Archive for the ‘December’ Category

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 Henry Budd (December 22)   Leave a comment

henry-budd

Above:  Henry Budd

Image in the Public Domain

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HENRY BUDD (CIRCA 1812-APRIL 2, 1875)

First Anglican Native Priest in North America; Missionary to the Cree Nation

The Book of Alternative Services (the Anglican Church of Canada, 1985) lists April 2 as the feast of “Henry Budd, First Canadian Native Priest, 1850.”  Budd’s feast, introduced to The Episcopal Church in 2009 and first included in Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), falls on December 22.  A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016) retains his feast on that date.  Both volumes list him as “Henry Budd, Priest, 1875.”

Sakachuwescum (literally “Going Up the Hill”), baptized as Henry Budd, became the first Native American ordained to priesthood in North America (in 1850).  In contrast, The Episcopal Church (in the U.S.A.) ordained Enmegahbowh (died in 1902), of the Odawa (Ottawa) Nation to the diaconate in 1859 and the priesthood in 1867.  Another pioneer in the U.S.A. was David Pendleton Oakerhater (circa 1851-1931), of the Cheyenne Nation; he, ordained deacon in 1881, never became a priest.  Budd’s date of birth has remained unknown; sources have listed his year of birth as either 1810 or 1812.  His father died circa 1811.  Our saint’s mother was Washesooesquew, a.k.a. Mary Budd.  Our saint, orphaned, attended a mission school backed by the Hudson’s Bay Company in Rupert’s Land.  His spiritual mentor in the Red River Colony was the Reverend John West (1778-1845; Canadian Anglican feast day = December 31), Church of England missionary and founder of the colony. Budd, a member of the Cree Nation, worked as a clerk for the Hudson’s Bay Company before embarking upon religious vocations.

Budd joined the Church Missionary Society (CMS).  At first he worked as a teacher n what is now Manitoba.  In 1836 he married Elizabeth “Betsy” Work (1820-1874), of Irish and Cree ancestry.  They had six children.  In 1837 the CMS sent Budd to lead the Day School at the Upper Church in the Red River Valley.  Three years later the CMS transferred our saint to The Pas (now in Manitoba) to establish a new mission.  He was a productive missionary who improved the lives of his fellow Cree physically and spiritually.  He remained there for a decade.

On December 22, 1850 (hence Budd’s feast day in The Episcopal Church) our saint became a priest.  The CMS, which paid him half the salary of a white missionary, sent him to Nipowewin (now Nipawin, Saskatchewan), where he remained until 1867.  Then Budd returned to The Pas, where he lived for the rest of his life.  Throughout his missionary career he endured the elements and physical injuries, buried his wife and several of his children, and covered vast territories.  Budd also translated The Book of Common Prayer and the Bible into Cree.

Our saint died at The Pas on April 2, 1875 (hence his Canadian Anglican feast day).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF ANNE STEELE, FIRST IMPORTANT ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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Creator of light, we thank you for your priest Henry Budd,

who carried the great treasure of Scripture to his people and the Cree Nation,

earning their trust and love.  Grant that his example may call us to

reverence, orderliness, and love, that we may give you glory in word and action;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 11:1-6, 14, 17

Psalm 29

1 Thessalonians 5:13-18

John 14:15-21

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 131

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Feast of Raoul Wallenberg (December 19)   Leave a comment

raoul-wallenberg

Above:  Raoul Wallenberg

Image in the Public Domain

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RAOUL GUSTAV WALLENBERG (AUGUST 4, 1912-JULY 17, 1947?)

Righteous Gentile

Raoul Wallenberg was a merely decent human being.

Robert Ellsberg explains:

Unlike many rescuers, Wallenberg left no record of soul-searching, conversion, or even profound reflection on the meaning of his efforts.  He did not come from a particularly religious family, and his privileged upbringing had fairly insulated him from much contact with suffering.  He simply rose to the ethical demands of the situation as though it were the self-evident duty of a human being.  He did what needed to be done.  The Nazis did not know what to make of this.  More than once it seems they put the question to him:  “Why would a Christian go to such trouble to save some Jews?”  There is no record of his ever having dignified the question with a reply.

All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), pages 556-557

Wallenberg, born at Lidingo, Sweden, on August 4, 1912, came from a prominent family that included bankers and industrialists.  He, an excellent student, preferred architecture and commerce to banking, the profession for which certain members of his family were grooming him.  After graduating from high school and serving the mandatory eight months in the Swedish Army our saint studied architecture at the University of Michigan from 1931 to 1935.  He graduated with honors then returned to Sweden briefly.  Wallenberg’s grandfather sent him to work at a building materials firm in Cape Town, South Africa, for six months.  Then the grandfather arranged for our saint to work in a Dutch bank office in Haifa, Palestine.  There the part-Jewish Wallenberg encountered Jews who had escaped from Germany.

The Protestant Wallenberg returned to Sweden in 1936.  Eventually he became a joint owner and international director of the Mid-European Trading Company.  In that capacity he traveled across Europe.  In July 1944 our saint arrived in Budapest, Hungary.  Officially, he was part of the Swedish legation there.  He was actually in Hungary because of a diplomatic agreement between the governments of Sweden and the United States; he was associated with the U.S. War Refugee Board.

Wallenberg saved the lives of many Jews in Budapest.  By the time he arrived the Hungarian Jewish population, once nearly 750,000, had shrunk to about 230,000.  Our saint distributed Swedish passports to many of them and helped them leave the country.  He also protected Jews by bribing, browbeating, and threatening to blackmail Hungarian government officials, who were subject to the Nazis.  Our saint also confronted Adolf Eichmann, the chief architect of the Holocaust.  Wallenberg’s diplomatic status protected him for a few months.

Then that protection failed.  He could have left Hungary with other diplomats in December 1944, but our saint remained behind to protect Jews he could not get out of the country.  The NKVD arrested him on January 16, 1945; they thought he was a spy for the United States of America.  The last confirmed sighting of Wallenberg alive was on the following day.  According to Soviet government sources, our saint died of a heart attack on July 17, 1947.  A revised version of the story retained the date of death but changed the cause of death to execution.  Nevertheless, reports of him being alive continued into the 1960s.

Wallenberg laid down his life for strangers in a foreign land.  He made the supreme sacrifice for his neighbors.  His deeds revealed his creed.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF ANNE STEELE, FIRST IMPORTANT ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Raoul Wallenberg, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

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

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Chico Mendes (December 19)   Leave a comment

mendes

Above:  Ilza and Chico Mendes

Image Source = Miranda Smith, Miranda Productions, Inc.

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FRANCISCO ALVES MENDES FILHO (DECEMBER 15, 1944-DECEMBER 22, 1988)

“Gandhi of the Amazon”

The Amazon rainforest is crucial to the well-being of the global ecosystem; this is a scientific fact.  Another fact is that both are in peril due to greed and short-term thinking.  A third fact is the mounting body count as certain landowners and their agents murder defenders of the rainforest.  This post tells the story of one of those martyrs.

Francisco Alves “Chico” Mendes Filho, born at Xapuri, Acre, Brazil, on December 15, 1944, was a lifelong rubber tapper in the Amazon rainforest.  He was a son of rubber tappers, his father having moved from northeastern to northwestern Brazil in 1943 to become part of the “rubber tapper army” supplying rubber to the Allies during World War II.  One did not become wealthy performing this work, so Mendes grew up a part of the working poor.

Our saint, influenced by his Roman Catholic faith and by Liberation Theology in particular, resisted non-violently the burning of parts of the rainforest for the purpose of clearing the land for cattle ranching or other reasons.  In 1977 he founded a union of rubber tappers.  This threatened the interests of many landowners, some of whom not only threatened but committed or authorized violence.  Mendes knew that someone might kill him, but he persisted in his efforts anyway.  His widow, Ilzamar “Ilza” Gadelha Mendes, recalled:

Sometimes I’d say to Chico, “Chico, they’re going to kill you!  Why don’t you take care of yourself and go away?”  But Chico wasn’t afraid of death.  He told me that we would never stop defending the Amazon forest–never!

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), page 558

Mendes came to understand the link between the “cry of the poor” and the “cry of the Earth”:

At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees, then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest.  Now I realize I am fighting for humanity.”

–Quoted in The Guardian, December 20, 2013

In 1987 the United Nations recognized Mendes with its Global 500 Award for Environmental Protection.  Shortly thereafter the Brazilian government declared four areas of the Amazon rainforest protected.  Mendes had protection too, at least theoretically.  On December 22, 1988, he was home when rancher Darcy Alves killed him.  The police officers assigned to guard Mendes were playing dominoes at the kitchen table.  Alves likened murdering Mendes to shooting a jaguar.

Ilza stated later:

Chico had a lot of faith.  When he died, I was filled with despair.  But God comforted me and inspired me to work alongside others to carry on Chico’s work.  They killed him, but they didn’t kill his idealism or crush the struggle.

–Quoted in Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), pages 558-559

The struggle continues.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 9, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROSWELL, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHANN(ES) MATTHAUS MEYFART, GERMAN LUTHERAN EDUCATOR AND DEVOTIONAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF MARTIN CHEMNITZ, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

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God of grace and glory, you create and sustain the universe in majesty and beauty:

We thank you for Chico Mendes and all in whom you have planted

the desire to know your creation and to explore your work and wisdom.

Lead us, like them, to understand better the wonder and mystery of creation;

through Jesus Christ your eternal Word, through whom all things were made.  Amen.

Genesis 2:9-20

Psalm 34:8-14

2 Corinthians 13:1-6

John 20:24-27

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 738

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This is post #1500 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Isaac Hecker (December 18)   Leave a comment

isaac-hecker

Above:  Father Isaac Hecker

Image in the Public Domain

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ISAAC THOMAS HECKER (DECEMBER 18, 1819-DECEMBER 22, 1888)

Founder of the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle

Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), suggests commemorating the life of Isaac Hecker on December 18.

Hecker was a Roman Catholic missionary to Protestants and a witness against nativism.  He argued against traditional American anti-Roman Catholicism, for many native-born Americans thought of the Roman Catholic Church as a foreign institution incompatible with American politics and society.  Certainly Papal hostility toward constitutions in Europe seemed to affirm this perspective.  Nevertheless, the ubiquitous anti-Roman Catholicism was unquestionably bigoted.

Hecker, born in New York City, on December 18, 1819, to German immigrants, grew up a Methodist.  Methodism did not satisfy our saint, who experimented with Unitarianism, Mormonism, and Transcendentalism.  Ultimately, however, he found Holy Mother Church.  In 1844 our saint converted to Roman Catholicism.  Five years later he became a priest.  Until 1857 Hecker worked as a missionary of the Redemptionist order; he ministered to German immigrants.

Hecker perceived a different vocation, however.  He became a bridge between American society and the Roman Catholic establishment, which distrusted each other.  In 1858, with Papal permission, Hecker founded the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle.  The purpose of the new order was to convert the United States to Roman Catholicism.  The Paulist Fathers operated differently than members of other orders; they did not take vows.  Also, internal discipline was, as much as possible, to be a response to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  Although many conservative Roman Catholics considered the Paulist Fathers and their methods subversive, more liberal-minded Roman Catholics tended to be supportive.

Hecker anticipated a post-Vatican II style of Roman Catholicism, one affirming of liberty of conscience and the separation of church and state.  His death in 1888 left the order with much work left to do.  In 1928, for example, many Americans voted against Governor Al Smith, the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, because he was a Roman Catholic.  (My great-grandfather, George Washington Barrett, was among them.)  In 1960 the Roman Catholicism of John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a major issue during the presidential campaign.  Many Protestants, whether mainline or more conservative, repeated old nativistic arguments against the Roman Catholic Church.

The Paulist Fathers continue to perform the work of, in their words of their motto, “giving the Word a voice.”

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN CASPAR MATTES, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF JOHANN VON STAUPITZ, MARTIN LUTHER’S SPIRITUAL MENTOR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Isaac Hecker,

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton (December 17)   Leave a comment

420px-save_the_children_logo-svg

Above:  Logo of Save the Children

Use of Logo Allowed According to Fair Use

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EGLANTYNE JEBB (AUGUST 25, 1876-DECEMBER 17, 1928)

Cofounder of Save the Children

sister of

DOROTHY FRANCES JEBB BUXTON (MARCH 3, 1881-APRIL 8, 1963)

Cofounder of Save the Children

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Common Worship:  Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000) lists December 17 as the day to commemorate the life of Eglantyne Jebb, “Social Reformer, Founder of ‘Save the Children’, 1928.”

However, Save the Children, had two founders.

Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Frances Jebb, born on the family estate at Ellesmere, Shropshire, England, came from a wealthy family devoted to public service and possessed of a strong social conscience.  Their mother, Eglantyne Louisa Jebb (1845-1925), had founded the Home Arts and Industries Association, to reduce rural poverty, in 1884.  Their father was Arthur Trevor Jebb (1839-1894), a barrister.

Eglantyne Jebb studied history at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.  She taught at St. Peter’s Junior School, Marlborough, for just one year.  She was not on this planet to be a teacher, she concluded, but she had become more aware of childhood poverty.  Her next task was to care for her mother at Cambridge.  At Cambridge Eglantyne became involved with the Charity Organisation Society, committed to administering social services while restoring as much self-sufficiency as possible.  She also researched and wrote Cambridge:  A Study in Social Questions (1906).

Dorothy Frances Jebb married Charles Roden Buxton (1875-1942), later a Member of Parliament, in 1904.  The Buxtons were active in the Liberal Party until 1917, when they switched to the Labour Party.  The couple also converted to the Society of Friends.

The sisters founded the Fight the Famine Council in 1918.  The purpose of this organization was to feed civilians in Germany in Austria-Hungary.  The following year the sisters expanded their work and founded Save the Children, which, in the early 1920s, conducted humanitarian work in Greece and Russia.  Dorothy had two children, but Eglantyne remained single and childless voluntarily.  In fact, she referred to children as “the little wretches,” but she fed many of them.  She also drafted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1924).

Eglantyne Jebb died of goiter at Geneva, Switzerland, on December 17, 1928.  She was 52 years old.

Dorothy continued her humanitarian work.  In 1935 she traveled to Germany to investigate Nazi persecution of Christians.  Then she reported her evidence of that persecution to George Kennedy Allen Bell (1883-1958), the Bishop of Chichester.  Although she was a practicing Quaker, she understood that World War II was necessary.  After the war she campaigned on the behalf of refugees and German prisoners of war.

Dorothy Buxton died at Peaslake, near Guildford, England, on April 8, 1963.  She was 82 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN CASPAR MATTES, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF JOHANN VON STAUPITZ, MARTIN LUTHER’S SPIRITUAL MENTOR

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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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Feast of Frederick and William Temple (December 22)   3 comments

canterbury-cathedral

Above:  Canterbury Cathedral, 1910

Publisher and Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a24699

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FREDERICK TEMPLE (NOVEMBER 30, 1821-DECEMBER 22, 1902)

Archbishop of Canterbury

father of

WILLIAM TEMPLE (OCTOBER 15, 1881-OCTOBER 26, 1944)

Archbishop of Canterbury

His feast transferred from November 6

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So let us set ourselves to gain a deepening loyalty to our Anglican tradition of Catholic order, Evangelical immediacy in our approach to God, and liberal acceptance of new truth made known to us; and let us at the same time join with all our fellow Christians who will join with us in bearing witness to the claim of Christ to rule in every department of human life, and to the principles of His Kingdom.

–William Temple, April 17, 1942; quoted in Lee W. Gibbs, The Middle Way:  Voices of Anglicanism (Cincinnati, OH:  Forward Movement Publications, 1991), page 130

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The standard feast day of William Temple is November 6.  To the best of my knowledge, no ecclesiastical body lists his father, Frederick Temple, on its calendar of saints.  On this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, the two Archbishop Temples share a feast day–December 22.

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frederick-temple

Above:  Frederick Temple

Image in the Public Domain

Frederick Temple was an educator, an educational reformer, a theologian, and a minister.  He, born on November 30, 1821, debuted at Leukas (a.k.a. Santa Maura), the Ionian Islands, off the coast of Greece.  His father, Major Octavius Temple (1784-1834) was there on imperial assignment.  Our saint’s mother was Dorcas Carveth (born in 1805).  He was one of five children.  The family relocated to Corfu in 1828.  Then, in 1833, Octavius became the Lieutenant Governor of Sierra Leone, serving until he died the following year.

The death of Octavius left the family impoverished.  Frederick studied at Blundell’s School, Devonshire, from 1834 to 1839.  Then, from 1839 to 1842, he attended Baillol College, Oxford, on scholarship, studying mechanics and the classics.  He encountered Tractarians there and found himself more liberal than they were.  From 1842 to 1848 our saint worked as a lecturer then a fellow at Baillol College.  Along the way he became an Anglican deacon (1846) then priest (1847).

Frederick left Oxford in 1848.  Until 1850 he worked at the Education Office.  Then, from 1850 to 1855, he was the Principal of Kneller Hall, a training college for teachers at workhouses.  Next (until 1857) our saint inspected training colleges.  From 1857 to 1869, as the Headmaster of Rugby School, expanded the curriculum, presided over new construction, and functioned as a good example to everyone.  On the side, from 1864 to 1867, Frederick served on the Schools Enquiry Commission.

Frederick contributed an essay, The Education of the World,” to Essays and Reviews (1860), a liberal Anglican manifesto.  The volume proved to be controversial, partially because all seven authors favored freedom of inquiry in religion.  In our saint’s case, his argument irked many people and led to allegations to heresy.  He wrote of the parallels of human life (obedience during childhood, example during adolescence, and responsible freedom during adulthood) to three religious stages (the Law, the Gospels, and Pentecost).  In the last phase, Frederick wrote, humankind must be free to make decisions while drawing from all worthy sources, mainly the Bible.  Some critics accused our saint of being unduly optimistic regarding human nature and of ignoring sin and redemption.  In response to the controversy he authorized the omission of his essay from subsequent editions of Essays and Reviews.

Our saint became the Bishop of Exeter in 1869 and served until 1885.  Frederick encouraged secondary education.  he also worked hard to implement the Elementary Education Act of 1870, which expanded the reach of elementary school access and improved attendance.  Also during his tenure Frederick oversaw the creation of the Diocese of Truro from his diocese.  And, on October 15, 1881, our saint and his wife, Beatrice Blanche Lascelles, welcomed their second son, William, into the world.

During his time as Bishop of Exeter our saint published The Relations Between Religion and Science (1884).  He accepted both science and religion, acknowledging the reality of Evolution.  He had already covered much of that material in a sermon, The Present Relation of Science to Religion (1860).

From 1885 to 1896 Frederick was the Bishop of London.  During that time he advised the Archbishop of Canterbury, his friend, Edward White Benson, whom he succeeded in 1897.  When our saint became the Primate he was already going blind.  Yet he labored faithfully, attempting to settle ritualistic controversies and refuting the Papal bull (literally) regarding the invalidity of Anglican Holy Orders.  Frederick died at London on December 22, 1902.  He was 81 years old.

Another published work of our saint was “The Church’s Message to Mankind,” included in The Church’s Message to Men (1899).

Volumes about Frederick, at least in part, included the following:

  1. Archbishop Temple, Being the People’s Life of the Right Hon. and Most Rev. Frederick Temple, P.C., D.D., LL.D., Primate of All England, and Metropolitan (1903), by Charles Henry Dant;
  2. Six Great Schoolmasters (1904), by F. D. How;
  3. Memoirs of Archbishop Temple by Seven Friends (1906), edited by E. G. Sandford–Volumes I and II;
  4. Frederick Temple:  An Appreciation (1907), by E. G. Sandford, with a biographical introduction by William Temple; and
  5. The Exeter Episcopate of Archbishop Temple, 1869-1885 (1907), by E. G. Sandford.

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william-temple

Above:  William Temple

Image in the Public Domain

William Temple entered the world on October 15, 1881, when his father, then the Bishop of Exeter, was 60 years old.  Young William grew up in a financially comfortable and artistically rich family.  When his father was the Bishop of London our saint learned to play the piano and the organ.  He also attempted to learn to play the oboe and the French horn and came to consider Johann Sebastian Bach to be

the supreme master  who more than any other enables us for a few moments snatched from the passage of time to enter upon the experience of eternity.

–Quoted in Lee W. Gibbs, The Middle Way:  Voices of Anglicanism (1991), page 114

The bookworm suffered from various illnesses, such as gout, throughout his life.  He, like his father, had eye-related problems; William became blind in one eye, due to a cataract, in 1921.

William was also a natural intellectual.  He, educated at Rugby School (1894-1900) and Baillol College, Oxford (1900-1904), was a fellow and lecturer in philosophy at Queen’s College, Oxford, from 1904 to 1910.  Ordained to the diaconate in December 1909 and the priesthood in December 1910, our saint served as the Headmaster of Repton School, Derbyshire, from 1910 to 1914.

The priesthood had once been far from William’s mind, but it was his vocation.  Allegations of heresy had delayed his Holy Orders, but our saint became a simultaneously relatively orthodox and heterodox figure after his ordination.  The Incarnation occupied the center of his theology.  The Incarnation, William argued, had made the universe sacramental.  This understanding informed our saint’s opinion that one cannot properly divorce Christian doctrine from social justice.  Thus he served as the President of the Workers’ Educational Association from 1908 to 1924 and joined the Labour Party.  Christian disunity weakened the witness of the Church in the world, William knew.  Therefore he supported ecumenism in general and the Life and Work Movement (1925f) and the Faith and Order Movement (1927f), predecessors of the World Council of Churches (1948), in particular.  Our saint also favored the process that led to the formation of the Church of South India (1947).  William also supported the ordination of women to the diaconate and the priesthood as early as 1916, but struggled with the fact that the ordination of women at that time would become an obstacle to ecumenism.

William entered full-time ministry in 1914.  That year he became the Rector of St. James’ Church, Picadilly, London.  On the side he also served as honorary chaplain to King George V and to Randall Davidson, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  In 1916 our saint married Frances Anson; the couple had no children.  From 1919 to 1921 William was Canon of Westminster.  Next he served as the Bishop of Manchester (thereby becoming a successor of James Prince Lee) for eight years.  As the Bishop of Manchester our saint offended cotton magnates by seeking to resolve a general strike peacefully in 1926.  From 1929 to 1942 he was the Archbishop of York.  Then he succeeded Cosmo Lang as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

William was perhaps the most renowned Archbishop of Canterbury since the English Reformation.  He exercised the duties of the office during difficult times–World War II.  Our saint advocated for aid to Jews fleeing the Nazis, visited soldiers and sailors, broadcast sermons to soldiers and sailors, led prayer services at factories, preached on Sundays when Germans were bombing, and supported a negotiated settlement to the war.  He had to travel to and from his final public appearances in an ambulance and had to stand on one foot while speaking.

Wiliam died at Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, on October 26, 1944.  He was 63 years old.  Reinhold Niebuhr reflected:

Dr. Temple was able to relate “religious insights and social order” more vitally and creatively than any other modern Christian leader.

–Quoted in Lee W. Gibbs, The Middle Way:  Voices of Anglicanism (1991), page 113

Major published works by our saint included the following:

  1. The Nature of Personality:  A Course of Lectures (1911);
  2. “The Divinity of Christ” and “The Church” in Foundations:  A Statement of Christian Belief in Terms of Modern Thought (1913);
  3. The Faith and Modern Thought:  Six Lectures (1913);
  4. Christianity and War (1914);
  5. Theology:  The Science of Religion (1914);
  6. Studies in the Spirit and Truth of Christianity (1914);
  7. Our Need of a Catholic Church (1915);
  8. Church and Nation (1915);
  9. Plato and Christianity (1916);
  10. Mens Creatrix:  An Essay (1917);
  11. The Universality of Christ:  A Course of Lectures (1921);
  12. Life of Bishop Percival (1921);
  13. Christus Veritas (1924);
  14. Personal Religion and the Life of Fellowship (1926);
  15. Christianity and the State (1928);
  16. Nature, Man, and God (1934);
  17. Readings in St. John’s Gospel (1939 and 1940); and
  18. Christianity and the Social Order (1942).

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Understanding Frederick Temple increases one’s comprehension for his famous son.  The apple, I contend, did not fall far from the tree.  Although William Temple overshadows his father, nobody should minimize the importance of the elder.

As both Temples understood well, an excessively personalized Christianity divorced from social justice is heretical.  They were good Anglicans and therefore men rooted in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity as Jesus of Nazareth.  As I have learned, the Anglican emphasis on the Incarnation (as opposed to the Lutheran emphasis on the crucifixion) lends itself to reading John 1:1-18, especially the part about God dwelling among us, and seeking to serve God in those around us.  This point of view has led to ecclesiastical involvement in social justice movements.  This has always been orthodox; turning away from the mandate to love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself has always been heretical.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN CASPAR MATTES, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF JOHANN VON STAUPITZ, MARTIN LUTHER’S SPIRITUAL MENTOR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants Frederick Temple and William Temple,

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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