Archive for the ‘July 9’ Category

Feast of Alice Paul (July 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Alice Paul, 1918

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-37937

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ALICE STOKES PAUL (JANUARY 11, 1885-JULY 9, 1977)

U.S. Quaker Women’s Rights Activist

Alice Paul‘s Quaker faith, with its egalitarian elements, informed and compelled her feminist activism.

Our saint came from a devout Quaker family that valued education and social progressivism.  She, born in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, on January  11, 1885, was a daughter of William Mickle Paul, I (1850-1902), and Tacie Parry Paul (1859-1930).  Alice’s siblings were William Mickle Paul, II (1886-1958), Helen Paul Shearer (1889-1971), and Parry Haines Paul (1895-1956).  Tacie, a suffragette, took young Alice to suffragette meetings.  The influence lasted.

Paul, well-educated, changed her academic course mid-stream.  She, a graduate of Moorestown Friends School, Moorestown,  New Jersey, matriculated at Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, as a biology major (B.A., 1905).  A year-long fellowship (1905-1906) at a settlement house on the Lower East Side of Manhattan led to graduate studies in economics, sociology, and political science at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (M.A., 1907).  During the next three years, Paul lived in England.  She studied at the Woodbrooke Quaker Centre, Birmingham; the University of Birmingham; and the London School of Economics.  Our saint also became a militant suffragette.  She endured three prison sentences.  Paul, on hunger strikes, also endured forced feedings.  Our saint, back in the United States of America in 1910, earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.  Her dissertation was “The Legal Standing of Women in Pennsylvania.”

Paul’s militant feminism, costly to her, benefited many women and the United States of America.  She, one of the founders of the National Woman’s Party (1916), protested, marched, and went to prison.  She and her sister activists, incarcerated unjustly in the “land of the free” that fought World War I allegedly to “make the world safe for democracy,” sought to allow women in all states to vote.  Women could vote in some states and territories yet not others prior to the ratification (1920) of the Nineteenth Amendment.  In prison, Paul and her sister activists, on hunger strikes, endured forced feedings.

(Thomas) Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America (1913-1921), was a difficult historical figure.  He was an unapologetic White Supremacist who segregated the District of Columbia.  (His father, the Reverend Joseph Ruggles Wilson, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia, in 1861, had preached in favor of race-based chattel slavery.  Then Joseph had become a founding father of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America, committed to defending slavery as part of theological orthodoxy.  The apple did not fall far from the tree; Thomas was similar to Joseph.)  In the presidential election of 1912, Wilson, the nominee of the Democratic Party, was not the most progressive candidate.  That mantle fell to the Socialist Party’s Eugene V. Debs.  Progressive Party nominee and former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, whose platform included universal health care, was more progressive than Wilson.  Wilson, as President, usually governed as a conservative.  He governed as a progressive when he perceived that doing so was to his political advantage, such as shortly prior to the election of 1916, so he could attract the votes of many progressives during the Progressive Era.  Wilson, long an opponent of women’s suffrage, was a target for Paul’s activism.  Her militant tactics paid off; Wilson became a champion of women’s suffrage as the political winds changed course.

(Aside:  In case I have not been sufficiently clear, O reader, I do not like Woodrow Wilson.  I would not name an outhouse after him.  To do so would insult the outhouse.)

Paul studied law after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.  She earned her law degrees (through Doctor of Civil Laws) from the Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, D.C., in 1922, 1927, and 1928.

Paul spent most of the rest of her life working for the legal equality of men and women under the law.  She co-wrote successive versions of the Equal Rights Amendment, starting in 1923, and lobbied for all of them.  Critics came from both the Right and on the Left.  On the Right, support for patriarchy prevailed.  On the Left, fears of losing gender-based protections for women prompted opposition.  In Paul’s mind, anything other than legal egalitarianism for men and women constituted “legalized inequality.”  Our saint also helped to add gender as one of the categories in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Paul, who kept her personal life private and never married, died in Moorestown, New Jersey, on July 9, 1977.  She was 92 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN AND ANATOLIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCHS; AND SAINTS AGATHO, LEO II, AND BENEDICT II, BISHOPS OF ROME; DEFENDERS OF CHRISTOLOGICAL ORTHODOXY

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIONYSIUS OF ALEXANDRIA, PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA, AND CHURCH FATHER; SAINT EUSEBIUS OF LAODICEA, BISHOP OF LAODICEA; AND SAINT ANATOLIUS OF ALEXANDRIA, BISHOP OF LAODICEA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HELIODORUS OF ALTINUM, ASSOCIATE OF SAINT JEROME, AND BISHOP OF ALTINUM

THE FEAST OF 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

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us [like your servant Alice Paul] to use our freedom

to bring justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-14

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 370

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Feast of Augustus Tolton (July 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Father Augustus Tolton

Image in the Public Domain

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AUGUSTUS TOLTON (1854-JULY 9, 1897)

Pioneering African-American Roman Catholic Priest in the United States of America

Father Augustus Tolton comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), where the priest’s feast day is July 9.

Tolton, born a slave in Ralls County, Missiouri, in 1854, was a cradle Catholic.  His parents were Martha and Peter Paul Tolton, slaves on neighboring plantations.  The couple had three children (of which Augustus was the middle one), all baptized in the faith.  The parents escaped from slavery during the Civil War, in which Peter Paul fought and died as a soldier in the U.S. Army.  Martha and the children settled at Quincy, Illinois.

Our saint was on this earth to be a priest.  He was fine and capable one, too.  Tolton discerned his vocation while a boy.  The family’s parish priest arranged for tutoring for Tolton, for finding a seminary willing to accept him was difficult.  Our saint studied formally at Quincy College (1878-1880) then at Urban College, Rome, before becoming a priest in 1886, at the age of 32 years.  Tolton left Italy and returned to the United States.  He had expected the Church to send him to Africa as a missionary.

Tolton was the fourth African-American Roman Catholic priest in the United States of America.  The first three were the Georgia-born Healy brothers (James Augustine, Patrick Francis, and Alexander Sherwood), sons of an Irish immigrant slave owner and his slave mistress.  James Augustine Healy (1830-1900), ordained in 1854, rose to the post of Bishop of Portland, Maine.  The Healy brothers, being light-skinned, passed as white men.  Their mixed-race heritage was a closely-guarded secret in the Roman Catholic Church.  Tolton was unmistakably African-American, though.

Tolton’s eleven-year-long ministry was historic and difficult.  He struggled against racism in American society and in the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S.A., for he favored racial integration, a radical idea in the late 1800s.  Tolton was an effective and popular priest–first at St. Joseph’s Church, Quincy, Illinois, with its integrated yet majority African-American membership.  In 1889 Tolton transferred to St. Augustine’s Church (later renamed St. Monica’s Church), Chicago, Illinois.  St. Katharine Drexel and others contributed to the fund for the construction of the new building of St. Monica’s Church, completed in 1893.  Tolton also struggled with poverty, failing health, a sense of futility, and apathy from much of the U.S. Roman Catholic establishment.

Tolton died in Chicago on July 9, 1897.  He was about 43 years old.

The cause for the eventual canonization of Tolton has been open since 2011.  In 2012 the Roman Catholic Church declared our saint to be a Servant of God.

Holy Mother Church will move at her pace.  I move at mine.  Tolton is a saint.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION

THE FEAST OF SAINT ENRICO RUBUSCHINI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND SERVANT OF THE SICK; AND HIS MENTOR, SAINT LUIGI GUANELLA, FOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF SAINT MARY OF PROVIDENCE, THE SERVANTS OF CHARITY, AND THE CONFRATERNITY OF SAINT JOSEPH

THE FEAST OF ANNA LAETITIA WARING, HUMANITARIAN AND HYMN WRITER; AND HER UNCLE, SAMUEL MILLER WARING, HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVAN MERZ, CROATIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL

THE FEAST OF JOHN GOSS, ANGLICAN CHURCH COMPOSER AND ORGANIST; AND WILLIAM MERCER, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Augustus Tolton,

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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Virtues of the Saints   1 comment

Above:  The Communion of Saints

Image in the Public Domain

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Reading and writing about lives of saints are ennobling hobbies.  Certainly I find them preferable to a host of alternative possible ways to spend time, not all of which are inherently bad.  I might, for example, follow the news of perfidy, disregard for the truth, and probable criminality rife in the Executive Branch of the Government of the United States of America more closely.  Or I might pour over all the details of political attacks (under false pretenses) on a Roman Catholic chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, complete with doses of Evangelical-Fundamentalist bias against Roman Catholicism, with its celibate priesthood in the Latin Rite.  Or I might lose myself in so-called reality shows.  But no, I prefer Bible studies and hagiographies.

I have been taking notes on saints with feast days ranging from July 7 to 11; I have not completed that project yet.  I have also made plans to draft posts, merge four feasts extant on my ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS into two feasts, and to create new posts during the next few days.

To focus on the lives of holy people, from antiquity to my lifetime, is to consider those who followed Christ left noble legacies.  There is never a bad time to do that, but now seems like an especially appropriate time, at least for me.  Nobody is perfect, but many of us are genuinely good.  I seek to, in the words of novelist Alex Haley,

Find the good and praise it.

As for current events, the passage of time and the efforts of principled investigators will reveal and document the truth, which will reside in the realm of objective reality, not opinion.  I leave that work to those suited for it.

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 6, 2018

THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANNA ROSA GATTORNO, FOUNDRESS OF THE INSTITUTE OF THE DAUGHTERS OF SAINT ANNE, MOTHER OF MARY IMMACULATE

THE FEAST OF TOBIAS CLAUSNITZER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS WILLIBALD OF EICHSTATT AND LULLUS OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT WALBURGA OF HEIDENHELM, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; SAINTS PETRONAX OF MONTE CASSINO, WINNEBALD OF HEIDENHELM, WIGBERT OF FRITZLAR, AND STURMIUS OF FULDA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS; AND SAINT SEBALDUS OF VINCENZA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT AND MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF CLARENCE DICKINSON, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

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Feast of Johann Scheffler (July 9)   1 comment

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Above:  Town Hall, Breslau, Germany, 1916-1917

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number =  LC-DIG-npcc-32914

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JOHANN SCHEFFLER (BAPTIZED DECEMBER 25, 1624-DIED JULY 9, 1677)

Roman Catholic Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer

Johann Scheffler, who wrote under the name Angelus Silesius, was the son of Stanislaus Scheffler, a Polish nobleman who had to flee his homeland because he had converted to Lutheranism.  Therefore our saint grew up an exile in Silesia and an orthodox Lutheran.  But his father’s religion did not fit him.

Scheffler studied medicine, becoming a doctor in 1648.  Next he served as personal physician to Duke Sylvius Nimord of Wurtemberg-Oels, also an orthodox Lutheran.  Yet Scheffler was more mystical than orthodox, so he stood out from the crowd there.  His attempts to publish his mystical poems failed.  Eventually he dropped out of church at Wurtemberg-Oels.  Then he left for Breslau in 1652.

At Breslau Scheffler, under the influence of Jesuits, converted to Roman Catholicism in 1653.  Eight years later he became both a Franciscan and a priest.  Our saint’s conversion caused much controversy, for many Protestants (especially Lutherans) found his new, enthusiastic Roman Catholicism galling.  Scheffler answered arguments, giving as well as he got.  The convert had an especially strong attachment to the Mass, for he derived much spiritual benefit from holding a monstrance with a consecrated host inside during Corpus Christi processions.

A Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878) translation of one of Scheffler’s hymns follows:

O Love, who formedst me to wear

The image of Thy Godhead here;

Who soughtedst me with tender care

Through all my wanderings wild and drear:

O Love, I give myself to Thee,

Thine ever, only Thine to be.

—–

O Love, who ere life’s earliest morn

On me Thy choice hast gently laid;

O Love, who here as Man wast born,

And wholly like to us was made:

O Love, I give myself to Thee,

Thine ever, only Thine to be.

—–

O Love, who once in time wast slain,

Pierced through and through with bitter woe;

O Love, who wrestling thus didst gain

That we eternal joy may know:

O Love, I give myself to Thee,

Thine ever, only Thine to be.

—–

O Love, who lovest me for aye,

Who for my soul dost ever plead;

O Love, who didst my ransom pay,

Whose power sufficeth in my stead:

O Love, I give myself to Thee,

Thine ever, only Thine to be.

—–

O Love, whose voice shall bid me rise

From out this dying life of ours;

O Love, whose hand o’er yonder skies

Shall set me in the fadeless bowers:

O Love, I give myself to Thee,

Thine ever, only Thine to be.

Scheffler, who had given his inheritance to orphanages and other charitable institutions, retired to the Monastery of Saint Matthias, Breslau, in 1671.  There he died six years later.  His last words were:

Jesus and Christ, God and Man, Bridegroom and Brother, Peace and Joy, Sweetness and Pleasure, Refuge and Redemption,  Heaven and Earth, Eternity and Time, Love and All, receive my soul.

Johann Scheffler found his rest in God.  If anything he wrote or said helps you, O reader, spiritually, pass it on.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 19, 2013 COMMON ERA

PENTECOST SUNDAY, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW BOBOLA, JESUIT MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DUNSTAN OF CANTERBURY, ARCHBISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVO OF CHARTRES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVO OF KERMARTIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND ADVOCATE OF THE POOR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Johann Scheffler and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Johann Rudolph Ahle and Johann Georg Ahle (July 9)   Leave a comment

Europe 1648

Above:  Europe in 1648

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JOHANN RUDOLPH AHLE (DECEMBER 24, 1625-JULY 9, 1673)

German Lutheran Organist and Composer

father of

JOHANN GEORG AHLE (JUNE 1650-DECEMBER 2, 1706)

German Lutheran Organist and Composer

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Today I add a father and his son to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Johann Rudolph Ahle (1625-1673) studied theology at the University of Erfurt from 1645 to 1649.  He spent most of his life in his native Muhlhausen, where he played the organ at St. Blasius Church for many years, served on the town council (starting in 1656) and became mayor (in 1661).  He was a prolific composer, writing mostly for the Lutheran Church.  He composed more vocal works than anything else, but he also wrote approximately sixty works for the organ.  Some of his tunes sunk so deeply into the culture of his homeland that, in the next century, when Johann Sebastian Bach quoted them in cantatas, people in the audience recognized them easily.

Little information about Johann Georg Ahle (1650-1706) survives.  We do know that he followed in his father’s footsteps, serving as the organist at St. Blasius Church and sitting on the town council of Muhlhausen.  Johann Georg also composed aria and other works, almost all of which are lost.  Johann Georg did have the honor of serving as imperial Poet Laureate during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (reigned 1658-1705).  And Johann Georg wrote hymns, now lost.  I would not even add him to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days if not for his father, for I would have too little information to write a post just about him.  Yet I feel confident in doing this.  God knows all the details; that will have to suffice.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MALTBIE DAVENPORT BABCOCK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ERIK IX OF SWEDEN, KING AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF TAMIHANA TE RAUPARAHA, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by your servants Johann Rudolph Ahle and Johann Georg Ahle,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

Feast of Robert Grant (July 9)   1 comment

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Above:  Houses of Parliament, London, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number =  LC-USZC4-6015

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SIR ROBERT GRANT (JANUARY 15, 1780-JULY 9, 1838)

British Member of Parliament and Hymn Writer

Robert Grant (1780-1838) was a son of Charles Grant, a Director of the East India Company and the Member of Parliament for Inverness.  Robert graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge, with his B.A. in 1801 and his M.A. three years later.  He became an attorney in 1897.  Robert became the Member of Parliament for Inverness in 1826.  In that capacity he advocated successfully for, among other things, Jewish emancipation.  He joined the Privy Council in 1831, became Judge Advocate General the next year, and received the Order of the British Empire in 1834.  Robert’s last position was Governor of Bombay, from 1835 until his death.

Our saint wrote extensively about the East India Company.  In case one does not consider those works riveting, there are hymns, such as “O Worship the King.”

O worship the King, all-glorious above,

O gratefully sing His power and His love,

Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days.

Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

—–

O tell of His might, O sing of his grace,

Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.

His chariots of wrath the deep thunder clouds form,

And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

—–

The earth with its store of wonders untold,

Almighty Thy power hat founded of old,

Hath stablished it fast by a changeless decree,

And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

—–

Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite?

It breathes in the air; it shines in the light;

It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,

And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

—–

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail;

In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;

Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,

Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!

—–

O measureless Might! ineffable Love!

While angels delight to hymn Thee above,

The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,

With true adoration shall lisp to Thy praise.

Robert wrote religious poems over many years.  His brother published them as Sacred Poems in 1839.  Many of them had appeared in print already, for Robert had submitted texts to the Christian Observer and Psalms and Hymns.

Robert Grant made a great contribution to English hymnody.  Hymns are sung theology.  Based on “O Worship the King” alone, I surmise that he possessed wonderful talents which he employed to the glory of God, as he should have done.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MALTBIE DAVENPORT BABCOCK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ERIK IX OF SWEDEN, KING AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF TAMIHANA TE RAUPARAHA, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY

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For Further Reading:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Grant%2C%20Robert%2C%201779-1838

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Robert Grant and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of the Martyrs of Gorkum (July 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Hapsburg Empire in 1547

MARTYRED JULY 9, 1572

SAINT NICHOLAS PIECK

SAINT JEROME WEERDEN

SAINT ANTONY OF HOORNAER

SAINT ANTONY OF WEERT

SAINT THEODORE VAN DER EEM

SAINT GODEFRIED OF MERVEL

SAINT NICASIUS JANNSEN

SAINT ANTONY VAN WILLEHAD

SAINT CORNELIUS OF WYK

SAINT PETER OF ASSCHE

SAINT FRANCIS OF ROYE

SAINT LEONARDUS VECHEL

SAINT JEANNES LENARTE

SAINT NICHOLAS JANNSEN POPPEL

SAINT GODEFRIED VAN DUYNSEN

SAINT JOHANNES VAN HOORNAER

SAINT ADRIANUS JANSSEN

SAINT JACOBUS LUCOPS

SAINT ANDREAS WOUTERS

Authors of accounts of martyrs tend to focus on martyrs from their tradition.  So, on the Roman Catholic calendar, one finds names of Roman Catholics whom Protestants, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox killed.  Accordingly, Eastern Orthodox calendars contain names of Orthodox Christians whom Roman Catholics martyred.  Anglican calendars lead us  to accounts of good Anglicans whom Roman Catholics and some occasional Protestants killed.  And (especially old) Protestant sources are as prone to anti-Roman Catholicism as old Roman Catholic sources are to hysterics over the existence of Protestantism, and therefore to institutional defensiveness.  If, in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Gentile, then neither are there Protestants or Anglicans or Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox; such divisions prove irrelevant in Christ.  So a Christian martyr is a Christian martyr first and foremost on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Today I add the Martyrs of Gorkum, or Gorinchem, Holland.  Some historical background is essential.  Holland was a Hapsburg domain under Spanish rule in 1572.  The Eighty Years’ War, which ended in Dutch independence, had begun four years earlier.  The Holland of 1572 consisted of the modern-day Kingdoms of Belgium and The Netherlands.  Our story is set in The Netherlands part of Holland.  There was no separation of religion and politics.  Most Dutch (at least the non-Belgian ones) were Calvinists, and the Hapsburg rulers were Roman Catholics.

St. Nicholas Pieck was the Guardian of the Observant (really strict) Franciscan house at Gorkum.  Most of the other Martyrs of Gorkum came from that house; priests from nearby communities also became victims of the violence.  Of most of these saints we have only glowingly positive accounts.  Then there is St. Andreas Wouters, of whom the Catholic Encyclopedia says

…whose conduct was not edifying up to the time of his arrest, but who made ample amends by his martyrdom.

All nineteen saints experienced tortures for their faith and refused the same offer of freedom in exchange for abandoning their faith.  And all nineteen died on the grounds of a deserted monastery on the outskirts of Brielle.  Thus Calvinists made more Roman Catholic martyrs.

I have a shirt which reads,

WHO WOULD JESUS BOMB?

I know, it should read,

WHOM WOULD JESUS BOMB?

I wonder,

WHOM WOULD JESUS MARTYR?

And why do people who profess to follow him martyr others who make the same profession of faith?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 5, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of the Martyrs of Gorkum,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for July   1 comment

Water Lily

Image Source = AkkiDa

1 (Lyman Beecher, U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, and Abolitionist; his daughter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, U.S. Novelist, Hymn Writer, and Abolitionist; and her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, U.S. Presbyterian and Congregationalist Minister, and Abolitionist)

  • Antonio Rosmini, Founder of the Institute of Charity
  • 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)

  • Arthur Henry Messiter, Episcopal Musician and Hymn Tune Composer
  • 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)

  • Dionysius of Alexandria, Patriarch of Alexandria, and Church Father; Eusebius of Laodicea, Bishop of Laodicea; and Anatolius of Alexandria, Bishop of Laodicea
  • Heliodorus of Altinum, Associate of Saint Jerome, and Bishop of Altinum
  • 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

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

  • Adalbero and Ulric of Augsburg, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • Charles Albert Dickinson, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Elizabeth of Portugal, Queen and Peacemaker
  • John Cennick, British Moravian Evangelist and Hymn Writer
  • 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)

  • George Nichols and Richard Yaxley, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1589; Humphrey Pritchard, Welsh Roman Catholic Martyr, 1589; and Thomas Belson, English Roman Catholic Martyr, 1589
  • 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
  • Josiah Conder, English Journalist and Congregationalist Hymn Writer; and his son, Eustace Conder, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Oluf Hanson Smeby, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Thomas Helmore, Anglican Priest and Arranger and Composer of Hymn Tunes

7 (Ralph Milner, Roger Dickinson, and Lawrence Humphrey, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1591)

  • Francis Florentine Hagen, U.S. Moravian Minister and Composer
  • Hedda of Wessex, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Leo Sowerby, Episcopal Composer and “Dean of Church Music”

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

  • Alice Paul, U.S. Quaker Women’s Rights Activist
  • 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 (Myles Horton, “Father of the Civil Rights Movement”)

  • Eumenios and Parthenios of Koudoumas, Monks and Founders of Koudoumas Monastery, Crete
  • Joseph of Damascus, Syrian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1860
  • Nicholas Spira, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • 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
  • Valeriu Traian Frentiu, Romanian Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr, 1952

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

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

  • Alexander Schmorell, Russian-German Orthodox Anti-Nazi Activist and Martyr, 1943
  • 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; his teacher, Johann Christian Bechler, Moravian Minister, Musician, Music Educator, and Composer; and his son, 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
  • Leon McKinley Adkins, U.S. Methodist Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • 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
  • George Tyrrell, Irish Roman Catholic Modernist Theologian and Alleged Heretic
  • Swithun, Roman Catholic Bishop of Winchester

16 (Righteous Gentiles)

  • George Alfred Taylor Rygh, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • Henry Williams, Anglican Missionary in New Zealand; his wife, Marianne Williams, Anglican Missionary and Educator in New Zealand; her sister-in-law, Jane Williams, Anglican Missionary and Educator in New Zealand; and her husband and Henry’s brother, William Williams, Anglican Bishop of Waiapu
  • Mary Magdalen Postel, Founder of the Poor Daughters of Mercy

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

  • Bennett J. Sims, Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta
  • Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne, 1794
  • Catherine Louisa Marthens, First Lutheran Deaconess Consecrated in the United States of America, 1850
  • Nerses Lampronats, Armenian Apostolic Archbishop of Tarsus
  • Stephen Theodore Badin, First Roman Catholic Priest Ordained in the United States of America, 1793

18 (Bartholomé 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
  • Jessamyn West, U.S. Quaker Writer
  • R. B. Y. Scott, Canadian Biblical Scholar, Hymn Writer, and Minister

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
  • Lemuel Haynes, First Ordained African-American Minister
  • 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
  • Vicar Earle Copes, U.S. Methodist Minister, Liturgist, Composer, and Organist

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

  • 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)

  • 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)

  • Amalie Wilheimine Sieveking, Founder of the Women’s Association for the Care of the Poor and Invalids
  • Flora MacDonald, Canadian Stateswoman and Humanitarian
  • Jane Holmes Dixon, Episcopal Suffragan Bishop of Washington and Bishop of Washington Pro Tempore
  • John Newton, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Walter Rauschenbusch, U.S. Baptist Minister and Theologian of the Social Gospel

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)

  • Albert Frederick Bayly, English Congregationalist then United Reformed Minister, Librettist, and Hymn Writer
  • Christian Henry Bateman, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Johan Nordahl Brun, Norwegian Lutheran Bishop, Author, and Hymn Writer
  • Vincentia Gerosa and Bartholomea Capitanio, Co-Founders of the Sisters of Charity of Lovere
  • William Reed Huntington, Episcopal Priest and Renewer of the Church; and his grandson, William Reed Huntington, U.S. Architect and Quaker Peace Activist

28 (Pioneering Female Episcopal Priests, 1974 and 1975)

  • Antonio Vivaldi, Italian Roman Catholic Priest, Composer, and Violinist
  • Isabella Graham, Scottish-American Presbyterian Educator and Philanthropist
  • Mechthild of Magdeburg, German Beguine, Mystic, and Nun; Mechthild of Hackeborn, German Mystic and Nun; and Gertrude the Great, German Mystic and Abbess of Helfta, Saxony
  • Nancy Byrd Turner, Poet, Editor, and Hymn Writer

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, Founder 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
  • Helen Barrett Montgomery, U.S. Northern Baptist President, Social Reformer, Biblical Translator, and Supporter of Foreign Missions
  • 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

The Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

JULY 9, 2023

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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 9, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

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