Archive for the ‘December 31’ 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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That Old Sweet Song of Angels   Leave a comment

nativity-and-annunciation-to-the-shepherds

Above:  Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds

Image in the Public Domain

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Long ago the angels vanished–

But their song is sounding still!

Millions now with hope are singing,

“Peace on earth, to men good will.”

Sing, my heart!  Tho’ peace may tarry,

Sing good will mid human strife!

Till that old sweet song of angels

Shall attune to heav’n our life.

–William Allen Knight (1863-1957), “Come, My Heart, Canst Thou Not Hear It” (1915), quoted in The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935), Hymn #77

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Part of the mystery of the Incarnation is its counterintuitive nature:  a vulnerable baby was God incarnate.  This truth demonstrates the reality that God operates differently than we frequently define as feasible and effective.  Then again, Jesus was, by dominant human expectations, a failure.  I would never claim that Jesus was a failure, of course.

If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat;

and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink;

for you will heap coals of fire on their heads,

and the LORD will reward you.

–Proverbs 25:22, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

Speaking of counterintuitive ways of God, shall we ponder the advice of St. Paul the Apostle in Romans 12:14-21?

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.

The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

That old sweet song of angels will not attune to heaven our life if we ignore this sage advice–if we fail to overcome evil with good.  How we treat others indicates more about what kind of people we are than about what kind of people they are.  If we react against intolerance with intolerance, we are intolerant.  We also add fuel to the proverbial fire.  Is not a fire extinguisher better?

As the Master said,

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?  Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–Matthew 5:43-48, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

Perfection, in this case, indicates suitability for one’s purpose, which is, in the language of the Westminster Shorter Catechism,

to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

–Quoted in The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, The Book of Confessions (1967)

As the annual celebration of the birth of Christ approaches again, may we who follow him with our words also follow him with our deeds:  may we strive for shalom on a day-to-day basis.  Only God can save the world, but we can leave it better than we found it.

Merry Christmas!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 21, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Feast of Rossiter Worthington Raymond (December 31)   1 comment

Rossiter_worthington_raymond_photo

Above:  Rossiter Worthington Raymond

Image in the Public Domain

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ROSSITER WORTHINGTON RAYMOND (APRIL 27, 1840-DECEMBER 31, 1918)

U.S. Poet, Novelist, Mining Engineer, Attorney, and Congregationalist Hymn Writer

The purpose of this post is to explain the life of an accomplished man.  A full accounting of his life, with all the honors he received and the beneficial deeds he committed would require a lengthy book.  (A link to a short one is here.)  This post, however, can contain the essential flavor of the life of this great man.

Rossiter Worthington Raymond entered the world at Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 27, 1840.  His parents were Robert Raikes Raymond (1817-1888) and Mary Anne Pratt Raymond.  Robert, who had been a conductor on the Underground Railroad, went on to edit a newspaper, teach English at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and serve as the Principal of the Boston School of Oratory.  His publications included the following:

  1. The Patriotic Speaker:  Consisting of Specimens of Modern Eloquence, Together with Poetic Extracts Adapted for Recitation, and Dramatic Pieces for Exhibitions (1864);
  2. The Case of the Rev. E. B. Fairfield; Being an Examination of His “Review of the Case of Henry Ward Beecher,” Together with His “Reply” and a Rejoiner (1874);
  3. Shakespeare for the Young Folk (1881); and
  4. Melody in Speech:  A Book of Principle, Precept, and Practice in Inflection and Emphasis (published posthumously and edited by our saint, 1893).

Our saint was a well-educated man.  He attended school at Syracuse, New York, before moving on to the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (Class of 1858); the Royal Mining Academy at Freiberg, Saxony; the University of Heidelberg; and the University of Munich.  He served in the United States Army as an aide-de-camp to General John C. Fremont during the Civil War.  Then our saint really put his education to use.

Raymond was an excellent mining engineer.

  1. He worked as an engineer in private practice for a few years before becoming the editor of the American Journal of Mining in 1867.  In that capacity (through 1890) our saint criticized corrupt and inefficient mining corporations.
  2. For eight years (1868-1876) Raymond served as the U.S. Commissioner of Mining Statistics.  He wrote excellent reports to Congress.  These documents remain essential historical documents.
  3. In the 1860s Raymond helped to found the American Mining Bureau, forerunner of the American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME), which he also helped to found.  Our saint served the AIME as a Vice President in 1871, 1876, and 1877, as the President in 1872-1875, and a the Secretary from 1884 to 1911.  In 1945 the AIME established the Rossiter Worthington Raymond Award for the best paper by a member younger than 33 years old.
  4. Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, awarded Raymond an honorary doctorate in 1868.  He was Professor of Ore Deposits there from 1870 to 1882.
  5. Our saint participated in the modernization of Japan for a quarter of a century.  Thus, in 1911, the Japanese government made him a Chevalier of the Order of the Rising Sun, Fourth Class, the highest honor it gave foreign commoners.
  6. He was also an expert in mining law, advising the U.S. Supreme Court prior to becoming an attorney in 1898.  In 1903 Raymond became a Lecturer on Mining Law at Columbia University, New York, New York.
  7. Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, awarded him the Doctor of Laws degree in 1906.

Raymond’s engineering skills extended to areas beyond mining.  From 1885 to 1889, for example, he served as one of the New York state commissioners of electrical subways for Brooklyn.

Our saint, for half a century the Sunday School superintendent at Plymouth Congregational Church, Brooklyn, New York, wrote hymns, most of which have fallen out of favor with hymnal committees.  I have added one of these texts, “Far Out on the Desolate Billow,” to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  Among his other hymns was the following text for the Feast of the Epiphany:

There’s a beautiful star, a beautiful star,

That weary trav’lers have followed afar;

Shining so brightly all the way,

Till it stood o’er the place where the young Child lay.

Refrain:

Star, star, beautiful star!

Pilgrims weary we are;

To Jesus, to Jesus,

We follow thee from afar.

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In the land of the East, in the shadows of night,

We saw the glory of thy new light;

Telling to us, in our distant home,

The Lord, our Redeemer, to earth had come!

Refrain

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We have gold for tribute and gifts for prayer,

Sweet incense, myrrh, and spices rare:

All that we have we hither bring,

To lay it with joy at the feet of the King.

Refrain

Raymond‘s books and other publications in various genres included the following:

  1. The Mines of the West:  A Report to the Secretary of the Treasury (1869);
  2. Mineral Resources of the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1869);
  3. Statistics of Mines and Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1870)
  4. Statistics of Mines and Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1871)
  5. Statistics of Mines and Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1872);
  6. An Address at the Dedication of Pardee Hall, Lafayette College, October 21, 1873 (1873);
  7. Brave Hearts (1873);
  8. Statistics of Mines and Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1873);
  9. Silver and Gold:  An Account of the Mining and Metallurgical Industry of the United States, with Reference Chiefly to the Precious Metals (1873);
  10. The Man in the Moon and Other People (1874);
  11. Statistics of Mines and Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1874);
  12. Statistics of Mines and Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1875)
  13. Statistics of Mines and Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1876);
  14. Statistics of Mines and Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1877);
  15. The Book of Job:  Essays and a Metrical Paraphrase (1878);
  16. The Merry-Go-Round (1880);
  17. Camp and Cabin:  Sketches of Life and Travel in the West (1880);
  18. A Glossary of Mining and Metallurgical Terms (1881);
  19. The Life of Peter Cooper (1897);
  20. Mining Law in British Columbia, Mexico, and the United States (1897)
  21. Introduction to The New Puritanism (1898);
  22. Biographical notice in The Genesis of Ore Deposits (1902);
  23. The Feast of Lights (1910); and
  24. Christus Consolator, and Other Poems (1916).

Our saint, who completed many tasks in a myriad of contexts with excellence, died of heart failure at Brooklyn on December 31, 1918.  He was 78 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 31, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Rossiter Worthington Raymond and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for December   Leave a comment

Poinsettia

Image Source = Andre Karwath

THIS IS THE RESET MODE OF THE DECEMBER CALENDAR, AFTER I HAVE CHANGED DATES AND BEFORE I FINISH ADDING SAINTS AS PART OF THE PROCESS OF RENOVATING MY ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS.

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

  • 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 (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

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

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

  • Bernard of Parma, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • John Calabria, Founder of the Congregation of the Poor Servants and the Poor Women Servants of Divine Providence
  • Joseph Mohr, Austrian Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • 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, Roman Catholic 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
  • Georg Friedrich Hellstrom, Dutch-German Moravian Musician, Composer, and Educator
  • William Gustave Polack, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer and Translator

8 (Martin Rinckart, German Lutheran Hymn Writer and Archdeacon of Eilenburg)

  • Amatus of Luxeuil and Romaric of Luxeuil, Roman Catholic Monks and Abbots
  • Erik Christian Hoff, Norwegian Lutheran Composer and Organist
  • Walter Ciszek, Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Political Prisoner

9 (Peter Fourier, “The Good Priest of Mattaincourt;” and Alix Le Clerc, Foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Canonesses Regular of Saint Augutine)

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
  • Severin Ott, Roman Catholic Monk

12 (Jane Frances de Chantal, Founder of the Congregation of the Visitation)

  • Bartholomew Buonpedoni and Vivaldus, Ministers among Lepers
  • Ludwik Bartosik, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941
  • William Lloyd Garrison, Abolitionist and Feminist; and Maria Stewart, Abolitionist, Feminist, and 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

14 (Venantius Honorius Clementius Fortunatus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Poitiers)

  • Dorothy Ann Thrupp, English Hymn Writer
  • John of the Cross, Roman Catholic Mystic

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)

  • Frank Mason North, U.S. Methodist Minister
  • Mary Cornelia Bishop Gates, U.S. Dutch Reformed Hymn Writer

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)

  • Robert Campbell, Scottish Episcopalian then Roman Catholic Social Advocate and Hymn Writer

20 (Dominic of Silos, Roman Catholic Abbot)

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
  • Thomas Cotterill, English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Liturgist

30 (SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Allen Eastman Cross, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Frances Joseph-Gaudet, Prison Reformer

31 (SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • New Year’s Eve
  • Rossiter Worthington Raymond, U.S. Novelist, Poet, Hymn Writer, and Mining Engineer

 

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

New Year’s Eve (December 31)   Leave a comment

Above:   New Year’s Eve, Sydney, Australia

Calendars are of human origin, and therefore artificial.  Yet they are useful in marking time and providing temporal milestones.  December 31 and January 1 are two of the more useful temporal milestones, for they mark the end of a year and the beginning of a new one, respectively.  These are excellent times to reflect on what has past and what might follow.

My hope and prayer for everyone is that the year that follows will be better than the one that has expired.  My standard for “better” is God:  What does God want for you?  May you have that.  May you come nearer to where you ought to be (in every way) than where you are now.

KRT

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From Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

Eternal God, you have placed us in a world of space and time, and through the events in our lives you bless us with your love.  Grant that in the new year we may know your presence, see your love at work, and live in the light of the event that gives us joy forever–the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

Psalm 8

Revelation 21:1-6a

Matthew 25:31-46

Posted September 15, 2009 by neatnik2009 in December 31

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