Archive for the ‘June 13’ Category

Feast of Sts. Spyridon of Cyprus and Tryphillius of Leucosia (June 13)   4 comments

Above:  Roman Cyprus

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT SPYRIDON OF CYPRUS (270-CIRCA 348)

Bishop of Tremithus, Cyprus

His feast transferred from December 12

Alternative feast days = August 11 and December 14

converted

SAINT TRYPHILLIUS OF LEUCOSIA (DIED 370)

Bishop of Leucosia, Cyprus

His feast day = June 13

Alternative feast days = June 11 and 12

Sts. Spyridon of Cyprus and Tryphillius of Leucosia argued forcefully against Arianism, the heresy that Jesus had only one nature–divine.

St. Spyridon, a native Cypriot born in 270, grew up a pious youth in a devout Christian family.  He, a shepherd, married and fathered a daughter.  His wife and daughter became nuns.  St. Spyridon became a monk at Mount Carmel, near Acre.  Eventually, our saint became the Bishop of Tremithius, on Cyprus.  During the reign (305-311) of Emperor Galerus, our saint suffered severely for his faith.  During a period of persecution, St. Spyridon’s faith cost him his right eye, his left calf, and his freedom.  He spent a few years doing hard labor in a Spanish mine until the Edict of Milan (313) freed him.  Our saint then resumed his episcopal duties in Tremithus.  St. Spyridon also participated in the First Council of Nicaea (325) and the Council of Sardica (343).  He died circa 348.

St. Tryphillius was part of St. Spyridon’s legacy.  St. Tryphillius, a native of Rome, studied in Constantinople and became an attorney.  St. Spyridon converted the lawyer to Christianity.  In time, St. Tryphillius became the Bishop of Leucosia (now Nicosia), Cyprus.  He, like St. Spyridon and St. Athanasius of Alexandria (295/298-373), opposed Arianism and, for his efforts, became a target of Arian antipathy.  St. Tryphillius lived simply.  He also preached eloquently and daily.  Furthermore, our saint composed a commentary on the Song of Songs.  He died in 370.

The canonization of these two saints occurred pre-Congregation.  All Roman Catholic canonizations were pre-Congregation until 993, the year of the canonization of St. Ulric of Augsburg (890-973), Bishop of Augsburg.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 2, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALEXANDER OF ALEXANDRIA, PATRIARCH; AND SAINT ATHANASIUS OF ALEXANDRIA, PATRIARCH AND “FATHER OF ORTHODOXY”

THE FEAST OF CHARLES SILVESTER HORNE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF CHARLES FRIEDRICH HASSE, GERMAN-BRITISH MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF JULIA BULKLEY CADY CORY, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIGISMUND OF BURGUNDY, KING; SAINT CLOTILDA, FRANKISH QUEEN; AND SAINT CLODOALD, FRANKISH PRINCE AND ABBOT

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Lord Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine,

thank you for the glorious mystery of your Incarnation,

essential to the Atonement, and therefore, our salvation.

May we, affirming your full humanity and full divinity without necessarily understanding them,

grow, by grace, into our full stature as human beings and achieve our full potential in God.

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

Genesis 1:26-31

Psalm 110

Hebrews 1:1-14

John 1:1-18

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR, 68

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Feast of Elias Benjamin Sanford (June 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Connecticut

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIAS BENJAMIN SANFORD (JUNE 6, 1843-JULY 3, 1932)

U.S. Methodist then Congregationalist Minister and Ecumenist

Elias Benjamin Sanford comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Sanford was simultaneously of his time and ahead of it.  He transformed his time.

Once upon a time, in the United States of America, anti-Roman Catholicism was a dominant characteristic of Protestantism.  (It remains a dominant characteristic of fundamentalism and much of evangelicalism.  The mainline has repented of its anti-Roman Catholicism.  For example, the United Church of Christ, with Puritan/Congregationalist heritage, has become a haven for married former Roman Catholic priests seeking a way to continue in ordained ministry.)  This bias was the mirror image of a negative Roman Catholic attitude toward other branches of Christianity prior to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), when the rest of we Christians, whether Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox, formally became “separated brethren.”  This was a declaration that echoed Pope Leo XIII (d. 1903).  Not all American Protestants were anti-Roman Catholic, just as not all American Roman Catholics thought that non-Roman Catholic Christians were bound for damnation.  Nevertheless, these hardline attitudes were baked into religious cultures.  In 1928, when the Democratic Party nominated Governor Alfred Smith for the presidency, Smith’s Roman Catholicism became a political issue.  During the primary season of 1960, when Senator John F. Kennedy campaigned for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, his Roman Catholicism became a political issue.  George L. Ford, Executive Director of the National Association of Evangelicals, wrote a pamphlet, A Roman Catholic President:  How Free from Church Control?  (I own a copy of this pamphlet.)

Above:  The Cover of the Pamphlet

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Sanford’s life and ministry played out in the culture of anti-Roman Catholic Protestantism.

That summary is objectively accurate.  Know, O reader, that I refuse to condone religious bigotry.  I come from a Protestant background, mainly United Methodism in the rural South.  I, an Episcopalian, consider myself an Anglican, not a Protestant.  To be precise, I describe myself as an Anglican-Lutheran-Catholic, for “Anglican” and “Episcopalian” cover a great range of theological ground.  I affirm Transubstantiation, all seven sacraments, and the 73 book-canon of scripture.  How can I be a Protestant?  I am too Protestant to be a Roman Catholic and too Roman Catholic to be a Protestant.  And, as anyone who follows, this, my Ecumenical Calendar, should know, names of many Roman Catholics, whether Venerables, Beati, fully canonized, or not formally recognized, are present here.  To paraphrase what Martin Luther may or may not have said at the Diet of Worms (1521), I will do no other.

Above:  The Former First United Methodist Church, Thomaston, Connecticut

Structure erected in 1866

Congregation seemingly closed in 2018

Image Source = Google Earth

Sanford was originally a Methodist.  He, born in Westbrook, Connecticut, on June 6, 1843, graduated from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut (B.A., 1865).  Our saint served as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church (extant 1784-1939) in Thomaston, Connecticut, from 1865 to 1867.  Then he became a Congregationalist.  Our saint spent the first half of 1868 traveling in Europe.

Above:  The United Church of Christ in Cornwall, Cornwall, Connecticut

Structure erected in 1842

Image Source = Google Earth

Sanford, back in the United States, served as a Congregationalist minister in rural Connecticut.  He also studied at Yale.  Our saint’s first parish in his new denomination was First Congregational Church, Cornwall, Connecticut (1868-1872).  For the next decade, he supplied in Northfield and Thomaston, Connecticut.  Sanford’s final pastorate was the First Congregational Church in Westbrook, Connecticut (1882-1894).

Above:  First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Westbrook, Connecticut

Image in the Public Domain

Sanford made the transition to ecumenical Protestant work.  He, the Editor of Church Union magazine since 1873, served as the Secretary of the Open and Institutional Church League (founded in 1894, from 1895 to 1900), committed to opening church buildings for social service.  In that same vein, our saint served as the General Secretary of the National Federation of Churches and Christian Workers from 1900 to 1908.  Sanford generally opposed the organic union of denominations on the grounds that mergers brought branches of Protestantism closer to “submission to Rome.”  In context, Sanford’s Protestant ecumenism was a way of resisting Roman Catholicism.  He helped to found the Federal Council of Churches (1908-1950), a forerunner of the National Council of Churches (1950-).  Our saint served as corresponding secretary (1908-1913) then as a honorary secretary (1913-1932) of the Federal Council of Churches.

Sanford, 89 years old, died in Middlefield, Connecticut, on July 3, 1932.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 1, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILIP AND JAMES, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd, thank you for tending to us, members of your flock.

May we, rejoicing in your work of breaking down barriers,

recognize each other as sheep of your flock, and therefore, work together, for your glory.

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

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 95

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

John 17:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR, 68

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Feast of David Abeel (June 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  David Abeel, Jr.

Image in the Public Domain

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DAVID ABEEL, JR. (JUNE 2, 1804-SEPTEMBER 4, 1846)

U.S. Dutch Reformed Minister and Missionary to China

David Abeel, Jr., comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Abeel served God.  He would have served God longer than he did, except for fragile health.  Our saint, born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on June 12, 1804, was a son of David Abeel (Sr.) and Jane Hassert Abeel.  David, Jr., a medical student at Rutgers University, had a religious epiphany.  Afterward, he studied theology.  Abeel graduated from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1826.  He, ordained a minister in the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church (now the Reformed Church in America) in 1826, served as a pastor in Athens, New York, until the winter of 1828.  Our saint, his health failing, recovered in Antigua and Barbuda.  He returned to the United States in 1829.  Abeel became a chaplain in the Seaman’s Friend Society that year.

Asia beckoned.  Abeel spent 1830-1834 in Asia.  He arrived in Canton, Chinma, in 1830.  Our saint mastered Chinese, worked as a missionary for his denomination, and visited other areas (Java, Siam, and Singapore) to evaluate them for missionary potential.  Abeel, his health failing again, returned to the United States via Europe.  On the way home, he recruited European women to teach Asian women.  Abeel, in the United States again from 1835 to 1839, wrote several books and encouraged missionary work.  He served in various parts of Asia in 1839-1845.  Finally, our saint’s health broken, he returned to the United States.

Abeel, aged 42 years, died in Albany, New York, on September 4, 1846.

One may legitimately wonder how much more Abeel could and would have done had he lived longer and been healthier.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 30, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES MONTGOMERY, ANGLICAN AND MORAVIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DIET EMAN; HER FIANCÉ, HEIN SIETSMA, MARTYR, 1945; AND HIS BROTHER, HENDRIK “HENK” SIETSMA; RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

THE FEAST OF JAMES RUSSELL MACDUFF AND GEORGE MATHESON, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTERS AND AUTHORS

THE FEAST OF SARAH JOSEPHA BUELL HALE, POET, AUTHOR, EDITOR, AND PROPHETIC WITNESS

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant David Abeel,

whom you called to preach the Gospel in Asia.

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

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

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

Isaiah 52:1-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

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

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Feast of William Cullen Bryant (June 13)   1 comment

William Cullen Bryant

Above:  William Cullen Bryant, Circa 1876

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-00073

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WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT (NOVEMBER 3, 1794-JUNE 12, 1878)

U.S. Journalist, Poet, and Hymn Writer

I have been adding “new” June saints in denominational categories, starting with Moravians then moving on to Lutherans.  Anglicans will follow this post.  William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) belonged to his own category.

Bryant, the son of farmers, entered the world at Cummington, Massachusetts, on November 3, 1794.  He was a natural-born writer, becoming a published poet at age fourteen and the author of Thanatopsis four years later.  His first career, however, was law.  Bryant attended law school at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, for two years before finances forced him to drop out.  Next he worked in a law office.  Thus, at the age to twenty-one, he became an attorney in 1815.  Bryant practiced law at Plainfield, Massachusetts, from 1815 to 1816 and at Great Barrington, Massachusetts, from 1816 to 1825.

Journalism beckoned, however.  Our saint left his career in law behind in 1825, when he relocated to New York City and became and editor.  In 1825-1826 he edited, in rapid succession, the New York Review, the United States Review, and the Literary Gazette.  He found stability with the New York Evening Post, of which he was the Assistant Editor (1826-1828) then the Chief Editor (1828-1878).  Bryant used his position to oppose slavery and to support the rights of immigrants, labor unionists, and members of religious minorities.

Our saint had an interesting religious journey.  He wrote twenty hymns, some of which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  Social justice was among his favorite themes, as was nature, the topic of more than a hundred original poems.  These themes were evident throughout his life.  Bryant grew up a Congregationalist, was briefly a Unitarian in New York City, then attended Episcopal services in the city and Presbyterian services near his Long Island home.  In 1858, however, he became convinced of the necessity of baptism by immersion and joined a Baptist congregation.

Bryant died on Long Island on June 12, 1878.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 15, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FEAST OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Sigismund von Birken (June 13)   2 comments

Nuremberg

Above:  Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-00085

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SIGISMUND VON BIRKEN (MAY 5, 1626-JUNE 12, 1681)

German Lutheran Hymn Writer

Sigismund von Birken was a prominent poet.  He entered the world at Wildstein, Bohemia, where his father, Daniel (Betulius) Birken, was the Lutheran pastor.  Our saint and his family had to leave Wildstein in 1629, when Protestant pastors had to flee Bohemia.  The family settled at Nuremberg, Bavaria.  There Sigismund attended the Egiden Gymnasium before studying theology and law at the University of Jena from 1643 to 1645.  He had to drop out of school for financial reasons, so he returned to Nuremberg, having already become a recognized poet.  That year he joined the Pegnitz Order (in full the Order of the Society of Pegnitz Shepherds), devoted to purifying and improving the German language, especially in poetry.

The poet worked on-and-off as a private tutor.  From 1645 to 1646 he tutored the princes of Brunswick-Luneburg at the Wolfenbutte court.  Then our saint traveled for two years, during which he joined the German Rose Society, a prestigious group of poets.  In 1648, at the end of the year, Birken returned to Nuremberg and became a tutor again.

Our saint received honors later in his life.  In 1654 Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III (reigned 1637-1657) made him a nobleman in recognition of his literary ability.  Birken joined the Fruitbearing Society (founded in 1617, with the goal of standardizing vernacular German and promoting it as a literary and scholarly language) in 1658.  Four years later he became the Chief Shepherd of the Pegnitz Order, to which he gave a religious sensibility.

Birken also wrote hymns.  Among those was “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus” (1653), which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Birken, devoted to Jesus and quality in language (two excellent causes), died at Nuremberg on June 12, 1681.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF HUBERT HUMPHREY, UNITED STATES SENATOR AND VICE PRESIDENT

THE FEAST OF KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Sigismund von Birken 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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Proper 6, Year B   Leave a comment

Above:  Christ Pantocrator

Jesus Shall Reign

The Sunday Closest to June 15

Third Sunday After Pentecost

JUNE 13, 2021

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 (New Revised Standard Version):

Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.

The Lord said to Samuel,

How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.

Samuel said,

How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.

And the Lord said,

Take a heifer with you, and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.

Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said,

Do you come peaceably?

He said,

Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.

And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought,

Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.

But the Lord said to Samuel,

Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said,

Neither has the Lord chosen this one.

Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said,

Neither has the Lord chosen this one.

Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse,

The Lord has not chosen any of these.

Samuel said to Jesse,

Are all your sons here?

And he said,

There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.

And Samuel said to Jesse,

Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.

He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said,

Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

Psalm 20 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1  May the LORD answer you the day of trouble;

the Name of the God of Jacob defend you;

2  Send you help from his holy place

and strengthen you out of Zion;

3  Remember all your offerings

and accept your burnt sacrifice;

4  Grant you your heart’s desire

and prosper all your plans.

5  We will shout for joy at your victory

and triumph in the Name of our God;

may the LORD grant all your requests.

6  Now I know that the LORD gives victory to his anointed;

he will answer him out of his holy heaven,

with the victorious strength of his right hand.

7  Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses,

but we will call upon the Name of the LORD our God.

8  They collapse and fall down,

but we will arise and stand upright.

9  O LORD, give victory to the king

and answer us when we call.

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

Ezekiel 17:22-24 (New Revised Standard Version):

Thus says the LORD God:

I myself will take a sprig

from the lofty top of a cedar;

I will set it out.

I will break off a tender one

from the topmost of its young twigs;

I myself will plant it

on a high and lofty mountain.

On the mountain height of Israel

I will plant it,

In order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,

and become a noble cedar.

Under it every kind of bird will live;

in the shade of its branches will nest

winged creatures of every kind.

All the trees of the filed shall know

that I am the LORD.

I bring low the high tree;

I make high the low tree;

I dry up the green tree

and make the dry tree flourish.

I the LORD have spoken;

I will accomplish it.

Psalm 92:1-4, 11-14 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1  It is a good thing to give thanks to the LORD,

and to sing praises to your Name, O Most High;

2  To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning

and of your faithfulness in the night season;

3  On the psaltery, and on the lyre

and to the melody of the harp.

4  For you have made me glad by your acts, O LORD;

and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands.

11  The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,

and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon.

12  Those who are planted in the house of the LORD

shall flourish in the courts of our God.

13  They shall still bear fruit in old age;

they shall be green and succulent;

14  That they may show how upright the LORD is,

my Rock, in whom there is no fault.

SECOND READING

2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17 (New Revised Standard Version):

We are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord– for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

[Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.] For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

GOSPEL READING

Mark 4:26-34 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus said,

The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.

He also said,

With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

The Collect:

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Proper 6, Year A:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/proper-6-year-a/

Proper 6, Year B:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/proper-6-year-b/

1 Samuel 15-16:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/week-of-2-epiphany-tuesday-year-2/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/fourth-sunday-in-lent-year-a/

Mark 4:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/week-of-3-epiphany-friday-year-1/

Matthew 13 (Parallel to Mark 4):

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/proper-12-year-a/

The Remnant:

http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/the-remnant/

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Yea, Amen! let all adore thee,

High on thine eternal throne;

Saviour, take the power and glory;

Claim the kingdom for thine own:

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou shalt reign, and thou alone.

–Charles Wesley, “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending,” 1758, adapted

A mustard seed is quite small–not actually the smallest of seeds, for we humans know of smaller seeds–but it is minute.  Yet from it comes a mighty weed, a mustard plant, which goes where it will and offers shade and housing to a wide variety of wildlife.  The Kingdom of God, Jesus said, is like this giant weed:  unstoppable and containing a heterogeneous population.

He did not liken the Kingdom of God to a cedar of Lebanon, a mighty and lovely tree.  We will not ignore that species; I will, in fact, get to it very soon.

One of the options for the Old Testament lesson is the familiar story of Samuel anointing David, the most unlikely (in human estimation) candidate for kingship.  Yet, as the text reminds us, God and we human beings see differently.

From that tender sprout came a dynasty (likened to a cedar of Lebanon), one which fell on hard times within a few generations.  This brings me to the reading from Ezekiel.  17:22-24 flows naturally from 17:1-21, so I summarize those initial verses now.  The Chaldean/Neo-Babylonian Empire had exiled King Jehoichin in 597 B.C.E. and installed Zedekiah, another member of the Davidic Dynasty, as King of Judah.  But Zedekiah rebelled.  So, in 586 B.C.E., the Chaldeans ended the existence of the Kingdom of Judah.  The Babylonian Exile began.  Many years later, the prophet Ezekiel predicted that through the Davidic line the world would, in time, come to worship God alone.  The days of glory of David and Solomon were over, but divine glory the likes of which no one alive had witnesses would become public and widespread.

This brings me to 2 Corinthians 5:6-17, which needs no summary.  Just read it again, for the text speaks for itself.

It is obvious that the prediction of universal worship of God has yet to come true.  We human beings can cooperate with God in helping that day become reality, but we cannot stand in its way.  Tyrants have tried.  They have murdered many Jews and Christians over thousands of years, but the Judeo-Christian tradition remains quite alive.  The mustard plant keeps going where it will.  One day, certainly after my lifetime, it will have gone everywhere on this planet.

Until then my fellow Christians and I can anticipate the day when these great words by Isaac Watts become reality:

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun

Doth his successive journeys run;

His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

–”Jesus Shall Reign,” 1719

KRT

Published in a nearly identical form at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on August 9, 2011

Posted August 9, 2011 by neatnik2009 in June 13, Revised Common Lectionary Year B

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1 (Justin Martyr, Christian Apologist and Martyr, 166/167)

  • Pamphilus of Caesarea, Bible Scholar and Translator; and His Companions, Martyrs, 309
  • Samuel Stennett, English Seventh-Day Baptist Minister and Hymn Writer; and John Howard, English Humanitarian
  • Simeon of Syracuse, Roman Catholic Monk
  • William Robinson, Marmaduke Stephenson, and Mary Dyer, British Quaker Martyrs in Boston, Massachusetts, 1659 and 1660

2 (Blandina and Her Companions, the Martyrs of Lyons, 177)

  • Anders Christensen Arrebo, “The Father of Danish Poetry”
  • Christoph Homburg, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Margaret Elizabeth Sangster, Hymn Writer, Novelist, and Devotional Writer
  • Stephen of Sweden, Roman Catholic Missionary, Bishop, and Martyr, Circa 1075

3 (John XXIII, Bishop of Rome)

  • Christian Gottfried Geisler and Johann Christian Geisler, Silesian Moravian Organists and Composers; and Johannes Herbst, German-American Organist, Composer, and Bishop
  • Frances Ridley Havergal, English Hymn Writer and Composer
  • Ole T. (Sanden) Arneson, U.S. Norwegian Lutheran Hymn Translator
  • Will Campbell, Agent of Reconciliation

4 (Stanislaw Kostka Starowieyski, Roman Catholic Martyr, 1941)

  • Francis Caracciolo, Cofounder of the Minor Clerks Regular
  • John Lancaster Spalding, Roman Catholic Bishop of Peoria then Titular Bishop of Seythopolis
  • Petroc, Welsh Prince, Abbot, and Missionary
  • Thomas Raymond Kelly, U.S. Quaker Mystic and Professor of Philosophy

5 (Dorotheus of Tyre, Bishop of Tyre, and Martyr, Circa 362)

  • Bliss Wiant, U.S. Methodist Minister, Missionary, Musician, Music Educator, and Hymn Translator, Arranger, and Harmonizer; and his wife, Mildred Artz Wiant, U.S. Methodist Missionary, Musician, Music Educator, and Hymn Translator
  • Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood
  • Maurice Blondel, French Roman Catholic Philosopher and Forerunner of the Second Vatican Council
  • Orlando Gibbons, Anglican Organist and Composer; the “English Palestrina”

6 (Franklin Clark Fry, President of The United Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church in America)

  • Claude of Besançon, Roman Catholic Priest, Monk, Abbot, and Bishop
  • Henry James Buckoll, Author and Translator of Hymns
  • Johann Friedrich Hertzog, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • William Kethe, Presbyterian Hymn Writer

7 (Matthew Talbot, Recovering Alcoholic in Dublin, Ireland)

  • Anthony Mary Gianelli, Founder of the Missionaries of Saint Alphonsus Liguori and the Sisters of Mary dell’Orto
  • Frederick Lucian Hosmer, U.S. Unitarian Hymn Writer
  • Hubert Lafayette Sone and his wife, Katie Helen Jackson Sone, U.S. Methodist Missionaries and Humanitarians in China, Singapore, and Malaysia
  • Seattle, First Nations Chief, War Leader, and Diplomat

8 (Clara Luper, Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Charles Augustus Briggs, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Episcopal Priest, Biblical Scholar, and Alleged Heretic; and his daughter, Emilie Grace Briggs, Biblical Scholar and “Heretic’s Daughter”
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins, English Roman Catholic Poet and Jesuit Priest
  • Henry Downton, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Roland Allen, Anglican Priest, Missionary, and Mission Strategist

9 (Columba of Iona, Celtic Missionary and Abbot)

  • Giovanni Maria Boccardo, Founder of the Poor Sisters of Saint Cajetan/Gaetano; and his brother, Luigi Boccardo, Apostle of Merciful Love
  • José de Anchieta, Apostle of Brazil and Father of Brazilian National Literature
  • Thomas Joseph Potter, Roman Catholic Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Will Herzfeld, U.S. Lutheran Ecumenist, Presiding Bishop of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and Civil Rights Activist

10 (James of Nisibis; Bishop; and Ephrem of Edessa, “The Harp of the Holy Spirit”)

  • Frederick C. Grant, Episcopal Priest and New Testament Scholar; and his son, Robert M. Grant, Episcopal Priest and Patristics Scholar
  • Getulius, Amantius, Caeraelis, and Primitivus, Martyrs at Tivoli, 120; and Symphorosa of Tivoli, Martyr, 120
  • Landericus of Paris, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Thor Martin Johnson, U.S. Moravian Conductor and Music Director

11 (BARNABAS THE APOSTLE, COWORKER OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

12 (Edwin Paxton Hood, English Congregationalist Minister, Philanthropist, and Hymn Writer)

  • Christian David Jaeschke, German Moravian Organist and Composer; and his grandson, Henri Marc Hermann Voldemar Voullaire, Moravian Composer and Minister
  • Enmegahbowh, Episcopal Priest and Missionary to the Ojibwa Nation
  • Joseph Dacre Carlyle, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Milton Smith Littlefield, Jr., U.S. Presbyterian and Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymnal Editor

13 (Spyridon of Cyprus, Bishop of Tremithus, Cyprus; and his convert, Tryphillius of Leucosia, Bishop of Leucosia, Cyprus; Opponents of Arianism)

  • David Abeel, U.S. Dutch Reformed Minister and Missionary to Asia
  • Elias Benjamin Sanford, U.S. Methodist then Congregationalist Minister and Ecumenist
  • Sigismund von Birken, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • William Cullen Bryant, U.S. Poet, Journalist, and Hymn Writer

14 (Methodius I of Constantinople, Defender of Icons and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constaninople; and Joseph the Hymnographer, Defender of Icons and the “Sweet-Voiced Nightingale of the Church”)

  • David Low Dodge, U.S. Presbyterian Businessman and Pacifist
  • Francis J. Uplegger, German-American Lutheran Minister and Missionary; “Old Man Missionary”
  • Frank Laubach, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Missionary
  • Mark Hopkins, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Theologian, Educator, and Physician

15 (John Ellerton, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer and Translator)

  • Carl Heinrich von Bogatsky, Hungarian-German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Dorothy Frances Blomfield Gurney, English Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Evelyn Underhill, Anglican Mystic and Theologian
  • Landelinus of Vaux, Roman Catholic Abbot; Aubert of Cambrai, Roman Catholic Bishop; Ursmar of Lobbes, Roman Catholic Abbot and Missionary Bishop; and Domitian, Hadelin, and Dodo of Lobbes, Roman Catholic Monks

16 (George Berkeley, Irish Anglican Bishop and Philosopher; and Joseph Butler, Anglican Bishop and Theologian)

  • John Francis Regis, Roman Catholic Priest
  • Norman Macleod, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer; and his cousin, John Macleod, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • Rufus Jones, U.S. Quaker Theologian and Cofounder of the American Friends Service Committee
  • William Hiram Foulkes, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

17 (Samuel Barnett, Anglican Canon of Westminster, and Social Reformer; and his wife, Henrietta Barnett, Social Reformer)

  • Edith Boyle MacAlister, English Novelist and Hymn Writer
  • Emily de Vialar, Founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition
  • Jane Cross Bell Simpson, Scottish Presbyterian Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Teresa and Mafalda of Portugal, Princesses, Queens, and Nuns; and Sanchia of Portugal, Princess and Nun

18 (William Bingham Tappan, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer)

  • Adolphus Nelson, Swedish-American Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Bernard Mizeki, Anglican Catechist and Convert in Southern Rhodesia, 1896
  • Johann Franck, Heinrich Held, and Simon Dach, German Lutheran Hymn Writers
  • Richard Massie, Hymn Translator

19 (John Dalberg Acton, English Roman Catholic Historian, Philosopher, and Social Critic)

  • Adelaide Teague Case, Episcopal Professor of Christian Education, and Advocate for Peace
  • Michel-Richard Delalande, French Roman Catholic Composer
  • Vernard Eller, U.S. Church of the Brethren Minister and Theologian
  • William Pierson Merrill, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Social Reformer, and Hymn Writer

20 (Joseph Augustus Seiss, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Liturgist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator)

  • Alfred Ramsey, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • Charles Coffin, Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Hans Adolf Brorson, Danish Lutheran Bishop, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • William John Sparrow-Simpson, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Patristics Scholar

21 (Aloysius Gonzaga, Jesuit)

  • Bernard Adam Grube, German-American Minister, Missionary, Composer, and Musician
  • Carl Bernhard Garve, German Moravian Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • Charitie Lees Smith Bancroft de Chenez, Hymn Writer
  • John Jones and John Rigby, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1598 and 1600

22 (Alban, First British Martyr, Circa 209 or 305)

  • Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch Roman Catholic Priest, Biblical and Classical Scholar, and Controversialist; John Fisher, English Roman Catholic Classical Scholar, Bishop of Rochester, Cardinal, and Martyr, 1535; and Thomas More, English Roman Catholic Classical Scholar, Jurist, Theologian, Controversialist, and Martyr, 1535
  • Gerhard Gieschen, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • James Arthur MacKinnon, Canadian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in the Dominican Republic, 1965
  • Paulinus of Nola, Roman Catholic Bishop of Nola

23 (Brevard S. Childs, U.S. Presbyterian Biblical Scholar)

  • Heinrich Gottlob Gutter, German-American Instrument Maker, Repairman, and Merchant
  • John Johns, English Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Nicetas of Remesiana, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Wilhelm Heinrich Wauer, German Moravian Composer and Musician

24 (NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST)

25 (William Henry Heard, African Methodist Episcopal Missionary and Bishop)

  • Domingo Henares de Zafira Cubero, Roman Catholic Bishop of Phunhay, Vietnam, and Martyr, 1838; Phanxicô Đo Van Chieu, Vietnamese Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1838; and Clemente Ignacio Delgado Cebrián, Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr in Vietnam, 1838
  • Pearl S. Buck, U.S. Presbyterian Missionary, Novelist, and Social Activist
  • Vincent Lebbe, Belgian-Chinese Roman Catholic Priest and Missionary; Founder of the Little Brothers of Saint John the Baptist
  • William of Vercelli, Roman Catholic Hermit; and John of Matera, Roman Catholic Abbot

26 (Isabel Florence Hapgood, U.S. Journalist, Translator, and Ecumenist)

  • Andrea Giacinto Longhin, Roman Catholic Bishop of Treviso
  • Philip Doddridge, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Theodore H. Robinson, British Baptist Orientalist and Biblical Scholar
  • Virgil Michel, U.S. Roman Catholic Monk, Academic, and Pioneer of Liturgical Renewal

27 (Cornelius Hill, Oneida Chief and Episcopal Priest)

  • Arialdus of Milan, Italian Roman Catholic Deacon and Martyr, 1066
  • Hugh Thomson Kerr, Sr., U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Liturgist; and his son, Hugh Thomson Kerr, Jr., U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Scholar, and Theologian
  • James Moffatt, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Scholar, and Bible Translator
  • John the Georgian, Abbot; and Euthymius of Athos and George of the Black Mountain, Abbots and Translators

28 (John Gerard, English Jesuit Priest; and Mary Ward, Foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

  • Clara Louise Maass, U.S. Lutheran Nurse and Martyr, 1901
  • Plutarch, Marcella, Potanominaena, and Basilides of Alexandria, Martyrs, 202
  • Teresa Maria Masters, Foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Face
  • William and John Mundy, English Composers and Musicians

29 (PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS)

30 (Johann Olaf Wallin, Archbishop of Uppsala, and Hymn Writer)

  • Gennaro Maria Sarnelli, Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Missionary to the Vulnerable and Exploited People of Naples
  • Heinrich Lonas, German Moravian Organist, Composer, and Liturgist
  • Paul Hanly Furfey, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Sociologist, and Social Radical
  • Philip Powel, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1646

Floating

  • First Book of Common Prayer, 1549

 

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