Archive for the ‘August 23’ Category

Feast of Theodore O. Wedel and Cynthia Clark Wedel (August 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Episcopal Flag

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Episcopal Priest and Biblical Scholar

husband of


U.S. Psychologist and Episcopal Ecumenist

The appendix in A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016), of The Episcopal Church, contains a list of men and women deemed “worthy of commemoration” but who do not qualify yet because insufficient time has passed since they died.  Cynthia Clark Wedel is on that list.  The denomination has its reasons for usually (with few exceptions, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Jonathan Myrick Daniels) waiting at least four decades.  I have no such temporal rule, however.  Therefore Wedel joins my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days with this post.  I add to her husband to this post.

Theodore O. Wedel, a scholar and a priest, became a leader in The Episcopal Church.  He, born in Halstead, Kansas, grew up a Mennonite.  Our saint’s father was the Reverend Cornelius Wedel, President of Bethel College, Halstead.  Theodore, while a high school student, played the organ for the Episcopal Church in town.  He went on to graduate with his B.A. at Oberlin College, in 1914 then his M.A. at Harvard University the following year.  In 1915, at the Church of the Advent, Boston, Theodore joined The Episcopal Church.  He earned his Ph.D. from Yale University (1918), in time for the U.S. Army to draft him.  Our saint already the husband (since 1917) of Elizabeth Cornelia Ewert (d. 1932), was an instructor in San Diego for what was left of the war.  The Wedels had two children:  Theodore Carl (born in 1919) and Gertrude (born in 1924).

Academia beckoned.  Theodore taught English at Yale (1919-22) before taking a job (1922-1934) at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.  He was Professor of English then Professor of Biography.  Ministry also beckoned.  The professor audited courses at Seabury Divinity School, read deeply in theology, and became a lay reader.  On September 24, 1929, he became a deacon.  After studying theology further in Marburg, Germany, our saint became a priest on May 31, 1931.  He served at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Northfield.

Cynthia Clark Wedel was a trail blazer.  She, born Cynthia Clark in Dearborn, Michigan, on August 26, 1908, was a daughter of Elizabeth Snow Clark and civil engineer Arthur Pierson Clark.  She grew up in Dearborn, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and Evanston, Illinois.  Our saint studied history at Northwestern University (B.A., 1929; M.A., 1930).  In 1931-1934 she served as the Director of Christian Education at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston.  In 1934 she went to work at the denominational headquarters, first as a field worker.  In 1935 she became the Director of Youth Work.

Theodore also went to work at the denominational headquarters in 1934.  From 1934 to 1939 he was the Secretary for College Work in the Department of Christian Education.

On May 4, 1939 Cynthia and Theodore married.  Shortly after the wedding he became the Canon of Washington National Cathedral and the Warden of the College of Preachers, continuing in those positions until he retired in 1960.  He also served as the President of the House of Deputies from 1952 to 1961, and was active as a delegate to assemblies and other gatherings of the World Council of Churches.   Theodore also wrote the about the church and theology.  He contributed to The Interpreter’s Bible project as the author of the exposition on Ephesians for Volume 10 (1953).

Theodore remained active after his retirement.  In 1960-1961 he worked at the Ecumenical Institute, Evanston, Illinois.  The following year he was a visiting professor at the Episcopal Theological Seminary, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  In 1962 and 1963 our saint served on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary,  New York, New York.

Theodore, recipient of high honors and honorary degrees, died of a heart attack in Alexandria Virginia, on July 21, 1970.  He was 78 years old.

Cynthia continued to be quite active in church and society.  She taught religion at the National Cathedral School for Girls (1939-1948), sat on the national executive board of the Episcopal Women’s Auxiliary (1946-1952), was a member of the denominational National Council (1955-1962), and served as the President of United Church Women (1955-1958).  She also earned her doctorate in psychology (George Washington University, 1957) and worked as a lecturer at American University for several years.  As the 1960s marched on our saint was an observer (1962-1965) at Vatican II and the General Secretary for Christian Union (1965-1969) as well as, with her friend, Eleanor Roosevelt, a member of the federal Commission on the Status of Women (1961-1963).

Cynthia, like Theodore, was, an ecumenist. She continued her work into the 1980s.  In 1969 she became the first female President of the National Council of Churches.  After six years in that position she served as the President of the World Council of Churches (1975-1983).  She, a supporter of the ordination of women, was also one of the three female consultants at the Lambeth Conference of 1978.

Cynthia died in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 24, 1986, two days prior to what would have been her seventy-eighth birthday.

As I write this post in June 2018, I note that nearly 32 years have passed since Cynthia Wedel died.  If The Episcopal Church follows the 40-year rule in her case, it will add her to its calendar of saints in nine years, at the General Convention of 2027, at the earliest.

As for her husband, also a prominent figure, the 40-year-rule has expired.








Almighty God, we praise you for your servants

Theodore O. Wedel and Cynthia Clark Wedel,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and reserved its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60


Revised and extended to include Theodore O. Wedel

Extant text slightly edited

August 13, 2018 Common Era


Feast of Sts. Martin de Porres, Juan Macias, Rose of Lima, and Turibius of Mogrovejo (August 23)   Leave a comment


Above:  Five Saints:  Francis Solano, Turibius of Mogrovejo, Juan Macius, Rose of Lima, and Martin de Porres

Image in the Public Domain



Humanitarian and Dominican Lay Brother

His feast transferred from November 3



Humanitarian and Dominican Lay Brother

His feast transferred from September 18



Humanitarian and Dominican Sister

Alternative feast day = August 30



Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lima

His feast transferred from March 23




The Episcopal Church commemorates the lives of St. Martin de Porres, St. Rose of Lima, and St. Turibius of Mogrovejo on August 23.  This makes sense, for St. Turibius, as Archbishop of Lima, confirmed the first two saints, who were both friends and Dominicans in Lima, Peru.  He also had jurisdiction over St. Francis Solano (1549-1610), the “Apostle of America.”  To this post I add St. Juan Macias, also a Dominican and a friend of St. Martin.  St. Turibius confirmed St. Juan also.




St. Turibius of Mogrovejo, born at Mayorga, Spain, on November 16, 1538, came from a noble family.  Turibius Alfonso Mogrovejo bore his first name because his parents had named him for St. Turibius of Astorga (died in 460), archdeacon of Tui, Bishop of Astorga, and defender of Christianity against Priscillianism, a Gnostic-Manichean heresy.  Our saint became a law professor at the University of Salamanca.  His renown, based on his virtue and his erudition, spread widely.  King Philip II appointed him the Grand Inquisitor at Granada.  In 1578 St. Turibius became a priest.  In May of the following year his appointment as Archbishop of Lima cleared the Vatican.  The consecration occurred in August 1580, and he arrived in Peru the following year.

St. Turibius was a hard-working archbishop.  During the 25 years of his tenure he traveled his vast diocese repeatedly, making himself vulnerable to bad weather and dangerous men alike.  He also confirmed about a million people, ordered the translation of the catechism into the major two Incan languages, mastered those tongues, and required that his priests likewise be fluent in them.  St. Turibius also defended the poor as well as indigenous people against abuses by Spanish authorities.  Furthermore, he founded the first Roman Catholic seminary in the Americas (in 1591) and was responsible for the construction of roads, school buildings, chapels, hospitals, and convents.

St. Turibius liked to say,

Time is not our own, and we must give a strict account of it.

He used much of the time available to him well.  That time ended near Lima on March 3, 1606, after he had come down with a fever.  He as 67 years old.  Pope Innocent XI beatified our saint in 1697.  Pope Benedict XIII canonized St. Turibuis in 1726.  Our saint’s feast day in the Roman Catholic Church, formerly April 27, has moved to March 23.

St. Turibius is the patron saint of Peru, Latin American bishops, and the rights of indigenous people.




St. Martin de Porres had to contend with two great challenges throughout his life.  Martin de Porres Velazquez, born at at Lima, on December 9, 1579, was the son of Don Juan de Porres (a Spanish gentleman) and Ana (a former Panamanian slave of African descent).  Our saint was allegedly illegitimate, a label I reject, for nobody is an illegitimate person.  (Besides, to blame someone for the circumstances of his or her birth, over which he or she has no control, is wrong.)  St. Martin’s father initially refused to recognize our saint as his son or to support the family, so St. Martin, his mother, and (in time) his younger sister Agnes lived in poverty for years.  When our saint was seven years old, however, Don Juan recognized him, gave him his surname, and began to support the family financially.

St. Martin had little formal education.  When he was young his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon, so he learned those skills well.

St. Martin’s destiny was in a priory, however.  The law forbade him, as a person of African (as well as mixed-race) ancestry, to enter a religious order.  At age 15 he became a volunteer at Holy Rosary Priory, Lima, living there, wearing a habit, and, in time, distributing money to the poor.  In 1603, at age 24, he became a Dominican lay brother anyway.  Perhaps his father made some arrangements.  The prior definitely ignored the law.  Although the prior favored St. Martin, many of the other Dominicans at the priory did not, acting out of racism and mocking him for his alleged illegitimacy.  Our saint handled these difficulties graciously.

St. Martin’s medical training became useful when, in 1613, he became the lay brother in charge of the infirmary.  He, who retained that duty for the rest of his life, cared for the poor and the rich alike.

St. Martin earned a reputation for holiness, patience, and humility.  He lived simply, did not eat meat, fasted frequently, maintained a devotion to the Holy Eucharist, established a shelter for stray cats and dogs, founded an orphanage, and raised dowries for young women.  As if his believable good works were not enough, he also allegedly flew, passed through closed doors, had miraculous knowledge, teleported groups of monks, and had the ability to be in two places simultaneously.

St. Martin died of natural causes at Lima on November 3, 1639.  He was 59 years old.  The royal viceroy, a judge of the royal court, and two bishops served as his pallbearers.  Pope Gregory XVI beatified him in 1837.  Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1962, making him the first saint of African descent in the Americas.

St. Martin is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, and public health workers, among others.




Among the friends of St. Martin de Porres was St. Rose of Lima.  Our saint, born Isabel Flores de Olivia, came from a wealthy colonial family in Lima.  St. Turibius confirmed her in 1597.  On that occasion she took the name Rose, which had been her nickname since early childhood.  The family’s Incan maid had said that our saint was as lovely as a rose.

St. Rose’s destiny was monastic life, despite her parents’ desire to marry her off.  She chose to live in a grotto on the family property.  Eventually her family approved of her vocation.  When the family’s finances collapsed, she supported her relatives by embroidering, gardening, and selling flowers.  And, with her parents’ approval, she transformed a room in their house into a clinic.  St. Rose, who devoted her life to reverence, prayer, and asceticism (including the mortification of the flesh), entered the Third Order of St. Dominic at age 20.  She took St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) as her model with regard to the spiritual life.  Our saint worked among the poorest of the poor, laboring as a Dominican sister until she died at Lima on August 25, 1617, aged 31 years.  Pope Clement IX beatified St. Rose of Lima in 1667.  Pope Clement X canonized her four years later, making her the first saint in the New World.

St. Rose is the patron saint of Peru, Latin America, embroiderers, gardeners, florists, people with family problems, and people who suffer ridicule for their faith, among other causes.




Another friend of St. Martin of Porres and helper of the poor of Lima was St. Juan Macias.  Our saint, born Juan de Arcas y Sanchez, at Ribero del Fresno, Extremadura, Spain, on March 2, 1585, came from a noble family.  His parents were Pedro de Arcas and Juana Sanchez, and his sister was Agnes.  Pedro and Juana died when our saint was two years old.  An uncle surnamed Macias, raised the children and trained St. Juan to become a shepherd.  As a shepherd our saint began to pray to rosary.

St. Juan was a natural contemplative who preferred solitude.  However, solitude was rare for him.  He had begun to consider becoming a Dominican after meeting a Dominican friar at age 16.  In 1610, at age 25, our saint went to work for a wealthy businessman, who sent him to the New World.  Eventually St. Juan made his way to Lima, where he remained for the rest of his life.  In January 1622 he entered the Dominican Priory of St. Mary Magdalene as a lay brother.  A year later he made his final vows.  Our saint spent most of the rest of his life working as the assistant porter, living in the gatehouse, counseling the rich and poor alike, preferring the poor, feeding 200 people daily, raising funds to care for the impoverished, teaching the catechism to the poor, and praying.

St. Juan died of natural causes at Lima on September 18, 1645.  He was 60 years old.  Pope Gregory XVI beatified him in 1837.  Pope Paul VI canonized him in 1975.




How blessed are you who are poor:

the kingdom of God is yours.

Blessed are you who are hungry now:

you shall have your fill.

Blessed are you who are weeping now:

you shall laugh.

–Luke 6:20b-21, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

These four saints worked as agents of grace toward those four goals.









Merciful God, you sent your Gospel to the people of Peru

through Martin de Porres, who brought his comfort even to slaves;

through Rose of Lima and Juan Macias, who worked among the poorest of the poor;

and through Turibius of Mogrovejo, who founded the first seminary in the Americas and baptized many:

Help us to follow their example in bringing fearlessly the comfort of your grace

to all downtrodden and outcast people, that your Church may be renewed

with songs of salvation and praise; through Jesus Christ, who with you

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 7:32-36

Psalm 9:9-14

James 2:1-8, 14-17

Mark 10:23-27

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 537


Saints’ Days and Holy Days for August   Leave a comment


Image Source = Santosh Namby Chandran



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
  • Frederick William Foster, English Moravian Bishop, Liturgist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • 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


4 (John Brownlie, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns)

  • Frédéric Janssoone, French Roman Catholic Priest and Friar
  • 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


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

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, 252, 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 (Jeremy Taylor, Anglican Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore)

  • Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer

14 (William Croft, Anglican Organist and Composer)

  • John Bajus, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • John Henry Hopkins, Jr., Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist; and his nephew, John Henry Hopkins, III, Episcopal Priest and Musician
  • 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


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
  • Matthias Claudius, German Lutheran Writer

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


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,Martyr, 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


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


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


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

Proper 16, Year A   Leave a comment

Saint Peter, by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Upon This Rock…

The Sunday Closest to August 24

Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost

AUGUST 23, 2020



Exodus 1:8-2:10 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

Psalm 124 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 If the LORD had not been on our side,

let Israel now say,

If the LORD had not been on our side,

when enemies rose up against us;

3 Then they would have swallowed us up alive

in their fierce anger toward us;

Then would the waters have overwhelmed us

and the torrent gone over us;

5 Then would the raging waters

have gone right over us.

6 Blessed be the LORD!

he has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth.

We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowler;

the snare is broken, and we have escaped.

Our help is in the Name of the LORD,

the maker of heaven and earth.


Isaiah 51:1-6 (New Revised Standard Version):

Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness,

you that seek the LORD.

Look to the rock from which you were hewn,

and to the quarry from which you were dug.

Look to Abraham your father

and to Sarah who bore you;

for he was but one when I called him,

but I blessed him and made him many.

For the LORD will comfort Zion;

he will comfort her waste places,

and will make her wilderness like Eden,

her desert like the garden of the LORD;

joy and gladness will be found in her,

thanksgiving and the voice of song.

Listen to me, my people,

and give heed to me, my nation;

for a teaching will go out from me,

and my justice for a light to the peoples.

I will bring near my deliverance swiftly,

my salvation has gone out

and my arms will rule the peoples;

the coastlands wait for me,

and for my arm they hope.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens,

and look at the earth beneath;

for the earth will wear out like a garment,

and those who live on it will die like gnats;

but my salvation will be forever,

and my deliverance will never be ended.

Psalm 138 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with my whole heart;

before the gods I will sing your praise.

I will bow down toward your holy temple

and praise your Name,

because of your love and faithfulness;

3 For you have glorified your Name

and your word above all things.

4 When I called, you answered me;

you increased my strength within me.

All the kings of the earth will praise you, O LORD,

when they have heard the words of your mouth.

They will sing of the ways of the LORD,

that great is the glory of the LORD.

7 Though the LORD be high, he cares for the lowly;

he perceives the haughty from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you keep me safe;

you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies;

your right hand shall save me.

9 The LORD will make good his purpose for me;

O LORD, your love endures for ever;

do not abandon the works of your hands.


Romans 12:1-8 (New Revised Standard Version):

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.


Matthew 16:13-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

The Collect:

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen.


What is the rock upon which Jesus built his Church?  I have read various analyses, and the one that makes the most sense to me is God.  Simon Peter was the first pebble upon this rock, and each subsequent believer and follower is another pebble.  The pebbles are the Church.  So God is the foundation of the Church.

God is also the rock from Isaiah 51.  God is the rock from which we are hewn, the quarry from which we are cut.  So our lives and identities derive from God.  We Christians  stand in a long tradition that stretches back to Abraham and Sarah; the Jews are, as Pope John Paul II said, our elder brothers and sisters in faith.  God, the rock, was the strength of the Hebrews when they were slaves in Egypt.  God, the rock, provided the means of their political liberation.  And God, the rock, provides the means of our spiritual liberation.  As Paul reminds us in Romans, this liberation will be evident in our attitudes and relationships.

Next Sunday’s Gospel Reading will pick up where this one leaves off.  In it Jesus predicts his capture, torture, death, and resurrection.  Then Peter, horrified, protests.  But Jesus says to the Apostle he just praised highly a few breaths previously, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”  Peter did not understand yet.  Maybe only Jesus did.  So let us take comfort in the fact that one does not need to achieve spiritual mountainhood to be an effective and important pebble in the rock mass that is the Christian Church.  We have to begin somewhere, so why not where we are?  But let us move on from there to where Jesus wants us to go.


Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on February 26, 2011


Posted May 8, 2011 by neatnik2009 in August 23, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

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