Archive for the ‘August 30’ Category

Feast of John Leary (August 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Boston, Massachusetts

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN TIMOTHY LEARY (FEBRUARY 22, 1958-AUGUST 31, 1982)

U.S. Roman Catholic Social Activist and Advocate for the Marginalized

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All his spiritual efforts, and there were many, were not however primarily focused on himself, on his own righteousness, on his own salvation, etc.  His life was intensely ordered toward others.  The prayers, the choices, the daily Masses and Communions, the repentance, the study, the retreats, etc., had one aim, namely to make possible the deeds of Christ-like love, mercy, service and kindness here and now, in the particular concrete moment.  John believed he could not genuinely serve people except by loving them in the way God revealed they should be served in the person of Jesus.

Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, on John Leary, September 4, 1982

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John had a sensitivity, an awareness of the pain of others that was relentless.  Compassion for others had become the dominant experience of his life.

–Sister Evelyn Ronan on John Leary; quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 375

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The difference with John was that he discovered that life had no purpose, no meaning, no direction, and no focus apart from the purpose and focus on God….He became in his short life the complete and total man for others, and those who knew him and loved him testify to the face of Christ that shone in and through him.

–The Reverend Peter Gomes on John Leary; quoted in All Saints (1997), 376

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This feast comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints (1997).  Ellsberg’s assigned date is August 31, but, given that I have reserved that date for St. Nicodemus, a Biblical figure, I transfer Leary’s feast to August 30.

John Timothy Leary, born into a New England Roman Catholic working class family with Irish roots on February 22, 1958, spent his 24 years well.  He, inspired by Thomas Merton (1915-1968) and Dorothy Day (1897-1980), took his Catholicism seriously.  Leary was a pacifist–a member of Pax Christi.  He also affiliated with the Catholic Worker Movement.  Leary’s eulogist, Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, described our saint as a “Magna Cum Laude Harvard Graduate” and “Summa Cum Laude Catholic Worker.”  Leary, committed to the “seamless garment” doctrine of life, protested against the death penalty, abortion, and the military draft.  He allowed street people to live in his apartment.  Leary worked with the elderly, the homeless, and the incarcerated.  The major in religious studies (Harvard University Class of 1980) attended Mass daily, usually at Our Lady of the Annunciation Melkite Greek Catholic Cathedral, Boston, Massachusetts.  Leary also read the Bible, prayed the rosary, and attended retreats at a Trappist monastery.

Leary, who enjoyed running, died in Boston on August 31, 1982.  That afternoon he was running from work to his room at the Catholic Worker house when he had a heart attack.

What might Leary have done for God and many of his fellow human beings–especially vulnerable ones–had he lived longer?

The answers to that question occupy the realm of the counterfactual, but the holy example of his life can and should inspire us to use our time wisely, to the glory of God and the benefit of others.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN WYCLIFFE AND JAN HUS, REFORMERS OF THE CHURCH

THE FEAST OF GEORGE DUFFIELD, JR., AND HIS SON, SAMUEL DUFFIELD, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTERS AND HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF HENRY THOMAS SMART, ENGLISH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF OLUF HANSON SMEBY, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth:

Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer,

and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy.

We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit,

and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 2:7-11

Psalm 1

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Matthew 25:1-13

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 726

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Feast of St. Jeanne Jugan (August 30)   Leave a comment

Above:  Portrait of St. Jeanne Jugan, by Leon Brune

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JEANNE JUGAN (OCTOBER 25, 1792-AUGUST 29, 1879)

Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor

Also known as Sister Marie of the Cross

Her feast transferred from August 29

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Little Sisters, take good care of the aged, for in them you are caring for Christ Himself.

–Saint Jeanne Jugan

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On the Roman Catholic calendar of saints August 29 is the feast of St. Jeanne Jugan.  August 29, on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is the day reserved fr the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, a Biblical figure.  I therefore transfer Jugan’s feast one day.  Incidentally, August 30 is her feast day in All Saints (1997), by Robert Ellsberg.

There is a certain kind of hagiography I like to write.  It is an account of a determined, industrious person pursuing his or her vocation from God and receiving help from influential people at critical junctures.  Thus the saint succeeds in glorifying God and bringing benefits to many people via the combination of talent, effort, and patronage.  We humans are supposed to help each other become the best people we can be in God, after all.

This is a succinct summary of the life of Michael Faraday (1791-1867), who would not have been a great scientist without help.  He was brilliant and hard-working, but he needed someone to open a proverbial door for him at a crucial moment; he needed for someone to give him his big break.

It is not a summary of the life of St. Jeanne Jugan, however.  No, the story of her life is an account of a saint whom others–one priest, in particular–held back for selfish reasons.

St. Jeanne Jugan knew poverty and menial labor well.  She, born in Cancale, Brittany, France, on October 25, 1792, grew up in a pious, poor family.  Her father, Joseph, was a fisherman who was often at sea.  He died when St. Jeanne was four years old.  Her mother was Marie, a farmer.  Our saint, at the age of 16 years, became a maid.  She accompanied her employer, a Christian woman, on regular visits to poor and sick people.  This inspired St. Jeanne to dedicate her life to God and not to marry.  She resolved to help poor, sick people also.

The 25-year-old St. Jeanne, filled with a sense of mission, gave away her possessions, such as they were, and spent six years serving Christ in the poor at the hospital in Saint Servan.  It was a pious undertaking.  It was also an exhausting commitment.  St. Jeanne returned to life as a domestic servant.  Years passed.

In 1837 the 45-year-old St. Jeanne went to work as a spinner.  She gave her disposable income to the less fortunate.  Our saint also began to go door-to-door, collecting money for the support of impoverished widows.  This led to the founding of the Little Sisters of the Poor in 1843, with St. Jeanne as the superior.  The order expanded its work and increased in membership under her leadership.

The local bishop appointed a new superior general, Father Auguste Le Pailleur.  By 1852 he had seized complete control, rewriting history to depict himself as the actual founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor.  Le Pailler sidelined St. Jeanne, known as Sister Marie of the Cross, who spent the last 27 years of her life as a marginal figure, performing menial labor, in the order she had founded.  She died, aged 88 years, in Saint-Pern, France, on August 29, 1879.  To the end St. Jeanne maintained proper perspective; the mission of the Little Sisters of the Poor was more important than she was.

The Church acknowledged St. Jeanne’s proper place in history posthumously.  Pope John Paul II declared her a Venerable in 1979 then a Blessed in 1982.  Pope Benedict XVI canonized St. Jeanne in 2009.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 5, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA, FOUNDER OF THE BARNABITES AND THE ANGELIC SISTERS OF SAINT PAUL

THE FEAST OF GEORGE BERNANOS, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST

THE FEAST OF HULDA NIEBUHR, CHRISTIAN EDUCATOR; HER BROTHERS, H. RICHARD NIEBUHR AND REINHOLD NIEBUHR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST THEOLOGIANS; AND URSULA NIEBUHR, EPISCOPAL THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH BOISSEL, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST AND MARTYR IN LAOS, 1969

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love and serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary,

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

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Karl Otto Eberhardt (August 30)   Leave a comment

Seraphim

Above:  The Hymn Tune “Serpahim,” from the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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KARL OTTO EBERHARDT (AUGUST 31, 1714-DECEMBER 16, 1757)

German Moravian Organist, Music Educator, and Composer

Available information about Karl Otto Eberhardt (1714-1757) seems to be scarce.  He entered the world on August 31, 1714.  Eberhardt’s father was a Lutheran teacher and organist.  Our saint’s first music lessons occurred at home; perhaps his father provided them.  Eberhardt joined the Moravian Church in 1740.  From 1756 to his death the following year he served as an organist and a teacher at Herrnhut, the Moravian headquarters in Saxony.  His musical legacy, as far as I can determine, rests upon “Seraphim,” a hymn tune dated to 1746 and used in Moravian hymnals for centuries, down to today.

The ideal of Moravian musicianship was to build up the community of faith and to glorify God.  Eberhardt succeeded in that goal.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 17, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIE ADOLPHINE DIERKS, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, MISSIONARY, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS SERRANO, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MISSIONARY

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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 Karl Otto Eberhardt.

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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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 17, Year A   Leave a comment

The Burning Bush Logo of the Church of Scotland

The Call of God

The Sunday Closest to August 31

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost

AUGUST 30, 2020

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

Exodus 3:1-15 (New Revised Standard Version):

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM Who I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:

This is my name forever,

and this is my title for all generations.

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Give thanks to the LORD and call upon his Name;

make known his deeds among the peoples.

Sing to him, sing praises to him,

and speak of all his marvelous works.

Glory in his holy Name;

let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

Search for the LORD and his strength;

continually seek his face.

5 Remember the marvels he has done,

his wonders and the judgments of his mouth,

6 O offspring of Abraham his servant,

O children of Jacob his chosen.

23 Israel came into Egypt,

and Jacob became a sojourner in the land of Ham.

24 The LORD made his people exceedingly fruitful;

he made them stronger than their enemies;

25 Whose heart he turned, so that they hated his people,

and dealt unjustly with his servants.

26 He sent Moses his servant,

and Aaron whom he had chosen.

45c Hallelujah!

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

Jeremiah 15:15-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

O LORD, you know;

remember me and visit me,

and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors.

In your forbearance do not take me away;

know that on your account I suffer insult.

Your words were found, and I ate them,

and your words became to me a joy

and the delight of my heart;

for I am called by your name,

O LORD, God of hosts.

I did not sit in the company of merrymakers,

nor did I rejoice;

under the weight of your hand I sat alone,

for you had filled me with indignation.

Why is my pain unceasing,

my wound incurable,

refusing to be healed?

Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook,

like waters that fail.

Therefore thus says the LORD:

If you turn back, I will take you back,

and you shall stand before me.

If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,

you shall serve as my mouth.

It is they who will turn to you,

not you who will turn to them.

And I will make you to this people

a fortified wall of bronze;

they will fight against you,

but they shall not prevail over you,

for I am with you

to save you and deliver you, says the LORD.

I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,

and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

Psalm 26:1-8 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Give judgment for me, O LORD,

for I have lived with integrity;

I have trusted in the LORD and not faltered.

2 Test me, O LORD, and try me;

examine my heart and my mind.

3 For your love is before my eyes;

I have walked faithfully with you.

I have not sat with the worthless,

nor do I consort with the deceitful.

I have hated the company of evildoers;

I will not sit down with the wicked.

I will wash my hands in innocence, O LORD,

that I may go in procession round your altar,

7 Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving

and recounting all your wonderful deeds.

8 LORD, I love the house in which you dwell

and the place where your glory abides.

SECOND READING

Romans 12:9-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

GOSPEL READING

Matthew 16:21-28 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “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.”

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The Collect:

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; 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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The prophet Jeremiah was having a very bad day.  He had been preaching the word of God for awhile.  And, for all his trouble, he had faced rejection and persecution.

Be honest.  Have you not turned to God and complained bitterly?  Have you not accused God of being absent in your time of need?  I have.  So did Jeremiah.  There is nothing wrong with this, for a relationship with God, if it is healthy, is honest.

And God answered Jeremiah’s lament.  Get beyond yourself, God said.  Get busy, God said.  And I will be with you, God said.

This was also God’s message to Moses, a fugitive murderer on the run from Egyptian authorities.  Moses received a straight-forward mandate:  to return to Egypt, speak for God, and play a vital part in the divine plan to liberate the Hebrews from slavery.  This was a daunting task, and Moses was a poor speaker.  But Aaron was a better orator, and God would be with them.

God does not call the qualified; God qualifies the called.

Jeremiah had asked God to undertake vengeance upon his enemies.  Paul, in Romans, reflects the opposite point of view.  Vengeance, he says, is purely a matter for God.  Followers of God are supposed to love their enemies, as well as their friends and other like-minded people.  Vengeance is a natural desire, one I know well.  But it does not help one glorify and enjoy God forever.  Revenge is not Christ-like.

Speaking of Jesus…

Last week, Peter had just become the first rock of human faith on the rock mass of God, and Jesus had just said how blessed the Apostle was.  Then, in this week’s installment, Jesus predicted his own arrest, torture, execution, and resurrection.  Peter, horrified, protested.  Then Jesus rebuked the man he had just blessed.  Jesus understood his own divine call, which was to atone for sin.  This purpose came at a high cost to him.  The mission of the Apostles was to follow their Lord, and most of them became martyrs.

God challenges us to move beyond ourselves, serve others, love others as ourselves–created in the divine image, and take on difficult tasks for a greater purpose.  This is truly risky business, but Moses, Jeremiah, Jesus, and Simon Peter chose to remain faithful and to endure.  Two of them died for it, one died in exile, and the fourth spent a generation in the Sinai Desert with a horde of grumblers.  And all four are heroes of faith.

Jesus, of course, was and is far more than a hero of faith.  And he calls us to assume risks.  Each of us ought to take up a cross and follow him.  We need to be the best disciples we can be.  That is the call of God.

KRT

Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on March 8, 2011

 

Posted May 8, 2011 by neatnik2009 in August 30, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

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