Archive for the ‘Communion of Saints’ Category

Side Effects of Hagiography   Leave a comment

I have spent much of my Easter Sunday drafting two hagiographical posts in longhand.  I would draft a third one in longhand today except for two reasons:

  1. The two posts I drafted today proved emotionally draining, given what the three saints had to endure.
  2. The harrowing nature of the next post to draft would prove too emotionally draining, given what I have written today.

People have the capacity to be exceedingly cruel to each other.  Moral courage can lead to martyrdom.

Anyhow, I have written so many hagiographies since 2009 that I know well the feeling of spiritual inadequacy.  If you, O reader, ever need an antidote to hubris, read the lives of saints, especially martyrs and near-martyrs.  Then ask yourself what you might have done in those situations.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 4, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST DAY OF EASTER

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Posted April 4, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Communion of Saints

Method in My Madness   1 comment

I sing a song of the saints of God

Patient and brave and true,

Who toiled and fought and lived and died

For the Lord they loved and knew.

And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,

And one was a shepherdess on the green;

They were all of them saints of God–and I mean,

God helping, to be one too.

–Lesbia Scott (1898-1986), 1929

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Variety is the spice of life.  It is also the spice of A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

I have working assiduously on my Ecumenical Calendar recently.  Most of this work has been invisible to you, reader of this post.  All the work that precedes clicking on the “publish” button has always been invisible to readers of this weblog.  I have written drafts of posts in longhand, made plans for “new” saints with feast days in October, begun to draft posts of “new” saints with feast days in October, and thought about the proper order in which to create and publish posts.

This time around, my method is not chronological, by feast day.  No, the method is to emphasize variety.  I want the next post in my Ecumenical Calendar to be about a saint or saints quite different from the previous saint or saints.  The difference may come in gender, geography, race, ethnicity, time period, denominational affiliation, vocation, et cetera.  Perhaps I follow a martyr with a hymn writer, for example.  Maybe I choose to publish consecutive posts about saints who would have engaged in arguments, had they met.  Variety can come in a range of forms, according to a plethora of criteria.  The saints, in their glorious variety, play on the same team, so to speak.

Spiritual gifts, in their variety, come from the same source.  All of the spiritual gifts are essential, and nobody has received all of them.  Likewise, lived Christian holiness is evident in a variety of ways and in a plethora of contexts.  

I also feel free to criticize saints about whom I write.  Why not?  Affirming that someone was right more often that one was wrong acknowledges that one got certain details wrong.  Besides, no mere mortal is above criticism, and all human beings are sinners.  If being perfect were a criterion for inclusion on my Ecumenical Calendar, the project would be very small.  It would consist of a few posts about Jesus.  I would have completed the project a long time ago.  And, if agreeing with me were a criterion, some of the saints who are here would not be here.  

I seek to maintain a spiritual, intellectual, and individual balance.  And I seek to be clear, so that nobody will mistake me for being someone I am not.  Therefore, for example, I contextualize lives and still offer criticisms.  I call out some saints for their racism, sexism, et cetera.  Nevertheless, I have chosen to add some people–even canonized ones–to this Ecumenical Calendar because they have transgressed my red lines.  There is the case, for example, of one Roman Catholic saint whose proposed solution to the alleged problem of homosexual men living in a particular city was to kill all of the men in that city–and let God sort them out.  That saint is not here, at my Ecumenical Calendar.  I hope I do not need to justify my choice to anyone.  Do I want to speak to anyone who would demand that I justify my choice to exclude that saint from my Ecumenical Calendar?  No!

May you, O reader, join me in agreeing with Lesbia Scott:

For the saints of God are just folk like me,

And I mean to be one too.

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 26, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGARET CLITHEROW, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 1586

THE FEAST OF FLANNERY O’CONNOR, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORGE RUNDLE PRYNNE, ANGLICAN PRIEST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JAMES RENDEL HARRIS, ANGLO-AMERICAN CONGREGATIONALIST THEN QUAKER BIBLICAL SCHOLAR AND ORIENTALIST; ROBERT LUBBOCK BENSLY, ENGLISH BIBLICAL TRANSLATOR AND ORIENTALIST; AGNES SMITH LEWIS AND MARGARET DUNLOP SMITH GIBSON, ENGLISH BIBLICAL SCHOLARS AND LINGUISTS; SAMUEL SAVAGE LEWIS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND LIBRARIAN OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE; AND JAMES YOUNG GIBSON, SCOTTISH UNITED PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITERARY TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDGER, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MUNSTER

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Posted March 26, 2021 by neatnik2009 in Communion of Saints

In Praise of God’s Gloriously Square Pegs   Leave a comment

FOR THE COMMON GOOD AND THE GLORY OF GOD, OF COURSE

I have been preparing new entries for A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES:  AN ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS.  Two of the three “new” saints for whom I have written rough-drafts of posts in longhand have been women who violated societal conventions of femininity and did much to serve God in the process.

I like outliers, odd balls, eccentrics, square pegs, and other unconventional people.  I am one, after all.  My life is one of being a default contrarian.  My interests and my sense of self lead me down a path less traveled.  When I merely pursue my interests, I most likely behave in a way contrary to most of the people around me.  So be it.  Therefore, take my word for it, O reader, that I consider “conform” and “conformity” the two most profane words in the English language.  

My spiritual task is to be the best version of myself possible.  My spiritual task is to be the person God created me to be.  My spiritual task is not to be the person anyone else wants me to be.  My spiritual task is to be God’s square peg, in a square hole.  Those who would try to make me fit into a round hole err.

This helps to explain why I add so many outliers, odd balls, eccentrics, and square pegs to my ECUMENICAL CALENDAR.  I call attention to such wonderful human beings with great pleasure.

God calls you, O reader, to be the best version of yourself possible.  I encourage you to answer that sacred call affirmatively.  Be a square peg.  Be one of God’s square pegs.  Be the square peg God wants you to be.  And help others be the square pegs God wants them to be.

So, here is to God’s gloriously square pegs!  They shine with the light of God and challenge comfortable, complacent conformity.  They expose the injustice of certain societal norms.  They renew society and work for the common good.  They glorify God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 21, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, ENGLISH ROMANC CATHOLIC PRIEST-CARDINAL

THE FEAST OF SAINT ARNULF OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND SAINT GERMANUS OF GRANFEL, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MARTYR, 677

THE FEAST OF AUSTIN CARROLL (MARGARET ANNE CARROLL), IRISH-AMERICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, AUTHOR, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROBERT SOUTHWELL, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1595

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS PORMORT, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1592

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Coming Eventually: “New” Saints with Feast Days in July   Leave a comment

Above:  All Saints

Image in the Public Domain

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The COVID-19 pandemic has granted me much more free time than I anticipated I would have when 2020 dawned.  I have spent that free time in a number of ways, including the following:

  1. I have watched some entertaining and poorly made science fiction movies from the 1950s and 1960s.  I have watched the entire run of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who serials (1970-1974).  (By the way, critics of “wokeness” in current Doctor Who would have strong emotional and physical reactions if they were to watch the Jon Pertwee serials closely.  Barry Letts made his positions obvious.)
  2. I have transferred the contents of PUNS BLOG to SUNDRY THOUGHTS and deleted PUNS BLOG.
  3. I have written about many saints at this weblog and posted many lectionary-based devotions through the end of the next liturgical year at spinoffs of this weblog.
  4. I have blogged my way through The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002).
  5. Off-blog, I have been taking notes for Revised Common Lectionary-based discussions for Sundays through the end of this liturgical year.
  6. This morning, I started taking notes for Propers 23-25, Year A, otherwise known as October 11, 18, and 25, 2020.  (I intend to complete those notes today.)
  7. I have been leading weekly discussions of lectionary readings via Zoom since May.
  8. I have applied for employment in four cities, all of them sites of universities.  (I would starve intellectually outside of a college or university town.)
  9. I have started reading two books by E. P. Sanders.  I have been reading Jesus and Judaism for my book group.  I have been reading Paul and Palestinian Judaism because I want to do so.
  10. I have been avoiding other people as much as possible since some time in March.  Some days, I have seen other people only through windows.

I have also been working on saints with feast days in July.   I have taken notes on some and drafted posts in ink and longhand on most of those.  I have made plans to take notes on more saints and to draft more posts in ink and longhand.  I have yet to decide when to start writing posts based on these drafts.

More saints are on the way, O readers.

Shalom!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH AUGUSTUS SEISS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF ALFRED RAMSEY, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF CHARLES COFFIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HANS ADOLF BRORSON, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOHN SPARROW-SIMPSON, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND PATRISTICS SCHOLAR

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Virtues of the Saints   1 comment

Communion of Saints

Above:  The Communion of Saints

Image in the Public Domain

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Reading and writing about lives of saints are ennobling hobbies.  Certainly I find them preferable to a host of alternative possible ways to spend time, not all of which are inherently bad.  I might, for example, follow the news of perfidy, disregard for the truth, and probable criminality rife in the Executive Branch of the Government of the United States of America more closely.  Or I might pour over all the details of political attacks (under false pretenses) on a Roman Catholic chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, complete with doses of Evangelical-Fundamentalist bias against Roman Catholicism, with its celibate priesthood in the Latin Rite.  Or I might lose myself in so-called reality shows.  But no, I prefer Bible studies and hagiographies.

I have been taking notes on saints with feast days ranging from July 7 to 11; I have not completed that project yet.  I have also made plans to draft posts, merge four feasts extant on my ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS into two feasts, and to create new posts during the next few days.

To focus on the lives of holy people, from antiquity to my lifetime, is to consider those who followed Christ left noble legacies.  There is never a bad time to do that, but now seems like an especially appropriate time, at least for me.  Nobody is perfect, but many of us are genuinely good.  I seek to, in the words of novelist Alex Haley,

Find the good and praise it.

As for current events, the passage of time and the efforts of principled investigators will reveal and document the truth, which will reside in the realm of objective reality, not opinion.  I leave that work to those suited for it.

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 6, 2018

THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANNA ROSA GATTORNO, FOUNDRESS OF THE INSTITUTE OF THE DAUGHTERS OF SAINT ANNE, MOTHER OF MARY IMMACULATE

THE FEAST OF TOBIAS CLAUSNITZER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS WILLIBALD OF EICHSTATT AND LULLUS OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT WALBURGA OF HEIDENHELM, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; SAINTS PETRONAX OF MONTE CASSINO, WINNEBALD OF HEIDENHELM, WIGBERT OF FRITZLAR, AND STURMIUS OF FULDA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS; AND SAINT SEBALDUS OF VINCENZA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF CLARENCE DICKINSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

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Theological Diversity and the Communion of Saints   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of All Saints

Image in the Public Domain

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IN PARTICULAR, WITH REGARD TO MY ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS

My methodology of adding to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days entails filling vacant slots on a day-by-day basis.  If I, for example, have two vacant slots for a given date, I ponder saints, consider how much information is available about them, and decide how best to fill both slots, if possible.  Sometimes I leave slots vacant, for filling later.  My current policy is to have a maximum of four posts (with one or more saints per post) per day, except a date with a Biblically-themed feast, when I usually reserve that date for that feast, unless I make a rare exception to that rule.  March 25, for example, is the Feast of the Annunciation and the Feast of St. Dismas, both Biblically themed feasts.  January 1 is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus; it is also World Peace Day.  Nevertheless, January 6 is solely the Feast of the Epiphany on my Ecumenical Calendar.  I plan to change the maximum number of posts for most days to five in 2020 or 2021, and perhaps to more eventually.  My Ecumenical Calendar can be a long-term project always in progress, assuming that I lead a long life.

Longevity is not a guarantee, of course.  Yet I make plans, just in case I am around and able to continue work on this hobby.

Since I think about additions to my Ecumenical Calendar on a day-by-day basis, looking at the trees, not the forest, so to speak, I do not collect data about societal categories (such as gender, ethnicity, and national origin) and assign quotas based on them.  Affirmative action, for all its societal value in many settings and cultures at certain times, has no place in my Ecumenical Calendar.  I do, however, enjoy recognizing people whose stories of faith have fallen into the shadows of others, including other saints.  Many of these overlooked saints fall into categories such as women, racial or ethnic minorities, and members of powerless or less powerful populations.  I cite, for example, my recent post about Niebuhrs, which includes not just Reinhold and H. Richard, but Hulda and Ursula also.

I do think purposefully about theological diversity.  Thus Popes rub shoulders with Protestants and Orthodox Patriarchs, Anglican bishops with Puritan missionaries, dogmatic theologians with non-dogmatic theologians, and mystics and alleged heretics with the conventionally orthodox, by the standards of their contexts.  In the New Testament a saint is simply a Christian; that is my definition of a saint.  The great cloud of witnesses spreads out across a wide spectrum.

According to an old saying, each Christian is somebody’s schismatic.  One might make a strong case for Roman Catholicism being schismatic from Judaism.  As surely as each Christian is somebody’s schismatic, he or she is also somebody’s heretic.  God defines heresy with certitude; we mere mortals do not.  Often we define heresy to exclude those who disagree with us, but sometimes our definitions overlap with God’s.  But how are we to know how often that happens?

I steer a moderate course through the thicket of heresy and orthodoxy, learning from early Ecumenical Councils and Church Fathers, and from Desert Mothers and Desert Fathers.  While I do this I acknowledge that, according to the Roman Catholic Church, I, as one who belongs to another Christian communion (The Episcopal Church, to be precise), I lack the fullness of the faith.  Roman Catholic orthodoxy since Vatican II holds that, since Holy Mother Church alone has the fullness of the faith, all other Christians are “separated brethren.”  At least I am no longer going to Hell, allegedly.  Progress is progress.

For all the theological diversity represented on my Ecumenical Calendar, unity is also evident.  The unity of serving Christ is present; that outweighs many differences.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 27, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY; AND HIS SON, WILLIAM CROSWELL DOANE, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ALBANY; HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANTONY AND THEODOSIUS OF KIEV, FOUNDERS OF RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONASTICISM; SAINT BARLAAM OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT; AND SAINT STEPHEN OF KIEV, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX ABBOT AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, POET AND RELIGIOUS WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

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Expressing Opinions   Leave a comment

I am not shy about expressing my opinions at this, my original weblog, the one from which the others sprang, directly or indirectly.  I am, however, cautious in so far as I do not feel obligated to express every thought that passes through my mind.  I do, in fact, leave most of my thoughts unexpressed.  Furthermore, I am a trained historian.  The difference between history and journalism is hindsight.  I prefer to sit back and gather data rather than to spout off.  When I make a statement, however, I make it with conviction.

Certainly, in the age of the political, moral, and ecological train wreck that is the Trump Administration, with its fondness for foreign elected dictators and contempt for the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, sordid details come to light so quickly that I have difficulty keeping up with them.  Apparently do does that overgrown toddler, that man-child with a Twitter account,  a thin skin, a small vocabulary, a dearth of historical knowledge, a penchant for half-baked conspiracy theories, and a casual relationship (at best) with objective reality, in the White House.  In these times I double down on my historian’s tendencies and express my perspective by permitting it to inform my analysis of the past.   I leave a plethora of clues embedded in my posts.

I have ended my hiatus on renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  During the hiatus I drafted new devotions for Lent, Easter, and the Season After Pentecost 2018.  I have made plans to start updating my LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS weblog after Pentecost (next Sunday) and ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS once Advent 2017 has begun.  I have also resolved to return to the wonderful world of saints.  My choice of saints has long reflected my political and theological priorities.  Now that the time to renovate systematically the Ecumenical Calendar, a project begun casually in 2009, has come, I have begun to remove some people and add others in accordance with my changing priorities and access to more knowledge, as well as all that I have learned about blogging.  I have never considered agreeing with me completely to be a requirement for inclusion, but not being overall morally objectionable to me has always been mandatory.

Without further ado, I resume the process of adding saints.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 29, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PERCY DEARMER, ANGLICAN CANON AND TRANSLATOR AND AUTHOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF THE FIRST U.S. PRESBYTERIAN BOOK OF CONFESSIONS, 1967

THE FEAST OF JIRI TRANOVSKY, LUTHER TO THE SLAVS AND FATHER OF SLOVAK HYMNODY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LUKE KIRBY, THOMAS COTTAM, WILLIAM FILBY, AND LAURENCE RICHARDSON, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

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Reflections During an Interlude in the Renovation of A Great Cloud of Witnesses: An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days   Leave a comment

january

Above:  January, by Leandro Bassano

Image in the Public Domain

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The first phase of the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days has ended; I have completed the first twelfth of the process here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS.  The number of posts at this weblog has hovered around 1500, give or take a few posts, as I have added, deleted, and replaced some posts and revised others.

Thinking about saints and contemplating sainthood are rewarding spiritual practices.  They are foreign to the spiritual traditions of my childhood; the Southern Baptist Convention and The United Methodist Church do not encourage keeping a calendar of saints.  Nevertheless, observing an official calendar of saints (in The Episcopal Church) and creating my own such calendar has come naturally to me.  I, as a historian, emphasize the great men and women of the past.  Also, my inclination is toward the Roman Catholic end of the spectrum in certain ways.

Nevertheless, as helpful as Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox calendars of saints have proven to be and continue to help me with my own project, I have chosen not to restrict myself to their selections of saints and their assigned feast days.  This tendency has proven to be a manifestation of the Protestant side of my spirituality.

Rome has spoken,

many Roman Catholics say, meaning it as a statement of finality and authority.  At least half the time I think,

So what?

I learn and import much from Holy Mother Church, but I also walk my own path much of the time.  After all, Rome took more than 300 years to rescind the pronouncement that Galileo Galilei was a heretic for stating the scientific fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun.  The Church also canonized Robert Bellarmine, Galileo’s inquisitor who chose ignorance of good science in lieu of tradition and bad theology, as well as condoning to burning heretics at the stake.  (The Ecumenical Calendar does not include St. Robert Bellarmine.)

As I contemplate saints with feast days in January (at least on my Ecumenical Calendar), I understand them to be quite an assortment of people.  Sts. Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas, for example, held one opinion regarding the nature of knowledge and certainty; Lesslie Newbigin argued for a different position.  Some saints were ascetics, but others lived comfortably.  Some were spouses and parents; others chose never to marry.  Some were traditionalists, but others were pioneers.  I would have liked to have known some saints, but I would not have enjoyed the company of certain others, such as St. Jerome.  Some of these saints would have accused me of heresy, but others would have agreed with me, at least partially, or disagreed with me respectfully.  So be it.

I anticipate the next phase (February) of the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 25, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HILEY BATHHURST, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JAMES OTIS SARGENT HUNTINGTON, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE FEAST OF PETRUS NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN EDUCATOR AND COMPOSER; AND GEORG NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SQUANTO, COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEING

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“In the Sweet By and By”   2 comments

Above:  The Communion of Saints

(An Image in the Public Domain)

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While growing up in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia, U.S.A., I realized that I did not fit in.  Lacking a proper frame of reference for years, I could not diagnose the issue properly until I became keenly aware of good Episcopal Church liturgy, a la The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and The Hymnal 1982.  I had latent High Church tendencies yet was in a very Low Church setting.

And the music did not help.  Southern Gospel tended to be prominent.  The diction was usually abhorrent, choirs seldom blended, and, in one church, loud and nasal singing was commonplace.  I still have traumatic aural memories.

So I was glad to convert to The Episcopal Church, bow to altars and passing processional crosses, and sing more hymns which sounded good with a proper organ.  From time to time the old hymnody–the one I fled–follows me, even into The Episcopal Church.   If I have advance notice, I can arrange to attend a different service, one without music, perhaps.  My attitude toward certain Low Church Protestant music is reflexively negative.

Much of the problem of Southern Gospel, I am convinced, is the way in which most or many people who sing it sing it.  Often the songs are too fast and inappropriately happy.  Even the sad songs sound happy sometimes.  Consider, for example, “In the Sweet By and By,” which is about the afterlife in Heaven.  Here are the words:

1.  There’s a land that is fairer than day,

And by faith we can see it afar;

For the Father waits over the way,

To prepare us a dwelling-place there.

Chorus:

In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore;

In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

2.  We shall sing on that beautiful shore

The melodious songs of the blest,

And our spirits shall sorrow no more,

Nor a sigh for the blessing of rest.

Repeat the Chorus

3.  To our bountiful Father above,

We will offer our tribute of praise,

For the glorious gift of His love,

And the blessings that hallow our days.

Repeat the Chorus

The lyrics reflect a sense of longing, as if one misses departed friends and loved ones yet anticipates reuniting with them after one’s own death.  Thus the hymn contains both grief and hope.  Yet I have almost always heard this sung as if it is all happiness.

This most recent Memorial Day morning, I heard part of Performance Today on my local public radio station.  The program that day was a concert by Cantus, a men’s choral ensemble.  Their concert included a slow and a cappella version of “In the Sweet By and By.”  It was simultaneously mournful and hopeful.  It was hauntingly beautiful.  The diction was flawless.  And I could hear the sparse harmonies and the interplay among the voice parts.  This was what I wished I had heard while growing up.

I wonder what other hymns and songs I might like if only I could hear them performed properly.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 23, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSE OF LIMA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/in-the-sweet-by-and-by/

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for December   Leave a comment

Poinsettia

Image Source = Andre Karwath

1 (Charles de Foucauld, Roman Catholic Hermit and Martyr, 1916)

  • Albert Barnes, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Abolitionist, and Alleged Heretic
  • Brioc, Roman Catholic Abbot; and Tudwal, Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop
  • Douglas LeTell Rights, U.S. Moravian Minister, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Timothy Mickey, Jr., U.S. Moravian Bishop and Liturgist
  • George Hugh Bourne, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

2 (Maura Clarke and Her Companions, U.S. Roman Catholic Martyrs in El Salvador, December 2, 1980)

  • Channing Moore Williams, Episcopal Missionary Bishop in China and Japan
  • Gerald Thomas Noel, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer; his brother, Baptist Wriothesley Noel, Anglican Priest, English Baptist Evangelist, and Hymn Writer; and his niece, Caroline Maria Noel, Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Hormisdas, Bishop of Rome; and his son, Silverius, Bishop of Rome, and Martyr, 537
  • Justin Heinrich Knecht, German Lutheran Organist, Music Teacher, and Composer
  • Rafal Chylinski, Polish Franciscan Roman Catholic Priest

3 (Francis Xavier, Roman Catholic Missionary to the Far East)

  • Amilie Juliane, Countess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Jan Franciszek Macha, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942
  • M. Woolsey Stryker, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Educator, Author, Hymnal Editor, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Sophie Koulomzin, Russian-American Christian Educator

4 (John of Damascus and Cosmas of Maiuma, Theologians and Hymnodists)

  • Alexander Hotovitzky, Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1937
  • Bernard of Parma, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Joseph Mohr, Austrian Roman Catholic Priest; and Franz Gruber, Austrian Roman Catholic Teacher, Musician, and Composer
  • Maruthas, Roman Catholic Bishop of Maypherkat, and Missionary to Persia
  • Osmund of Salisbury, Roman Catholic Bishop

5 (Clement of Alexandria, Father of Christian Scholarship)

  • Cyran, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Narcyz Putz, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942
  • Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, and Renewer of Society
  • Nicetius of Trier, Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Bishop; and Aredius of Limoges, Roman Catholic Monk
  • Peter Mortimer, Anglo-German Moravian Educator, Musician, and Scholar; and Gottfried Theodor Erxleben, German Moravian Minister and Musicologist

6 (Nicholas of Myra, Bishop)

  • Abraham of Kratia, Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, Bishop, and Hermit
  • Alice Freeman Palmer, U.S. Educator and Hymn Writer
  • Anne Ross Cousin, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Henry Ustick Onderdonk, Episcopal Bishop, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • Philip Berrigan and his brother, Daniel Berrigan, Roman Catholic Priests and Social Activists

7 (Maria Josepha Rossello, Co-Founder of the Daughters of Our Lady of Pity)

  • Emma Francis, Lutheran Deaconess in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Harlem
  • Georg Friedrich Hellstrom, Dutch-German Moravian Musician, Composer, and Educator
  • John Greenleaf Whittier, U.S. Quaker Abolitionist, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • John Howard Bertram Masterman, Anglican Scholar, Hymn Writer, Priest, and Bishop of Plymouth
  • William Gustave Polack, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer and Translator

8 (Walter Ciszek, Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Political Prisoner)

  • Amatus of Luxeuil and Romaric of Luxeuil, Roman Catholic Monks and Abbots
  • Erik Christian Hoff, Norwegian Lutheran Composer and Organist
  • Marin Shkurti, Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1969

9 (Liborius Wagner, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1631)

  • George Job Elvey, Anglican Composer and Organist
  • Peter Fourier, “The Good Priest of Mattaincourt;” and Alix Le Clerc, Founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of Saint Augustine

10 (Karl Barth, Swiss Reformed Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar; and his son, Markus Barth, Swiss Lutheran Minister and Biblical Scholar)

  • Howell Elvet Lewis, Welsh Congregationalist Clergyman and Poet
  • John Roberts, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1610
  • Olivier Messiaen, Claire Delbos, and Yvonne Loriod, French Roman Catholic Musicians and Composers
  • Paul Eber, German Lutheran Theologian and Hymn Writer
  • Robert Murray, Canadian Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

11 (Luke of Prague and John Augusta, Moravian Bishops and Hymn Writers)

  • Kazimierz Tomas Sykulski, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942
  • Lars Olsen Skrefsrud, Hans Peter Boerresen, and Paul Olaf Bodding, Lutheran Missionaries in India
  • Martyrs of El Mozote, El Salvador, December 11-12, 1981
  • Severin Ott, Roman Catholic Monk

12 (William Lloyd Garrison, Abolitionist and Feminist; and Maria Stewart, Abolitionist, Feminist, and Educator)

  • Bartholomew Buonpedoni and Vivaldus, Ministers among Lepers
  • William Louis Poteat, President of Wake Forest College, and Biologist; his brother, Edwin McNeill Poteat, Sr., Southern and Northern Baptist Minister, Scholar, and President of Furman University; his son, Edwin McNeill Poteat, Jr., Southern Baptist Minister, Missionary, Musician, Hymn Writer, and Social Reformer;  his brother, Gordon McNeill Poteat, Southern and Northern Baptist and Congregationalist Minister and Missionary; and his cousin, Hubert McNeill Poteat, Southern Baptist Academic and Musician
  • Ludwik Bartosik, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941
  • Thomas Canning, U.S. Composer and Music Educator

13 (Samuel Johnson, “The Great Moralist”)

  • Christian Furchtegott Gellert, German Lutheran Minister, Educator, and Hymn Writer
  • Ella J. Baker, Witness for Civil Rights
  • Paul Speratus, German Lutheran Bishop, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • Pierson Parker, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Episcopal Priest, and Biblical Scholar

14 (Radegunda, Thuringian Roman Catholic Princess, Deaconess, and Nun; and Venantius Honorius Clementius Fortunatus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Poitiers)

  • Dorothy Ann Thrupp, English Hymn Writer
  • Henry Aldrich, Anglican Priest, Composer, Theologian, Mathematician, and Architect
  • James Arnold Blaisdell, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • John of the Cross, Roman Catholic Mystic and Carmelite Friar
  • William Adams Brown, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, and Social Reformer

15 (Thomas Benson Pollock, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer)

  • Fred D. Gealy, U.S. Methodist Minister, Missionary, Musician, and Biblical Scholar
  • Henry Fothergill Chorley, English Novelist, Playwright, and Literary and Music Critic
  • John Horden, Anglican Bishop of Moosenee
  • Ralph Wardlaw, Scottish Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist
  • Robert McDonald, Anglican Priest and Missionary

16 (Ralph Adams Cram and Richard Upjohn, Architects; and John LaFarge, Sr., Painter and Stained-Glass Window Maker)

  • Filip Siphong Onphithakt, Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr in Thailand, 1940
  • Maude Dominica Petre, Roman Catholic Modernist Theologian

17 (Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton, Founders of Save the Children)

  • Dorothy Sayers, Anglican Poet, Novelist, Playwright, Translator, Apologist, and Theologian
  • Frank Mason North, U.S. Methodist Minister, Social Reformer, and Hymn Writer
  • Mary Cornelia Bishop Gates, U.S. Dutch Reformed Hymn Writer
  • Olympias of Constantinople, Widow and Deaconess

18 (Marc Boegner, French Reformed Minister and Ecumenist)

  • Alicia Domon and Her Companions, Martyrs in Argentina, 1977
  • Giulia Valle, Roman Catholic Nun
  • John Darwall, Anglican Priest and Composer
  • John MacLeod Campbell Crum, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

19 (Raoul Wallenberg, Righteous Gentile)

  • Francesco Antonio Bonporti, Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Composer
  • Kazimiera Wolowska, Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1942
  • Robert Campbell, Scottish Episcopalian then Roman Catholic Social Advocate and Hymn Writer
  • William Henry Draper, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • William Howard Bishop, Founder of the Glenmary Home Missioners

20 (Dominic of Silos, Roman Catholic Abbot)

  • Bates Gilbert Burt, Episcopal Priest, Hymn Writer, and Composer
  • D. Elton Trueblood, U.S. Quaker Theologian
  • Michal Piasczynski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940

21 (THOMAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR)

22 (Frederick Temple and William Temple, Archbishops of Canterbury)

  • Chaeremon and Ischyrion, Roman Catholic Martyrs, Circa 250
  • Chico Mendes, “Gandhi of the Amazon”
  • Henry Budd, First Anglican Native Priest in North America; Missionary to the Cree Nation
  • Isaac Hecker, Founder of the Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle

23 (John of Kanty, Roman Catholic Theologian)

  • Charbel, Roman Catholic Priest and Monk
  • James Prince Lee, Bishop of Manchester
  • William John Blew, English Priest and Hymn Writer

24 (CHRISTMAS EVE)

25 (CHRISTMAS DAY)

26 (SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • STEPHEN, DEACON AND MARTYR

27 (THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • JOHN THE EVANGELIST, APOSTLE

28 (FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • HOLY INNOCENTS, MARTYRS, 4 B.C.E.

29 (FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Antonio Caldara, Roman Catholic Composer and Musician
  • John Burnett Morris, Sr., Episcopal Priest and Witness for Civil Rights
  • Philipp Heinrich Molther, German Moravian Minister, Bishop, Composer, and Hymn Translator
  • Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr, 1170
  • Thomas Cotterill, English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist

30 (SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Allen Eastman Cross, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • George Wallace Briggs, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • John Main, Anglo-Canadian Roman Catholic Priest and Monk
  • Frances Joseph-Gaudet, African-American Educator, Prison Reformer, and Social Worker

31 (SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Giuseppina Nicoli, Italian Roman Catholic Nun and Minister to the Poor
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Rossiter Worthington Raymond, U.S. Novelist, Poet, Hymn Writer, and Mining Engineer
  • Zoticus of Constantinople, Priest and Martyr, Circa 351

 

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