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Feast of Benjamin Hall Kennedy (April 6)   Leave a comment

Benjamin Hall Kennedy

Above:  Benjamin Hall Kennedy, by William Walter Ouless

Image in the public domain

Confirmed here

BENJAMIN HALL KENNEDY (NOVEMBER 6, 1804-APRIL 6, 1889)

Greek and Latin Scholar, Bible Translator, and Anglican Priest

…a man of brilliant scholarship and vast and accurate learning, a telling speaker, and an original Latin poet.

–James Moffatt, Handbook to The Church Hymnary (London:  Oxford University Press, 1927), pages 392-393

Benjamin Hall Kennedy (1804-1889) was a man of God and the academy, a master of the classics, and a Bible translator.  His legacy merits more attention than it receives in some circles.

Kennedy, ordained a priest in The Church of England, held church positions yet was best known for the academic career.  He taught at Harrow School before becoming the Headmaster of Shrewsbury School in 1836.  Kennedy made that institution of learning a famous center of classical scholarship.  In 1867 he became a Professor of Greek at Cambridge.  And Kennedy wrote influential Greek and Latin textbooks and translated editions of Greek and Latin classics–works by figures such as Philo, Virgil, Sophocles, and Aeschylus.  One aspect of his legacy was a Latin professorship named for him at Cambridge.

Kennedy also worked on the Revised Version of the Bible (1881), published a translation of the Psalter, published sermons, and edited Hymnologia Christiana (1863), a volume which contained thousands of hymns.  Among them was his translation of Johann C. Schwelder’s text, “Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know.”

Ask ye what great thing I know

That delights and stirs me so?

What the high reward I win?

Whose the name I glory in?

Jesus Christ the Crucified.

—–

Who defeats my fiercest foes?

Who consoles my saddest woes?

Who revives my fainting heart,

Healing all its hidden smart?

Jesus Christ the Crucified.

—–

Who is life in life to me?

Who the death of death will be?

Who will place me on His right,

With the countless hosts of light?

Jesus Christ the Crucified.

—–

This is that great thing I know;

This delights and stirs me so:

Faith in Him who died to save,

Him who triumphed o’er the grave,

Jesus Christ the Crucified.

Unfortunately, Christian history contains chapters of anti-intellectualism, especially regarding the Greek and Latin classics.  Gerbert of  Aurillac, who served as Pope Sylvester II (999-1003), incurred much suspicion and opposition because of his openness to knowledge wherever he found it, for example.  And I have encountered many Evangelical and Fundamentalist anti-intellectuals.  Fortunately, I have also met many Christian intellectuals of varying stripes and their written work.  (N. T. Wright, for example, is no intellectual slouch.)  My intellectualism predisposes me to my denominational choice (The Episcopal Church) and to a fondness for Christian intellectuals, such as Benjamin Hall Kennedy.  I thank God for them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 9, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SOPHRONIUS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GREGORY OF NYSSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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For Further Reading:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Kennedy%2c%20Benjamin%20Hall%2c%201804-1889

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Proper for Scholars:

O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of Benjamin Hall Kennedy and all others

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Milner Ball (April 6)   Leave a comment

Image Source = University of Georgia Law School Tribute Page

(Link located in this post)

MILNER SHIVERS BALL (APRIL 10-1936-APRIL 6, 2011)

Presbyterian Minister, Law Professor, Witness for Civil Rights, Humanitarian

From time to time one finds one’s self in the company of greatness.  The greatest of people are those who improve the lives of others, often facing scorn for part or much of their efforts.  Years and decades later, admirers speak of how courageous these great people were, but such high praise was scarce at the time.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1936, and educated in Georgia and Tennessee public schools, Milner Ball earned his A.B. degree from Princeton University and his Master of Divinity from Harvard University.  A man possessed of a keen intellect and deep Christian faith, he studied with Karl Barth and became a Presbyterian minister.  Lifelong concerns for social justice led Ball to support causes usually described as liberal.  In the 1960s, for example he was openly pro-civil rights.  After a stint as pastor in Manchester, Tennessee, he became the Presbyterian campus minister at The University of Georgia (UGA).  There his demonstrated belief in racial equality aroused much opposition at the recently (1962) integrated campus.  The last straw, however, came when Ball became a delegate to the 1968 Democratic National Convention, but not as a member of the Lester Maddox-approved delegation.  Ball, joined the Julian Bond-led delegation instead.

Ball, fired from his position, entered law school and commenced a career of public service via the law.  Graduating first in his class from the UGA Law School, Ball served as former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk’s representative to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1971 and 1972.  Then he taught law at Rutgers University from 1972 to 1978 before returning to UGA as a law professor.  He retired in 2006.

A prolific scholar, Ball wrote many law review articles and four books:  The Promise of American Law:  A Theological, Humanistic View of Legal Process (1981), Lying Down Together:  Law, Metaphor, and Theology (1985), The Word and the Law (1993), and Called by Stories:  Biblical Sagas and Their Challenge for Law (2000).  A specialist in environmental law, tribal law, constitutional law, and the intersection of theology and law, Ball challenged his students and readers to improve the lives of the less fortunate and to work for justice.  Law, he wrote, ought to be a force which transfigures society and builds up human community.

Ball’s work extended far beyond Athens, Georgia.  He taught overseas (in Argentina, France, Belgium, England, and Iceland) over the years and served as a judge on the International People’s Tribunal in Hawaii (1993).  Ball was also a member of the Theological Anthropology Project at the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton University.  And his influence continues through the careers of his law students.

Locally in Athens, Ball was instrumental in the Athens Justice Project, which, in the words of its website, “assists low income individuals with pending criminal charges in achieving a fair legal outcome and in becoming productive, law-abiding community members.”  Such work, truly a living memorial to Ball’s commitment to social justice, reflects his active belief in helping the disadvantaged and building up human community.  The Athens Justice Project was just one of Ball’s many community-building activities, with others including a soup kitchen and a homeless shelter.

Ball received many civil rights and public service honors.  It is appropriate then that the Working in the Public Interest (WIPI) Law Conference established the Milner S. Ball Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

Our love for our neighbors, Jesus said, must be active.  The obligation to love our neighbors as ourselves requires us to reach out to those who need the assistance we can offer.  Following our Lord in this way will cause us to cross lines some of our neighbors consider improper, for we human beings cling to social injustices which benefit us, if only psychologically.  But crossing these lines is part of God’s mandate upon our lives.  Jesus disregarded such barriers, as the canonical Gospels record.  He was (and is) the Master; a servant is not above his or her master.

Milner Ball followed his master faithfully.  He and I participated in the life of the same parish, crossing paths.  Knowing him, even casually, was a great honor.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

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For More Information:

UGA Law School Tribute Page

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A collect and the readings for a Renewer of Society, according to Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the hymnal and worship book of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.  Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.  Help us, like your servant Milner Ball, to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name, 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

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

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.

Feast of Nokter Balbulus (April 6)   2 comments

Abbey of St. Gall, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Image Source = picswiss

BLESSED NOKTER OF ST. GALL, A.K.A. NOKTER THE STAMMERER, NOKTER OF ST. GALL, NOKTER THE POET, NOTKER, AND NOTKAR (CIRCA 840-912)

Roman Catholic Monk

His Feast Transferred from April 6

Blessed Nokter possessed a brilliant and trained mind, as well as a deep love of God and great spiritual wisdom.  Eloquent speech was not one of his gifts, but profundity was.

Born to a prominent Swiss family, Nokter studied under St. Tutilo (Feast Day = March 28) at the Abbey of St. Gall.  The Blessed became a monk at that monastery, where he served as a librarian, a teacher, a chronicler of martyrs, an author of chant sequences, and a poet.  According to  his biographer, Ekkehard IV, Nokter was “delicate of body, but not of mind, stuttering of tongue but not of intellect, pushing boldly forward in things Divine, a vessel of the Holy Spirit without equal in his time.”

Partition of the Carolingian Empire, 843 C.E.

During Blessed Nokter’s lifetime the political map shifted around St. Gallen.  Keeping up with all these changes and several ephemeral kingdoms requires great patience, and more than one king named Charles reigned in the region.  One of these Charleses visited the Abbey of St. Gall from time to time to seek Nokter’s advice.  (The king chose not to follow much of this counsel, so why did he make the trips?)  One piece of Nokter’s advice was this:  “Take care of your garden as I am taking care of mine.”  In other words, take care of your kingdom and your spiritual life.  The royal chaplain objected to Nokter’s counsel.  One day he challenged the monk, saying, “Since you are so intelligent, tell me what God is doing right now.”  The Blessed replied, “God is doing right now what he has always done.  He is pushing down those who are proud and raising up the lowly.”

The Roman Catholic Church beatified Nokter Balbulus in 1512.

Blessed Nokter was able to achieve his potential and compensate for his deficiencies because of the combination of his efforts and the support of his faith community, which benefited from his spiritual gifts.  May you, O reader, help others do their best for God and their fellow human beings, including you.  And may others do the same for you.

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Loving God, we thank you for the example of the holy life of your servant, Blessed Nokter Balbulus.  May we, supported by each other, likewise fulfill our vocations, to your glory and the benefit of many.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Exodus 6:26-7:7

Psalm 98

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Luke 1:46-56

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 6, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS PRUDENTIUS, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORGE VI, KING OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND (Another Stammerer)

Posted February 6, 2011 by neatnik2009 in April 6, Saints of 800-899, Saints of 900-999

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Monday in Holy Week   1 comment

“In your light we see light.”–Psalm 36:9b

Image Source = AutoCCD

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April 6, 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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Isaiah 42:1-9 (New Revised Standard Version):

Here is my servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my spirit upon him;

he will bring forth justice to the nations,

He will not cry or lift up his voice,

or make it heard in the street;

a bruised reed he will not break,

and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;

he will faithfully bring for justice.

He will not grow faint or be crushed

until he has established justice in the earth;

and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,

who created the heavens and stretched them out,

who spread out the earth and what comes from it,

who gives breath to the people upon it

and spirit to those who walk in it:

I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness,

I have taken you by the hand and kept you;

I have given you as a covenant to the people,

a light to the nations,

to open the eyes that are blind,

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,

from the prison those who sit in darkness.

I am the LORD, that is my name;

my glory I give to no other,

nor my praise to idols.

See, the former things have come to pass,

and new things I now declare;

before they spring forth,

I tell you of them.

Hebrews 11:29-12:3 (New Revised Standard Version):

Note:  The Prayer Book states that the reading begins with 11:39, but I have backed it up to 11:29. My practice is to extend readings sometimes, but never to abbreviate them.

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days.  By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

And what more should I say?  For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets–who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raising fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.  Women received their dead by resurrection.  Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection.  Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented–of whom the world was not worthy.  They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.

Psalm 36:5-10 (New Revised Standard Version):

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,

your faithfulness to the clouds.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,

your judgments are like the great deep;

you save humans and animals alike, O LORD.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!

All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house,

and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;

in your light we see light.

O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,

and your salvation to the upright of heart!

John 12:1-11 (New Revised Standard Version):

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom had raised from the dead.  They gave a dinner for him.  Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him.  Mary took a pound of costly perfume made from pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?”  (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; the kept the common purse and used to steal what was put in it.)  Jesus said, “Leave her alone.  She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.  You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.  So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

OR

Mark 14:3-11 (New Revised Standard Version):

Note:  The Prayer Book lists the reading from Mark as 14:3-9, but I have extended this by two verses.

While he [Jesus] was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.  But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way?  For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.”  And they scolded her.  But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her?  She has performed a good service for me.  For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will always have me.  She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial.  Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.  When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money.  So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

The Collect:

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find int none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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I note the two options for the Gospel reading.  Clearly these are variations on the same story, for they are quite similar.  Yet they contain discrepancies with regard to minor details.  This fact does not trouble me, for I am not a Biblical literalist.  I have read the Bible too closely to think of the book as inerrant or infallible.

One needs to avoid a basic error in logic.  Often people mistake accuracy for truth.  Truth, in the Biblical sense, is that which is reliable.  So, what is the truth common to John 12:1-11 and Mark 14:3-11?  Whether the woman was Mary of Bethany or an unnamed female does not matter.  Whether she anointed Jesus’ head or feet is irrelevant.  Whether this happened at the home of Simon the leper or at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in unimportant.  Let us look at the proverbial forest, not the trees.

Jesus recognized the love behind the woman’s gesture and accepted both.  And he knew that his critic(s) operated from cynicism and self-interest, not humanitarian interests.  A denarius was one day’s wage, so nard ointment worth 300 denarii was truly extravagant.

In God’s light we see light.  In the person of Jesus we see God.  And God is love.  Throughout history people have committed atrocities, betrayed innocent people (including Jesus), and condoned inhumane deeds in the name of God.  Current and recent events indicate that this pattern continues.  In this context, a simple, loving, and extravagant anointing of Jesus, which is inherently beautiful, seems more lovely.

May we recognize and applaud beautiful acts of love toward God, and commit some of these, too.  Such love is true.

KRT

Posted March 26, 2010 by neatnik2009 in April 6

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Feast of St. Marcellinus of Carthage (April 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Roman Province of Africa (highlighted)

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARCELLINUS OF CARTHAGE (DIED IN 413)

Martyr

One of the more extended and unpleasant schisms in Western Christianity involved the Donatists.  At the end of the reign of the Emperor Diocletian, who retired in 305 C.E., the Imperium launched an empire-wide persecution of Christians.  Many Christians, faced with the prospect of imprisonment or painful death, renounced the faith and gave up Bibles for burning.  Others, however, went to prison or their deaths.  Some of the northern African survivors of the Diocletian persecution developed a holier-than-thou attitude with regard to the repentant apostates who sought to return to the fold.  The Roman Catholic Church forgave the penitents; the schismatic Donatists did not.  The Donatist sect survived until the 700s, when the Muslims, conquering northern Africa, extinguished that group.

The Donatists were moral perfectionists, the purest of the self-proclaimed pure.  The main problem with a purity test, of course, is that it affirms its author as pure and condemns as impure those with whom the author disagrees.  A purity test is inherently exclusionary.  And how many among us are pure enough to pass such a test?  Fortunately, God shows mercy to penitents.  We who claim to follow God should emulate that example.

Marcellinus was a a friend of St. Augustine of Hippo, the great bishop and theologian.  He was also the Secretary of State of the Western Roman Empire during the reign of the Emperor Honorius, who held that office 395-423.  Marcellinus, in his imperial capacity, granted the Donatists freedom of worship in 409.  Two years later, when the Donatists had become powerful and begun to oppress Roman Catholics, the latter petitioned Honorius for protection from the former.  The Emperor sent Marcellinus to preside over a conference at Carthage.  The Secretary of State declared the Donatists heretics and ordered them to surrender their buildings to Roman Catholic bishops and priests.  The Western Roman Army executed this order brutally.

Two years later, in 413, some Donatists, blaming Marcellinus for army brutality, accused the Secretary of State and his brother, Apringus, who had also been active in the Donatist matter in 411, of having been complicit in a recent rebellion against the Emperor.  Heraclion, an African count, had led an insurrection against Honorius in the wake of Alaric’s 410 Sack of Rome.  The Western Roman Army had suppressed the revolt and executed Heraclion.  General Marcius, a Donatist sympathizer who had suppressed the recent rebellion, ordered the arrest and imprisonment of Marcellinus and Apringus.  Their deaths on the false charge constituted judicial murder.

KRT

Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.  Inspire us with the memory of St. Marcellinus, whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.   Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59