Archive for the ‘January 2’ Category

That Old Sweet Song of Angels   Leave a comment

nativity-and-annunciation-to-the-shepherds

Above:  Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds

Image in the Public Domain

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Long ago the angels vanished–

But their song is sounding still!

Millions now with hope are singing,

“Peace on earth, to men good will.”

Sing, my heart!  Tho’ peace may tarry,

Sing good will mid human strife!

Till that old sweet song of angels

Shall attune to heav’n our life.

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

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

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

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

for you will heap coals of fire on their heads,

and the LORD will reward you.

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

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

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.  If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  No, if your enemies are hungry, feed them, if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

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

As the Master said,

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

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

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

to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

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

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

Merry Christmas!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 21, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Feast of St. Odilo of Cluny (January 2)   Leave a comment

st-odilo-of-cluny

Above:  St. Odilo of Cluny

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ODILO OF CLUNY (CIRCA 962-JANUARY 1, 1049)

Roman Catholic Abbot

Alternative feast days = January 1, January 3, January 19, February 6, April 29, and May 11

St. Odilo of Cluny, a native of Auvergne, came from French nobility.  His father was Berald de Mercoeur.  His mother was Gerberga, who entered a convent after Berald died.  At the age of 29 years St. Odilo became a monk at the great monastery of Cluny.  Three years later, in 994, he became the abbot.  Our saint held that post for 54 years.

St. Odilo was an influential figure.  In 998 he pioneered the observance of All Souls’ Day (November 2), set aside to remember and pray for the dead.  He also sold church treasures and property to raise funds to feed the poor during famine.  Furthermore, our saint promoted the Truce of God, or the suspension of military hostilities at certain Church-defined times, for the purpose of permitting essential commerce to resume.  Another aspect of the Truce of God was respecting churches as places of refuge.  The penalty for violating the Truce of God was excommunication.  St. Odilo also increased the number of Cluniac priories from 37 to 65 and declined the opportunity to become the Archbishop of Lyon.

Part of our saint’s job entailed traveling from Cluniac priory to Cluniac priory.  He was inspecting the priory at Souvigny when he died on January 1, 1049.

If you, O reader, have attended an All Saints’ Day (or, as we call it in The Episcopal Church, Commemoration of All Faithful Departed) service, you have experienced the influence of St. Odilo of Cluny.

As for the Truce of God, it sounds like a fine idea to me.

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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O God, by whose grace your servant St. Odilo of Cluny, kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 113 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of Sts. Narcissus, Argeus, and Marcellinus of Tomi (January 2)   Leave a comment

licinius-i

Above:  Image of Enperor Licinius I on a Coin

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINTS NARCISSUS, ARGEUS, AND MARCELLINUS OF TOMI (DIED IN 320)

Roman Martyrs

The Reverend J. Robert Harris, from the middle 1950s to the late 1960s the pastor of Plains Baptist Church, Plains, Georgia, once preached a sermon that stuck in the memory of a parishioner, Jimmy Carter.  If being Christian were a crime, Harris asked, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  Harris was an appropriate person to ask that question, for he had had to leave Fort Gaines Baptist Church, Fort Gaines, Georgia, due to his public support for the civil rights of African Americans.  (The local newspaper in Fort Gaines was curiously silent regarding his departure, I learned during research for my M.A. thesis.  I know, for I read the newspapers in question.)  Years later he had to retire from Plains Baptist Church, officially due to ill health, after preaching a sermon about the brotherhood of man.

There was enough evidence to convict Sts. Narcissus, Argeus, and Marcellinus of Tomi.

Two versions of the hagiography of these three saints have survived.  According to version #1, these brothers, all of them Roman soldiers during the reign (308-324) of Licinius I, refused to perform their military service due to their consciences.  The predictable courts-martial followed, as did their executions at Tomi, Pontus (now Constanta, Romania), near the Black Sea.  According to version #2, these brothers, all of them Roman soldiers, refused to offer sacrifices to the gods.  Authorities executed Sts. Argeus and Narcissus by beheading them.  St. Marcellinus, the youngest of the brothers, suffered flogging and incarceration prior to execution by drowning in the Black Sea.  Either way, the brothers died because they obeyed their Christian consciences.

These three saints prompt me to ask myself how much I would risk to obey my conscience, informed by Christianity and Judaism before it.  While I wrestle with that question I ask you, O reader, how much you would sacrifice to obey your Christ-informed conscience, if matters were ever to come to that.  For many of us, the relatively fortunate, it is a largely hypothetical question.  For many others, however, it is daily life.

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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Almighty God, who gave to your servants Saints Narcissus, Argeus, and Marcellinus of Tomi

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ

before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns

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

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 713

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Feast of Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe (January 2)   2 comments

Loehe

Above:  Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHANN KONRAD WILHELM LOEHE (FEBRUARY 21, 1808-JANUARY 2, 1872)

Bavarian Lutheran Minister and Coordinator of Domestic and Foreign Missions

The name of Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe comes from the calendars of Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) and the Lutheran Service Book (2006).  The former lists him as a “renewer of the church,” and the latter simply as a pastor.  Both descriptions are accurate yet inadequate.  The fact that I honor Loehe indicates that I respect him, not that I agree with him all of the time.  I cannot, in fact, think of anyone with whom I never disagree.

Our saint, who was frequently at odds with his ecclesiastical superiors, proved that life in exile need not prevent one from leaving an impressive legacy.  The native of Furth, near Nuremberg, Middle Franconia, lost his father, a shopkeeper, at the age of eight years.  Loehe studied at Nuremberg before matriculating at the University of Erlangen in 1826.   At first Loehe leaned toward Reformed theology, but encounters with the Lutheran Confessions changed his mind.  Our saint, who graduated in 1830, became an ordained minister the following year.  From 1831 to 1837 he served at a series of churches.  He alienated many people, especially his superiors.  Loehe, a minister of the Bavarian state Lutheran church, argued against state control of the church.  He also opposed rationalist influences in the Lutheran Church on one side and Pietistic minimalization of sacraments on the other side.  Holy Communion, Loehe said, was the proper center of parish life.  Our saint, a confessional Lutheran, circulated a proposed confessional basis for the church.  His superiors were not impressed.  From 1837 to his death in 1872 Loehe served a small church in Neuendettelsau, Bavaria, an out-of-the-way village.  This was ecclesiastical exile.

He speaks the Word the bread and wine to bless:

“This is my flesh and blood!”

He bids us eat and drink with thankfulness

This gift of holy food.

All human thought must falter–

Our God stoops low to heal,

Now present on the altar,

For us both host and meal!

–Loehe, translated by Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr.; text copyrighted in 2002 by GIA Publications, Inc.; quoted in the Lutheran Service Book (2006), hymn #639

Loehe was a Neo-Lutheran, a member of a movement similar to the Oxford Movement within Anglicanism.  His exaltation of the Holy Communion prompted many detractors to accuse him of Crypto-Catholicism.  Another theological issue in the minds of some critics of Loehe was his stress on the catholic nature of the Lutheran Church as its Confessions defined it.  For Loehe, to whose theology the cross of Christ was central, the Lutheran Confessions conformed without deviation to the New Testament.   He wrote at least two hymns which exist in English translation.  I quoted one stanza of one of those hymns above.  The second hymn, “O Son of God, in Co-Eternal Might,” has graced my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Loehe operated an ambitious foreign missions program from Neuendettelsau, where he founded a school for missionaries.  In 1841 he became concerned about the needs of Lutheran churches in the United States.  He encouraged many German emigrants to settle in the Saginaw valley of Michigan in 1845. Our saint also prepared and published maps to encourage German emigrants to settle in extant German immigrant communities in North America.  In 1845 Loehe commenced a mission among Native Americans.  The founding of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, took place during the following year.  Loehe sent missionaries not only to North America but to Australia, New Guinea, the Ukraine, and Brazil.

Loehe’s effect on North American Lutheranism was great.  He initially supported the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States (1818-1930), one of the more conservative Lutheran synods.  Pastors Loehe had sent and who had affiliated with the Joint Synod of Ohio became disenchanted, however.  They complained about the following issues:

  1. The lack of an acceptable confessional standard,
  2. The ascendancy of the English language at the seminary, and
  3. The progress of the process of Americanization.

These pastors and Loehe helped to found the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States, now The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, in 1847.  The Missouri Synod also acquired the seminary at Fort Wayne and the mission program among Native Americans.

Relations between the Loehe forces and the Missourians broke down, however.  One reason was disagreement regarding the theology of ordained ministry.  The Missourian position held that the congregation held all powers and rights of ordained ministry via its participation in the priesthood of believers.  The congregation, therefore, transferred these powers and rights to the minister when it called him to serve it.  Loehe rejected this transference theology.  It was, he argued, an example of “American mob-rule.”  No, our saint said, ministerial authority was independent of the congregation a pastor served.  Such authority came directly from God via ordination, he argued.

Another issue was contention between Loehe and the Missourians concerned interpretation of the Lutheran Confessions.  The Missourian position held that the Lutheran Confessions were in complete harmony with the scriptures.  There was, therefore, no ambiguity on any issue.  Loehe disagreed.  As I established a few paragraphs ago, our saint thought that the Lutheran Confessions conformed without deviation to the New Testament.  He stated, however, that the only proper context in which to interpret the Confessions was historical.  Loehe concluded, therefore, that both the Lutheran Confessions and the scriptures left room for a variety of opinions about certain controversial questions.  For example, is the Pope the Antichrist?  And how much interest may a banker charge morally?  Loehe’s tone was both confessional and irenic.

The German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa and Other States, or the Iowa Synod for short, separated from the Missouri Synod in 1854.  Its first confessional statement was one paragraph long:

The synod subscribes to all the symbolical books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church because it recognizes all the symbolical decisions on controverted questions before or during the time of the Reformation as corresponding to the divine Word.  But because within the Lutheran Church there are different tendencies, the synod espouses that one which strives for greater completeness by means of the confessions and on the basis of the Word of God.  In the founding of congregations the synod is not content with mere acceptance of its principles of doctrine and life, but requires probation and therefore re-established the catechumenate of the ancient church.  The goal to be sought in its congregations is the apostolic life; to attain this, official and fraternal discipline is to be practiced.

–Quoted in E. Clifford Nelson, editor, The Lutherans in North America–Revised Edition (1980), page 182

The Missouri Synod, the Joint Synod of Ohio, and the Buffalo Synod agreed that the preceding statement was too vague and that subsequent elaborations were inadequate.  The Buffalo Synod, the Joint Synod of Ohio, and the Iowa Synod resolved their differences in time, however, for they merged to form The American Lutheran Church (1930-1960), a predecessor of The American Lutheran Church (1960-1987), a predecessor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Loehe also established a motherhouse for deaconesses at Neuendettelsau.  These women lived communally, practiced celibacy, provided social services (mostly in Bavaria), and made paraments for church buildings.  Our saint sent six deaconesses to North America.

Loehe, who married in 1837, spent most of his life as a widower.  His wife died at age 24, leaving him to raise four children.  That must have been difficult for him.

Our saint died at Neuendettelsau on January 2, 1872, after suffering a stroke.  He was 64 years old.  He had used his time on the planet well.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 30, 2015 COMMON ERA

PROPER 17:  THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF HENRIETTE LUISE VON HAYN, GERMAN MORAVIAN HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise your for your servant Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe,

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 10:25-45

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

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Feast of St. Gaspar del Bufalo (January 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of the Unification of Italy

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT GASPAR DEL BUFALO (A.K.A. SAINT CASPAR DEL BUFALO) (January 6, 1786-December 28, 1837)

Founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood

The son of a cook in Rome, St. Gaspar del Bufalo became a Roman Catholic priest in 1808.  Later that year, he joined Pope Pius VII and other clergymen who refused to swear allegiance to Napoleon Bonaparte in exile.  They returned to Rome in 1814.  The saint founded the Missionaries of the Precious Blood the following year.  He spent years engaged in extensive evangelism in central Italy and worked in the Santa Galla Hospice in Rome.  He also earned a reputation as an excellent preacher.  At the end of his life, although he was quite ill, the saint returned to Rome in late 1837 to tend to people during a cholera outbreak.

The Roman Catholic Church canonized St. Gaspar del Bufalo in 1954.

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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God of grace and glory,

we praise you for your servant Saint Gaspar del Bufalo,

who made the good news known in Italy.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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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

1 (EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Holy Name of Jesus
  • World Day of Peace

2 (NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Gaspar del Bufalo, Founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood
  • Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, Bavarian Lutheran Minister, and Coordinator of Domestic and Foreign Missions
  • Narcissus of Tomi, Argeus of Tomi, 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, English Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Perronet, British Methodist Preacher
  • Elmer G. Homrighausen, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Professor of Christian Education
  • Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China and Taiwan
  • William Alfred Passavant, Sr., U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Evangelist

4 (ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Angela of Foligno, Italian Roman Catholic Penitent and Humanitarian
  • Elizabeth Ann Seton, Founder of the American Sisters of Charity
  • 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
  • Mary Lundie Duncan, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer

5 (TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS)

  • Antonio Lotti, Italian Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Felix Manz, First Anabaptist Martyr, 1527
  • Genoveva Torres Morales, Founder 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 of Le Mans
  • Jean Kenyon Mackenzie, U.S. Presbyterian Missionary in West Africa
  • Lanza del Vasto, Founder of the Community of the Ark
  • Lucian of Antioch, Roman Catholic Martyr, 312
  • William Jones, Anglican Priest and Musician

8 (Thorfinn of Hamar, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • A. J. Muste, Dutch-American Minister, Labor Activist, and Pacifist
  • Arcangelo Corelli, Italian Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, Scientists
  • Harriet Bedell, Episcopal Deaconess and Missionary
  • Pepin of Landen, Itta of Metz, Their Relations, Amand, Austregisilus, and Sulpicius II of Bourges, Faithful Christians Across Generational Lines

9 (Julia Chester Emery, Upholder of Missions)

  • Emily Greene Balch, U.S. Quaker Sociologist, Economist, and Peace Activist
  • Gene M. Tucker, United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Johann Josef Ignaz von Döllinger, Dissident and Excommunicated German Roman Catholic Priest, Theologian, and Historian
  • Philip II of Moscow, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, and Martyr, 1569
  • Thomas Curtis Clark, U.S. Disciples of Christ Evangelist, Poet, and Hymn Writer

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

  • Allen William Chatfield, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator
  • Louise Cecilia Fleming, African-American Baptist Missionary and Physician
  • María Dolores Rodríguez Sopeña y Ortega, Founder of the Centers of Instruction, the Association of the Sodality of the Virgin Mary, the Ladies of the Catechetical Institute, the Association of the Apostolic Laymen/the Sopeña Lay Movement, the Works of the Doctrines/the Center for the Workes, and the Social and Cultural Work Sopeña/the Sopeña Catechetical Institute
  • W. Sibley Towner, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • 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
  • Ignatius Spencer, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Apostle of Ecumenical Prayer; and his protégé, Elizabeth Prout, Founder of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion
  • 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
  • Caesarius of Arles, Roman Catholic Bishop of Arles; and his sister, Caesaria of Arles, Roman Catholic Abbess
  • Anthony Mary Pucci, Italian Roman Catholic Priest
  • Henry Alford, Anglican Priest, Biblical Scholar, Literary Translator, Hymn Writer, Hymn Translator, and Bible Translator
  • Marguerite Bourgeoys, Founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame

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

  • Christian Keimann, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Edgar J. Goodspeed, U.S. Baptist Biblical Scholar and Translator
  • 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)

  • Abby Kelley Foster and her husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, U.S. Quaker Abolitionists and Feminists
  • 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
  • Richard Meux Benson, Anglican Priest and Co-Founder of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist; Charles Chapman Grafton, Episcopal Priest, Co-Founder of the Society of Saint 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
  • Sava I, Founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and First Archbishop of Serbs

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

  • Bertha Paulssen, German-American Seminary Professor, Psychologist, and Sociologist
  • Gustave Weigel, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Ecumenist
  • John Cosin, Anglican Bishop of Durham
  • John Marinus Versteeg, U.S. Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Nikolaus Gross, German Roman Catholic Opponent of Nazism, and Martyr, 1945

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
  • Edward Bunnett, Anglican Organist and Composer
  • Juana Maria Condesa Lluch, Founder of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Immaculate Conception, Protectress of Workers
  • Timothy Richard Matthews, Anglican Priest, Organist, and Hymn Tune Composer

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

  • Deicola and Gall, Roman Catholic Monks; and Othmar, Roman Catholic Abbot at Saint Gallen
  • 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 his wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Humanitarians)

  • Alessandro Valignano, Italian Jesuit Missionary Priest in the Far East
  • Charles Winfred Douglas, Episcopal Priest, Liturgist, Musicologist, Linguist, Poet, Hymn Translator, and Arranger
  • 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
  • Harold A. Bosley, United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • 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, 1867

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

  • Alexander Men, Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1990
  • Benjamin Lay, American Quaker Abolitionist
  • Ladislao Batthány-Strattmann, Austro-Hungarian Roman Catholic Physician and Philanthropist
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)

  • Bob Keeshan, Captain Kangaroo
  • Lindsay Bartholomew Longacre, U.S. Methodist Minister, Biblical Scholar, and Hymn Tune Composer
  • Marie Poussepin, Founder 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, CO-WORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

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

  • Angela Merici, Founder of the Company of Saint Ursula
  • Carolina Santocanale, Founder of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes
  • Caspar Neumann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Mary Evelyn “Mev” Puleo, U.S. Roman Catholic Photojournalist and Advocate for Social Justice
  • Pierre Batiffol, French Roman Catholic Priest, Historian, and Theologian

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

  • Andrei Rublev, Russian Orthodox Icon Writer
  • 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, CO-WORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

30 (Lesslie Newbigin, English Reformed Missionary and Theologian)

  • Bathildas, Queen of France
  • David Galván Bermúdez, Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in Mexico, 1915
  • 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
  • Menno Simons, Mennonite Leader

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

Second Sunday after Christmas, Years A, B, and C   Leave a comment

Above:  Diocesan Confirmation, Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, Georgia, December 13, 2009

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

A Glorious Inheritance

JANUARY 2, 2022 (YEAR C)

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Jeremiah 31:7-14 (New Revised Standard Version):

For thus says the LORD:

Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,

and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;

proclaim, give praise, and say,

Save, O LORD, your people,

the remnant of Israel.

See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,

and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,

among them the blind and the lame,

those with child and those in labor, together;

a great company, they shall return here.

With weeping they shall come,

and with consolations I shall lead them back.

I will let them walk by brooks of water,

in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;

I have become a father to Israel,

and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,

and declare it in the coastlands far away;

say,

He who scattered Israel will gather him,

and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.

For the LORD has ransomed Jacob,

and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.

They shall come and sing aloud on the heights of Zion,

and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD,

over the grain, the wine, and the oil,

and over the young of the flock and the herd;

their life shall become like a watered garden,

and they shall never languish again.

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,

and the young men and the old shall be merry.

I will turn their mourning into joy,

I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

I will give the priests their fill of fatness,

and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty, says the LORD.

Psalm 84 (New Revised Standard Version):

How lovely is your dwelling place,

O LORD of hosts!

My soul longs, indeed it faints

for the courts of the LORD;

my heart and my flesh sing for joy

to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,

and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may lay her young,

at your altars, O LORD of hosts,

my King and my God.

Happy are those who live in your house,

ever singing your praise.

Happy are those whose strength is in you,

in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

As they go through the valley of Baca

they make it a place of springs;

the early rain also covers it with pools.

They go from strength to strength;

the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;

give ear, O God of Jacob!

Behold our shield, O God;

look on the face of your anointed.

For a day in your courts is better

than a thousand elsewhere.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God

than live in the tents of wickedness.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;

he bestows favor and honor.

No good thing does the LORD withhold

from those who walk uprightly.

O LORD of hosts,

happy is everyone who trusts in you.

Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19a (New Revised Standard Version):

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.

Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now after the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,

Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.

Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet,

Out of Egypt I have called my son.

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,

Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.

Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.  But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there.  And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee.  There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled:

He will be called a Nazorean.

OR

Luke 2:41-52 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem every year for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him,

Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.

He said to them,

Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?

But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

OR

Matthew 2:1-12 (New Revised Standard Version):

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking,

Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.

When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him,

In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for from you shall come a ruler

who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.  Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying,

Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that so that I may also go and pay him homage.

When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.  On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.  Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

The Collect:

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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“What is your favorite psalm?”  Someone might have asked you this question.  Among the usual suspects are 23, 100, and 150, which excessive repetition have rendered cliche in my mind.  So, when I began to ponder the question of my favorite psalm, I considered other parts of that book of poetry.  Once Psalm 121 was my favorite, but 84 has taken that place.

Psalm 84 is a hymn of adoration to God which expresses a desire to become closer to God.  This is the one God who allowed the Babylonian Exile to occur, engineered the return of exiles, and arranged for the Incarnation, by which we have access to adoption into the family of God.  This grace is staggering, and worthy of praise in words and deeds.

The details of the Christian vocation vary from person to person, according to a variety of circumstances.  Yet the guiding principle is constant across the board:  we are called to enjoy and glorify God, to follow Jesus.  Following is active, not merely intellectual or emotional.  Jesus loved us with everything he was and had; we have a mandate to follow that example.  Too often certain people (from Crusaders to Ku Klux Klan members) have used the cross as a symbol of hate, but divine actions have transformed the cross into a symbol of ultimate love.  And what shows love more than self-sacrifice?

The beauty of holiness is both aesthetic and intangible.  May we seek and find both.

KRT

Feast of Edward Caswall (January 2)   2 comments

Above:  Edward Caswall

Image in the Public Domain

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EDWARD CASWALL (JULY 15, 1814-JANUARY 2, 1878)

Anglican Priest and Tractarian who became a Roman Catholic Priest; Hymn Writer and Translator

Edward Caswall, born at Yately, Hampshire, England, on July 15, 1814, was the son and brother of priests in the Church of England.  Ordained an Anglican priest in 1839, Caswall, a Tractarian, left for Roman Catholicism eight years later, entering the priesthood of that communion in 1852.  He spent many years at the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, near Birmingham, where he attended to his priestly duties and tended to the needs of children and the poor.  Furthermore, Caswall wrote hymns and translated others from Latin into English.  His legacy in non-Roman Catholic hymnals consists mostly of his translations from Latin. You, O reader, might know some of the following:

Caswall died at Birmingham, England, on January 2, 1878.

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

May 16, 2010

The Seventh Sunday of Easter

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:  You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Edward Caswall.  Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory, and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from the Proper for Artists and Scientists from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006, the hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Revised on November 12, 2016

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Feast of Sabine Baring-Gould (January 2)   2 comments

Above:  Sabine Baring-Gould

Image in the Public Domain

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SABINE BARING-GOULD (JANUARY 28, 1834-JANUARY 2, 1924)

Scholar, Anglican Priest, and Hymn Writer

Sabine Baring-Gould, born at Exeter, England, on January 28, 1834, was a scholar, gentleman, squire, and parson.  From 1854 to 1906 he published 85 books on an assortment of subjects:  travel, religion, theology, folklore, history, and fiction.  Among these works was a 15-volume set, Lives of the Saints.  Furthermore, he published collections of his sermons and edited collections of folk songs, the study of which fascinated him.  He, a graduate of Clare College, Cambridge (B.A., 1857; M.A., 1860), became a priest in 1864.  He served as Curate of Horbury until 1870, Incumbent of Dalton (1870-1871), and Rector of East Mersea (1871-1881).

For most churchgoers, however, Baring-Gould’s greatest legacy resides in his contribution to English-language hymnody.  He wrote hymns for children at Lew Trenchard, where he settled into a family estate served as Rector, beginning in 1881.  Baring-Gould’s hymns include “Now the Day is Over,” “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came,” and “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”  He also translated a Danish hymn, rendering it as “Singing Songs of Expectation.”

Baring-Gould died at Lew Trenchard on January 2, 1924.

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

May 16, 2010

The Seventh Sunday of Easter

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:  You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Sabine Baring-Gould.  Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory, and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

(The adapted Proper for Artists and Scientists from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006, the hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada)

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Revised on November 11, 2016

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