Archive for the ‘July 23’ Category

Posting of Saints of July to Resume Soon   Leave a comment

Above:  The Author, June 1, 2018

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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I understand the age-old desire of many saints to escape into a hermitage, cave, or other place and avoid the outside world.  Karl Barth and Reinhold Niebuhr might criticize me; the latter might remind me of my sad duty to create justice in an unjust world.  I have no such power, however.  My vote is usually in vain, actually.  It will make a difference again, one day–perhaps this year.

I have had enough.  I have had too much.

In my country, the United States of America, the lunatics stormed the asylum, so to speak, in 2016.  My desire to remain sane and not to become a perpetually angry and profane man has outweighed my desire to remain thoroughly informed as I have escaped into hagiographies, saints, and science fiction.  I have chosen the nurturing of piety over getting into pissing contests with skunks.  I have, however, worked political statements into many posts, many of them hagiographies or devotions.

For the last few days I have focused my blogging attention on LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS, where I have been adding posts for 2019.  I had written those drafts a few months ago, but I was waiting until after Pentecost to begin the process of creating new posts.  Today I began to take notes on saints with feast days from July 21 to 31.  So far I have taken notes on seven saints for four posts, leaving at least eleven saints in nine posts to go.  I have found that I need to set some blogging projects aside to focus on another blogging project for a time.  With the process of updating LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS nearly complete for another year, I have decided to return to hagiographies for a little while.

At least I am trying to do something positive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 1, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR, CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAMPHILUS OF CAESAREA, BIBLE SCHOLAR AND TRANSLATOR; AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL STENNETT, ENGLISH SEVENTH-DAY BAPTIST MINISTER AND HYMN-WRITER; AND JOHN HOWARD, ENGLISH HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIMEON OF SYRACUSE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

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Feast of Sts. Bridget and Catherine of Sweden (July 23)   Leave a comment

Vadstena Abbey Church

Above:  Vadstena Parish Church

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BRIDGET OF SWEDEN (CIRCA 1303-JULY 23, 1373)

Founder of the Order of the Most Holy Savior

Also known as Brigitta Birgensdotter, Saint Birgitta of Sweden, and Saint Birgit of Sweden

mother of

SAINT CATHERINE OF SWEDEN (1331-MARCH 24, 1381)

Superior of the Order of the Most Holy Savior

Also known as Catherine Vastanesis and Saint Catherine of Vadstena

Her feast transferred from March 22

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St. Bridget of Sweden has at least two feast days.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) observe her feast on July 23.  The Roman Catholic Church, however, celebrates her legacy on October 8.  I have added St. Catherine of Sweden to this commemoration as a practical matter.  Furthermore, this is my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, so this is my decision.

St. Bridget of Sweden (circa 1303-1373), a mystic, came from a prominent family.  According to one tradition, her date of birth was June 14, 1303.  Her father was Birger Persson, governor of Uppland.  At the age of 10 years ours saint reported receiving a vision of Christ crucified.  For the rest of her life St. Bridget made the Passion of Jesus the center of her spiritual devotion.  In 1316, when our saint was 13 years old, she married Ulf Gudmarsson, governor of Nericia.  The couple had eight children, one of which was St. Catherine of Sweden (1331-1381).  In 1342 the couple made the pilgrimage to Santo Domingo de Compostella.  Gudmarsson died at the Cistercian monastery at Alvastra in 1344.

Later that year the widow, already renowned for her saintliness and charitable works, became a Franciscan nun.  The frequency of St. Bridget’s visions increased during this period of time.  She dictated her Revelations (published in 1492) to the prior, Peter Olafsson, who translated them into Latin.  Among these visions was a command to found a new religious order.  This was the prompt for the creation of the Order of the Most Holy Savior (the Brigittines), at Vadstena, Sweden, in 1346.  The order (still extant) spread across Europe, from Scandinavia to Italy and Portugal and Spain to Russia.  The Brigittines used to have double monasteries, with nuns living one side, monks residing on the other, and both groups sharing the chapel.  The Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution reduced the number of Brigittine institutions.

In 1349 Sts. Bridget and Catherine made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  St. Catherine, educated at a convent, had, at age 12 or 13, married Egard van Kyren, a German nobleman.  They had a white, or chaste, marriage.  Egard died while his wife was away on pilgrimage in 1349.  She spent most of the rest of her life refusing the advances of suitors.

In 1350, during the time do the Black Death, which killed at least two-fifths of the population of Europe in less than five years, St. Catherine, an ascetic like her mother, traveled to Rome with Birger (her brother), St. Bridget, and a small party.  They sought Papal approval of their order.  That approval was forthcoming 20 years later.  The building of the mother house at Vadstena started the following year.  St. Bridget lived in Rome for the rest of her life, her faithful daughter by her side.  The two women made pilgrimages to the Holy Land (one together in 1372) and collaborated in providing shelter to homeless people.

Papal Palace, Avignon, France

Above:  The Papal Palace at Avignon, France, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-05243

St. Bridget also opposed ecclesiastical corruption.  Amid the scandal of the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy (1309-1377), with the Papal headquarters transferred to Avignon, under the influence of the French monarchy, St. Bridget favored the return of the Papacy to Rome.  She had lauded the election of Pope Innocent VI (reigned 1352-1362), but turned against him after he ordered the imprisonment of some Spiritual Franciscans and the burning at the stake of others.  St. Bridget accused the Supreme Pontiff of being a persecutor of faithful Christians.  She also predicted the early death of Pope Urban V (1362-1370) and cautioned him not to return to Avignon.  The Pope had returned to Rome while leaving a bureaucracy in Avignon.  He returned to Avignon on September 27, 1370.  An illness claimed his life on December 19.

St. Bridget died at Rome on July 23, 1373, with St. Catherine by her side.  The daughter succeeded her mother as superior of the order and returned to Sweden, taking St. Bridget’s corpse with her.

Pope Boniface IX (reigned 1389-1404) canonized St. Bridget in 1391.  She has become one of the patron saints of Europe.

St. Catherine of Sweden, who wrote Consolation of the Soul, a devotional work, eventually returned to Rome, where she lived for a few years.  Among her close friends was St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), who also advocated for the return of the Papacy to Rome.  St. Bridget’s daughter died at Vadstena on March 24, 1381.

The canonization of St. Catherine of Sweden was informal, with Pope Innocent VIII (reigned 1484-1492) supporting her veneration in 1484.  Formal canonization proved to be impossible, for that process required the documentation of miracles.  The Protestant Reformation prevented that from proceeding.

Today many people invoke St. Catherine of Sweden against abortion and miscarriage.

As I have written in various weblog posts, faith should be something families nurture.  The family of Sts. Bridget and Catherine of Sweden modeled that principle well.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 10, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF PIERRE TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, SCIENTIST, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF HENRY VAN DYKE, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF HOWARD THURMAN, PROTESTANT THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF MIKAEL AGRICOLA, FINNISH LUTHERAN LITURGIST, BISHOP OF TURKU, AND “FATHER OF FINNISH LITERARY LANGUAGE”

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants Saints Bridget and Catherine of Sweden,

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, who lives and reigns with you

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

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

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Feast of Theodor Liley Clemens (July 23)   Leave a comment

Antigua and St. Kitts 1951

Above:  Antigua, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

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THEODOR LILEY CLEMENS (DECEMBER 8, 1858-JULY 23, 1933)

English Moravian Minister, Missionary, and Composer

Theodor Liley Clemens, born at Baildon, Yorkshire, England, on December 8, 1858, was a career missionary in the Caribbean Basin.  He, the son of a Moravian minister, became one also.  Our saint, ordained in 1886, went to Spring Gardens, Antigua.

Trinidad and Tobago 1951

Above:  Trinidad and Tobago, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

Two years later he married Mary Mercer and transferred to the Moriah congregation on the island of Tobago.  There he remained until 1917.  During his nearly twenty-eight years at Moriah Clemens was active in his community and contributed greatly to the musical life of his congregation.  He trained a fine church choir.  And, since the church’s budget did not allow for imparting sheet music, he composed much music (vocal and instrumental).  Our saint also wrote about a hundred secular works.  Clemens was on disability leave from 1917 to 1919, but he served on the island of Trinidad from 1919 to 1921.  Then he returned to England.  Our saint died at Eydon on July 23, 1933.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 31, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES FREDERICK MACKENZIE, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CENTRAL AFRICA

THE FEAST OF HENRY TWELLS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MARY LUNDIE DUNCAN, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF MENNO SIMONS, MENNONITE LEADER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant

Theodor Liley Clemens, whom you called to preach the Gospel

to the people of Antigua, Tobago, and Trinidad.

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

that your church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Isaiah 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

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

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Feast of Sts. Philip Evans and John Lloyd (July 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Wales

SAINT PHILIP EVANS (1645-1679)

Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

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SAINT JOHN LLOYD (DIED 1679)

Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Today I honor two Welsh martyrs whose crime was to be Roman Catholic priests.  I have commented in other posts about British martyrs on why religious persecution is wrong, so I choose to let those remarks stand while I proceed to the historical details.

St. Philip Evans, educated at St. Omer Monastery in France, became a Jesuit in 1665, at age 20.  Ten years later, at Liege, he entered the priesthood then embarked for his Welsh mission.  For three years Evans ministered there.

St. John Lloyd, educated at Ghent (now in Belgium, but a Hapsburg domain) and at Valladolid, Spain (also a Hapsburg domain at the the time).  Ordained at Valladolid in 1653, he began this twenty-four-year long Welsh mission the following year.

1678 was a bad year to be a Roman Catholic priest on the island of Great Britain.  (There were many such years in in the 1600s.)  But, in 1678, there was a fictional plot by Roman Catholic to assassinate King Charles II.  (This was ironic, given the Roman Catholic sympathies of the House of Stuart.)  Anyway, a wave of anti-Roman Catholic hysteria swept the land,where authorities political and religious had planted, watered, and nurtured anti-Roman Catholicism for a long time.  And hysterical people did not check facts, to confirm or refute them.  So the two priest-martyrs became prisoners. They became casualties of hysteria and religious bigotry.  Their crime was to be priests, a charge considered on par with committing treason.  They died at Cardiff on July 22, 1679.

The Roman Catholic Church canonized them in 1970.

Sources I have consulted list different feast days:  July 22 and 23.  The former is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, however, so it seems that July 23 is the preferred date.  I prefer it, for I have reserved July 22 for St. Mary Magdalene on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

I desire to make some comments about hysteria and religious bigotry.  Both are sinful and irrational.  I am a Christian by choice.  It is the faith of my upbringing, but I chose a long time ago to cast my lot with Jesus, and I intend not to commit apostasy, as many have.  My religious education includes comparative religion, so my choice to remain a Christian is an informed one.  This does not mean that I am hostile to all other traditions, just that I am certain of my choice and wish that more people would share it.  I have taught students from a variety of religious backgrounds and opinions.  Muslims have been among them.  And none of these followers of Allah have been dangerous people, such as militants or potential terrorists.  No Salafists, Wahabis, or suicide bombers have signed up for my courses.  Lived Islam for the great majority of Muslims is peaceful and charitable.  There is a difference between Islam and Islamism, in other words.  So I take this opportunity to refute anti-Muslim fear, hatred, and hysteria, which seems more pervasive in the United States in 2012 than a decade ago.

Likewise I refute any anti-Roman Catholic fear, hatred, and hysteria at any time and place.  Roman Catholics are, of course, my coreligionists on the opposite side of the Tiber River.  Parts of their ecclesiology and other aspects of their theology keep me on my side of the river, but I claim them as brother and sister Christians.  And Sts. Philip Evans and John Lloyd are among my forebears in faith.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 23, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETAS OF REMESIANA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WIREMU TAMIHANA, MAORI PROPHET AND KINGMAKER

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Saint Philip Evans and Saint John Lloyd

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 714

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for July   Leave a comment

Water Lily

Image Source = AkkiDa

1 (Lyman Beecher, U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, and Abolitionist; father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, U.S. Novelist, Hymn Writer, and Abolitionist; sister of Henry Ward Beecher, U.S. Presbyterian and Congregationalist Minister, and Abolitionist)

  • Catherine Winkworth, Translator of Hymns; and John Mason Neale, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • John Chandler, Anglican Priest, Scholar, and Translator of Hymns
  • Pauli Murray, Civil Rights Attorney and Episcopal Priest

2 (Washington Gladden, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Social Reformer)

  • Ferdinand Quincy Blanchard, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Henry Montagu Butler, Educator, Scholar, and Anglican Priest
  • Jacques Fermin, Roman Catholic Missionary Priest

3 (Flavian and Anatolius of Constantinople, Patriarchs; and Agatho, Leo II, and Benedict II, Bishops of Rome; Defenders of Christological Orthodoxy)

  • Charles Albert Dickinson, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Immanuel Nitschmann, German-American Moravian Minister and Musician; his brother-in-law, Jacob Van Vleck, U.S. Moravian Bishop, Musician, Composer, and Educator; his son, William Henry Van Vleck, U.S. Moravian Bishop; his brother, Carl Anton Van Vleck, U.S. Moravian Minister, Musician, Composer, and Educator; his daughter, Lisette (Lizetta) Maria Van Vleck Meinung; and her sister, Amelia Adelaide Van Vleck, U.S. Moravian Composer and Educator
  • John Cennick, British Moravian Evangelist and Hymn Writer

4 (Independence Day (U.S.A.))

  • Adalbero and Ulric of Augsburg, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • Elizabeth of Portugal, Queen and Peacemaker
  • Pier Giorgio Frassati, Italian Roman Catholic Servant of the Poor and Opponent of Fascism

5 (Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Founder of the Barnabites and the Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul)

  • Georges Bernanos, French Roman Catholic Novelist
  • Hulda Niebuhr, Christian Educator; her brothers, H. Richard Niebuhr and Reinhold Niebuhr, United Church of Christ Theologians; and Ursula Niebuhr, Episcopal Theologian
  • Joseph Boissel, French Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Martyr in Laos, 1969

6 (John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, Reformers of the Church)

  • George Duffield, Jr., and his son, Samuel Duffield, U.S. Presbyterian Ministers and Hymn Writers
  • Henry Thomas Smart, English Organist and Composer
  • Oluf Hanson Smeby, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

7 (Josiah Conder, English Journalist and Congregationalist Hymn Writer; and his son, Eustace Conder, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Francis Florentine Hagen, U.S. Moravian Minister and Composer
  • Hedda of Wessex, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Ralph Milner, Roger Dickinson, and Lawrence Humphrey, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1591

8 (Gerald Ford, President of the United States of America and Agent of National Healing; and Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States of America and Advocate for Social Justice)

  • Albert Rhett Stuart, Episcopal Bishop of Georgia and Advocate for Civil Rights
  • Georg Neumark, German Lutheran Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Giovanni Battista Bononcini and Antonio Maria Bononcini, Italian Composers

9 (Johann Rudolph Ahle and Johann Georg Ahle, German Lutheran Organists and Composers)

  • Johann Scheffler, Roman Catholic Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Martyrs of Gorkum, Holland, 1572
  • Robert Grant, British Member of Parliament and Hymn Writer

10 (Augustus Tolton, Pioneering African-American Roman Catholic Priest in the United States of America)

  • Eumenios and Parthenios of Koudoumas, Monks and Founders of Koudoumas Monastery, Crete
  • Myles Horton, “Father of the Civil Rights Movement”
  • Rued Langgaard, Danish Composer

11 (Nathan Söderblom, Swedish Ecumenist and Archbishop of Uppsala)

  • David Gonson, English Roman Catholic Martyr, 1541
  • John Gualbert, Founder of the Vallombrosan Benedictines
  • Thomas Sprott and Thomas Hunt, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1600

12 (JASON OF TARSUS AND SOSIPATER OF ICONIUM, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELISTS OF CORFU)

13 (Clifford Bax, Poet, Playwright, and Hymn Writer)

  • Eugenius of Carthage, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Johannes Renatus Verbeek, Moravian Minister and Composer
  • Peter Ricksecker, U.S. Moravian Minister, Missionary, Musician, Music Educator, and Composer; student of Johann Christian Bechler, Moravian Minister, Musician, Music Educator, and Composer; father of Julius Theodore Bechler, U.S. Moravian Minister, Musician, Educator, and Composer

14 (Justin de Jacobis, Roman Catholic Missionary Bishop in Ethiopia; and Michael Ghebre, Ethiopian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr)

  • Camillus de Lellis, Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Founder of the Ministers of the Sick
  • Matthew Bridges, Hymn Writer
  • Samson Occom, U.S. Presbyterian Missionary to Native Americans

15 (Bonaventure, Second Founder of the Order of Friars Minor)

  • Athanasius I of Naples, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr.; and his son, Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr.; Episcopal Bishops of Mississippi and Advocates for Civil Rights
  • Swithun, Roman Catholic Bishop of Winchester

16 (Righteous Gentiles)

  • George Alfred Taylor Rygh, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • George Tyrrell, Irish Roman Catholic Modernist Theologian and Alleged Heretic
  • Mary Magdalen Postel, Founder of the Poor Daughters of Mercy

17 (William White, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne, 1794
  • Bennett J. Sims, Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta
  • Nerses Lampronats, Armenian Apostolic Archbishop of Tarsus

18 (Bartholome de Las Casas, “Apostle to the Indians”)

  • Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Anglican Dean of Westminster and Hymn Writer
  • Edward William Leinbach, U.S. Moravian Musician and Composer
  • Elizabeth Ferard, First Deaconess in The Church of England

19 (John Hines, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • John Plessington, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • Józef Puchala, Polish Roman Catholic Franciscan Friar, Priest, and Martyr
  • Poemen, Roman Catholic Abbot; and John the Dwarf and Arsenius the Great, Roman Catholic Monks

20 (Leo XIII, Bishop of Rome)

  • Ansegisus of Fontanelle, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Flavian II of Antioch and Elias of Jerusalem, Roman Catholic Patriarchs
  • Samuel Hanson Cox, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist; and his son, Arthur Cleveland Coxe, Episcopal Bishop of Western New York, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns

21 (Albert John Luthuli, Witness for Civil Rights in South Africa)

  • Amalie Wilhemine Sieveking, Foundress of the Woman’s Association for the Care of the Poor and Invalids
  • J. B. Phillips, Anglican Priest, Theologian, and Bible Translator
  • Wastrada; her son, Gregory of Utrecht, Roman Catholic Bishop of Utrecht; and his nephew, Alberic of Utrecht, Roman Catholic Bishop of Utrecht

22 (MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES)

23 (Bridget of Sweden, Founder of the Order of the Most Holy Savior; and her daughter, Catherine of Sweden, Superior of the Order of the Most Holy Savior)

  • Adelaide Teague Case, Professor of Religious Education
  • Philip Evans and John Lloyd, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs
  • Theodor Liley Clemens, English Moravian Minister, Missionary, and Composer

24 (Thomas à Kempis, Roman Catholic Monk, Priest, and Spiritual Writer)

  • John Newton, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Walter Rauschenbusch, U.S. Baptist Minister and Theologian of the Social Gospel
  • Vincentia Gerosa and Bartholomea Capitanio, Cofounders of the Sisters of Charity of Lovere

25 (JAMES BAR-ZEBEDEE, APOSTLE AND MARTYR)

26 (ANNE AND JOACHIM, PARENTS OF MARY OF NAZARETH)

27 (Brooke Foss Westcott, Anglican Scholar, Bible Translator, and Bishop of Durham; and Fenton John Anthony Hort, Anglican Priest and Scholar)

  • Christian Henry Bateman, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Johan Nordahl Brun, Norwegian Lutheran Bishop, Author, and Hymn Writer
  • William Reed Huntington, Episcopal Priest and Renewer of the Church; and his grandson, William Reed Huntington, U.S. Architect and Quaker Peace Activist

28 (Flora MacDonald, Canadian Stateswoman and Humanitarian)

  • Antonio Vivaldi, Italian Roman Catholic Priest, Composer, and Violinist
  • Nancy Byrd Turner, Poet, Editor, and Hymn Writer
  • Pioneering Female Episcopal Priests, 1974 and 1975

29 (MARY, MARTHA, AND LAZARUS OF BETHANY, FRIENDS OF JESUS)

30 (Clarence Jordan, Southern Baptist Minister and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Peter Chrysologus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Ravenna and Defender of Orthodoxy
  • Vicenta Chávez Orozco, Foundress of the Servants of the Holy Trinity and the Poor
  • William Pinchon, Roman Catholic Bishop

31 (Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus)

  • Franz Liszt, Hungarian Composer and Pianist, and Roman Catholic Priest
  • Horatius Bonar, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Marcel Denis, French Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in Laos, 1961

 

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

Proper 11, Year A   Leave a comment

Above:  Tares

Leaving Divine Judgment to God

The Sunday Closest to July 20

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

JULY 20, 2014

JULY 23, 2017

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

Genesis 28:10-19a (New Revised Standard Version):

Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the LORD stood beside him and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place– and I did not know it!” And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called that place Bethel.

Psalm 139:1-11, 22, 23 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 LORD, you have searched me out and known me;

you know my sitting down and my rising up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

You trace my journeys and my resting-places

and are acquainted with all my ways.

Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,

but you, O LORD, know it altogether.

You press upon me behind and before

and lay your hand upon me.

5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

it is so high that I cannot attain to it.

6 Where can I go then from your Spirit?

where can I flee from your presence?

If I climb up to heaven, you are there;

if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.

If I take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

9 Even there your hand will lead me

and your right hand hold me fast.

10 If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me,

and the light around me turn to night,”

11 Darkness is not dark to you;

the night is as bright as the day;

darkness and light to you are both alike.

22 Search me out, O God, and know my heart;

try me and know my restless thoughts.

23 Look well whether there be any wickedness in me

and lead me in the way that is everlasting.

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 (New Revised Standard Version):

For neither is there any god besides you,

whose care is for all people,

to whom you should prove that you have judged unjustly….

For your strength is the source of righteousness,

and your sovereignty over all causes you to spare all.

For you show your strength when people doubt the completeness of your power,

and you rebuke any insolence among those who know it.

Although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness,

and with great forbearance you govern us;

for you have power to act whenever you choose.

Through such works you have taught your people

that the righteous must be kind,

and you have filled your children with good hope,

because they give repentance for sins.

Or This First Reading:

Isaiah 44:6-8 (New Revised Standard Version):

Thus says the LORD, the king of Israel,

and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts;

I am the first and I am the last,

besides me there is no god.

Who is like me?  Let them proclaim it,

let them declare and and set if forth before me.

Who has announced from of old the things to come?

Let them tell us what is yet to be?

Do not fear, or be afraid;

have I not told you from of old and declared it?

You are my witnesses!

Is there any god besides me?

There is no other rock; I know not one.

Then This:

Psalm 86:11-17 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

11 Teach me your way, O LORD,

and I will walk in your truth;

knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name.

12 I will thank you, O LORD my God, with all my heart,

and glorify your Name for evermore.

13 For great is your love toward me;

you have delivered me from the nethermost Pit.

14 The arrogant rise up against me, O God,

and a band of violent men seeks my life;

they have not set you before their eyes.

15 But you, O LORD, are gracious, and full of compassion,

slow to anger, and full of kindness and truth.

16 Turn to me and have mercy upon me;

give your strength to your servant;

and save the child of your handmaid.

17 Show me a sign of your favor,

so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed;

because you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

SECOND READING

Romans 8:12-25 (New Revised Standard Version):

Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ– if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

GOSPEL READING

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus put before the crowd another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, `Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, `An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, `Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, `No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”

The Collect:

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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The reading from Genesis occurs also here:  http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/week-of-proper-9-monday-year-1/. I refer you, O reader, to that post for a different emphasis.

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The tares were probably darnel, a species of plant parasitic to wheat.  Darnel looks very much like wheat, with the distinction becoming clear beyond a shadow of a doubt when the ear develops.  So premature weeding of a wheat field containing darnel will lead to the destruction of wheat.

During the First Crusade (1096-1099) against the Muslims, many Crusaders killed Jews in Europe and Christians in Asia, as well as Muslims in many cities.  These Crusaders did all this in the name of God and Jesus.  They had a “kill them all and let God sort them out” mentality,” which is antithetical to divine compassion.

In 2002, in Statesboro, Georgia, I saw a horrifying bumper sticker.  It said, “KILL THEM ALL AND LET ALLAH SORT THEM OUT.”  Indignation over the attacks of September 11, 2001, was and is understandable, but nothing justifies the attitude in that bumper sticker.

Or shall I mention the Albigensian Crusade of 1209-1213, in which the Pope authorized mercenaries to slaughter the Cathar (Gnostic) heretics in France?  Men killed many people (not just Cathars and each other) and fought over land claims, to enrich themselves.  They did this in the name of God.

Who is darnel and who is wheat?  Do we even know which we are?  The parable from Matthew contains a powerful corrective lesson for those who presume to know the mind of God and to think they have the right to persecute and/or kill those they deem to be darnel.  Puritans in Seventeenth-Century New England hanged Quakers as a threat to society.  I think that the Quakers were the wheat and their executioners the darnel, but the Puritan authorities thought otherwise.  Alas, those who need to learn the lesson of this parable are the least likely to do so.

The Biblical texts, including those read this day, speak of divine judgment and mercy.  Both are attributes of God, who knows far more than we ever will.  And I dare say that God’s targeting is more exact than ours.  We tend to write people off when God gives them second, third, fourth, and fifth chances.  Consider Jacob, a schemer too clever for his own good and that of some people around him.  He had mystical encounters with God and matured spiritually, becoming the patriarch Israel, for whom the people and nation-state are named.  God did not write him off.  Jacob/Israel was wheat, not darnel, despite early appearances to the contrary.

There is great virtue in religious toleration and the separation of the state mechanisms and religious establishments.  When the church and the state (or the mosque and the state) become united, one becomes an arm of the other, which is detrimental.  James Madison, Father of the U.S. Constitution, believed fervently in the separation of church and state, mainly for the protection of the churches.  And theocracy is notoriously detrimental to dissenters, whom the establishment considers darnel.  But the theocrats act more like darnel than wheat–and always in the name of God.

As the Wisdom of Solomon 12:19 says, “…the righteous must be kind….”  A great part of righteousness consists of loving our neighbors as ourselves and leaving divine judgments to God alone.  Otherwise, we run the risk of doing more harm than good.  We need not pretend to agree with others when we disagree with them, but civilized people can differ without resorting to persecution and bloodshed.  Besides, we are mistaken about some points, too, and those with whom we disagree are partially correct as well.  The judgment in this matter resides only with God.

KRT

Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on December 31, 2010