Archive for the ‘July 5’ Category

Feast of Reinhold, Ursula, Hulda, and H. Richard Niebuhr (July 5)   12 comments

Above:  A Partial Niebuhr Family Tree

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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HULDA CLARA AUGUST NIEBUHR (1889-APRIL 17, 1959)

Christian Educator

sister of

KARL PAUL REINHOLD NIEBUHR (JUNE 21, 1892-JUNE 1, 1971)

United Church of Christ Theologian

husband of 

URSULA MARY KEPPEL-COMPTON NIEBUHR (AUGUST 3, 1908-JANUARY 10, 1997)

Episcopal Theologian and Advocate for Women’s Rights

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HELMUT RICHARD NIEBUHR (SEPTEMBER 3, 1894-JULY 5, 1962)

United Church of Christ Theologian

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A FAMILY STORY

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INTRODUCTION

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Niebuhrs have made vital contributions to Christian theology and public life, especially in the United States.  Reinhold Niebuhr has received the most attention.  His brother, H. Richard Niebuhr, also an influential theologian, has received much attention as well.  They have deserved all the attention they have received.  In the process, however, other Niebuhrs have received too little attention.

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GUSTAV AND LYDIA

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Gustav Niebuhr (1863-1913) was a minister and church planter for the old Evangelical Synod of North America, founded by members of the Lutheran-Reformed Prussian church who had immigrated to the United States.  Gustav, who had arrived in the United States at the age of 18 years in 1881, was a Belle Époque optimistic liberal with pietistic tendencies and a firm grasp of the Greek and Hebrew languages.  He lobbied for his denomination to conduct services in English.  (Attachment to the language of the mother country ran deep among many immigrant Christians in the United States.  This was cultural, liturgical, and psychological, sometimes with a theological veneer.  Among the Swedish-American Lutherans of the old Augustana Synod (1860-1962), for example, some argued that preaching the Gospel in English, not Swedish, would dilute the truth of the Gospel.)

Lydia Hosto (Niebuhr) (1869-1961) was like many wives of ministers; she did much pro bono work in parishes and became, in the minds of many parishioners, an extension of her husband.  She was far more than that, of course.  Her legacy has fallen into the shadows of her husband and two famous sons, unfortunately.  Lydia was sister of Adele Hosto, a deaconess in the Evangelical Synod of North America, and a daughter of Edward Hosto, a missionary of that denomination.

Gustav and Lydia had five children–one daughter and four sons.  One son died as an infant.  The language at home was German.  Gustav alienated Walter, his second child, and discouraged Hulda, his daughter, from pursuing higher education.  Gustav had old-fashioned ideas about gender roles.  He, from 1902 to 1913 the pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Church, Lincoln, Illinois, also served as an administrator at Deaconess Hospital.

Gustav Niebuhr, aged 50 years, died in 1913.

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HULDA (I)

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The eldest of the Niebuhr children was Hulda Clara August Niebuhr, born in 1889.  According to Gustav, her father, a woman was supposed to marry and bear children.  He thought that a woman’s desire for higher education was unseemly and egotistical, as well as a distraction from an interference with marriage and child-bearing.  Hulda pursued higher education anyway.

For her own reasons she never married.

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REINHOLD (I)

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Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr entered the world at Wright, Missouri, on June 21, 1892.  He was the third son and fourth child born to the family  “Reinie” graduated from the denominational college (Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois) and seminary (Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri), as well as Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut.  He, ordained at St. John’s Evangelical Church, Lincoln, Illinois, served at Bethel Evangelical Church, Detroit, Michigan.  Denominational rules mandated a two-year commitment; he served for thirteen years, until 1928.

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H. RICHARD (I)

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Helmut Richard Niebuhr, the youngest of the five children, entered the world at Wright City, Missouri, on September 4, 1894.  He graduated from Elmhurst College in 1912, Washington University in 1917, Yale Divinity School in 1923, and Yale Graduate School in 1924.  H. Richard, ordained into the ministry of the Evangelical Synod of North America in 1916, pastored an ESNA parish in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1916-1918 then a Congregationalist church in New Haven during his doctoral work there.  For the rest of his career H. Richard was an academic–a professor at Eden Theological Seminary (1919-1922), the President of Elmhurst College (1924-1927), again a professor at Eden Theological Seminary (1927-1931), and finally as a professor (specializing in Christian ethics) at Yale Divinity School (1931-1962).

In 1920 H. Richard married Florence Marie Mittendorf.  One of their children was Richard Reinhold Niebuhr (1926-2017), a professor at Harvard Divinity School from 1956 to 1999, as well as the father of Richard Gustav Neibuhr (b. 1955), usually listed as Gustav Niebuhr.  The grandson of H. Richard Niebuhr has distinguished himself as an award-winning religion journalist (through 2001) and academic (since December 2001).  After his work at Princeton University (2001-2003) (Richard) Gustav Niebuhr joined the faculty of Syracuse University, Syracuse New York, teaching journalism as well as the history of religion.

Harvard Divinity School has honored Richard Reinhold Niebuhr by naming a professorship after him.

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HULDA, REINHOLD, AND LYDIA IN DETROIT

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Gustav Niebuhr died in 1913.  At that time Walter, the eldest son, whom Gustav had alienated, rescued the family financially.  He, a devout Christian, had gone into secular life as a journalist and a businessman, making real money.

The Evangelical Synod of North America assigned the bachelor Reinhold Niebuhr to Bethel Evangelical Church, Detroit, Michigan, in 1915.  The membership stood at 65 when he arrived.  It was also entirely of German extraction.  Hulda and Lydia worked in the parish.  Hulda specialized in religious education for several years.  Lydia was effectively the co-pastor.

At Detroit Reinhold became deeply involved in liberal politics, siding with labor unions, opposing Ku Klux Klan-backed candidates for local offices, and imbibing deeply of Marxian thought (Conflict Theory).  He, shedding Social Gospel optimism and moving toward Christian Realism while writing Moral Man and Immoral Society (published in 1932).  Meanwhile, the Niebuhrs grew Bethel Church to 700 members by 1928.

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HULDA (II)

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Hulda, who had begun her higher education at Lincoln College, Lincoln, Illinois, in 1912, completed her undergraduate degree at Boston University, starting in 1918.  At B.U. she also earned her M.A. in the School of Religious Education and Social Service.  The university became her professional home; she was one of three female assistant professors there in 1927.

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REINHOLD (II)

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By 1928 Reinhold had come to the attention of Henry Sloane Coffin, President of Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York.  Coffin hired the pastor in 1928.  Reinhold and his mother moved to New York City that year; he taught applied Christianity and Christian ethics.  He remained at Union Theological Seminary until declining health forced his retirement in 1960.

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REINHOLD AND URSULA

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Ursula Mary Keppel-Compton, born in Southampten, England, on August 3, 1908, would have offended Gustav Niebuhr (1863-1913); he would have accused her of egotism.  Ursula not only pursued higher education, but excelled at it.  She graduated with honors in history and theology from St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, then became the first woman to win a fellowship to Union Theological Seminary, where she, aged 23 years, arrived in the fall of 1930.  Ursula chose not to date Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whom she met there; she wrote,

I thought him rather too Teutonic and too Prussian for my taste.

She did fall in love with Professor Reinhold Niebuhr, however.  Ursula had a mind of her own.  She as a lay minister in The Church of England, had dared to preach, thereby doing what only men were officially supposed to do in that milieu at that time.  She married Reinhold at Winchester Cathedral in December 1931.  During their marriage (1931-1971) the couple debated theology.  Ursula remained in the Anglican tradition; she was an Episcopalian.  Reinhold likewise remained true to his background as it turned into the Evangelical and Reformed Church (in 1934) then the United Church of Christ (in 1957).

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URSULA

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Ursula was a formidable scholar.  She had an interest in Biblical archeology.  Her thesis at Union Theological Seminary was “Ultimate Moral Sanction as According to the New Testament.”  Ursula also taught the history of religion at Columbia University and founded then chaired the Department of Religion at Barnard College, retiring in 1960, when her husband retired from Union Theological Seminary.

Ursula scaled back her career due to Reinhold’s declining health.  In 1952, while returning from a meeting with his friend Adlai Stevenson, Reinhold suffered a stroke.  He was able to continue to teach until 1960 and publish into the 1960s.  In his last major work, Man’s Nature and His Communities (1965), Reinhold acknowledged Ursula’s influence on his evolving thought.

In recent years some scholars have asked to what extent Ursula and her husband were co-authors.

Ursula, aged 90 years, died at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on January 10, 1997.

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HULDA (III)

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Hulda spent 1928-1946 in New York, New York.  She began work on a doctorate at Union Theological Seminary ad the Teachers College of Columbia University (as part of a joint program of the two institutions) and was A.B.D. (All But Dissertation).  From 1930 to 1945 she was a religious educator at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.  Hulda also wrote two books and six articles about the religious education of children from 1928 to 1944, and was an adjunct faculty member at New York University from 1938 to 1946.

In 1946 moved to Chicago, Illinois, to accept a position at the Presbyterian College of Christian Education, associated with McCormick Theological Seminary.  She became an Associate Professor of Religious Education.  Upon the merger of the college and the seminary in 1949, she joined the faculty of the seminary, which made her its first female full professor in 1953.  Hulda, who shared her home with her mother, wrote two more books and 18 more articles.

In one of those articles, “Red Roses and Sin” (1958), Hulda wrote:

We bemoan the fact that our church members do not know the Bible, while at the same time we waste opportunities to make it available to them.  Children (not to mention adults) like to hear good stories told and retold.  The Bible teems with dramatic material that can be presented to them in story form.

Hulda, who emphasized teaching children in ways in which they learned best, died on April 17, 1959, one month shy of retirement.  She was about 70 years old.

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H. RICHARD (II)

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To make decisions in faith is to make them in view of the fact that no single man or group or historical time is the church; but that there is a church of faith in which we do our partial, relative work and on which we count.  It is to make them in view of the fact that Christ is risen from the dead, and is not only the head of the church but the redeemer of the world.  It is to make them in view of the fact that the world of culture–man’s achievement–exists within the world of grace–God’s Kingdom.

–H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (New York:  Harper & Row, 1951), 256

H. Richard, quite an influential theologian, as well as the only member of the family in his generation to earn a doctorate, thought and wrote deeply about the relationship of faith to culture.  In the seminal Social Sources of Denominationalism (1929) he wrote of secular influences, such as race, social class, regionalism, and nationalism–or institutional religious life.  Then, in The Church Against the World (1935) and The Kingdom of God in America (1937), H. Richard emphasized spiritual influences on culture.  In The Meaning of Revelation (1941) he pondered the relationship of Christian community to the revelation of God, the absolute, and argued that the revelation of God is relative and in the context of faith community, which functions as a safeguard against many excesses of members of that community.  Perhaps H. Richard’s most influential work was Christ and Culture (1951), in which he argued against separation from the world as well as accommodation to it.  The majority Christian position, he wrote, is a synthesis of Christ and culture.  H. Richard did not approve of that either; he preferred Christ as the transformer of culture.

Stanley Hauerwas is one of the theologians who has simultaneously critiqued and affirmed the theology of H. Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr.

H. Richard, not yet retired, died on July 5, 1962.  He was 67 years old.

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REINHOLD (III)

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Harlan Ellison has said that being consistent requires one to remain as poorly informed as one was the previous year.  Reinhold Niebuhr, who changed his mind many times during his nearly 70 years of life, valued avoiding naïveté and hypocrisy, not seeking consistency with himself when he was younger.  Thus he, once a pacifist, a socialist, and a Social Gospeller, rejected many former opinions.  Reinhold became a champion of Neo-orthodoxy (which retained the social justice aspects of the Social Gospel while rejecting the optimism that World War I had belied) and Christian Realism.  He was too liberal for many conservatives and too conservative for many liberals.  Reinhold’s theology recognized the reality of the gray, not just the black and the white.  He came to support the George Kennan-style Containment policy during the Cold War, and condemned Senator Joseph McCarthy as an agent of evil.  Reinhold, who supported U.S. involvement in World War II, opposed the war in Vietnam, as did Kennan.

The author of the Serenity Prayer (in the 1930s) won the Presidential Medal of Honor in 1964, helped settle refugees in the 1930s, came to oppose Christian attempts to convert Jews, and influenced a host of influential people, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; Senator John McCain; and Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.  Reinhold was Obama’s favorite theologian.

Reinhold broke religion into two categories–prophetic religion and priestly religion.  He defined prophetic religion as the source of human religious consciousness.  Reinhold was critical of priestly religion, which he defined as that which people use to replace, blunt, or domesticate true religion, that is prophetic religion, which is essential to human personality (cheapened by modern industrial society) as well as societal cohesion.

That societal emphasis, which Reinhold had in common with H. Richard, informed an understanding of original sin–more than individual, corrupting society and social institutions.  Therefore only God can usher in the Kingdom of God.

Sorry, Walter Rauschenbusch, whom I also esteem highly.

Reinhold died at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on June 1, 1971.  He was 78 years old.

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CONCLUSION

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One may disagree respectfully and civilly with any of these four saints on various matters.  Yet, if one is honest, one cannot fail to recognize their contributions to the Church, and societies.  Of course Christian educators should use effective pedagogical methods.  Of course churches and societies influence each other, for good and ill.  Of course corrupt social institutions, which even the most pious institutions, which even the most pious cannot avoid, involve those pious people in societal sins, so that, as the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) affirmed in 1962, in a statement with Niebuhrian influences:

Man cannot destroy the tyranny of sin in himself or in his world; his only hope is to be delivered from it by God.

–Quoted in The Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (1965), 332

I wonder what these four Niebuhrs would write and say about today.  I wonder what advice Hulda would offer to contemporary Christian educators, given the shortened attention spans and the ubiquity of screens and smart phones.  I wonder what critiques H. Richard, Reinhold, and Ursula would offer for U.S. foreign and domestic policy.  I also wonder how they might adapt their critique of industrial society in the context of post-industrial society–an information economy amid globalization.  I wonder what they would make of social media.  They would offer discomforting words of wisdom, I suspect.  And those words of wisdom would not fit into sound bytes.

I also wonder about another matter.  I collect and consult calendars of saints.  A wide variety of these calendars exists.  Not one, to my knowledge, lists any of these four Niebuhrs as saints.  That surprises me.  Anglican and Lutheran ecclesiastical calendars count legacies, not miracles.  Certainly I am shocked not to find H. Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr on any Anglican or Lutheran calendar of saints.  During this process of renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days–with this post, in fact–I hereby merge the former feasts of Reinhold Niebuhr and H. Richard Niebuhr as I add Ursula Niebuhr and Hulda Niebuhr to the commemoration.  They deserve it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM COWPER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants Hulda, Reinhold, Ursula, and H. Richard Niebuhr,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Blessed Joseph Boissel (July 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Joseph Boissel

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED JOSEPH BOISSEL (DECEMBER 20, 1909-JULY 5, 1969)

French Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Martyr in Laos, 1969

Blessed Joseph Boissel risked life and limbs to serve Christ in the people of Laos.  His faithfulness and heroism led to the crown of martyrdom.

Boissel, born in Le Loroux, Ile-et-Vilaine, France, on December 20, 1909, became a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate and spent most of his life in Laos.  He arrived in that country in 1938.  Boissel and two other priests were captives for a time, starting in March 1945.  Nevertheless, our saint returned to Laos the following year.  Twenty-three years later he died there.

The Vietnam War was raging.  Hat-I-Êt was a village of Kmhmu refugees.  The area was dangerous for everyone, but Boissel, a catechist, and two Laotian Oblate Missionaries traveled there in a car anyway on Saturday, July 5, 1969.  North Vietnamese Soldiers shot into the vehicle, hitting Boissel in the head and killing him instantly.  Then soldiers threw a grenade at the car.  According to one of those in the car, one Thérèse, who was in the car also, suffered brain damage as a result and spent the rest of her life afflicted with intellectual deficiencies.

Pope Francis declared Boissel a Venerable in 2015 then a Blessed the following year.

Boissel is one of the 17 Martyrs of Laos.

I have heard a Roman Catholic priest describe the twentieth century as the century of martyrs, given the high rate of Christian martyrdom between 1901 and 2000.  This assertion is consistent with the additions of so many who gave their lives for Christ in the previous century to the Roman Catholic calendar.

I also think of Father Boissel and his companions, especially Thérèse, who was unfortunate enough to survive in misery, and stand in awe of their dedication to Christ that compelled them to risk everything to travel into a place of danger, to minister to refugees.  I conclude that I would not have acted as they did.  That is why they were better than I am.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM COWPER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Joseph Boissel

triumphed over suffering ad was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

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

that we may receive with him 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

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Georges Bernanos (July 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Georges Bernanos

Image in the Public Domain

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LOUIS ÉMILIE CLÉMENT GEORGES BERNANOS (FEBRUARY 20, 1888-JULY 5, 1948)

French Roman Catholic Novelist

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God did not create the Church to ensure the prosperity of the saints, but in order that she should transmit their memory….They lived and suffered as we do.  They were tempted as we are.  The man who dares not yet accept what is sacred and divine in their example will at least learn from it the lesson of heroism and honor.

–Georges Bernanos, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 290

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Georges Bernanos was a man with a strong sense of the sacred and the divine, as well as shifting politics.  He, born in Paris, France, on February 20, 1888, grew up mostly in Fressin, a village in Pas-de-Calais.  Our saint, a soldier during World War I, studied at the Sorbonne.  Early in life Bernanos was a reactionary, not a conservative; he thought that France should be a monarchy, not a republic.  For a number of years he belonged to Action Française, a right-wing Roman Catholic organization, and even attacked a professor who had dared to criticize St. Joan of Arc.  Bernanos left Action Française in 1932, however, and accused it of valuing tradition and order more than the spirit of Christ.

Bernanos, married to a descendant of St. Joan of Arc’s brother, struggled for years to support his family with his writing.  He wrote about priests in particular.  Our saint’s first novel was Under the Star of Satan (1926), was about the battle between good and evil within a rural priest.  Bernanos, who had to walk the assistance of canes after an automobile accident in 1933, found financial security in 1936 with The Diary of a Country Priest, his masterpiece.  The main character was a pious priest who struggled with mediocrity and failure, despite much effort, while remaining unaware of his underlying sanctity.  That priest’s dying words were,

Does it matter?  Grace is everywhere.

The Bernanos family moved to Majorca, Spain, in 1936.  Our saint initially supported Francisco Franco‘s Falangist Party (Christian Fascists), supposedly fighting for the Roman Catholic Church during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).  Yet Bernanos became disillusioned with Franco, who won that war, committed many atrocities, and presided over a dictatorship until 1975.  Our saint’s Ceremonies Under the Son led to recrimination and allegations of betrayal from many of his usual allies on the Right and praise from the Left.

Bernanos left Spain in 1938.  He resided in Brazil, living on a farm, until 1945.  Our saint, openly critical of the Vichy regime, returned to France after World War II.  His final work, left incomplete, due to death, was a life of Christ.  Bernanos, aged 60 years, died at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, on July 5, 1948.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Georges Bernanos and all

those who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the

Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Feast of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria (July 5)   1 comment

Above:  Map of Italy in 1494

SAINT ANTHONY MARY ZACCARIA (1502-1539)

Founder of the Barnabites and the Angelica Sisters of Saint Paul

That which God commands seems difficult and a burden.  The way is rough; you draw back; you have not desire to follow it.  Yet do so and attain glory.

–Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria

Born at Cremona, Lombardy, Italy, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria‘s father died when the saint was two years old.  Yet his mother was devoted to him, and he to her.  So he had a good upbringing.  The saint studied medicine at the University of Padua, graduating in 1524.  He practiced medicine in Cremona yet felt drawn to the priesthood.  So the saint studied for that vocation.  Ordained in 1528, he moved to Metan.

One of the defining characteristics of the saint’s life was the founding of religious orders.  In 1533, with Bartholomew Ferrari and James Morigia, Milanese noblemen (and Venerables in the Roman Catholic Church), he founded the Clerks Regular of Saint Paul, a.k.a. the Barnabites, after the order’s eventual headquarters church, St. Barnabas, Milan.  The goal of the order was to revive spirituality in the Church.  The saint encouraged frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist.  He also introduced the Forty Hours’ Devotion, defined for that length of time because of the tradition that Christ had been dead forty hours.  (The Forty Hours’ Devotion, of course, has a Eucharistic center.)  The saint, critical of decadence among the clergy and other abuses in the Roman Catholic Church, faced heresy charges twice.  And twice the authorities dismissed the charges.  Pope Clement VI approved the order in 1533.  The saint served as the first provost general, resigning in 1536.  He continued to help build the order.

The saint also helped Louisa Torelli, Countess of Guastalla, found the Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul in 1534.  The order of uncloistered nuns devoted itself to protecting and rescuing girls who had fallen into prostitution.

While preparing this post I found websites for both orders.  Members of them continue to perform  good works for Jesus, fortunately.

The saint died of fever at his mother’s house at Cremona on July 15, 1539.  He was thirty-seven years old.  Pope Leo XIII canonized him in 1897.

Our time on this planet is valuable; what we do with the time we have matters, especially to others.  What is God calling you, O reader, to do with the rest of your life?  May you seek to do that.  And may others help you succeed.  Likewise, may you help others succeed.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 4, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS CARACCIOLO, COFOUNDER OF THE ADORNO FATHERS

THE FEAST OF JOHN XXIII, BISHOP OF ROME

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

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

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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 9, Year A   Leave a comment

Above: Paul Writing His Epistles (1500s C.E. Painting)

The Victory Belongs to God Alone

The Sunday Closest to July 6

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

JULY 5, 2020

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 (New Revised Standard Version):

The servant said to Laban,

I am Abraham’s servant. The LORD has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, `You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father’s house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.’

I came today to the spring, and said, `O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going! I am standing here by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, “Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,” and who will say to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also” — let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’

Before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah coming out with her water jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, `Please let me drink.’ She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, `Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels. Then I asked her, `Whose daughter are you?’ She said, `The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her arms. Then I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left.

And they called Rebekah, and said to her,

Will you go with this man?

She said,

I will.

So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

May you, our sister, become thousands of myriads; may your offspring gain possession of the gates of their foes.

Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant,

Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?

The servant said,

It is my master.

So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

AND

Psalm 45:11-18 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

11 “Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely;

forget your people and your father’s house.

12 The king will have pleasure in your beauty;

he is your master; therefore do him honor.

13 The people of Tyre are here with a gift,

the rich among the people seek your favor.”

14 All glorious is the princess as she enters;

her gown is cloth-of-gold.

15 In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king;

after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.

16 With joy and gladness they are brought,

and enter into the palace of the king.

17 “In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons;

you shall make them princes over all the earth.

18 I will make your name to be remembered

from one generation to another;

therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever.”

OR

Song of Solomon 2:8-13 (New Revised Standard Version):

The voice of my beloved!

Look, he comes,

leaping upon the mountains,

bounding over the hills.

My beloved is like a gazelle

or a young stag.

Look, there he stands

behind our wall,

gazing in at the windows,

looking through the lattice.

My beloved speaks and says to me:

Arise, my love, my fair one,

and come away;

for now the winter is past,

the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth;

the time of singing has come,

and the voice of the turtledove

is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth its figs,

and the vines are in blossom;

they give forth fragrance.

Arise, my love, my fair one,

and come away.

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

Zechariah 9:9-12 (New Revised Standard Version):

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!

Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!

Lo, your king comes to you;

triumphant and victorious is he,

humble and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim

and the war-horse from Jerusalem;

and the battle bow shall be cut off,

and he shall command peace to the nations;

his dominion shall be from sea to sea,

and from the River to the ends of the earth.

As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,

I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;

today I declare that I will restore to you double.

For I have bent Judah as my bow;

I have made Ephraim its arrow.

I will arouse your sons, O Zion,

against your sons, O Zion,

and wield you like a warrior’s sword.

Psalm 145:8-15 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,

slow to anger and of great kindness.

9 The LORD is loving to everyone

and his compassion is over all his works.

10 All your works praise you, O LORD,

and your faithful servants bless you.

11 They make known the glory of your kingdom

and speak of your power;

12 That the peoples may know of your power

and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom;

your dominion endures throughout all ages.

14 The LORD is faithful in all his words

and merciful in all his deeds.

15 The LORD upholds all those who fall;

he lifts up those who are bowed down.

SECOND READING

Romans 7:15-25a (New Revised Standard Version):

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good.  But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand.  For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law oat war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Wretched man that I am!  Who will rescue from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.

GOSPEL READING

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus said to the crowd,

To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,

“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;

we wailed, and you did not mourn.”

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.

At that time Jesus said,

I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The Collect:

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Sometimes I can tie all lectionary readings for a day together neatly via a common thought.  This unifying theme might be easy or difficult to locate, but I can find it–much of the time.  Proper 9, Year A, is an exception to this rule.  So I state quickly that genuine romantic love between adult human beings, especially those bound to each other by the sacrament of marriage, is beautiful and that God is present there.  Now I move along to Zechariah, Paul, and Matthew.

I take these readings in chronological order.

The Book of Zechariah exists in two parts:  Chapters 1-8 and 9-14, each section having separate authorship.  Zechariah 9-14 contains prophesies about how God will deal with the Jewish people from the time of Hellenistic domination of the Holy Land to the coming of the Messiah.  The texts say that God will act, so the victory will belong to God.  Worthless shepherds will not obstruct these deeds, for God will replace them with a worthy shepherd, the Messiah.

Jesus, of course, was (and is) that Messiah.  People criticized him for many reasons:  he ate and drank too much or he fasted too much; he healed on the Sabbath; the man could not satisfy some people regardless of how good he was.  Some people will find fault with anyone, even Jesus.  But he was (and is) the Good Shepherd, and through him God has made atonement for sins.

Speaking of sins, Paul struggled with them.  I know this feeling, but I take it as more positive than negative.  The term “immoral” indicates that one knows the difference between right and wrong, and chooses the latter.  But “amoral” indicates that one cannot make the distinction.  At least the person who is immoral at least some to the time knows the difference, and God can work with that.  It is vital to try and to want to do the right thing.  We humans are deeply flawed, “but dust” as the Book of Psalms says, but we also bear the image of God (Genesis 1).  So we need to honor the divine image within ourselves and each other, and to trust God to help us distinguish between right and wrong, and to believe that God will help us choose what is correct.

Culture can affect our perceptions of morality, sometimes for the worse.  As a student of U.S. history, I know that many Antebellum Southerners thought that keeping slaves was moral, and that anyone who said or thought otherwise did not understand the Bible correctly.  Also, I have a book containing a 1954 sermon from Texas entitled “God the Original Segregationist.”  The pastor continued to sell copies of this sermon via the mail through at least 1971.  It is easy for me to point out these moral misunderstandings, but I am blind to my own.

So I read Paul’s confession and identify with it.  And I take comfort that the victory is God’s work, and that neither I nor anyone else will stand in its way.  But I hope I am not and will never be a would-be obstacle God must sweep aside.  No, I want to be on God’s side.  By grace, may as many of us as possible be there.

KRT

Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on December 18, 2010

Posted May 8, 2011 by neatnik2009 in July 5, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

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