Archive for the ‘January 19’ Category

Feast of Henry Twells (January 19)   1 comment

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Above:  Bournemouth, England, from the Sea, Between 1890 and 1900

Published by Detroit Publishing Company, 1905

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08032

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HENRY TWELLS (MARCH 23, 1823-JANUARY 19, 1900)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

Henry Twells, born in Birmingham, England, attended King Edward’s School there.

KES_Free_Grammar_School_original_without_towerAbove:  King Edward’s School from 1731 to 1834

(Image in the Public Domain)

Among his classmates were:

  • Joseph Barber Lightfoot (1828-1889), Bishop of Durham from 1879 to 1889;
  • Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901), Bishop of Durham from 1890 to 1901; and
  • Edward White Benson (1829-1896), Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 to 1896.

Our saint graduated from St. Peter’s College, Cambridge.  Then he took Holy Orders in 1849.  He served a series of congregations (none of which I feel like naming) and led two schools (none of which I feel like naming) before, from 1873 to 1877, being Select Preacher at Cambridge.

4a28400vAbove:  Peterborough Cathedral, Between 1890 and 1910

Publisher and Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D428-913

He, made an Honorary Canon of Peterborough Cathedral in 1884, retired for health reasons to Bournemouth in 1890.  There he established and endowed partially a new congregation, St. Augustine’s, which he served until he died.

Twells had three great interests which concern me today:  benevolence, missions, and worship.  He devoted himself to helping the less fortunate and to extending the church.  And he not only wrote hymns, but served on the committee for Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) and its 1889 Appendix.  I have posted one of his hymns to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Henry Twells served God and his fellow human beings’ needs faithfully, for divine glory and human benefit.  That as a fine way to spend a life.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS VINCENTIA GEROSA AND BARTHOLOMEA CAPITANIO, COFOUNDERS OF THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF LOVERE

THE FEAST OF ISAIAH, BIBLICAL PROPHET

THE FEAST OF JAN HUS, PROTO-PROTESTANT MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PALLADIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant Henry Twells,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718

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Feast of Sts. Deicola, Gall, and Othmar (January 19)   1 comment

Above:  Plan of the Abbey of St. Gall, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT DEICOLA (530-625)

Roman Catholic Monk

His feast transferred from January 18

brother of 

SAINT GALL (550-CIRCA 646)

Roman Catholic Monk

His feast transferred from October 16

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SAINT OTHMAR (CIRCA 689-CIRCA 759)

Roman Catholic Abbot at St. Gallen

His feast transferred from November 16

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St. Deicola and St. Gall, Irish brothers and monks, accompanied St. Columban  on his missionary journey to Europe.  Theuderic II of Burgundy and Austrasia expelled the St. Deicola, the elder brother, at age 80, as well as St. Columban, in 610.  St. Deicola settled at Lure, Gaul, where he founded a monastery and devoted the remaining years of his life to prayer and meditation.  Illness forced St. Gall to break way from St. Columban’s main missionary band in 612.  The latter traveled to Italy, but the former and some hermits settled in the area of Lake Constance, in modern-day Switzerland.

St. Othmar founded the great Abbey of St. Gall and became its first abbot.  He and his monks cared for the poor of the surrounding community, operated a hospital, and established the first Swiss leper colony.  St. Othmar died in exile because of false accusations two nobles had made against him.  His good deeds, alas, did not prevent him from suffering due to the perfidy of others.

From the Abbey of St. Gall generations of faithful monks did great things for God.  Consider the cases of St. Tutilo and St. Nokter Balbulus, for example.

What will your legacy be?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 29, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE DAWSON, ENGLISH BAPTIST AND UNITARIAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY DAY, SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE CHURCH OF NORTH INDIA, 1970

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O God,

whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world,

that we, inspired by the devotion of your servants Saints Deicola, Gall, and Othmar,

may serve you with singleness of heart,

and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34 or 34:1-8

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), pages 249 and 927

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Revised on November 20, 2016

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Feast of Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver (January 19)   Leave a comment

Above:  Sargent Shriver Holding a Peace Corps Proclamation

Image Source = Library of Congress

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ROBERT SARGENT SHRIVER, JR. (NOVEMBER 9, 1915-JANUARY 18, 2011)

U.S. Statesman and Humanitarian

husband of

EUNICE MARY KENNEDY SHRIVER (SEPTEMBER 7, 1921-AUGUST 11, 2009)

Humanitarian

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Born in Westminster, Maryland, Sargent Shriver attended Yale University from 1934 to 1938 then Yale Law School from 1938 to 1941.  He opposed U.S. entry in World War II initially yet enlisted in the Navy out of patriotism.  He served mostly in the South Pacific and earned a Purple Heart at Guadalcanal.  Shriver returned to civilian life after the War and married Eunice Kennedy, sister of Senator John F. Kennedy, in 1953.  Shriver worked on his brother-in-law’s 1960 presidential campaign.  Then he became first Director of the Peace Corps (1961-1966), architect of the Great Society (as in the Job Corps and Head Start) under President Lyndon Baines Johnson.  Shriver went on to serve as Ambassador to France (1968-1970), Democratic nominee for Vice President (1972), and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976.  He and his wife, Eunice, founded the Special Olympics.  President Bill Clinton awarded Shriver the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.  This was a well-deserved honor.

Doctors diagnosed Shriver with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2003.  He died at Bethesda, Maryland on January 18, 2011, aged 95 years.

Shriver was a devout Roman Catholic.  His faith informed his views on everything from abortion (he opposed it) to anti-poverty programs (he supported them).  The simplistic labels “liberal” and “conservative” prove inadequate here, as they do much of the time.  The bottom line is this:  Sargent Shriver sought to love his neighbor as he loved himself.  He succeeded.  What else is there to say?

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Eunice Mary Kennedy learned from her mother that she should contribute to society.  Eunice, who graduated from Stanford University with a degree in sociology in 1943, served in the Special War Problems Division, U.S. Department of State, then led a juvenile delinquency project for the U.S. Department of Justice.  In 1950-1951 she worked as a social worker at the women’s penitentiary in Alderson, West Virginia.  Then she left for Chicago, where she worked at the House of the Good Shepherd and for the municipal juvenile court.

Eunice, who married Sargent Shriver in 1953, began to lead the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Foundation, devoted to preventing mental retardation and to helping the mentally retarded, four years later.  In 1962 she and her husband started a summer camp at their home in Maryland.  The summer camp evolved into the Special Olympics six years later.  For her great humanitarian work Eunice received many honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984.

She died at Hyannis, Massachusetts, on August 11, 2009, aged 88 years.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF KAMAHAMEHA AND EMMA, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

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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

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

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Revised on November 20, 2016

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for January   Leave a comment

Snow in January

Image in the Public Domain

THIS IS THE RESET VERSION OF THE CALENDAR FOR JANUARY, PENDING FURTHER REVISION.

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)

  • Arcangelo Corelli, Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, Scientists
  • Harriet Bedell, Episcopal Deaconess and Missionary
  • Syncletica of Alexandria, Desert Mother

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

  • Adelard of Corbie, Roman Catholic Monk
  • 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
  • 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 and Hymn Writer
  • Miep Gies, Righteous Gentile
  • Paulinus of Aquileia, Roman Catholic Patriarch
  • 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, Dean of Canterbury
  • 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
  • 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)

  • 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 and Hymn Writer
  • 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)

  • 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
  • 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
  • John Yi Yon-on, Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr in Korea

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

  • Vincent Pallotti, Founder of the Pallotines

23 (John the Almsgiver, Roman Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria)

  • Charles Kingsley, Anglican Priest, Novelist, and Hymn Writer
  • Phillips Brooks, Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts, and Hymn Writer

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

  • 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
  • Caspar Neumann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

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

  • Henry Augustine Collins, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Barnby, Anglican Church Musician and Composer

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

30 (Lesslie Newbigin, 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

31 (Charles Frederick Mackenzie, Anglican Bishop of Central Africa)

  • Menno Simons, Mennonite Leader

 

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

Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A   Leave a comment

Above:  A Map of the Known World, According to Posidonius, dated 150-130 B.C.E.

“That salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6c, NRSV)

JANUARY 19, 2020

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Isaiah 49:1-7 (New Revised Standard Version):

Listen to me, O coastlands,

pay attention, you peoples from far away!

The LORD called me before I was born,

while I was still in my mother’s womb he named me.

He made my mouth like a sharp sword,

in the shadow of his hand he hid me;

he made me a polished arrow,

in his quiver he hid me away.

And he said to me,

You are my servant,

Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

But I said,

I have labored in vain,

I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;

yet surely my cause is with the LORD,

and my reward is with my God.

And now the LORD says,

who formed me in the womb to be his servant,

to bring Jacob back to him,

and that Israel might be gathered to him,

for I am honored in the sight of the LORD,

and my God has become my strength–

he says,

It is too light a thing that you should be my servant

to raise up the tribes of Jacob

and to restore the survivors of Israel;

I will give you as a light to the nations,

that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.

Thus says the LORD,

the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,

to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,

the slave of rulers.

Kings shall see and stand up,

princes, and they shall prostrate themselves,

because of the LORD, who is faithful,

the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.

Psalm 40:1-12 (New Revised Standard Version):

I waited patiently for the LORD;

he inclined his ear tome and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the desolate pit,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the LORD.

Happy are those who make

the LORD their trust,

who do no turn to the proud,

to those who go astray after false gods.

You have multipied, O LORD my God,

your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;

none can compare with you.

Were I to proclaim and tell of them,

they would be more than can be counted.

Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,

but you have given me an open ear.

Burnt offering and sin offering

you have not required.

Then I said,

Here I am;

in the scroll of the book it is written of me.

I delight to do your will, O my God;

your law is within my heart.

I have told the glad news of deliverance

int he great congregation;

see, I have not restrained my lips,

as you know, O LORD.

I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,

I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;

I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness

from the great congregation.

Do not, O LORD, withhold

your mercy from me;

let your steadfast love and your faithfulness

keep me safe forever.

For evils have encompassed me without number;

my iniquities have overtaken me,

until I cannot see;

they are more than the hairs of my head,

and my heart fails me.

1 Corinthians 1:1-9 (New Revised Standard Version):

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind– just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 1:29-42 (New Revised Standard Version):

John saw Jesus coming toward him and declared,

Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.

And John testified,

I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed,

Look, here is the Lamb of God!

The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them,

What are you looking for?

They said to him,

Rabbi

(which translated means Teacher),

where are you staying?

He said to them,

Come and see.

They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him,

We have found the Messiah

(which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said,

You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas

(which is translated Peter).

The Collect:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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The reading from Deutero-Isaiah is the Second Servant Song.  Here the servant is the Jewish nation, still in exile, yet about to go home, albeit as part of the Persian Empire.  The soon-to-return Jews’ mission was to be a spiritual light to the nations.  Religious history records that Jewish monotheism (practiced, not merely preached) did not flower fully until after the return from Babylonian Exile, and that this flowering did not occur immediately.  But it did happen.  Monotheism is a great advance in religious thought.  (I make this statement while taking the risk of seeming like a theological chauvinist to some, but so be it.)

Just as God delivered a seemingly insignificant population and bestowed upon them the great responsibility of being a light to the nations, Jesus recognized much potential in an impetuous fisherman we know as St. Peter, or literally “rock.”  The Bible is honest about the heroes within its pages, portraying these individuals as flawed human beings.  So it is with St. Peter, who misunderstood and misspoke often, and even denied Jesus three times shortly before our Lord’s crucifixion.  Yet St. Peter became the leader the Apostles.  Through efforts such as those of this transformed fisherman the Christian message, which began with a few people, has become the largest faith system on the planet.

I remember the pianist at a church my father pastored when I was in high school.  Angela (not her real name) was deeply insecure, partially due to guilt over an indiscretion of a few years past.  I have no doubt that God had forgiven her, but she had not forgiven herself for her own weakness.  Angela said to me one Sunday morning that she had nothing to offer.  She was wrong, of course; she had much to offer that was beautiful and necessary.  She was no more or less flawed than any of us, than St. Peter or any of the exiled Jews awaiting return to a homeland in which they had never lived.

Maybe you, O reader, are not called to be a light to the nations.  Perhaps God has called you to be a light merely to your community.  But God has given you the great responsibility of being a positive influence and a light.  Do not hide it under a bushel.

KRT

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Barnabas Episcopal-Lutheran Worshiping Community, Jefferson City, Tennessee

(Their website is here:  http://stbarnabas.etdiocese.net/)

Let Us Emphasize Our Common Ground and Build On It

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

Isaiah 2:2-4

Psalm 122

Ephesians 4:1-6

John 17:15-23

God our Father, your Son Jesus Christ prayed that his followers might be one.  Make all Christians one with him as he is one with you, so that in peace and concord we may carry to the world the message of your love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

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Now, for my thoughts….

We Christians have divided ourselves into competing theological and liturgical tribes since the earliest decades of the Jesus movement.  For confirmation of this, read the New Testament epistles.  Sometimes these divisions are silly or based on ego gratification.  Other times, however, the matters are weightier.  Yet the tragedy of schism remains, even after stated issues which people used to justify the schism have become moot points or ceased to points of contention.  Inertia preserves a high degree of divisiveness within Christianity.

Sometimes schisms remain insurmountable.  Yet this fact should not prevent Christians of good will from reaching across boundaries to identify and build upon common ground, to do something positive and for the glory of God together.  I do not expect the Anabaptists and Roman Catholics to reconcile, but they can cooperate.  Last Sunday afternoon I listened to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio interview with a Mennonite pastor who maintains a close faith-based relationship with nearby Catholic monks, often praying with them.

And I believe that when two or more denominations cease to have good reasons to remain separate they should open negotiations to unite organically.  But when issues, such as baptismal theology, prevent a merger, the groups can still cooperate on other matters.  We Christians have more in common with each other than not.  May we build on that.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 11, 2010

THE FEAST OF ST. BARNABAS THE APOSTLE

THE FEAST OF THE REVEREND VERNON JOHNS, U.S. CIVIL RIGHTS PIONEER