Archive for the ‘April 4’ Category

Feast of Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15 or April 4)   14 comments

1964

Above:  Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, 1964

Photographer = Marion S. Trikosko

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ6-1847

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (JANUARY 15, 1929-APRIL 4, 1968)

Civil Rights Leader and Martyr

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

–Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, 1967

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I refer you, O reader, to the following biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a prophet; he spoke truth to power and to society when doing that was dangerous and unpopular.  He was also a human being, with virtues and vices.  The totality of his vices did not begin to approach the totality of his virtues.  King was sufficiently threatening (despite his nonviolence) to many racists and other defenders of the status quo that he had to endure numerous false accusations and an attempt by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to blackmail him into committing suicide.  (It can happen here.  It has happened here.)  For example, some accused King of being a Communist.  He was actually neither a Communist nor a capitalist.  Communism, he said, assumes falsely that people lacked souls, and capitalism misunderstands the proper value of a person also.  A moral society, King argued, is person-centered, not thing-centered; human rights ought to matter more than property rights.  King was actually a Christian Socialist and a man who became more radical as he aged; he was not the figure of the “I Have a Dream” Speech frozen in the amber of comfortable white historical memory.   On the other hand, Malcolm X mellowed in his final years.  The two moved toward each other politically as they approached death.

My reading of primary sources regarding how many people perceived King from the middle 1950s to his death in 1968 and immediately afterward has confirmed the generalization (found in many secondary historical sources) that many white people feared King and understood him to be threat to their way of life.  How ironic is it then, that many people who are the political descendants of King’s opponents have embraced the King federal holiday and the naming of streets after him?  He has become a non-threatening figure converted into a statue and placed on a pedestal.  This reality has blunted his prophetic power in contemporary politics.

Michael Eric Dyson is correct; the non-threatening, friendly King of the federal holiday and all those roads is not the person our saint really was.  For example, of one reads King’s anti-Vietnam War speech of April 4, 1967, one reads an address that cost him dearly politically during the last year of his life.  One also reads a scathing critique of the bipartisan Cold War consensus in U.S. foreign policy.  One also reads a timeless condemnation of militarism and institutionalized racism that is at least as potent today as it was in 1967.  That King makes many people squirm in their chairs, however; they prefer to play reruns of the “I Have a Dream Speech” and feel good about agreeing with him on those points.

A prophet is preferable to a mere hero immortalized as a statue, a holiday, and a plethora of street names, I am convinced, for a prophet speaks to the present, regardless of when he spoke originally.  A prophet does not let us off the hook.  We ignore a prophet at our risk, but we get to pat ourselves on our backs for admiring a mere hero.  Furthermore, a martyred prophet challenges us to ask ourselves for what cause we would be willing to die.

Dr. King was a prophet.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHN STONE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR TOZER RUSSELL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILDA OF WHITBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS

THE FEAST OF JANE ELIZA(BETH) LEESON, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant

you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last:

Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King,

may resist oppression in the name of love,

and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ;

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

Genesis 37:17b-20

Psalm 77:11-20

Ephesians 6:10-20

Luke 6:27-36

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 307

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisements

Feast of St. Benedict the African (April 4)   Leave a comment

St. Benedict the African

Above:  Icon of St. Benedict the African

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT BENEDICT THE AFRICAN (1526-APRIL 4, 1589)

Franciscan Friar and Hermit

Also known as Saint Benedict the Moor and Saint Benedict the Black

St. Benedict the African embodied the virtue of humility.

The saint’s parents were Christianized African slaves in Sicily.  They had even received Italian names–Cristoforo Manasseri and Diana Manasseri.  Their masters deemed them to be loyal servants.  As a result their son entered the world at San Fratello in 1526 as a free person.

St. Benedict manifested virtues throughout his lifetime.  He, a member of the peasant class, was, like most members of his class, illiterate.  He worked as a shepherd during his youth, giving to the poor readily.  At age 21 St. Benedict joined an independent group of Franciscan hermits.  For about seven years he worked as a cook.  Then, at age 28, he became the leader of that group.  Pope Pius IV ended the existence of independent monastic groups in 1564, so St. Benedict joined the Order of Friars Minor at the Friary of St. Mary of Jesus, Palermo, Sicily.  He began as a cook, became the master of novices eventually, served a term as the superior, and ended his days as a cook again.  (St. Benedict enjoyed cooking.)  The respected monk was a sought-out counselor and a humble man.

St. Benedict died at Palermo on April 4, 1589.

Leadership is important in societies, organizations, and political systems.  Too often those who aspire to positions of leadership seek their own good, even if that is merely the maintenance of one’s ego.  I have watched this play out on small states–in rural congregations.  Some of the people who have exercised authority–with or without a title–have had dysfunctional egos.  Those with inadequate self-images have used authority to feel better about themselves, and those with out-of-control egos have used authority to confirm their self-images.  Other people and the congregations themselves have paid the high price for dysfunctional egos.

Among the theological terms I find bothersome in its traditional English translation is “fear of God,”  The word “fear,” in contemporary usage, conveys one concept, which differs from what that term is supposed to convey.  The proper meaning of “fear of God” is being awe-struck in the presence of God, therefore aware of one’s inadequacy compared to God.  That is a healthy spiritual state of being, one which fosters humility.

Leadership, especially in the Church–is properly about building up the faith community.  Status, as a means of boosting a sagging ego or demonstrating one’s perceived superiority, has no proper place.  In church we are supposed to glorify, God, not ourselves.

St. Benedict the African understood that lesson well and acted accordingly.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 17, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARY CORNELIA BISHOP GATES, U.S. DUTCH REFORMED HYMN WRITER

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, by whose grace your servant St. Benedict the African,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Ernest W. Shurtleff (April 4)   1 comment

4a11522v

Above:  Andover Theological Seminary, Andover, Massachusetts

Publisher and Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D4-17218

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ERNEST WARBURTON SHURTLEFF (APRIL 4, 1862-AUGUST 29, 1917)

U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

Ernest W. Shurtleff, an alumnus of Boston Latin School and Harvard University, attended the Swedenborgian New School Theological Seminary, Cambridge, Massachusetts, before attending then graduating from Andover Theological Seminary.  For his graduating class (that of 1887) our saint wrote the great hymn, “Lead On, O King Eternal.”

Shurtleff, ordained into the Congregationalist ministry, had a varied career.  He served at the First Congregational Church, San Buenaventura (Ventura), California, from 1887 to 1891.  Then he ministered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, for seven years before transferring to the First Congregational Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1898.  Seven years later our saint moved to Frankfurt, Germany, where he founded the American Church.  In 1906 Shurtleff and his wife, Helen, moved to Paris, France, where they remained.  They coordinated student activities at the Academy Vitti in the Latin Quarter.  And,during World War I, they were relief workers.

Shurtleff was an amateur musician and a published poet.  His works included the following:

Shurtleff’s legacy seems to depend primarily on one great hymn yet he did much more for which people ought to remember him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF FOND DU LAC

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Ernest W. Shurtleff and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

Feast of St. George the Younger (April 4)   Leave a comment

Above:  Triumph of Orthodoxy Icon

SAINT GEORGE THE YOUNGER (DIED CIRCA 816)

Greek Orthodox Bishop of Mitylene

His feast transferred from April 7

St. George the Younger was one of several Bishops of Mitylene named George, hence the addition of the appelation “the Younger” to his name.  The use of surnames was a great and useful practice in distinguishing people with the same personal name.  We must, in the absence of surnames, resort to descriptive labels, such as “the Younger,” “the Elder,” and “of __________.”

St. George the Younger, born to a wealthy family on the island of Lesbos, gave away his wealth to the poor and the ill.  He became the Bishop of Mitylene, on Lesbos.  In that capacity he earned a reputation for charitable activities and for holiness of life.  A defender of icons, he earned the ire of the Byzantine Emperor Leo the Armenian (reigned 813-820), who exiled him to the Crimea.  There St. George died of natural causes, a martyr of sorts.

A theological disagreement ought not to constitute an offense worthy of suffering and exile.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 25, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Jesus our Redeemer,

you gave your life to ransom us;

you have called us to drink your cup

and undergo your baptism.

We thank you for St. George the Younger’s witness;

May we have faith and resolution too.  Amen.

Isaiah 43:1-7

Psalm 3 or 116

1 Peter 4:12-19

Luke 12:2-12

A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), pages 680-681

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
  • 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
  • Joseph Bernardin, Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago

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
  • Reginald Heber, Anglican Bishop of Calcutta and Hymn Writer

4 (Benedict the African, Franciscan Friar and Hermit)

  • Ernest W. Shurtleff, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • George the Younger, Greek Orthodox Bishop of Mitylene
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader (also January 15)

5 (Emil Brunner, Swiss Reformed Theologian)

  • 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)

  • Benjamin Hall Kennedy, Greek and Latin Scholar, Bible Translator, and Anglican Priest
  • Milner Ball, Presbyterian Minister, Law Professor, Witness for Civil Rights, Humanitarian
  • Nokter Balbulus, Roman Catholic Monk

7 (Tikhon of  Moscow, Russian Orthodox Patriach)

  • Jay Thomas Stocking, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • John Baptist de La Salle, Founder of the Christian Brothers
  • Montford Scott, Edmund Gennings, Henry Walpole, and Their Fellow Martyrs

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)

  • Johann Cruger, German Lutheran Organist, Composer, and Hymnal Editor
  • Julie Billiart, Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame
  • Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury

9 (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran Martyr

  • Casilda of Toledo, Roman Catholic Anchoress
  • 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

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

  • Henry Van Dyke, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Liturgist
  • Howard Thurman, Protestant Theologian
  • Mikael Agricola, Finnish Lutheran Liturgist, Bishop of Turku, and “Father of Finnish Literary Language”

11 (Dionysius of Corinth, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • Charles Stedman Newhall, U.S. Naturalist, Hymn Writer, and Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister
  • Heinrich Theobald Schenck, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer
  • 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)

  • André, Magda, and Daniel Trocmé, Righteous Gentiles
  • David Uribe-Velasco, Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • Zeno of Verona, Bishop

13 (Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Bishop of Durham)

  • Henri Perrin, Worker Priest
  • Hugh of Rouen, Roman Catholic Bishop, Abbot, and Monk
  • Rolando Rivi, Roman Catholic Seminarian and Martyr

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

  • Anthony, John, and Eustathius of Vilnius, Martyrs in Lithuania, 1347
  • Fulbert of Chartres, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Wandregisilus of Normandy, Roman Catholic Abbot, and Lambert of Lyons, Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop

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

  • Damien and Marianne of Molokai, Workers Among Lepers
  • Flavia Domitilla, Roman Christian Noblewoman; and Maro, Eutyches, and Victorinus of Rome, Priests
  • George Frederick Handel, Composer

16 (Bernadette of Lourdes, Visionary)

  • Calvin Weiss Laufer, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist
  • Isabella Gilmore, Anglican Deaconess
  • Lucy Larcom, U.S. Academic, Journalist, Poet, Editor, and Hymn Writer

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

  • Emily Cooper, Episcopal Deaconess
  • Max Josef Metzger, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • 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 Anne Blondin, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Anne
  • Roman Archutowski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1943

19 (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)

  • Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr
  • Emma of Lesum, Benefactor
  • 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
  • Sidonius Apollinaris, Eustace of Lyon, and His Descendants, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • Simeon Barsabae, Bishop, and His Companions, Martyrs

22 (Gene Britton, Episcopal Priest)

  • Donald S. Armentrout, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Scholar
  • Kathe Kollwitz, German Lutheran Artist and Pacifist
  • Vitalis of Gaza, Monk, Hermit, and Martyr

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

  • Johann Walter, “First Cantor of the Lutheran Church”
  • 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
  • Mellitus, Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury

25 (MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR)

26 (William Cowper, Anglican Hymn Writer)

  • Robert Hunt, First Anglican Chaplain at Jamestown, Virginia

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

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

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 Russell Woodford, Anglican Bishop of Ely, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer
  • Timothy Rees, Welsh Anglican Hymn Writer and Bishop of Llandaff

30 (James Montgomery, Anglican and Moravian Hymn Writer)

  • James Edward Walsh, Roman Catholic Missionary Bishop and Political Prisoner in China
  • John Ross MacDuff and George Matheson, Scottish Presbyterian Ministers and Authors
  • Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, Poet, Author, Editor, and Prophetic Witness

 

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