Archive for the ‘January 1’ 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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World Day of Peace (January 1)   Leave a comment

broken-rifle

Above:  The Broken Rifle, Symbol of Resistance to War

Image in the Public Domain

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January 1 is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.  My standard practice on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to reserve a date upon which such a Biblical feast falls for that feast.   I make this exception to my rule, however.

On April 11, 1963, Pope John XXIII (now St. John XXIII) issued the encyclical Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth).  In it he argued for, among other things, economic justice, freedom to worship God according to one’s conscience, the maintenance of the common good, the proper treatment of minorities, and respect for the rights of refugees.  He also condemned militarism and encouraged the recognition of human interdependence.  Pope Paul VI (now Blessed Paul VI), inspired by the encyclical, observed the first World Peace Day on January 1, 1968.  Pontiffs have used the occasion of World Peace Day to speak on subjects such as those elaborated upon in Pacem in Terris.

In the Law of Moses one finds timeless principles and culturally specific examples thereof.  Among these timeless principles are the following:

  1. We depend upon God for everything;
  2. We depend upon each other;
  3. We are responsible to each other;
  4. We are responsible for each other; and
  5. We have no right to exploit each other.

These ethics inform Pacem in Terris and World Peace Day.  The fact that so many of we human beings need reminding of them often speaks negatively of us.  We have a long history of violating them and of justifying our behavior to ourselves and others, often invoking the name of God in the process.  Yes, sometimes we have no good choices and must choose between lesser and greater evils, but, short of those occasions, we have a moral obligation to refrain from committing certain acts.  Some deeds are always wrong; torture is among them.  Most wars are unnecessary, but some are necessary.  Although most violence is wrong, sometimes the use of violence is morally defensible.  Stating principles is easy, but contextualizing actions is more complicated.

One final note:  I am writing and publishing these words on November 11, the anniversary of the armistice at the end of World War I.  This is an example of serendipity.  Certainly this is an especially appropriate day to think about matters of war, peace, and the devastating consequences of the short-sighted actions of those in authority upon civilians and military personnel alike.

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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Lord God, accept our humble confession of the wrongs we have done,

the injustice to which we have been party,

and the countless denials of your mercy we have expressed.

Turn us toward the love offered in your Son,

and cleanse us by your grace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

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Almighty God, in penitence we come before you, acknowledging the sin that is within us.

We share the guilt of all those who, bearing the name Christian,

slay their fellow human beings because of race or faith or nation.

Forgive us and change us by your love, that your word of hope

may be heard clearly throughout the world,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

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Nehemiah 1:4-11a

Psalm 6

1 John 1:5-2:2

Luke 15:11-32

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 62

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Posted November 11, 2016 by neatnik2009 in January 1

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for January   Leave a comment

Snow in January

Image in the Public Domain

1 (EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Holy Name of Jesus
  • World Day of Peace

2 (NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, Bavarian Lutheran Minister, and Coordinator of Domestic and Foreign Missions
  • Narcissus, Argeus, and Marcellinus of Tomi, Roman Martyrs, 320
  • Odilo of Cluny, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Sabine Baring-Gould, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

3 (TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Edward Caswall, Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Perronet, British Methodist Preacher
  • Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China and Taiwan
  • William Alfred Passavant, Sr., U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Evangelist

4 (ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Elizabeth Ann Seton, Foundress of the American Sisters of Charity
  • Felix Manz, First Anabaptist Martyr, 1527
  • Gregory of Langres, Terticus of Langres, Gallus of Clermont, Gregory of Tours, Avitus I of Clermont, Magnericus of Trier, and Gaugericus, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • Johann Ludwig Freydt, German Moravian Composer and Educator

5 (TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Antonio Lotti, Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Genoveva Torres Morales, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Angels
  • John Nepomucene Neumann, Roman Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia
  • Margaret Mackay, Scottish Hymn Writer

6 (EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST)

7 (François Fénelon, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cambrai)

  • Aldric of Le Mans, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Angela of Foligno, Penitent and Humanitarian
  • Gaspar del Bufalo, Founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood
  • Lucian of Antioch, Roman Catholic Martyr, 312

8 (Thorfinn of Hamar, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • A. J. Muste, Dutch-American Minister, Labor Activist, and Pacifist
  • Arcangelo Corelli, Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, Scientists
  • Harriet Bedell, Episcopal Deaconess and Missionary

9 (Pepin of Landen, Itta of Metz, Their Relations, Amand, Austregisilus, and Sulpicius II of Bourges, Faithful Christians Across Generational Lines)

  • Emily Greene Balch, U.S. Quaker Sociologist, Economist, and Peace Activist
  • Julia Chester Emery, Upholder of Missions
  • Philip II of Moscow, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, and Martyr, 1569
  • William Jones, Anglican Priest and Musician

10 (John the Good, Roman Catholic Bishop of Milan)

  • Allen William Chatfield, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator
  • Ignatius Spencer, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Apostle of Ecumenical Prayer; mentor of Elizabeth Prout, Foundress of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion
  • Mary Lundie Duncan, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • William Gay Ballantine, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Educator, Scholar, Poet, and Hymn Writer

11 (Theodosius the Cenobiarch, Roman Catholic Monk)

  • Charles William Everest, Episcopal Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Miep Gies, Righteous Gentile
  • Paulinus II of Aquileia, Roman Catholic Patriarch of Aquileia
  • Richard Frederick Littledale, Anglican Priest and Translator of Hymns

12 (Benedict Biscop, Roman Catholic Abbot of Wearmouth)

  • Aelred of Hexham, Roman Catholic Abbot of Rievaulx
  • Anthony Mary Pucci, Roman Catholic Priest
  • Henry Alford, Anglican Priest, Biblical Scholar, Literary Translator, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and Bible Translator
  • Marguerite Bourgeoys, Foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame

13 (Hilary of Poitiers, Roman Catholic Bishop of Poitiers, “Athanasius of the West;” and Hymn Writer; mentor of Martin of Tours, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tours)

  • Christian Keimann, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • George Fox, Founder of the Religious Society of Friends
  • Mary Slessor, Scottish Presbyterian Missionary in West Africa
  • Samuel Preiswerk, Swiss Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer

14 (Macrina the Elder, Her Family, and Gregory of Nazianzus the Younger)

  • Caesarius of Arles, Roman Catholic Bishop; and Caesaria of Arles, Roman Catholic Abbess
  • Eivind Josef Berggrav, Lutheran Bishop of Oslo, Hymn Translator, and Leader of the Norwegian Resistance During World War II
  • Kristen Kvamme, Norwegian-American Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Sava I, Founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and First Archbishop of Serbs

15 (Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader and Martyr, 1968)

  • Abby Kelley Foster and her husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, U.S. Quaker Abolitionists and Feminists
  • Bertha Paulssen, German-American Seminary Professor, Psychologist, and Sociologist
  • Gene M. Tucker, United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • John Cosin, Anglican Bishop of Durham

16 (Roberto de Noboli, Roman Catholic Missionary in India)

  • Berard and His Companions, Roman Catholic Martyrs in Morocco, 1220
  • Edmund Hamilton Sears, U.S. Unitarian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Biblical Scholar
  • Gustave Weigel, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Ecumenist
  • Richard Meux Benson, Anglican Priest and Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist; Charles Chapman Grafton, Episcopal Priest, Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and Bishop of Fond du Lac; and Charles Gore, Anglican Bishop of Worcester, Birmingham, and Oxford; Founder of the Community of the Resurrection; Theologian; and Advocate for Social Justice and World Peace

17 (Antony of Egypt, Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of Western Monasticism)

  • James Woodrow, Southern Presbyterian Minister, Naturalist, and Alleged Heretic
  • Pachomius the Great, Founder of Christian Communal Monasticism
  • Rutherford Birchard Hayes, President of the United States of America
  • Thomas A. Dooley, U.S. Roman Catholic Physician and Humanitarian

18-25 (WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY)

18 (CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER, APOSTLE)

19 (Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Humanitarians)

  • Deicola and Gall, Roman Catholic Monks; and Othmar, Roman Catholic Abbot at Saint Gallen
  • Elmer G. Homrighausen, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Professor of Christian Education
  • Harold A. Bosley, United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Henry Twells, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

20 (Fabian, Bishop of Rome, and Martyr, 250)

  • Euthymius the Great and Theoctistus, Roman Catholic Abbots
  • Greville Phillimore, English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Harriet Auber, Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Richard Rolle, English Roman Catholic Spiritual Writer

21 (Mirocles of Milan and Epiphanius of Pavia, Roman Catholic Bishops)

  • Alban Roe and Thomas Reynolds, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1642
  • Edgar J. Goodspeed, U.S. Baptist Biblical Scholar and Translator
  • John Yi Yon-on, Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr in Korea
  • W. Sibley Towner, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

22 (John Julian, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymnologist)

  • Alexander Men, Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1990
  • Ladislao Batthány-Strattmann, Austro-Hungarian Roman Catholic Physician and Philanthropist
  • Louise Cecilia Fleming, African-American Baptist Missionary and Physician
  • Vincent Pallotti, Founder of the Society for the Catholic Apostolate, the Union of Catholic Apostolate, and the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate

23 (John the Almsgiver, Patriarch of Alexandria)

  • Charles Kingsley, Anglican Priest, Novelist, and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Grubb, English Quaker Author, Social Reformer, and Hymn Writer
  • James D. Smart, Canadian Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Phillips Brooks, Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts, and Hymn Writer

24 (Ordination of Florence Li-Tim-Oi, First Female Priest in the Anglican Communion)

  • George A. Buttrick, Anglo-American Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar; and his son, David G. Buttrick, U.S. Presbyterian then United Church of Christ Minister, Theologian, and Liturgist
  • Marie Poussepin, Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation of the Virgin
  • Martyrs of Podlasie, 1874
  • Suranus of Sora, Roman Catholic Abbot and Martyr, 580

25 (CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL, APOSTLE)

26 (TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

27 (Jerome, Paula of Rome, Eustochium, Blaesilla, Marcella, and Lea of Rome)

  • Angela Merici, Foundress of the Company of Saint Ursula
  • Carolina Santocanale, Foundress of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes
  • Caspar Neumann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Pierre Batiffol, French Roman Catholic Priest, Historian, and Theologian

28 (Albert the Great and his pupil, Thomas Aquinas, Roman Catholic Theologians)

  • Daniel J. Simundson, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Henry Augustine Collins, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Barnby, Anglican Church Musician and Composer
  • Somerset Corry Lowry, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

29 (LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

30 (Lesslie Newbigin, English Reformed Missionary and Theologian)

  • Bathildas, Queen of France
  • Frederick Oakeley, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest
  • Genesius I of Clermont and Praejectus of Clermont, Roman Catholic Bishops; and Amarin, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Jacques Bunol, French Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

31 (Charles Frederick Mackenzie, Anglican Bishop of Nyasaland, and Martyr, 1862)

  • Anthony Bénézet, French-American Quaker Abolitionist
  • Lanza del Vasto, Founder of the Community of the Ark
  • Menno Simons, Mennonite Leader
  • Mary Evelyn “Mev” Puleo, U.S. Roman Catholic Photojournalist and Advocate for Social Justice

 

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

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 1)   2 comments

Above:  Variations of the Name Yeshua in Hebrew

Image in the Public Domain

At the Name of Jesus….

TUESDAY, JANUARY 1, 2019

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Numbers 6:22-27 (New Revised Standard Version):

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:

Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites.  You shall say to them,

“The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

So they shall put my name on the Israelites, I will bless them.

Psalm 8 (New Revised Standard Version):

O LORD, our Sovereign,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouths of babes and infants

you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,

to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars that you have established;

what are human beings that you are mindful of them,

mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,

and crowned them with glory and honor.

You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under their feet,

all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Sovereign,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Galatians 4:4-7 (New Revised Standard Version):

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying,

Abba! Father!

So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

OR

Philippians 2:5-11 (New Revised Standard Version):

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God

as something to be exploited,

but emptied himself,

taking the form of a slave,

being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,

he humbled himself

and became obedient to the point of death–

even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him

and gave him the name

that is above every name

so that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bend,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

THEN

Luke 2:15-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,

Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The Collect:

Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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The Law of Moses required the circumcision of a male child eight days after his birth.  This event became a happy occasion, a time for friends and family members of the parents to gather and for the naming of the child.  Joseph and Mary obeyed this commandment.  And so it is no accident that the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus falls on the Eighth Day of Christmas.

In Western Christianity the observation of the Circumcision/Holy Name of Jesus dates to the early centuries of the faith, when Christianity competed with pagan festivities around New Year.  In 567 the Council of Tours established this feast for that purpose.

The Hebrew name “Yeshua,” which comes into English indirectly as Jesus, is literally Joshua, or “Yahweh is salvation.”  This confession lies at the heart of Christian faith, in which my parents raised me and in which I have chosen to remain.  I have made this confession at baptism, confirmation, and two reaffirmations, not to mention numerous baptismal liturgies for others.  And I repeat it here.

KRT

Revised on November 11, 2016

Posted June 6, 2010 by neatnik2009 in January 1

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