Archive for the ‘February 28’ Category

Feast of Samuel Simon Schmucker (February 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Samuel Simon Schmucker

Image in the Public Domain

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SAMUEL SIMON SCHMUCKER (FEBRUARY 28, 1799-JULY 26, 1873)

U.S. Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Social Reformer

Samuel Simon Schumucker comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

I recall, while growing up as a good United Methodist boy in rural southern Georgia, hearing people say,

There are Baptists then there are Baptists.

That principle applies to Lutherans, too; degrees of Lutheran confessionalism exist.  If one, for example, labels The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, despite its strong confessionalism and social and theological conservatism, as being too liberal, one has a selection of Lutheran denominations from which to select a church home.

Samuel Simon Schumucker changed throughout his life; he was human, after all.  Lutheranism within the United States of America also changed during his lifetime.  Schmucker effected much of that change, but other change made him, once a prominent leader, an increasingly marginal figure in many quarters.  Yet Schmucker’s legacy has remained relevant within and beyond Lutheranism in North America.

Schmucker came from a devout and large Lutheran family.  He, born in Hagerstown, Maryland, entered the world on February 28, 1779.  Our saint’s mother was Elizabeth Catherine Gross (1771-1820).  His father was the Reverend John George Schmucker (1771-1854), the President of the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States (the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, for short) in 1820 and 1821.  Our saint was one of the best-educated young Lutheran ministers in the United States.  He had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton Theological Seminary.  In 1820, when young Schmucker was preparing to assume pastoral duties in New Market, Virginia, he and his father helped to found the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America (the General Synod, in short).  The General Synod was the first national confederation of Lutheran synods in the United States.  Schmucker, who grew quickly into a leader of the General Synod, attended every convention through 1870.  At its founding, the General Synod encompassed almost all of the U.S. Lutheran Synods and the vast majority of U.S. Lutherans.  Within a few years, however, doctrinal disputes reduced the membership of the General Synod; the Ministerium of Pennsylvania defected in 1823.  (Then it rejoined in 1853 and departed again in 1867.)  Proposed union with the German Reformed Church caused another controversy in 1830.  Our saint saved the General Synod in 1823 and 1830.  Although some synods left the General Synod, others formed and affiliated with it over the years.

The General Synod was too liberal for many Lutherans in the United States in the 1800s.  This was especially ironic in the 1820s.  Our saint was relatively conservative; he advocated for an increased prominence of the Augsburg Confession (1530) in U.S. Lutheranism.  He also sought to purge all traces of Deism from U.S. Lutheranism.  Schmucker, like many Christians of his time, held an overly strict position on “worldly amusements;” the following entertainments (a few of them actually sinful), among others, were forbidden:

  1. Playing games of chance,
  2. Playing checkers,
  3. Playing chess,
  4. Casting dice,
  5. Playing cards,
  6. Listening to opera,
  7. Attending vocal performances in concert halls,
  8. Using tobacco,
  9. Consuming liquor, and
  10. Wearing fashionable clothing.

If Schmucker was too liberal, what was the standard of conservatism?  Perhaps his position that intellectual rigor was no threat to Christianity marked him as a liberal and an alleged heretic.  As time passed, so did his abolitionism, opposition to the U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848), and acceptance of Evolution.

Schmucker and his father recognized the need for a Lutheran seminary in the United States.  They helped to found Gettysburg Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in.  Schmucker, Sr., served as a trustee.  Our saint served on the faculty and as the President for nearly four decades.  The seminary gave rise to another institution, Pennsylvania College (now Gettysburg College) in 1832.

Schmucker wrote a textbook, Elements of Popular Theology, with Special Reference to the Doctrines of the Reformation, as Avowed Before the Diet at Augsburg, in MDXXX (1834).  This volume indicated our saint’s concept of orthodox Christianity.  He defined orthodox Christianity according to a common creedal core, which he defined as

fundamental doctrines of Scripture,

while eschewing overly specific creeds and allowing for disagreement in secondary matters.  Parts of some creeds were optional, Schmucker argued.  Orthodox Christianity, according to our saint, was Protestant yet did not include all Protestants.  Roman Catholics, Unitarians, Campbellites, Baptists, and Deists were not orthodox Christians, according to Schmucker.

Schmucker’s critics, starting in the 1830s, in particular, found more and more theological ammunition to use against him.  The General Synod permitted much theological latitude.  Our saint’s Eucharistic and Baptismal theology was closer to that of Calvinism than to that of Lutheranism.  (He did graduate from a Presbyterian seminary.)  He, influenced by the Second Great Awakening, was also a revivalist, to a point.  Puritanism and Pietism were prominent in his theology.  (Pietism had been part of a segment of Lutheran theology for some time by the 1800s.)  Schmucker’s “American Lutheranism” made him open to ecumenical relations with non-Lutherans he defined as orthodox.

This became evident by 1838, when Schmucker proposed church union–confederation, really–on what he called

the apostolic basis.

This plan offered six points of union:

  1. Variety in liturgy, polity, and discipline;
  2. Toleration of theological diversity within the ecclesiastical confederation;
  3. A common creed;
  4. Full communion and open communion within the ecumenical confederation;
  5. Cooperation in matters pertaining to “the common cause of Christianity;” and
  6. The Bible as the main textbook for religious and theological instruction.

Schmucker manifested other evidence of his liberalism as he aged and the General Synod became increasingly confessional and conservative, yet never sufficiently conservative, according to many U.S. Lutherans.  In 1855 our saint worked on the proposed American Rescension of the Augsburg Confession.  The controversial proposal, which most synods of the General Synod refused to accept, deleted the condemnations of non-Lutheran groups, removed mentions of baptismal regeneration, denied Consubstantiation, and argued that the Augsburg Confession (1530) contained errors.

Schmucker was also a liturgist.  He, as the head of the General Synod’s Committee on Liturgy of 1866, in lieu of the Liturgy of 1856.  The Provisional Liturgy of 1866 influenced the Washington Service (1876), which, in turn, presaged the Common Service (1888).  The Liturgy of 1856 was noteworthy for reintroducing The Apostles’ Creed (complete with “the holy Catholic Church”) to corporate worship.  A greater influence on the Common Service was the Reverend Beale Melanchton Schmucker (1827-1888), the more conservative, formalistic, and confessional son of our saint.  Beale, whose liturgical sensibilities were evident in the Ministerium of Pennsylvania’s Liturgy for Use in the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1860) and the General Council’s Church Book for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (1868), was one of the greatest experts on liturgy and liturgical development.  He was, according to accounts, a walking encyclopedia on the subjects.  He was one of the main reasons the General Council had a stronger liturgical  tradition than the General Synod.

Schmucker lived long enough to witness the General Synod divide twice.  The General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Confederate States of America organized in 1863.  This organization became the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America in 1866 then the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the South in 1876.  Ten years later, with the addition of the Tennessee Synod, the Southern General Synod became the United Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the South.  The General Synod (1820) suffered another schism in 1867, when the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America came into existence.  The merger that created The United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) in 1918 repaired the schisms of 1863 and 1867.  The General Synod (1820) moved to the right as the General Council moved to the left.  The two confederations moved toward each other.

Schmucker married three times and outlived his first two wives.  He married Eleanora Geiger (1799-1823) in 1821.  Wife number two was Mary Catharine Steenbergen (1808-1848).  Our saint’s third wife was Heisther (Esther), who died in 1882.  Schmucker fathered at least four children.

Schmucker, aged 84 years, died in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 26, 1873.

I, as an Episcopalian, am creedal, not confessional.  I also accept science and oppose all forms of slavery.  Anglican collegiality is one of the defining characteristics of my faith.  Therefore, I find much to admire about Schmucker.  I also recognize points of strong disagreement with him.  Yet, whenever I ponder denominational full communion agreements, such as the one the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church share, I think Schmucker would approve.

Alex Haley advised,

Find the good and praise it.

I praise the good in the legacy of Samuel Simon Schmucker.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DENIS, BISHOP OF PARIS, AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 250

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GROSSETESTE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOLAR, PHILOSOPHER, AND BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF WILFRED THOMASON GRENFELL, MEDICAL MISSIONARY TO NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Samuel Simon Schmucker,

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), 60

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Feast of Mary Lyon (February 28)   1 comment

Above:  Mary Lyon

Image in the Public Domain

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MARY MASON LYON (FEBRUARY 28, 1797-MARCH 5, 1849)

U.S. Congregationalist Feminist and Educator

Mary Lyon comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Ideas that have become mainstream used to be revolutionary.  Consider, O reader, gender roles, especially those proscribed for women in the United States of America.  Astute students of women’s history know of Republican Motherhood and Separate Spheres.

Republican Motherhood was the idea that women were supposed to be mothers of the republic.  Their job was supposedly to raise good citizens, not to seek and hold public office or have careers, much less to vote.  Women could respectably lobby office holders, but not exercise power.  Men and women moved in Separate Spheres.  Education reinforced the subordinate roles of women; the curricula for male and female students differed.

Mary Lyon challenged this.  She, raised a Baptist, debuted in Buckland, Massachusetts, on February 28, 1797.  She, the sixth of eight children, grew up in a poor family on a farm.  Our saint’s father died when she was five years old.  Lyon mastered the essential skills of daily survival on a farm.  She was also inquisitive beyond the knowledge of social norms dictated for women; Lyon found geology fascinating.  She made time for studies.  Lyon found a mentor, Congregationalist minister Joseph Emerson, one of her teachers.  He, unlike many other men of the time and place, treated women as intelligent people.  Under his influence, she became a Congregationalist.

Lyon, a teacher at various schools, affirmed the right of girls and women to equal formal education (including college) with boys and men.  She linked this cause to the Great Commission, for she argued that well-educated women were better evangelists than poorly-educated women were.  Our saint proved instrumental in founding Wheaton Female Seminary (now College), Wheaton, Massachusetts, in 1835.  That school was the first one in the United States to offer female students a curriculum equal to that for male students.  Lyon founded Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now College), South Hadley, Massachusetts, which opened on November 9, 1837.  She, having raised funds for the institution, served as its first principal for more than a decade.

Lyon, aged 52 years, died of natural causes in South Hadley, on March 5, 1849.

Her influence has continued.

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Living God, whose image all people bear, we thank you for the life and legacy of your servant Mary Mason Lyon,

who rejected social norms that mandated a curriculum that reinforced the subordinate roles of women in the United States of America.

May we, as a society and as individuals, cease to hold back segments of our society

from achieving their potential, and therefore, from holding our society back.

May we do this for your glory and for the common good.

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

Genesis 1:26-27

Psalm 100

Galatians 3:23-29

Luke 10:38-42

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 8, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ERIK ROUTLEY, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST HYMNODIST

THE FEAST OF ABRAHAM RITTER, U.S. MORAVIAN MERCHANT, HISTORIAN, MUSICIAN, AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD WHATELY, ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN, IRELAND

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM DWIGHT PORTER BLISS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST; AND RICHARD THEODORE ELY; ECONOMISTS

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Feast of Joseph Badger, Sr. (February 28)   1 comment

Above:  Joseph Badger, Sr.

Image in the Public Domain

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JOSEPH BADGER, SR. (FEBRUARY 28, 1757-APRIL 5, 1846)

U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister

First Missionary to the Western Reserve

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There are false teachers now, who hold and preach a doctrine of falling from grace; for a final apostasy, after the renewing of the Holy Spirit; and perish in their sins.  There are many who profess to be Christians, who fall away from their profession, but not from grace.  But to return to the subject.  Let anyone read with an honest, unprejudiced mind the seventh chapter of Romans from the ninth verse to the end; he will see that St. Paul did not teach the doctrine of perfectionism.  There must be a great deal of twisting and perverting from the most obvious meaning of words and phrases to make scriptures referred to above, speak subversive to their true meaning.

–Joseph Badger, Sr., A Memoir of Joseph Badger (1853); quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 331

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Joseph Badger, Sr., was, obviously, a Calvinist, not an Arminian.

The Western Reserve is in northeastern Ohio.  The Reserve’s nearly 3.3 million acres are south of Lake Erie and west of Pennsylvania.  The southern border is a line south of Youngstown, Akron, and Willard.  This area occupies land one part of the land claim of Connecticut.

Joseph Badger, Sr., once a weaver, became a minister and a missionary.  He, born Wilbraham, Massachusetts, on February 28, 1757, was a son of Henry Badger and Mary Langdon.  Our saint served in the Continental Army during the U.S. War for Independence.  In 1781 he matriculated at Yale College, to prepare for ordained ministry.  Badger graduated in 1785.  While at Yale, Badger married Lois Noble, in 1784.  The couple had six children:  Lucius, Joseph Jr., Henry, Sarah, Juliana, and Lucia.  Badger taught in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1785-1786.  Our saint, whom the (Congregationalist) New Haven Association licensed to preach in 1786, served as a pastor in Northbury (now Plymouth), Connecticut, for a few months in 1786-1787.  Badger, ordained in Blandford, Massachusetts, on October 24, 1787, was a pastor there until October 1800.

When the Badgers left New England, they went to the Western Reserve of Ohio; our saint was the first missionary to the region.  He labored for God for about 36 years.  In 1801, when the Congregationalist-Presbyterian (Presbygationalist, actually) Plan of Union to evangelize the frontier went into effect, Badger became a Presbyterian minister, despite retaining his preference for Congregationalism.  He and his family lived in frontier conditions as he founded churches, some Congregationalist and others Presbyterian.  Our saint also founded schools.  Furthermore, Badger served as a brigade chaplain and as a guide for General William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812.

Lois Noble died in 1818.  Badger remarried the following year; he wedded Abigail Ely.

Badger finally retired in 1836, at the age of 79 years; his heath was failing.  Our saint, aged 89 years, died in Perrysburg, Ohio, on April 5, 1846.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

 THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM SCARLETT, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MISSOURI, AND ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Joseph Badger, Sr.,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of the Western Reserve.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 716

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Feast of Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright (February 28)   Leave a comment

Flag of The Episcopal Church

Above:  The Flag of the Episcopal Church

Image in the Public Domain

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ANNA JULIA HAYWOOD COOPER, M.A., PH.D. (AUGUST 10, 1858-FEBRUARY 27, 1964)

African-American Educator

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ELIZABETH EVELYN WRIGHT (APRIL 3, 1872-DECEMBER 14, 1906)

African-American Educator

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The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class–it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.

–Anna Julia Haywood Cooper

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With this post I add to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days two African-American women whose lives stand as testimony to the importance of education and the imperative of resisting assaults–namely racism and misogyny–on human dignity.

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Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858-1964) was originally a slave, a daughter of George Washington Haywood (her master) of Raleigh, North Carolina, and a slave.  Young Anna worked as a servant in her father’s home before leaving for St. Augustine’s Normal School and Collegiate Institute (now St. Augustine’s University), Raleigh, which The Episcopal Church founded for former slaves in 1867.  Our saint made the most of this opportunity, which she had because of a scholarship.  She remained at St. Augustine’s School in various capacities for fourteen years, excelling in mathematics, science, literature, and languages.  She also fought for the right to pursue an academic track usually reserved for male students.  Our saint succeeded in this effort and performed well in it.  Anna, who worked as a tutor while a student then remained at St. Augustine’s School as an instructor after graduating, fell in love with George A. C. Cooper, the second African-American Episcopal priest in North Carolina and one of her former teachers.  They married in 1877.  He died two years later, and she never remarried.

Our saint devoted her life to education.  After becoming a widow she studied at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, where she also pursued and excelled in an academic program usually reserved for men.  Next she taught at Wilberforce College, Wilberforce, Ohio, a school of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, for a few years.  Then she returned to St. Augustine’s School in 1885.  Next our saint went back to Oberlin College, from which she graduated with an M.A. in mathematics in 1887.  Subsequently she taught at then led the influential M Street High School, Washington, D.C.  In her fifties and sixties Cooper undertook doctoral studies, first at Columbia University.  She started in 1914, but had to interrupt her course work due to family matters; she adopted her half-brother’s five children after their mother died.  Our saint completed her course work then her dissertation, a translation of the Medieval French epic poem Le Pelerinage de Charlemagne (The Pilgrimage of Charlemagne).  She completed her doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.  That institution rejected her Columbia dissertation, so she researched and wrote The Attitude of France on the Question of Slavery Between 1789 and 1848 instead.  In 1925 she received her doctorate.  From 1930 to 1942 our saint served as the President of Freylinghausen University, Washington, D.C.

Cooper died in Washington, D.C., on February 27, 1964.  She was 105 years old.  During her life she, a feminist, had argued that African-American women could, by means of education, improve their communities, and that successful, educated African-American women had a responsibility to support their disadvantaged sisters.  Cooper had also committed many thoughts to paper in A Voice from the South (1892) and given voice to her positions in many speeches.

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Elizabeth Evelyn Wright (1872-1906), a native of Talbotton, Georgia, was a daughter of Virginia Rolfe (a Cherokee) and John Wesley Wright (a carpenter).  Our saint first attended school in a church basement.  Her teachers helped her gain admission to the Tuskegee Institute.  At first Lizzie, as those who knew her well called her, worked for the Institute during the day and attended night classes, but Olivia Washington, wife of Booker T. Washington, arranged for her to attend day classes.

Wright also devoted her life to education.  She interrupted her studies at the Tuskegee Institute to start a school for rural African-American children in Hampton County, South Carolina, but arsonists foiled that plan.  Our saint completed her studies at the Tuskegee Institute then returned to South Carolina to try again.  Arsonists continued to foil her plans to educate rural African-American children.  Wright and two colleagues, Jessie Dorsey and Hattie Davidson, founded the Denmark Industrial Institute, Denmark, South Carolina, in 1897.  Five years later it became the Voorhees Industrial Institute, for Ralph Voorhees, a philanthropist in New Jersey, and his wife donated large sums of money to the school.  For many years this was the only high school for African Americans in the area.

Wright found love, marrying Martin A. Menagee in 1906.  The union was brief, however, for she died of natural causes before the end of the year.  She was 34 years old.

The legacy of the Voorhees Industrial Institute continues.  It became an Episcopal Church-affiliated institution in 1924.  The name changed to Voorhees School and Junior College in 1947 and to Voorhees College in 1962.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 10, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWIN HATCH, ANGLICAN PRIEST, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LEO THE GREAT, BISHOP OF ROME

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Eternal God, you inspired Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright

with the love of learning and the joy of teaching:

Help us also to gather and use the resources of our communities

for the education of all your children;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 9:1-6

Psalm 78:1-7

1 Timothy 4:6-16

Luke 4:14-21

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 249

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Second Sunday in Lent, Year B   Leave a comment

Above:  Economic Inequality Made Manifest

Image Source = eenthappana

Justification, Love, and Justice

FEBRUARY 28, 2021

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Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 (New Revised Standard Version):

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him,

I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.

Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,

As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

God said to Abraham,

As for Sarah your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.

Psalm 22:22-30 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

22 Praise the LORD, you that fear him;

stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel;

all you of Jacob’s line, give glory.

23 For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;

neither does he hide his face from them;

but when they cry to him he hears them.

24 My praise is of him in the great assembly;

I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.

25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,

and those who seek the LORD shall praise him:

“May your heart love for ever!”

26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD,

and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.

27 For kingship belongs to the LORD;

he rules over the nations.

28 To him alone who sleep in the earth bow down in worship;

all who go down to the dust fall before him.

29 My soul shall live for him;

my descendants shall serve him;

they shall be known as the LORD’s for ever.

30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn

the saving deeds that he has done.

Romans 4:13-25 (New Revised Standard Version):

The promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”) — in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Mark 8:31-38 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus began to teach his disciples that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said,

Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them,

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

The Collect:

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Second Sunday in Lent, Year A:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/second-sunday-in-lent-year-a/

Second Sunday in Lent, Year B:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/second-sunday-in-lent-year-b/

Romans 4:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/week-of-proper-23-saturday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/week-of-proper-24-monday-year-1/

Genesis 17:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-second-day-of-lent/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/week-of-proper-7-friday-year-1/

Mark 8:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/week-of-6-epiphany-thursday-year-1/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/week-of-6-epiphany-friday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/proper-5-year-a/

Faith in Romans vs. Faith in James:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/week-of-proper-23-tuesday-year-1/

O Lord,You Gave Your Servant John:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/o-lord-you-gave-your-servant-john/

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Last Sunday’s readings focused on baptism, a sacrament which is an outward sign of something God has done and is doing.  This Sunday we have another great word:  justification.  This is also something God has done and is doing.   Justification indicates having a right relationship with God; it is a legal term.  And, according to Paul, it comes through faith and grace.  The Letter of James, of course, speaks of justification by deeds, but that book uses “faith” to mean something different than in Romans.  For more details, follow the germane link I have provided.  The bottom line is this:  There is no contradiction between Romans and James on the issue of justification.

This justification, since the time of Jesus, owes much to the Atonement, which, I am convinced, was a process which began with the Incarnation (again, something God initiated) and ended with the death and resurrection of Jesus (something God did).  Our responses to God, then, are of the essence.  How will we respond to such a merciful and active deity?  This grace, which facilitates faith, is cheap but not free.  It was cheap neither to God the Father nor God the Son.  And it demands much of us.

The baptismal vows speak of loving our neighbors as ourselves and respecting the dignity of our fellow human beings. So, how will we treat our fellow human beings, and what will we consider acceptable treatment?  Will our neighbors have living wages, safe working conditions, and career opportunities which make the most of their talents an abilities?  Will they face discrimination?  What will the love of Christ and our neighbors impel us to do?

I could continue, but I trust that I have made my point clearly.  May we love our neighbors as ourselves, even if that entails taking up a cross and following Jesus.

KRT

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Published in a nearly identical form at LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on July 25, 2011

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for February   Leave a comment

Winter, by Hendrick Avercamp

Image in the Public Domain

1 (Henry Morse, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1645)

  • Benedict Daswa, South African Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1990
  • Charles Seymour Robinson, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymnologist
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Italian Roman Catholic Composer and Musician
  • Mitchell J. Dahood, Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar
  • Sigebert III, King of Austrasia

2 (PRESENTATION OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE)

3 (Anskar and Rimbert, Roman Catholic Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen)

  • Adelaide Anne Procter, English Poet and Feminist
  • Alfred Delp, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945
  • James Nicholas Joubert and Marie Elizabeth Lange, Founders of the Oblate Sisters of Providence
  • Jemima Thompson Luke, English Congregationalist Hymn Writer; and James Edmeston, Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Samuel Davies, American Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

4 (CORNELIUS THE CENTURION)

5 (Martyrs of Japan, 1597-1639)

  • Avitus of Vienne, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Jane (Joan) of Valois, Co-Founder of the Sisters of the Annunciation
  • Pedro Arrupe, Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized, and Superior General of the Society of Jesus
  • Phileas and Philoromus, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 304

6 (Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, Poet and Hymn Writer)

  • Danny Thomas, U.S. Roman Catholic Entertainer and Humanitarian; Founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Mateo Correa-Magallanes and Miguel Agustin Pro, Mexican Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1927
  • Vedast (Vaast), Roman Catholic Bishop of Arras and Cambrai

7 (Helder Camara, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Olinda and Recife)

  • Adalbert Nierychlewski, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1942
  • Daniel J. Harrington, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar
  • Gregorio Allegri, Italian Roman Catholic Priest, Composer, and Singer; brother of Domenico Allegri, Italian Roman Catholic Composer and Singer
  • Moses, Apostle to the Saracens
  • William Boyce and John Alcock, Anglican Composers

8 (Josephine Bakhita, Roman Catholic Nun)

  • Cornelia Hancock, U.S. Quaker Nurse, Educator, and Humanitarian; “Florence Nightingale of North America”
  • Jerome Emiliani, Founder of the Company of the Servants of the Poor
  • John of Matha and Felix of Valois, Founders of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity
  • Josephina Gabriella Bonino, Founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family

9 (Bruce M. Metzger, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Biblical Translator)

  • Alto of Altomunster, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • Porfirio, Martyr, 203

10 (Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola; and her twin brother, Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino and Father of Western Monasticism)

  • Benedict of Aniane, Restorer of Western Monasticism; and Ardo, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Henry Williams Baker, Anglican Priest, Hymnal Editor, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Norbert of Xanten, Founder of the Premonstratensians; Hugh of Fosses, Second Founder of the Premonstratensians; and Evermod, Bishop of Ratzeburg
  • Philip Armes, Anglican Church Organist

11 (ONESIMUS, BISHOP OF BYZANTIUM)

12 (Absalom Jones, Richard Allen, and Jarena Lee, Evangelists and Social Activists)

  • Benjamin Schmolck, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer
  • Charles Freer Andrews, Anglican Priest
  • Julia Williams Garnet, African-American Abolitionist and Educator; her husband, Henry Highland Garnet, African-American Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist; his second wife, Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet, African-American Suffragette and Educator; her sister, Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, African-American Physician; and her second husband, Theophilus Gould Steward, U.S. African Methodist Episcopal Minister, Army Chaplain, and Professor
  • Michael Weisse, German Moravian Minister and Hymn Writer and Translator; and Jan Roh, Bohemian Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer
  • Orange Scott, U.S. Methodist Minister, Abolitionist, and first President of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection

13 (AQUILA, PRISCILLA, AND APOLLOS, CO-WORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

14 (Abraham of Carrhae, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • Christoph Carl Ludwig von Pfeil, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs
  • Francis Harold Rowley, Northern Baptist Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer
  • Johann Michael Altenburg, German Lutheran Pastor, Composer, and Hymn Writer
  • Victor Olof Petersen, Swedish-American Lutheran Hymn Translator

15 (New Martyrs of Libya, 2015)

  • Ben Salmon, U.S. Roman Catholic Pacifist and Conscientious Objector
  • Henry B. Whipple, Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota
  • John Tietjen, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Ecumenist, and Bishop
  • Michael Praetorius, German Lutheran Composer and Musicologist
  • Thomas Bray, Anglican Priest and Missionary

16 (Philipp Melanchthon, German Lutheran Theologian and Scribe of the Reformation)

  • Charles Todd Quintard, Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee
  • Christian Frederick Martin, Sr., and Charles Augustus Zoebisch, German-American Instrument Makers
  • Louis (Lewis) F. Kampmann, U.S. Moravian Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Translator
  • Nicholas Kasatkin, Orthodox Archbishop of All Japan

17 (August Crull, German-American Lutheran Minister, Poet, Professor, Hymnodist, and Hymn Translator)

  • Antoni Leszczewicz, Polish Roman Catholic Priest, and His Companions, Martyrs, 1943
  • Edward Hopper, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Janini Luwum, Ugandan Anglican Archbishop and Martyr, 1977
  • Johann Heermann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • John Meyendorff, Russian-French-American Orthodox Priest, Scholar, and Ecumenist

18 (Colman of Lindisfarne, Agilbert, and Wilfrid, Bishops)

  • Barbasymas, Sadoth of Seleucia, and Their Companions, Martyrs, 342
  • Guido di Pietro, a.k.a. Fra Angelico, Roman Catholic Monk and Artist
  • James Drummond Burns, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

19 (Nerses I the Great, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church; and Mesrop, Bible Translator)

  • Agnes Tsao Kou Ying, Agatha Lin Zhao, and Lucy Yi Zhenmei, Chinese Roman Catholic Catechists and Martyrs, 1856, 1858, and 1862; Auguste Chapdelaine, French Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr, 1856; and Laurentius Bai Xiaoman, Chinese Roman Catholic Convert and Martyr, 1856
  • Bernard Barton, English Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Elizabeth C. Clephane, Scottish Presbyterian Humanitarian and Hymn Writer
  • Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., Episcopal Priest, Ecumenist, and Liturgist; Dean of American Liturgists

20 (Henri de Lucac, French Roman Catholic Priest, Cardinal, and Theologian)

  • Stanislawa Rodzinska, Polish Roman Catholic Nun and Martyr, 1945
  • Wulfric of Haselbury, Roman Catholic Hermit

21 (John Henry Newman, English Roman Catholic Priest-Cardinal)

  • Arnulf of Metz, Roman Catholic Bishop; and Germanus of Granfel, Roman Catholic Abbot and Martyr, 677
  • Robert Southwell, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1595
  • Thomas Pormort, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1592

22 (Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst, Anti-Nazi Martyrs at Munich, Germany, 1943)

  • Bernhardt Severin Ingemann, Danish Lutheran Author and Hymn Writer of Cortona, Penitent and Founder of the Poor Ones
  • Praetextatus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Rouen
  • Thomas Binney, English Congregationalist Minister, Liturgist, and “Archbishop of Nonconformity”

23 (Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, and Irenaeus of Lyons, Bishops and Martyrs, 107/115, 155/156, and Circa 202)

  • Alexander Akimetes, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Austin Carroll (Margaret Anne Carroll), Irish-American Roman Catholic Nun, Author, and Educator
  • Samuel Wolcott, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Writer
  • Stefan Wincenty Frelichowski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945
  • Willigis, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Mainz; and Bernward, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hildesheim

24 (MATTHIAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR)

25 (Gregory of Nazianzus the Elder, Nonna, and Their ChildrenGregory of Nazianzus the Younger, Caesarius of Nazianzus, and Gorgonia of Nazianzus)

  • Bernhardt Severin Ingemann, Danish Lutheran Author and Hymn Writer
  • Felix Varela, Cuban Roman Catholic Priest and Patriot
  • John Roberts, Episcopal Missionary to the Shoshone and Arapahoe
  • Karl Friedrich Lochner, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Theodor Fliedner, Renewer of the Female Diaconate; and Elizabeth Fedde, Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess

26 (Antonio Valdivieso, Roman Catholic Bishop of Leon, and Martyr, 1495)

  • Andrew Reed, English Congregationalist Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Writer
  • Charles Sheldon, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Author, Christian Socialist, and Social Gospel Theologian
  • Emily Malbone Morgan, Founder of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross
  • Jakob Hutter, Founder of the Hutterities, and Anabaptist Martyr, 1536; and his wife, Katharina Hutter, Anabaptist Martyr, 1538
  • Paula of Saint Joseph of Calasanz, Founder of the Daughters of Mary

27 (Nicholas Ferrar, Anglican Deacon and Founder of Little Gidding; George Herbert, Anglican Priest and Metaphysical Poet; and All Saintly Parish Priests)

  • Anne Line and Roger Filcock, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1601
  • Fred Rogers, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
  • Gabriel Possenti, Roman Catholic Penitent
  • Marian Anderson, African-American Singer and Civil Rights Activist
  • Raphael of Brooklyn, Syrian-American Russian Orthodox Bishop of Brooklyn

28 (Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, African-American Educators)

  • Mary Lyon, U.S. Congregationalist Feminist and Educator
  • Joseph Badger, Sr., U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister; First Missionary to the Western Reserve
  • Samuel Simon Schmucker, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Social Reformer

29 (John Cassian and John Climacus, Roman Catholic Monks and Spiritual Writers)

  • Luis de Leon, Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian
  • Patrick Hamilton, First Scottish Protestant Martyr, 1528

 

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