Archive for the ‘December 15’ Category

Holiday Busyness   2 comments

Above:  A Domestic Scene, December 8, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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On my bed when I think of you,

I muse on you in the watches of the night,

for you have always been my help;

in the shadow of your wings I rejoice;

my heart clings to you,

your right hand supports me.

–Psalm 63:6-8, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

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In my U.S. culture, the time from Thanksgiving (late November) to New Year’s Day is quite busy.  Holidays populate the calendar.  Some of these holidays are, for lack of a better word, ecumenical.  Others are religiously and/or culturally specific, though.  Christmas, originally the Christ Mass, has become an occasion, for many, to worship the Almighty Dollar at the high altar of commercialism.  This is how many Evangelicals of the Victorian Era wanted matters to be.

On the relatively innocuous side, this is the time of the year to populate one’s calendar with holiday social events, such as parties, school plays, and seasonal concerts.  Parents often like to attend their children’s events, appropriately.  Holiday concerts by choral and/or instrumental ensembles can also be quite pleasant.

Yet, amid all this busyness (sometimes distinct from business), are we neglecting the innate human need for peace and quiet?  I like classical Advent and Christmas music, especially at this time of the year (all the way through January 5, the twelfth day of Christmas), but I have to turn it off eventually.  Silence also appeals to me.  Furthermore, being busy accomplishing a worthy goal is rewarding, but so is simply being.

The real question is one of balance.  Given the absence of an actual distinction between the spiritual and the physical, everything is spiritual.  If we are too busy for God, silence, and proper inactivity, we are too busy.  If we are too busy to listen to God, we are too busy.  If we are too busy or too idle, we are not our best selves.

May we, by grace, strike and maintain the proper balance.  May we, especially at peak periods of activity, such as the end of the year, not overextend ourselves, especially in time commitments.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT VENANTIUS HONORIUS CLEMENTIUS FORTUNATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY ANN THRUPP, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MCDONALD, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND MISSIONARY

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Published originally at BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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Feast of John Horden (December 15)   Leave a comment

john-horden-memorial

Above:  John Horden Memorial

Image Source = Oceanflynn

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JOHN HORDEN (JANUARY 20, 1828-JANUARY 12, 1893)

Anglican Bishop of Moosonee

Canadian feast day = January 12

Episcopal feast day = December 15

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John Horden proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Cree people.

Horden was English by birth.  He, born on January 20, 1828, was a native of Exeter.  His parents were Sarah Seward and William Holden (a printer).  Our saint grew up in the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, Exeter, and attended the Vicar’s Bible Class.  There he became interested in foreign missions.  The Church Missionary Society initially declined Horden’s application, citing his youth.  In the meantime our saint attended St. John’s School then worked as an apprentice to a blacksmith.  In his spare time the apprentice studied and learned to read Greek and Latin.  Eventually he became a teacher.

The Church Missionary Society accepted Horden’s application on May 10, 1851; 23 years old was not too young.  The Society assigned him to Moose Factory, Rupert’s Land, and advised him to prepare quickly for departure.  On May 28 our saint married his beloved, Elizabeth Baker Oke (1826-1908), a teacher.  Before departing Horden began to study the Cree language.  In June the couple sailed for North America; our saint continued his linguistic studies during the voyage.

The Hordens arrived at Moose Factory, at the southern end of Hudson’s Bay, in August 1851.  John’s duties included teaching the catechism, serving as the superintendent of schools, and reading scripture in services on Sundays.  Elizabeth’s duties included teaching Cree women and serving as the superintendent of girls’ schools.  John also worked among employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company, built a school-house, and repaired a church building.  Our saint, ordained a priest on August 24, 1852, translated the Gospels and The Book of Common Prayer into the Cree language and prepared a Cree-language hymnal.  Our saint, who mastered several indigenous languages, also helped to prepare Inuit-language religious materials.

The Hordens endured hardships and grief.  They had six children, only one of whom lived past infancy.  The couple lived at a remote location, among rugged circumstances, and had to contend with a series of diseases.  Furloughs in England provided some respite from their difficulties, but they spent most of 1851-1893 in Moose Factory and the wilds of Canada.  Horden, consecrated the first Bishop of Moosonee in England on December 15, 1872, tended to his vast diocese.  He founded churches and traveled to visitations, frequently via dog teams in harsh weather.  He also wrote a Cree-language grammar and completed his translation of the Bible into Cree.

Our saint died at Moose Factory, Ontario, on January 12, 1893.  He was 64 years old.

Many of those churches continue to exist.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Creator God, whose hands hold the storehouses of the snow and the gates of the sea,

and from whose Word springs forth all that is:

We bless your holy Name for the intrepid witness of your missionary John Horden,

who followed your call to serve the Cree and Inuit nations of the North.

In all the places we travel, may we, like him, proclaim the Good News

and draw all into communion with you through your Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit; who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

Numbers 10:29-36

Psalm 107:35-43

Acts 6:1-7

Luke 5:1-11

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 119

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Feast of Robert McDonald (December 15)   Leave a comment

flag-of-the-northwest-territories

Above:  The Flag of the Northwest Territories

Image in the Public Domain

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ROBERT MCDONALD (NOVEMBER 7, 1829-AUGUST 29, 1913)

Anglican Priest and Missionary 

Anglican Church of Canada feast day = August 30

Episcopal Church feast day = December 15

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Robert McDonald was of Scottish and Ojibwa ancestry.  He, born at Point Douglas, Manitoba, on November 7, 1829, was a son of Neil McDonald and Ann Logan.  Until the age of 15 years our saint attended Red River Academy.  Then, for four years, he worked on the family farm.  At age 19 McDonald began to teach at Norway House, a Methodist mission.  Later he studied at St. John’s College.

McDonald became an Anglican missionary among the indigenous people of British North America (later Canada).  He, ordained to the diaconate on December 15, 1852, became a priest the following June.  In October 1853 our saint took charge of Islington Mission, on the Winnipeg River.  At Islington Mission McDonald began to translate the Bible, focusing on the minor prophets at first.

In 1862 the Church Missionary Society convinced our saint to found a mission at Fort Yukon (in Alaska after the settlement of a border dispute in 1872).  He worked among members of the Tinjiyzoo Nation, translated works from English into Tudukh (a dialect of Gwitch’in), discovered gold in the Yukon, and became the first missionary in the Klondike region.  In 1872 McDonald relocated to Fort McPherson, on the Peel River, in the Northwest Territories.  There he remained until his retirement, in 1904.

Our saint’s partner in life, love, and ministry, starting on November 7, 1876, was Julia Kuttag, a Gwich’in.  The couple had nine children.  Husband and wife translated the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer into Tudukh.  They also prepared a Tudukh hymnal.  McDonald shared the translations freely with Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox priests.  He also baptized more than 2000 people.

McDonald retired from the Church Missionary Society in 1904 and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.  In retirement he prepared a grammar and dictionary (1911) of the Tudukh dialect, having already developed the alphabet for that tongue.  Our saint died at Winnipeg on August 29, 1913.  He was 84 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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God of ice, sea and sky, you called your servant Robert McDonald

and made him strong to endure all hardships for the sake of serving you in the Arctic:

Send us forth as laborers into your harvest, that by patience in our duties

and compassion in our dealings, many may be gathered to your kingdom;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you

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

Isaiah 66:18-23

Psalm 57:4-11

1 Thessalonians 1:2-8

Luke 9:1-6

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 121

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Feast of Ralph Wardlaw (December 15)   1 comment

Glasgow Bridge

Above:  Glasgow Bridge, Glasgow, Scotland, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-07598

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RALPH WARDLAW (DECEMBER 22, 1779-DECEMBER 15, 1853)

Scottish Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist

He had a powerful mind,  was a doughty controversialist on the chief problems of his time, and published a number of theological, expository works.

James Moffatt, The Handbook to the Church Hymnary–Revised Edition (1927), page 529

Ralph Wardlaw came from a Scottish Presbyterian family.  His father was a merchant and a magistrate of Glasgow.  His mother descended from the Reverend Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754), who broke away from The Church of Scotland in 1733 ad founded the Associate Presbytery (the United Secession Church).  (The United Secession Church merged into the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland (1847-1900), which became part of the United Free Church of Scotland (1900-1929), which reunited with The Church of Scotland.)  Wardlaw studied the arts at Glasgow University before turning his attention to theology at the Theological Hall of the United Secession Church.

Then our saint became a Congregationalist.  He joined the Congregational Union of Scotland (1812-2000), which merged into The United Reformed Church (1972-).  Wardlaw served one church in Glasgow.  In 1811 he helped to found the theological seminary of the Congregational Union; he taught there for about forty years.  (His roles as pastor and professor overlapped temporally.)  Chorley turned down positions elsewhere to remain in Glasgow.  He published many works of theology, opposed the African slave trade, wrote hymns, and compiled a hymnal.  He prepared A Selection of Hymns for Public Worship (1803), which contained eleven of his hymns and ran to thirteen editions, to replace the poorly edited Collection of Hymns for the Use of the Tabernacles in Scotland (1800).

Chorley died at Glasgow on December 15, 1853.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Ralph Wardlaw)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Henry Fothergill Chorley (December 15)   1 comment

London Bridge

Above:  Tower of London, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08569

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HENRY FOTHERGILL CHORLEY (DECEMBER 15, 1808-FEBRUARY 16, 1872)

English Novelist, Playwright, and Literary and Music Critic

Henry Fothergill Chorley found his vocation and succeeded in it.

Chorley came from a Quaker family of Lancashire, England.  His father was a lock manufacturer who died four years after going  bankrupt.  An uncle, one Dr. Retter of Liverpool, gave young Chorley an office job.  That paid pills, but our saint had musical and literary interests, so some cousins encouraged him to become a writer.

He did so.  In 1830 Chorley started writing for The Athenaeum, a literary magazine which existed from 1828 to 1921.  Three years later he joined the editorial staff.  Eventually our saint wrote music criticism and literary reviews.  He left The Athenaeum in 1868 and became a music critic for The Times of London.  Chorley favored the music of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) and Louis Spohr (1784-1859) yet not that of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), Robert Schumann (1810-1856), and Richard Wagner (1813-1883).  On the literary side, our saint, a friend of Charles Dickens (1812-1870), wrote novels, dramas, opera librettos, and other works.  His books included the following:

  1. Music and Manners in France and Germany (1841);
  2. Pomfret (1845);
  3. Modern German Music (1854);
  4. Roccabella (1859);
  5. The Prodigy (1866); and
  6. The National Music of the World (published posthumously, 1880).

Chorley also wrote hymns.  Among them was “God the All-Terrible!” (1842), which has become part of “God the Omnipotent,” a composite text.

Chorley died at London on February 16, 1872.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES

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

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Henry Fothergill Chorley and all others]

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

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

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Thomas Benson Pollock (December 15)   Leave a comment

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Above:  St. Alban’s Church, Highgate, Birmingham, England

Image Source = Oosoom

Confirmation Here:  http://www.saintalban.co.uk/

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THOMAS BENSON POLLOCK (MAY 28, 1836-DECEMBER 15, 1896)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

Thomas Benson Pollock, born at Strathallan, Isle of Man, attended Trinity College, Dublin, where, in 1855, he won the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for English Verse.  Our saint studied medicine yet took Holy Orders instead in 1861.  He served as the Curate of St. Luke’s, Leek, Staffordshire, then as the Curate of St. Thomas, Stamford Hills, London, before, in 1865, becoming the Curate of St. Alban’s, Birmingham, where his brother, James Samuel Pollock, was the Vicar.  St. Alban’s was a large mission in a poor part of the city.  It operated a school and maintained a relatively large staff while depending on outside donations to finance the operations.  This was a demanding place to serve as a priest.  Our saint remained there for three decades, spending the last ten months as Vicar, having succeeded his deceased brother.  But finally our saint had to lay down his burden; he had overworked himself.

St. Alban’s became a High Church bastion.  This fact proved sufficiently controversial to lead to the threat of mob violence.  That putting out more candles, bowing to altars and crosses, etc., inspired some people to contemplate committing violence disturbs me and tells me more about them than about the congregation.  Those people with violent tendencies did have an alternative:  going elsewhere quietly.

Our saint was an ardent liturgist.  He served on the committee of Hymns Ancient and Modern and wrote metrical litanies published in Metrical Litanies for Special Services and General Use.  He also edited The Gospeller, the St. Alban’s parish magazine, in which he published some hymns.  Among his litanies/hymns was “Jesus, with Thy Church Abide.”  I have found partial versions in different hymnals.  A five-verse version is in Pilgrim Hymnal (1958), a ten-verse version is in The Hymnal 1940, and an eighteen-verse version is here:  http://www.hymnary.org/text/jesus_with_thy_church_abide.

Thomas Benson Pollock spent most of his priesthood and half his life performing difficult and necessary work for the glory of God and the benefit of others.  When he could do it no longer, he stopped.  Our saint had earned his retirement.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, 1957

THE FEAST OF JAMES WELDON JOHNSON, POET AND NOVELIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

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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 to 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

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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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)

  • 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

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; brother of 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
  • Rafal Chylinski, Polish Franciscan Roman Catholic Priest

3 (Maruthas, Roman Catholic Bishop of Maypherkat and Missionary to Persia)

  • Amilie Juliane, Countess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Francis Xavier, Roman Catholic Missionary to the Far East
  • 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
  • Osmund of Salisbury, Roman Catholic Bishop

5 (Clement of Alexandria, Father of Christian Scholarship)

  • Cyran, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • 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
  • Henry Ustick Onderdonk, Episcopal Bishop, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • Philip and Daniel Berrigan, Roman Catholic Priests and Social Activists

7 (Maria Josepha Rossello, Cofounder of the Daughters of Our Lady of Pity)

  • Anne Ross Cousin, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Emma Francis, Lutheran Deaconess in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Harlem
  • Georg Friedrich Hellstrom, Dutch-German Moravian Musician, Composer, and Educator
  • 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
  • John Greenleaf Whittier, U.S. Quaker Abolitionist, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Marin Shkurti, Albanian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1969

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

  • Olivier Messiaen, Claire Delbos, and Yvonne Loriod, French Roman Catholic Musicians and Composers
  • Peter Fourier, “The Good Priest of Mattaincourt;” and Alix Le Clerc, Foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of Saint Augustine

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

  • Howell Elvet Lewis, Welsh Congregationalist Clergyman and Poet
  • John Roberts, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • 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
  • 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

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
  • Fred D. Gealy, U.S. Methodist Minister, Missionary, Musician, and Biblical Scholar
  • John of the Cross, Roman Catholic Mystic and Carmelite Friar

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

  • 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

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 Howard Bishop, Founder of the Glenmary Home Missioners

20 (Dominic of Silos, Roman Catholic Abbot)

  • D. Elton Trueblood, U.S. Quaker Theologian
  • Michal Piasczynski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940

21 (THOMAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR)

22 (Frederick 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 St. Paul the Apostle

23 (John of Kanty, Roman Catholic Theologian)

  • Antonio Caldara, Roman Catholic Composer and Musician
  • 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

29 (FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • 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
  • John Main, Anglo-Canadian Roman Catholic Priest and Monk
  • Frances Joseph-Gaudet, African-American Educator, Prison Reformer, and Social Worker
  • William Adams Brown, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, and Social Reformer

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.

Third Sunday of Advent, Year A   Leave a comment

Above:  The Visitation, from an Illustrated Manuscript

Stir-Up Sunday

DECEMBER 11, 2016

DECEMBER 15, 2019

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FIRST READING:  Isaiah 35:1-10 (New Revised Standard Version):

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,

the desert shall rejoice and blossom;

like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,

and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,

the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the LORD,

the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,

and make firm the feeble knees.

Say to those who are of a fearful heart,

Be strong, do not fear!

Here is your God.

He will come with vengeance,

with terrible recompense.

He will come and save you.

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

then the lame shall leap like a deer,

and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,

and streams in the desert;

the burning sand shall become a pool,

and the thirsty ground springs of water;

the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,

the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,

and it shall be called the Holy Way;

the unclean shall not travel on it,

but it shall be for God’s people;

no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.

No lion shall be there,

nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;

they shall not be found there,

but the redeemed shall walk there.

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,

and come to Zion with singing;

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;

they shall obtain joy and gladness,

and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

RESPONSE (TWO OPTIONS):

Psalm 146 (New Revised Standard Version):

Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD, O my soul!

I will praise the LORD as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,

in mortals, in whom there is no help.

When their breath departs, they return to the earth;

on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose help is the LORD their God,

who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them;

who keeps faith forever;

who executes justice for the oppressed;

who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;

the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.

The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;

the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over the strangers;

he upholds the orphan and the widow,

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The LORD will reign forever,

your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the LORD!

Canticle 15 (The Magnificat), from The Book of Common Prayer, page 91:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed;

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him

in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,

he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,

and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,

for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

The promise he made to our fathers,

to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.  Amen.

SECOND READING:  James 5:7-10 (New Revised Standard Version):

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

GOSPEL:  Matthew 11:2-11 (New Revised Standard Version):

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him,

Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?

Jesus answered them,

Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John:

What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you

who will prepare your way before you.”

Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

The Collect:

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

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 The Third Sunday of Advent is Stir-Up Sunday, from the opening words of the collect.  The prayer asks to God to send divine power among us , to help and deliver us, who cannot perform either task on our own behalf.  The readings for this Sunday tell of what happens when God’s power is unleashed:  deserts bloom, the mighty fall, the humble are exalted, and exiles return home.  All this is wonderful, except from the vantage point of the mighty whom God has cast down from their thrones.

When I ponder these readings, especially the Magnificat, I cannot help but wonder how certain politicians and pundits with whom I disagree profoundly might handle the content.  Might they accuse the texts of engaging in class warfare?  Well, class welfare is part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For that matter, an unregulated or barely regulated corporate economy contradicts the teachings of the Old and New Testaments, from the Hebrew Prophets to Jesus.  I cannot escape the fact that the Bible teaches nothing less than Christian Socialism.

Here I stand; I can do no other.

KRT

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A NOTE CONCERNING THE SUBSEQUENT DEVOTIONS FOR ADVENT

The Episcopal Church’s lectionary for Advent lays out sets of readings as follows:

  1. The First Sunday of Advent (Separate readings for Years A, B, and C, according to the Revised Common Lectionary)
  2. The First Week of Advent (Monday-Saturday)
  3. The Second Sunday of Advent (Separate readings for Years A, B, and C, according to the Revised Common Lectionary)
  4. The Second Week of Advent (Monday-Saturday)
  5. The Third Sunday of Advent (Separate readings for Years A, B, and C, according to the Revised Common Lectionary)
  6. The Third Week of Advent (Monday-Friday)
  7. December 17-24 (Readings designated per date)
  8. The Fourth Sunday of Advent (Separate readings for Years A, B, and C, according to the Revised Common Lectionary)

There can be as many as 29 days in Advent.  Consider the following facts:

  1. The First Sunday of Advent can fall no earlier than November 27 and no later than December 3.
  2. Ergo the Fourth Sunday of Advent can fall no earlier than December 18 and no later than December 24.

So the following statements are accurate:

  1. In all years the first fifteen days of Advent will fall according to the pattern:  First Sunday of Advent–First Week of Advent (Monday-Saturday)–Second Sunday of Advent–Second Week of Advent (Monday-Saturday)–Third Sunday of Advent.
  2. After that the variations begin to occur.   One might read all or some or none of the lections for the Third Week of Advent (Monday-Friday), depending on the dates of the Sundays of Advent.  Also, at least one Sunday will fall within the December 17-24 timeframe.

I will write and publish 29 (the maximum possible number) Advent devotions on this blog.  Some days will have two devotions, then, but that can only be good.

Pax vobiscum,

KRT