Archive for the ‘August 2’ Category

Feast of Anna Bernadine Dorothy Hoppe (August 2)   1 comment

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Milwaukee

Above:  St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Image Source and Copyright Holder = Sulfur

Historic St. John’s Lutheran Church website

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ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE (MAY 7, 1889-AUGUST 2, 1941)

U.S. Lutheran Hymn Writer and Translator

Down thro’ the years the Gospel story

Has shed its brightness far and near,

And Gentile lands beheld the glory

Of Christ, the Morning Star so clear.

Salvation’s beams dispel the night,

And so at even it is light.

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O precious hope! With jubilations

We hail Jerusalem on high,

The city fair that hath foundations,

The land of bliss beyond the sky;

There dwell the saints in glory bright,

And evermore it shall be light.

–from “Joyful Message, Sent from Heaven,” American Lutheran Hymnal (1930), Hymn #338

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Our saint, Anna Bernadine Dorothy Hoppe (1889-1941), wrote those words in 1923.

Hoppe, the daughter of Albert and Emily Hoppe, entered the world at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 7, 1889.  She was a talented poet from an early age; as a child she composed patriotic verse.  It was not until age twenty-five, however, that she started writing hymns in earnest.  Our saint’s formal education extended no further than the Eighth Grade and a little night school, so she was mostly a self-educated person.  She was, by profession, a secretary and a stenographer.  Hoppe wrote poetry between other activities, such as traveling between home and work or home and church.  Her home church was St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which, like many other U.S. urban congregations, has dwindled due to demographic and other changes since the construction of its large and impressive structure.

Hoppe submitted hymns–original and translated from German–to various venues.  The Northwestern Lutheran, a publication of her native Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Other States (the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod since 1959), published many of her texts.  The Selah Song Book (1932) contained thirty Hoppe hymns.  The Hymnal and Order of Service (1925, The Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod)  enriched its collection with twenty-three of her texts.  The American Lutheran Hymnal (1930, the American Lutheran Church–the 1930-1960 version–and its predecessor bodies) contained eight Hoppe hymns, and The Lutheran Hymnal (1941, the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America) had two.  And The Concordia Hymnal (1932, Norwegian Lutheran Church of America) offered two Hoppe hymns.  In 1928, with the encouragement and assistance of Dr. Adolph Hult of Augustana Theological Seminary, Rock Island, Illinois, our saint published a book, Songs for the Church Year.

Old books seem to be the best places to encounter Hoppe hymns, for her texts have fallen out of favor with contemporary Lutheran hymnal committees.  My survey of the five newest current North American Lutheran denominational hymnals (published from 1993 to 2006) reveals the following results:

  1. Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996, The Evangelical Lutheran Synod) and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)–no Hoppe hymns;
  2. Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal (1993, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) and Lutheran Service Book (2006, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod)–one Hoppe hymn each; and
  3. Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship (1994, Association of Free Lutheran Congregations)–two Hoppe hymns.

Also, The Covenant Hymnal:  A Worshipbook (1996, the Evangelical Covenant Church of America, a close relation to Scandinavian Lutheranism) contains one Hoppe hymn.  I however, have added nineteen of our saint’s texts to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

An original hymn from 1920 follows:

Rise, arise! Rise, arise!

Zion, rise to greet the King!

Open wide the gates before Him!

Let the glad hosannas ring!

Haste to worship and adore Him!

Hark, the watchman on the mountain cries:

“Rise, arise! Rise, arise!”

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Weep no more! Weep no more!

Zion, dry thy bitter tears!

Cast away all gloom and sadness,

For the Shiloh now appears,

Who shall turn thy grief to gladness!

Day has dawned! Arise! The night is o’er!

Weep no more! Weep no more!

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O rejoice! O rejoice!

Christ doth come, as long foretold!

The Messiah long expected,

The incarnate Word behold!

Though by kings of earth rejected,

Hail Him Lord of all with mighty voice!

O rejoice! O rejoice!

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Crown Him King! Crown Him King!

His exalted Name confess!

From His heavenly throne descending,

Jesus, Lord of righteousness,

Bringeth joy and peace unending!

O let heart and tongue His praises sing!

Crown Him King! Crown Him King!

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Worship Him! Worship Him!

Worship at His sacred feet!

Hail the Son of God thy Saviour!

Haste, thy longed for Bridegroom greet!

Come, receive His kingly favor!

Zion, haste, thy Lamp of faith to trim!

Worship Him! Worship Him!

The Hymnal and Order of Service (1925), Hymn #6

Hoppe died at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 2, 1941.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES, APOSTLE TO THE SARACENS

THE FEAST OF SAINT BLAISE OF SEBASTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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God of grace and glory,

you have given a rich variety of interests and talents to us; thank you.

Thank you for those who have served you and helped their fellow human beings

in their daily lives habitually via their vocations yet most memorably their avocations,

and for those who do so.

May we, reminded of and encouraged in our responsibilities to you and each other by their examples,

continue faithfully in the endeavors you assign us.

In the name of Jesus, who came to serve, not to be served.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 38:24-34a

Psalm 33

Romans 14:7-8

Matthew 5:13-16

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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This is post #1400 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Christian Gottfried Gebhard (August 2)   Leave a comment

Europe in 1763

Above:  Europe in 1763, from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD (AUGUST 2, 1755-AFTER 1799)

German Moravian Composer and Music Educator

Information about Christian Gottfried Gebhard is scarce due to the gaps in official records of the Moravian Church and the lack of other historical data.  We know, however, that he was a composer and a music educator in the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum).  Gebhard trained in music in Germany (a geographical, not political label during his lifetime).  He started attending the Moravian theological seminary at Barby, Saxony, in 1777 and taught music there from 1784 to 1790.  For the next nine years the Moravian Church records contained no information about him.  We can say for certain, however, that Gebhard composed more than forty anthems (including “Lord, My Rock”) and a number of piano sonatas (including one in C minor).  The Moravian records went silent regarding Gebhard in 1799.

The Moravians have earned their reputation as excellent keepers of historical records, a fact for which many historians have been grateful.  Nevertheless, most of Gebhard’s life seems to have fallen between proverbial cracks.  He has almost joined the ranks of the anonymous dead.

Some of them have left behind a name,

so that others declare their praise.

But of others there is no memory;

they have perished as though they had never existed;

they have become as though they had never been born,

they and their children after them.

But these also were godly men,

Whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten.

–Sirach 44:8-10, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

May the memory of Christian Gottfried Gebhard continue, not fade away.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES, APOSTLE TO THE SARACENS

THE FEAST OF SAINT BLAISE OF SEBASTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation

in the work of your servant Christian Gottfried Gebhard.

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

that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness

of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.  

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8

2 Chronicles 20:20-21 or Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 4:8-9

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (1996), page 61

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Feast of Georg Weissel (August 2)   1 comment

AltrossgaerterKirche

Above:  Altrossgarten Church, Konigsberg, Germany, 1906

Image Source = Picture Library East Prussia,

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GEORG WEISSEL (1590-AUGUST 1, 1635)

German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer

Georg Weissel (1590-1635), son of Johann Weissel, a judge at then mayor of Domnau (near Konigsberg, Prussia), wrote at least twenty-three hymns.

Our saint, a pastor, arrived at that destination by a winding path.  Weissel studied at the University of Kongisberg from 1608 to 1611 then at Wittenberg, Leipzig, Jena, Strasbourg, Basel, and Marobor.  From 1614 to 1617 he served as the Rector of a school at Friedland (near Domnau).  Then he resigned to resume theological studies at Konigsberg.  Finally, in 1623, our saint became the first pastor of the Altrossgarten Church in that city.  His tenure there ended when his life did.

I have added some of Weissel’s hymns (translated into English, of course) to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

One way of arriving at a sufficient understanding of someone when preparing these posts is to read his or texts.  Sometimes certain lines “jump out” at me.  Such is the case with regard to “Seek Where Ye May Find a Way,” which Arthur Voss translated in 1938.  The beginning of the fourth verse reads:

My heart’s Delight,

My Crown most bright,

Thou, Jesus, art forever.

Nor wealth nor pride

Nor aught beside

Our bond of love shall sever.

That kind of bond is worth seeking, finding, and retaining.  And Georg Weissel seems to have had it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 26, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANGELA MERICI, FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY OF SAINT URSULA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES MATHIAS, UNITED STATES SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULA, CONFIDANTE OF SAINT JEROME

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Georg Weissel 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

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Feast of St. Peter Julian Eymard (August 2)   2 comments

Above:  Lutheran Eucharistic Adoration

SAINT PETER JULIAN EYMARD (FEBRUARY 4, 1811-AUGUST 1, 1868)

Founder of the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Priests’ Eucharistic League, and the Organizer of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament

Growing up in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia, U.S.A., I knew that I was out of place.  One piece of evidence to support this reality was the fact of my piety, centered on the Holy Communion, which the congregations celebrated  quarterly.  So I have high regard for St. Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868), who encouraged devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

The saint, born at La Mure d’Isere, near Grenoble, France, in 1811, was a cutler and the son of a cutler.  (A cutler, by the way, made, repaired, and sold knives and other cutting instruments.)  He entered seminary at Grenoble in 1831.  Ordained a priest four years later, the saint engaged in pastoral work until 1840, when he joined the Marists, becoming (in time) the spiritual director of a school at Belley.  In 1845 he became the Marist provincial at Lyons.

The saint had always been devoted to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  In 1856 the Bishop of Paris approved his plan for an order of priests devoted to the perpetual celebration of the Blessed Sacrament; this order was the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament.  Two years later the saint founded the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, a similar order for nuns.  Pope Pius IX approved the priestly order during the saint’s lifetime; Pope Leo XIII approved the monastic order in 1895.  The saint also founded the Priests’ Eucharistic League and organized the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament.

The saint wrote books about his favorite sacrament. One quote I found at a saints website follows:

The Holy Eucharist is the perfect expression of the love of Jesus Christ for man, since it is the quintessence of His life.

I agree.  And I am grateful that the 1979 Book of Common Prayer declares the Holy Eucharist to be the central act of Christian worship and the default service in The Episcopal Church.  Through the 1928 Prayer Book, in contrast, Morning Prayer was the usual ritual.

The saint died at La Mure on August 1, 1868, after a stroke.  Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1962.

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Blessed Lord Jesus Christ,

whom we know in the breaking of the bread and in the drinking of wine,

thank you for the witness and life and your servant

Saint Peter Julian Eymard.

May it inspire us to seek you more often

or to continue to seek you frequently

in the sacrament of his body and blood.  Amen.

Exodus 16:1-16

Psalm 23

Romans 1:1-7

Luke 24:13-35

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 28, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PLUTARCH, MARCELLA, POTANOMINAENA, AND BASILIDES OF ALEXANDRIA, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT IRANAEUS OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF RANDOLPH ROYALL CLAIBORNE, JR., EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for August   Leave a comment

Poppies

Image Source = Santosh Namby Chandran

1 (JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, DISCIPLE OF JESUS)

2 (Georg Weissel, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer)

  • Anna Bernadine Dorothy Hoppe, U.S. Lutheran Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Christian Gottfried Gebhard, German Moravian Composer and Music Educator
  • Peter Julian Eymard, Founder of the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Priests’ Eucharistic League; and Organizer of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament

3 (JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION)

4 (Frederick William Foster, English Moravian Bishop, Liturgist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator)

  • Frédéric Janssoone, French Roman Catholic Priest and Friar
  • John Brownlie, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns
  • Lambert Beauduin, Belgian Roman Catholic Priest and Pioneer of Liturgical Renewal

5 (Alfred Tennyson, English Poet)

  • Adam of St. Victor, Roman Catholic Monk and Hymn Writer
  • Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, Renaissance Artists
  • George Frederick Root, Poet and Composer

6 (TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST)

7 (Colbert S. Cartwright, U.S. Disciples of Christ Minister, Liturgist, and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Guglielmo Massaia, Italian Cardinal, Missionary, and Capuchin Friar
  • John Scrimger, Canadian Presbyterian Minister, Ecumenist, and Liturgist
  • Victricius of Rouen, Roman Conscientious Objector and Roman Catholic Bishop

8 (Mary MacKillop, Founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart)

  • Altman, Roman Catholic Bishop of Passau
  • Dominic, Founder of the Order of Preachers
  • Raymond Brown, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar

9 (Edith Stein, Roman Catholic Nun and Philosopher)

  • Herman of Alaska, Russian Orthodox Monk and Missionary to the Aleut
  • John Dryden, English Puritan then Anglican then Roman Catholic Poet, Playwright, and Translator
  • Mary Sumner, Foundress of the Mothers’ Union

10 (William Walsham How, Anglican Bishop of Wakefield and Hymn Writer; and his sister, Frances Jane Douglas(s), Hymn Writer)

  • John Athelstan Laurie Riley, Anglican Ecumenist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Cyriaca, Roman Catholic Martyr at Rome, 249; and Sixtus II, His Companions, and Laurence of Rome, Roman Catholic Martyrs at Rome, 258
  • Edward Grzymala and Franciszek Drzewiecki, Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1942

11 (Gregory Thaumaturgus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Neocaesarea; and Alexander of Comana “the Charcoal Burner,” Roman Catholic Martyr and Bishop of Comana, Pontus)

  • Equitius of Valeria, Benedictine Abbot and Founder of Monasteries
  • Matthias Loy, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Educator, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; and Conrad Hermann Louis Schuette, German-American Lutheran Minister, Educator, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Maurice Tornay, Swiss Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary to Tibet, and Martyr, 1949

12 (Thaddeus Stevens, U.S. Abolitionist, Congressman, and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Charles Inglis, Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia
  • Józef Stepniak and Józef Straszewski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyrs, 1942
  • Karl Leisner, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

13 (John Henry Hopkins, Jr., Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist; and his nephew, John Henry Hopkins, III, Episcopal Priest and Musician)

  • Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Jeremy Taylor, Anglican Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore
  • John Bajus, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator

14 (William Croft, Anglican Organist and Composer)

  • Matthias Claudius, German Lutheran Writer
  • Maximilian Kolbe, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941; and Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Episcopal Seminarian and Martyr, 1965
  • Sarah Flower Adams, English Unitarian Hymn Writer; and her sister, Eliza Flower, English Unitarian Composer

15 (MARY OF NAZARETH, MOTHER OF GOD)

16 (John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson, Prime Ministers of Canada; and Tommy Douglas, Federal Leader of the New Democratic Party)

  • Alipius, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tagaste and Friend of St. Augustine of Hippo
  • John Courtney Murray, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian
  • John Jones of Talysarn, Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Minister and Hymn Tune Composer

17 (Samuel Johnson, Congregationalist Minister, Anglican Priest, President of King’s College, “Father of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut,” and “Father of American Library Classification;” Timothy Cutler, Congregationalist Minister, Anglican Priest, and Rector of Yale College; Daniel Browne, Educator, Congregationalist Minister, and Anglican Priest; and James Wetmore, Congregationalist Minister and Anglican Priest)

  • Baptisms of Manteo and Virginia Dare, 1587
  • George Croly, Anglican Priest, Poet, Historian, Novelist, Dramatist, Theologian, and Hymn Writer
  • William James Early Bennett, Anglican Priest

18 (Artemisia Bowden, African-American Educator and Civil Rights Activist)

  • Erdmann Neumeister, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Francis John McConnell, U.S. Methodist Bishop and Social Reformer
  • Jonathan Friedrich Bahnmaier, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

19 (Sixtus III, Bishop of Rome)

  • Blaise Pascal, French Roman Catholic Scientist, Mathematician, and Theologian
  • Magnus and Agricola of Avignon, Roman Catholic Bishops of Avignon
  • William Hammond, English Moravian Hymn Writer

20 (ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR)

21 (Bruno Zembol, Polish Roman Catholic Friar and Martyr, 1942)

  • Camerius, Cisellus, and Luxorius of Sardinia, Martyrs, 303
  • Martyrs of Edessa, Circa 304
  • Maximilian of Antioch, Circa 353; and Bonosus and Maximianus the Soldier, Martyrs, 362

22 (Jack Layton, Canadian Activist and Federal Leader of the New Democratic Party)

  • Hryhorii Khomyshyn, Symeon Lukach, and Ivan Slezyuk, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops and Martyrs, 1947, 1964, and 1973
  • John Kemble and John Wall, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1679
  • Thomas Percy, Richard Kirkman, and William Lacey, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1572 and 1582

23 (Martin de Porres and Juan Macias, Humanitarians and Dominican Lay Brothers; Rose of Lima, Humanitarian and Dominican Sister; and Turibius of Mogrovejo, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lima)

  • Theodore O. Wedel, Episcopal Priest and Biblical Scholar; and his wife, Cynthia Clark Wedel, U.S. Psychologist and Episcopal Ecumenist

24 (BARTHOLOMEW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR)

25 (Michael Faraday, Scientist)

  • Andrea Bordino, Italian Roman Catholic Lay Brother
  • Maria Troncatti, Italian Roman Catholic Nun
  • William John Copeland, Anglican Priest and Hymn Translator

26 (Frederick William Herzberger, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Translator)

  • Levkadia Harasymiv, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Nun, and Martyr, 1952
  • Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi, Italian Roman Catholic Humanitarians
  • Teresa of Jesus, Jornet y Ibars, Catalan Roman Catholic Nun and Cofoundress of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly

27 (Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, Episcopal Priests and Educators of the Deaf)

  • Amadeus of Clermont, French Roman Catholic Monk; and his son, Amadeus of Lausanne, French-Swiss Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop
  • Dominic Barberi, Roman Catholic Apostle to England
  • Henriette Luise von Hayn, German Moravian Hymn Writer

28 (Ambrose of Milan, Roman Catholic Bishop; Monica of Hippo, Mother of St. Augustine of Hippo; and Augustine of Hippo, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hippo Regius)

  • Denis Wortman, U.S. Dutch Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Laura S. Coperhaver, U.S. Lutheran Hymn Writer and Missionary Leader
  • Moses the Black, Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Martyr

29 (BEHEADING OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST)

30 (Jeanne Jugan, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor)

  • John Leary, U.S. Roman Catholic Social Activist and Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized
  • Karl Otto Eberhardt, German Moravian Organist, Music Educator, and Composer

31 (NICODEMUS, DISCIPLE OF JESUS)

 

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

 

Proper 13, Year A   Leave a comment

Above: Byzantine Mosaic of John the Baptist, from Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Called to Bring People to God

The Sunday Closest to August 3

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost

AUGUST 2, 2020

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

Genesis 32:22-31 (New Revised Standard Version):

The same night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Psalm 17:1-7, 16 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 Hear my plea of innocence, O LORD;

give heed to my cry;

listen to my prayer, which does not come from lying lips.

Let my vindication come forth from your presence;

let your eyes be fixed on justice.

Weigh my heart, summon me by night,

melt me down; you will find no impurity in me.

I give no offense with my mouth as others do;

I have heeded the words of your lips.

My footsteps hold fast to the ways of your law;

in your paths my feet shall not stumble.

I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me;

incline your ear to me and hear my words.

7 Show me your marvelous loving-kindness,

O Savior of those who take refuge at your right hand

from those who rise up against me.

16 But at my vindication I shall see your face;

when I awake, I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

Isaiah 55:1-5 (New Revised Standard Version):

Ho, everyone who thirsts,

come to the waters;

and you that have no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without price.

Why do you spend money for that which is not bread,

and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,

and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to me;

listen, so that you may live.

I will make with you an everlasting covenant,

my steadfast, sure love for David.

See, I made him a witness to the peoples,

a leader and commander for the peoples.

See, you shall call nations that you do not know,

and nations that do not know you shall run to you,

because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel,

for he has glorified you.

Psalm 145:8-9, 15-22 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,

slow to anger and of great kindness.

The LORD is loving to everyone

and his compassion is over all his works.

15 The LORD upholds all those who fall;

he lifts up those who are bowed down.

16 The eyes of all wait upon you, O LORD,

and you give them their food in due season.

17 You open wide your hand

and satisfy the needs of every living creature.

18 The LORD is righteous in all his ways

and loving in all his works.

19 The LORD is near to those who call upon him,

to all who call upon him faithfully.

20 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;

he hears their cry and helps them.

21 The LORD preserves all those who love him,

but he destroys all the wicked.

22 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD;

let all flesh bless his holy Name for ever and ever.

SECOND READING

Romans 9:1-5 (New Revised Standard Version):

I am speaking the truth in Christ– I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit– I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

GOSPEL READING

Matthew 14:13-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

The Collect:

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Follow the URL for thoughts about Jacob’s all-night wrestling match:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/week-of-proper-9-tuesday-year-1/

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The call of God transformed a schemer named Jacob into a the patriarch Israel.  That mandate was to be a light to the nations, and it applied to the Israelite people as a whole.  (It still does.)  To be set aside as chosen is to receive a great responsibility.  This is a matter of duty, not prestige.

That duty is to bring diverse peoples to God.  Read Matthew 13, which contains parables of inclusion.  The mustard plant was inclusive in so far as animals of various species took shelter within it.  This mustard plant was an allegory for the Kingdom of God.  And, when we turn to the wheat field infected with tares and the net full of good and bad fish, we read that God will sort out the good and the bad, the wheat and the weeds, later.

We read also in Matthew 13 that the Kingdom of God is precious, worthy of single-minded devotion.  Consider the brief parables of the pearl and the treasure.

So here we are in Matthew 14, following those parables and the execution of John the Baptist.  He drew people to God.  But lest we oversimplify, and say that we must always be nice, consider the examples of Jesus and John the Baptist.  They used harsh words when appropriate, and they contributed greatly to these holy men going to their deaths.  Read the prophets, also.  Was Jeremiah habitually polite and respectable?  No, of course not.  All these men suffered because of the ways they brought people to God.

Even being nice scared people and put Jesus at risk.  Few actions are nicer than feeding people.  But this and other miracles scared certain individuals who had the power to execute Jesus or to arrange such a death.

Why do we fear good, holy people at any time, in any place?  Sometimes their examples reveal our own shortcomings.  So, instead of seeking to correct our errors, we react defensively.  Or, in the case of Jeremiah, Jesus, and John the Baptist, they threaten power structures–such as domestic and foreign potentates and religious hierarchies.  And, in a society lacking the separation of religion and state, powerful political figures can label theological dissent as treason, or at least a moral threat to society.  This happened in the Byzantine Empire, too, and, in North America, in colonial New England.  (Puritans hanged Quakers.)

So being a light to the nations is a perilous vocation.  But it is God’s call.  It is the way to life, even if death is a stop along the way.  Countless saints, many of them martyrs, continue to teach this lesson by the example of their lives, even many years after their earthly journeys ended.  And contemporary martyrs and other saints do the same.  Potentates who persecute think that they can eradicate a message they fear.  But, time after time, history proves that the blood of the martyrs waters the church.  Persecution usually has the effect of increasing the brightness of the light the persecutors seek to extinguish.  These persecutors do not learn quickly or at all, do they?

And so the Kingdom of God continues unabated, much like the mustard plant Jesus used as a parable illustration.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

–John 1:5 (Revised Standard Version)

KRT

Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on January 14, 2011

Posted May 8, 2011 by neatnik2009 in August 2, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

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