified in 1951 and canonized three years later) unleashed what J. N. D. Kelly described in The Oxford Dictionary of Popes as

a widespread, often embarrassing harassment of scholars which widened the breach between the church and the intelligentsia.

–Page 314

Although Pope Benedict XV (reigned 1914-1922) calmed that conflict, official Roman Catholic suspicion of evolution and Modernism persisted for decades.  For example, in Humani generis (August 12, 1950), Pope Pius XII (reigned 1939-1958) wrote:

A glance at the world outside the Christian Fold will familiarize us, easily enough, with the false directions which the thought of the learned often takes.  Some will contend that the theory of evolution, as it is called–a theory which has not been proved beyond contradiction even in the sphere of natural science–applies to the origin of all things whatsoever….These false evolutionary notions, with their denial of all that is absolute or fixed or abiding in human experience, have paved the way for a new philosophy of error….The Teaching of the Church leaves the doctrine of Evolution an open question, as long as it confines its speculations to the development, from other living matter already in existence, of the human body…..Original sin is the result of a sin committed, in actual historical fact, by an individual man named Adam….

–Quoted and excerpted from The Papal Encyclicals in Their Historical Context:  The Teachings of the Popes from Peter to John XXIII (edited by Anne Fremantle, 1963), pages 294-298

The opening of the proverbial church windows to the world had to wait until Pius XII’s successor, John XXIII (reigned 1958-1963).

Teilhard de Chardin’s superiors suspected that he stood outside of Roman Catholic tradition.  In some ways he did.  Roman Catholicism has long contained mutually exclusive traditions, actually.  Critics in the mold of Pius X stood in the anti-intellectual tradition, which has existed within Roman Catholicism for more than a millennium.  Distrust of scientific knowledge has long run amok there.  Teilhard de Chardin stood within the also longstanding Roman Catholic tradition of reconciling faith and reason, informed by science.

Teilhard de Chardin not only accepted human evolution as fact but gave it a prominent place in his theology.  He wrote that the emergence of humans constituted the birth of reflection.  Physical evolution, he wrote, had gone about as far as it could.  The current phase of evolution, he insisted, was human socialization, that is, cultural convergence toward a single society in which love is the highest radial energy, or inward tendency, toward self-perfection.  The culmination of evolution, Teilhard de Chardin wrote, will be the Second Coming of Christ, the physical center of evolution, and the source of the love energy in that process.

Teilhard de Chardin’s optimistic theology had Christ at its center.  Our saint understood the human-divine relationship as being properly collaborative.  Jesus, he wrote, was the Divine Milieu, always at work in creation.  Since “milieu,” in French, indicates both “center” and “environment,” the use of that word was especially expressive and compact.

Certain critics noted that our saint did little theologically regarding issues of sin and evil, and that his treatment of them was either wrong or inadequate.  St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) had, for example, defined sin as disordered love, which was not Teilhard de Chardin’s opinion.

No human being is perfect, hence no human system of theology avoids flaws.  No theologian has ever been infallible, so yes, Teilhard de Chardin committed some theological errors, as did his critics and St. Augustine of Hippo also.  My primary question regarding our saint’s theology is whether the core of it was sound.  Integrating science and religion and placing Christ at the center of the evolutionary process seems sound to me.

Teilhard de Chardin got into trouble with Holy Mother Church initially because of a paper he wrote on the relationship to original sin to human evolution.  No draft of it satisfied his ecclesiastical superiors, who forced him to sign official renunciations of the views contained in that paper.  In 1925 the Jesuit Superior General removed our saint from the position of Chair of Geology at the Institut Catholique, Paris.  The Vatican forbade Teilhard de Chardin to publish anything in the realms of spirituality, theology, or philosophy, and in the late 1920s, exiled him to China.  Our saint spent most of the next almost twenty years in Asia, living in China until 1934 and again from 1939 to 1946.  He participated in many expeditions, including the one which discovered the 400,000-year-old school of Peking Man in 1929.  Teilhard de Chardin visited France periodically, and traveled in India, China, Japan, and the United States from 1934 to 1939.

Troubles with the Church continued to follow Teilhard de Chardin after World War II.  He returned to France in 1946, but had to leave after a few years.  Our saint served as the director of research at the National Center for Scientific Research.  In 1948 the Jesuit Superior General prevented him from standing as a candidate for the Chair of Paleontology at the College de France.  Teilhard de Chardin eventually left for the United States, where he accepted a position with the Wenner-Grenn Foundation for Anthropological Research.

Our saint had a joie de vivre, for he enjoyed pleasures such as good food and humor.  Nevertheless, official rejection and interference caused him much distress.  Teilhard de Chardin’s friend, Father Pierre Leroy, S.J, wrote:

There was no contradiction in his soul, no ambiguity between his humble loyalty as a son of the Church and the boldness of his philosophical views.  But in the depths of his being there raged the excruciating torment of reconciling his complete submission to the Church with the integrity of his thought.

–“Teilhard de Chardin:  The Man,” in The Divine Milieu:  An Essay on the Inner Life (first Harper Torchbook edition, 1965), page 37

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Teilhard de Chardin left an astounding legacy.  He wrote 10 volumes of hard science and 15 of anthropology, philosophy, spirituality, and theology.  He had to endure the Vatican’s official frown during most of his life, but recent Popes have affirmed parts of his theology.  Our saint wrote in The Divine Milieu (written, 1926 and 1927; published in French, 1957; published in English, 1960):

Nothing is profane to those who know how to see.

By that standard, Roman Catholicism knows how to see better after the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II, 1962-1965) than it did before.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 15, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER

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Eternal God, the whole cosmos sings of your glory,

from the dividing of a single cell to the vast expanse of interstellar space:

We bless you for your theologian and scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,

who perceived the divine in the evolving creation.

Enable us to become faithful stewards of your divine works

and heirs of your eternal kingdom;

through Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all creation,

who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,

one Gd, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:6-11

Psalm 65

Revelation 21:1-6

John 3:31-35

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 321

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POSTSCIPT

I have not attempted to write a comprehensive account of Teilhard de Chardin’s life and theology, for others have done that already.  For more complete yet not tome-length accounts, O reader, I refer you to three sources:

  1. The American Teilhard Association;
  2. “Teilhard de Chardin:  The Man,” by Father Pierre Leroy, S.J., in the Harper Torchbook edition of The Divine Milieu; and
  3. The chapter on Teilhard de Chardin in A Handbook of Christian Theologians–Expanded Edition (1984), edited by Martin E. Marty and Dean G. Peerman.

There are also Teilhard de Chardin’s writings, of course.

KRT

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Feast of St. Fulbert of Chartres (April 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Tree of Jesse Window, Chartres Cathedral

SAINT FULBERT OF CHARTRES (952/962-1029)

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chartres

The life of St. Fulbert of Chartres was intertwined with that of Gerbert, later Pope Silvester II (reigned 999-1003). Gerbert served as head of the cathedral school at Rheims in the 970s, when St. Fulbert was a student there and learned mathematics and philosophy from the schoolmaster.  Gerbert left Rheims to become Abbot of Bobbio, in Italy, but returned to Rheims in 984.  He became Archbishop of Rheims in 996, Archbishop of Ravenna in 998, and (the first French) Bishop of Rome in 999.  J. N. D. Kelly wrote that Silvester II

dazzled contemporaries by the versatility and brilliance of his intellect.  His reputation rests less on his work as a churchman than on his many-sided culture, especially in the fields of science,  music, and mathematics, but also in literature (e.g. the collection and preservation of manuscripts of classical Latin authors).  He was a pioneer of the abacus, terrestrial and celestial globes, and the organ.–The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1988, page 137)

That was an astounding company to keep.  Imagine the conversations!

The bond between Gerbert and St. Fulbert was such that the new Pope summoned the saint to Rome in 999.  There St. Fulbert remained until Silvester II’s death.  Then the saint accepted a position as chancellor at Chartres Cathedral.  He was familiar with that place, having founded (and headed) the cathedral school there and built it up into a a beacon of learning in Europe.  The student, like his teacher, was renowned as a scholar.  Then, in 1006, St. Fulbert accepted his final position, Archbishop of Chartres.  The cathedral burned down in 1020, prompting him to raise funds for the reconstruction.  St. Fulbert witnesses the beginning of the rebuilding, which concluded after he died.

St. Fulbert made other contributions to his society.  He advised secular leaders, opposed the selling of church offices, and encouraged Marian devotion.  Letters, hymns, poems, and sermons survive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREI RUBLEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ICONOGRAPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS GENESIUS I OF CLERMONT AND PRAEJECTUS OF CLERMONTT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS, AND AMARIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT GILDAS THE WISE, HISTORIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

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Almighty God, you gave to your servant Saint Fulbert of Chartres

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God,

and Jesus Christ whom you have sent;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 721

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for April   Leave a comment

Daisies

Image Source = WiZZiK

1 (Frederick Denison Maurice, Anglican Priest and Theologian)

  • Giuseppe Girotti, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945
  • John Gray, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Mythologist, Biblical Scholar, and Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages
  • Ludovico Pavoni, Roman Catholic Priest and Educator
  • Syragius of Autun and Anarcharius of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Bishops; and Valery of Leucone and Eustace of Luxeuit, Roman Catholic Abbots

2 (James Lloyd Breck, “The Apostle of the Wilderness”)

  • Carlo Carretto, Spiritual Writer
  • John Payne and Cuthbert Mayne, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1582 and 1577
  • Joseph Bernardin, Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago
  • Sidonius Apollinaris, Eustace of Lyon, and his descendants, Roman Catholic Bishops

3 (Luther D. Reed, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Liturgist)

  • Burgendofara and Sadalberga, Roman Catholic Abbesses, and Their Relatives
  • Marc Sangnier, Founder of the Sillon Movement
  • Mary of Egypt, Hermit and Penitent
  • Reginald Heber, Anglican Bishop of Calcutta, and Hymn Writer

4 (Benedict the African, Franciscan Friar and Hermit)

  • Alfred C. Marble, Jr., Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi then Assisting Bishop of North Carolina
  • Ernest W. Shurtleff, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., U.S. Civil Rights Leader, and Martyr, 1968 (also January 15)
  • Sidney Lovett, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Chaplain of Yale University

5 (André, Magda, and Daniel Trocmé, Righteous Gentiles)

  • Emily Ayckbowm, Foundress of the Community of the Sisters of the Church
  • Mariano de la Mata Aparicio, Roman Catholic Missionary and Educator in Brazil
  • Pauline Sperry, Mathematician, Philanthropist, and Activist; and her brother, Willard Learoyd Sperry, Congregationalist Minister, Ethicist, Theologian, and Dean of Harvard Law School
  • William Derham, Anglican Priest and Scientist

6 (Marcellinus of Carthage, Roman Catholic Martyr, 413)

  • Benjamin Hall Kennedy, Greek and Latin Scholar, Bible Translator, and Anglican Priest
  • Daniel G. C. Wu, Chinese-American Episcopal Priest and Missionary
  • Emil Brunner, Swiss Reformed Theologian
  • Milner Ball, Presbyterian Minister, Law Professor, Witness for Civil Rights, Humanitarian
  • Nokter Balbulus, Roman Catholic Monk

7 (Tikhon of Moscow, Russian Orthodox Patriach)

  • George the Younger, Greek Orthodox Bishop of Mitylene
  • Jay Thomas Stocking, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Montford Scott, Edmund Gennings, Henry Walpole, and Their Fellow Martyrs, 1591 and 1595
  • Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury

8 (Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Patriarch of American Lutheranism; his great-grandson, William Augustus Muhlenberg, Episcopal Priest, Hymn Writer, and Liturgical Pioneer; and his colleague, Anne Ayres, Foundress of the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion)

  • Dionysius of Corinth, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Hugh of Rouen, Roman Catholic Bishop, Abbot, and Monk
  • Julie Billiart, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame
  • Timothy Lull, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Scholar, Theologian, and Ecumenist

9 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran Martyr, 1945

  • Johann Cruger, German Lutheran Organist, Composer, and Hymnal Editor
  • John Samuel Bewley Monsell, Anglican Priest and Poet; and Richard Mant, Anglican Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore
  • Lydia Emilie Gruchy, First Female Minister in the United Church of Canada
  • Mikael Agricola, Finnish Lutheran Liturgist, Bishop of Turku, and “Father of Finnish Literary Language”

10 (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Roman Catholic Priest, Scientist, and Theologian)

  • Fulbert of Chartres, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Henry Van Dyke, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Liturgist
  • Howard Thurman, Protestant Theologian
  • William Law, Anglican Priest, Mystic, and Spiritual Writer

11 (Heinrich Theobald Schenck, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer)

  • Charles Stedman Newhall, U.S. Naturalist, Hymn Writer, and Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister
  • George Augustus Selwyn, Anglican Bishop of New Zealand, Primate of New Zealand, and Bishop of Lichfield; Missionary
  • George Zabelka, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Military Chaplain, and Advocate for Christian Nonviolence
  • Henry Hallam Tweedy, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer

12 (Henry Sloane Coffin, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, and Hymn Translator; and his nephew, William Sloane Coffin, Jr., U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Social Activist)

  • David Uribe-Velasco, Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1927
  • Godfrey Diekmann, U.S. Roman Catholic Monk, Priest, Ecumenist, Theologian, and Liturgical Scholar
  • Julius I, Bishop of Rome
  • Zeno of Verona, Bishop

13 (Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Bishop of Durham)

  • Henri Perrin, French Roman Catholic Worker Priest
  • John Gloucester, First African-American Presbyterian Minister
  • Martin I, Bishop of Rome, and Martyr, 655; and Maximus the Confessor, Eastern Orthodox Monk, Abbot, and Martyr, 662
  • Rolando Rivi, Roman Catholic Seminarian and Martyr, 1945

14 (Edward Thomas Demby and Henry Beard Delany, Episcopal Suffragan Bishops for Colored Work)

  • Anthony, John, and Eustathius of Vilnius, Martyrs in Lithuania, 1347
  • George Frederick Handel, Composer
  • Wandregisilus of Normandy, Roman Catholic Abbot; and Lambert of Lyons, Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop
  • Zenaida of Tarsus and her sister, Philonella of Tarsusl and Hermione of Ephesus; Unmercenary Physicians

15 (Olga of Kiev, Regent of Kievan Russia; Adalbert of Magdeburg, Roman Catholic Bishop; Adalbert of Prague, Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr, 997; and Benedict and Gaudentius of Pomerania, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 997)

  • Damien and Marianne of Molokai, Workers Among Lepers
  • Flavia Domitilla, Roman Christian Noblewoman; and Maro, Eutyches, and Victorinus of Rome, Priests and Martyrs, Circa 99
  • Hunna of Alsace, the “Holy Washerwoman”
  • Lucy Craft Laney, African-American Presbyterian Educator and Civil Rights Activist

16 (Bernadette of Lourdes, Visionary)

  • Calvin Weiss Laufer, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist
  • Isabella Gilmore, Anglican Deaconess
  • Mikel Suma, Albanian Roman Catholic Priest, Friar, and Martyr, 1950
  • Peter Williams Cassey, African-American Episcopal Deacon; and his wife, Annie Besant Cassey, African-American Episcopal Educator

17 (Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • Emily Cooper, Episcopal Deaconess
  • Lucy Larcom, U.S. Academic, Journalist, Poet, Editor, and Hymn Writer
  • Max Josef Metzger, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944
  • Wilbur Kenneth Howard, Moderator of The United Church of Canada

18 (Roger Williams, Founder of Rhode Island; and Anne Hutchinson, Rebellious Puritan)

  • Cornelia Connelly, Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus
  • Maria Anna Blondin, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Anne
  • Murin of Fahan, Laserian of Leighlin, Goban of Picardie, Foillan of Fosses, and Ultan of Peronne, Abbots; Fursey of Peronne and Blitharius of Seganne, Monks
  • Roman Archutowski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1943

19 (Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr, 1012)

  • David Brainerd, American Congregationalist then Presbyterian Missionary and Minister
  • Emma of Lesum, Benefactor
  • Mary C. Collins, U.S. Congregationalist Missionary and Minister
  • Olavus Petri, Swedish Lutheran Theologian, Historian, Liturgist, Minister, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and “Father of Swedish Literature;” and his brother, Laurentius Petri, Swedish Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala, Bible Translator, and “Father of Swedish Hymnody”

20 (Johannes Bugenhagen, German Lutheran Theologian, Minister, Liturgist, and “Pastor of the Reformation”)

  • Amator of Auxerre and Germanus of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Bishops; Mamertinus of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Abbot; and Marcian of Auxerre, Roman Catholic Monk
  • Christian X, King of Denmark and Iceland; and his brother, Haakon VII, King of Norway
  • Marion MacDonald Kelleran, Episcopal Seminary Professor and Lay Leader

21 (Roman Adame Rosales, Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1927)

  • Conrad of Parzham, Capuchin Friar
  • George B. Caird, English Congregationalist then United Reformed Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Georgia Harkness, U.S. Methodist Minister, Theologian, Ethicist, and Hymn Writer
  • Simeon Barsabae, Bishop; and His Companions, Martyrs, 341

22 (Gene Britton, Episcopal Priest)

  • Donald S. Armentrout, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Scholar
  • Hadewijch of Brabert, Roman Catholic Mystic
  • Kathe Kollwitz, German Lutheran Artist and Pacifist
  • Vitalis of Gaza, Monk, Hermit, and Martyr, Circa 625

23 (Toyohiko Kagawa, Renewer of Society and Prophetic Witness in Japan)

  • Jakob Böhme, German Lutheran Mystic
  • Martin Rinckart, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Teresa Maria of the Cross, Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of Saint Teresa of Florence
  • Walter Russell Bowie, Episcopal Priest, Seminary Professor, and Hymn Writer

24 (Genocide Remembrance)

  • Egbert of Lindisfarne, Roman Catholic Monk; and Adalbert of Egmont, Roman Catholic Missionary
  • Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Capuchin Friar and Martyr, 1622
  • Johann Walter, “First Cantor of the Lutheran Church”
  • Mellitus, Bishop of London, and Archbishop of Canterbury

25 (MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR, 68)

26 (William Cowper, Anglican Hymn Writer)

  • Adelard of Corbie, Frankish Roman Catholic Monk and Abbot; and his protégé, Paschasius Radbertus, Frankish Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Theologian
  • Robert Hunt, First Anglican Chaplain at Jamestown, Virginia
  • Ruth Byllesby, Episcopal Deaconess in Georgia
  • Stanislaw Kubista, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940; and Wladyslaw Goral, Polish Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr, 1945

27 (George Washington Doane, Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey; and his son, William Croswell Doane, Episcopal Bishop of Albany; Hymn Writers)

  • Antony and Theodosius of Kiev, Founders of Russian Orthodox Monasticism; Barlaam of Kiev, Russian Orthodox Abbot; and Stephen of Kiev, Russian Orthodox Abbot and Bishop
  • Christina Rossetti, Poet and Religious Writer
  • Remaclus of Maastricht, Theodore of Maastricht, Lambert of Maastricht, Hubert of Maastricht and Liege, and Floribert of Liege, Roman Catholic Bishops; Landrada of Munsterbilsen, Roman Catholic Abbess; and Otger of Utrecht, Plechelm of Guelderland, and Wiro, Roman Catholic Missionaries
  • Zita of Tuscany, Worker of Charity

28 (Jaroslav Vajda, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer)

  • Jozef Cebula, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941
  • Pamphilius of Sulmona, Roman Catholic Bishop and Almsgiver
  • Peter Chanel, Protomartyr of Oceania, 1841
  • William Stringfellow, Episcopal Attorney, Theologian, and Social Activist

29 (Catherine of Siena, Roman Catholic Mystic and Religious)

  • Bosa of York, John of Beverley, Wilfrid the Younger, and Acca of Hexham, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • James Edward Walsh, Roman Catholic Missionary Bishop and Political Prisoner in China
  • Simon B. Parker, United Methodist Biblical Scholar
  • Timothy Rees, Welsh Anglican Hymn Writer and Bishop of Llandaff

30 (James Montgomery, Anglican and Moravian Hymn Writer)

  • Diet Eman; her fiancé, Hein Sietsma, Martyr, 1945; and his brother, Hendrik “Henk” Sietsma; Righteous Among the Nations
  • James Russell Woodford, Anglican Bishop of Ely, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer
  • John Ross MacDuff and George Matheson, Scottish Presbyterian Ministers and Authors
  • Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, Poet, Author, Editor, and Prophetic Witness

 

Floating

  • The Confession of Saint Martha of Bethany (the Sunday immediately prior to Palm Sunday; March 8-April 11)

 

Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.

Good Friday   2 comments

The Crucifixion, by Titian (1558)

April 10, 2020

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Old Roman Chant for the Adoration of the Cross:   Domine audivi auditum tuum.

(Written down in the 600s C.E., so who knows how long people passed it down via oral tradition?)

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Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (New Revised Standard Version):

See, my servant shall prosper;

he shall be exalted and lifted up,

and shall be very high.

Just as there were many who were astonished at him

–so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,

and his form beyond that of mortals–

so he shall startle many nations;

kings shall shut their mouths because of him;

for that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.

Who has believed what we have heard?

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

For he grew up before him like a young plant,

and like a root out of dry ground;

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by others;

a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;

and as one from whom others hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him of no account.

Surely he has borne our infirmities

and carried our diseases;

yet we accounted him stricken,

struck down by God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions,

crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the punishment that made us whole,

and by his bruises we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have all turned to our own way,

and the LORD has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

and like a sheep that is before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

By a perversion of justice he was taken away.

Who could have imagined his future?

For he was cut off from the land of the living,

stricken for the transgression of my people.

They made his grace with the wicked

and this tomb with the rich,

although he had done no violence

and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will the LORD to crush him with pain.

When you make his life an offering for sin,

he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;

through him the will of the LORD shall prosper.

Out of his anguish he shall see light;

he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.

The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous,

and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

because he poured out himself to death,

and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

Psalm 22:1-22 (New Revised Standard Version):

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?

O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;

and by night, but find no rest.

Yet you are holy,

enthroned on the praises of Israel.

In you our ancestors trusted;

they trusted, and you delivered them.

To you they cried, and were saved;

in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm, and not human;

scorned by others, and despised by the people.

All who see me mock at me;

they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;

“Commit your cause to the LORD; let him deliver–

let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

Yet it was you who took me from the womb;

you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.

On you I was cast from my birth,

and since my mother bore me you have been my God.

Do not be far from me,

for trouble is near

and there is no one to help.

Many bulls encircle me,

strong bulls of Bashan surround me;

they open wide their mouths at me,

like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water,

and all my bones are out of joint;

my heart is like wax;

it is melted within my breast;

my mouth is dried up like a potsherd,

and my tongue sticks to my jaws;

you lay me in the dust of death.

For dogs are all around me;

a company of evildoers encircles me.

My hands and feet have shriveled,

I can count all my bones.

They stare and gloat over me;

they divide my clothes among themselves,

and for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, O LORD, do not be far away!

O my help, come quickly to my aid!

Deliver my soul from the sword,

my life from the power of the dog!

Save me from the mouth of the lion!

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.

I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;

in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

Hebrews 10:1-25 (New Revised Standard Version):

Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach.  Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshipers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin?  But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year.  For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,

but a body you have prepared for me;

in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

Then I said, “See, God, I have come to do your will, O God”

(in the scroll of the book it is written of me.)”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.”  He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.  And it is by God’s will that we have the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifice for sins.  But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.”  For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.  And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord:

I will put my laws in their hearts,

and I will write them on their minds,”

he also adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is no forgiveness of these, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to provoke to one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

John 18:1-19:37 (New Revised Standard Version):

AfterJesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

“They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

The Collect:

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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This day I choose to focus not on the lengthy and moving Gospel reading, but on the Epistle.  God is love, Jesus commanded his Apostles to love another as he loved them.  Because of divine love the Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate as Jesus and helped many people.  Because of his love and human wickedness Jesus went to his death.  And because of love Jesus rose again, demonstrated the superior power of God, and went on before us.  Because of love the surviving Apostles preached the Gospel and most gave their lives.  So I think about Hebrews 10:24:  “And let us consider how to provoke to one another to love and good deeds….”

Did not Jesus seek to provoke people to love and good deeds?  We who call ourselves Christians need to think about what that label means.  We who claim the name of Jesus should take up our cross(es) and follow him.  We ought to follow his example and keep his commandments, which entail love and good deeds.  We need to honor our Lord and Savior with our lives, not just our words.  This message is appropriate on any day, but especially on Good Friday.

Think about how much better the world would be if more of us spent our days thinking of ways to provoke each other to love and good deeds, then acting on these intentions.  Imagine how much respectful talk radio, news and opinion websites, and 24-hour news and opinion channels would be if love and good deeds were to displace shouting matches and pandering to base desires and pressures to indulge in infotainment, lies, and half-truths.  How many churches would become more Christlike if parishioners sought to encourage one another to love and good deeds instead of playing theological games of one upsmanship and arguing about trivial matters, such as the color of the carpet?  Alas, negativity and fluff attract huge audiences.  We humans are our own worst enemies.

Today and every other day may we reflect on the love God for us.  May this agape love inspire us to seek to love and respect each other as brothers and sisters in the divine household, via grace, of course.

KRT

Posted March 26, 2010 by neatnik2009 in April 10

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