Archive for the ‘June 25’ Category

Feast of William Henry Heard (June 25)   1 comment

Above:  William Henry Heard

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM HENRY HEARD (CIRCA JUNE 25, 1850-SEPTEMBER 12, 1937)

African Methodist Episcopal Missionary and Bishop

Bishop William Henry Heard comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via a few sources.  The main source is Ray Chandler, “Up from Slave Row:  The Making of Bishop William Henry Heard” (Georgia Backroads, Autumn 2018), 44-49.  This post also depends directly on Bishop Heard’s autobiography, From Slavery to the Bishopric in the A.M.E. Church (1924), available at Documenting the American South.  I also rely on the website of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.  Furthermore, I cite a one of my deceased fellow parishioners and a fine local historian in Athens, Georgia.  Al Hester’s Enduring Legacy:  Clarke County, Georgia’s Ex-Slave Legislators:  Madison Davis and Alfred Richardson (2010) provides a little information about Heard.  And measuringworth.com is an invaluable tool for adjusting monetary amounts for inflation.  This post also draws minor details from various historical works and congregations’ websites.

Our saint, born a slave, rose to become the senior bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (hereafter the A.M.E. Church).  He, born in Longstreet community, about ten miles from Elberton, Georgia, or or about June 25, 1850, was a son of slaves.  His mother was Parthenia, whose main duties were to bear and raise children.  The future bishop, originally called William Harrison Heard, was one of five children she bore.  Parthenia died of typhoid fever in 1859.  Our saint’s father was George Heard, a blacksmith and a wheelwright on a neighboring plantation.  George Heard was probably a son of planter (and his owner), Thomas Jefferson Heard, a son Stephen Heard (1740-1815), whose public offices in Georgia included a term (1780-1781) as governor.  The future bishop grew up in conditions one would generously describe as primitive.  In the slave cabin, waking up to find a snake in his bed was not unusual.  He also remembered the two times he and family members were on the auction block.  Our saint, a field hand on the plantation of John Trenchard, headmaster of Elberton Academy during the Civil War, received his freedom in May 1865.  He was nearly 15 years at the time.

William Harrison Heard went to live with his father, who had opened a blacksmith and wheelwright business near Elberton.  Not surprisingly, there were no schools for African Americans in the area in 1865 and 1866.  In 1867, the Reverend William Jefferson White, a Baptist minister from Augusta, Georgia, visited Elberton.  He, an agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, came to encourage African-American education.  White, of Caucasian, Muskogee, and African ancestry, impressed the future bishop by speaking the King’s English.  White was the first African-American Heard had met who was so well educated and articulate.

Our saint had some education already.  During the Civil War, he had learned the Bible and the catechism at Elberton Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now First United Methodist Church).  He remained unable to read and write, though.  Through his father’s intervention, William Harrison Heard obtained tutoring using Noah Webster‘s Blue Back Speller.  Our saint took his new name from William Henry Heard, a farmer for whom he worked and who taught him at home from late 1865 to June 1866.  Then our saint returned to his father’s house.  After the African-American school opened, the future bishop attended it.  Then he passed the test to become a teacher in 1867.  Heard earned in excess of $300 (about $5,400 in 2020 currency) in three months of teaching in Elberton.  Meanwhile, our saint continued his studies and kept teaching.

Above:  Henry McNeal Turner

Image in the Public Domain

Henry McNeal Turner (1834-1915) influenced Heard’s life greatly.  Turner, a minister in the A.M.E. Church, was active in post-Civil War politics in Georgia.  He was an organizer of the state Republican Party (when the Republican Party was to the left of the Democratic Party, especially in the former Confederacy) in the state, eventually a member of the General Assembly, and an activist in the movement to encourage former slaves to immigrate to Liberia.  In 1867, Turner spoke in Augusta.  Heard attended the speech and went away inspired.  Turner became one of Heard’s mentors and patrons, in time.

Above:  Amos Tappan Akerman

Image in the Public Domain

Heard, back in Elberton, joined the local Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (perhaps Rock Springs C.M.E. Church, founded in 1868) and became involved in politics.  The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was in the process of spinning off the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (founded in 1870), called the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church since 1954.  Our saint became his congregation’s secretary.  He also collaborated with another mentor and patron, Amos Tappan Akerman (1821-1880).  Akerman, a former slaveholder and a Confederate veteran, had become a “scalawag,” as resentful neighbors called white Southerners, such as Akerman, who supported civil rights and joined the Republican Party.  Akerman, a staunch opponent of the first Ku Klux Klan (racially-motivated domestic terrorists), was so zealous in the prosecution of the Klan that, less than a year after becoming the Attorney General of the United States, President Ulysses S. Grant fired him in late 1871.  Heard, whom Akerman mentored in politics, ran for a seat in the General Assembly in 1872.  He lost, probably because of election-related fraud.

Heard, spent 1872-1877 in South Carolina.  He taught at Mount Carmel (in the county on the other side of the Savannah River), earning $40 (about $872 in 2020 currency) per month.  Meanwhile, our saint continued his education.  He taught at Mount Carmel for four years then studied classics at the University of South Carolina (1876-1877) on scholarship.  The end of Congressional Reconstruction terminated his education at that university.  The end of Congressional Reconstruction also terminated Heard’s political career in South Carolina.  He had won a seat in the state legislature in 1876.  However, our saint’s effort to guarantee the integrity of the electoral system nearly caused his death.  He also survived an abduction.

Heard, back in Georgia, settled in Athens in 1877.  The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in downtown Athens (now First United Methodist Church) spawned Pierce Chapel in 1866.  Henry McNeal Turner brought Pierce Chapel (now First A.M.E. Church) into the A.M.E. Church in 1867.  Our saint joined Pierce Chapel in 1877 and founded the school in the church’s basement.  He taught in that school for years.  Heard also took classes at Clark University (one term) and Atlanta University (one year) in Atlanta.  Furthermore, our saint became the editor and one of the publishers of the local African-American newspaper, the Athens Blade.  Henry McNeal Turner preached a revival at Pierce Chapel in 1879.  At that revival, Heard had a conversion experience.  In 1880, our saint became a federal employee; he was a railway postal clerk.  One route ran between Macon and Atlanta, Georgia.  The other route ran between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta.  The salary was $1150 (about $30,000 in 2020 currency) a year.  And, in 1882, he was a finalist for postmaster of Athens.

Heard turned to the ministry in 1879.  In June of that year, the A.M.E. Church licensed him as an exhorter.  He progressed to local preacher after three months then joined the North Georgia Annual Conference in January 1880.  Our saint became a deacon in 1881 then an elder the following year.  The A.M.E. Church transferred out saint frequently, according to Methodist custom.  He always left a congregation better off in terms of attendance, membership, and finances.

Heard’s first stage of ordained ministry spanned 1880-1895.

  1. He served in Johntown, Dawson County, Georgia, for two years (1880-1882), while continuing to work as a railway postal clerk.  When he arrived, the A.M.E. Church had a mission.  Two years later, the denomination had a circuit.
  2. Heard transferred to Markham Street Mission, Atlanta, where he served for about two months.
  3. He married his second wife, Josephine Henderson, in Athens, in 1882.  (His first wife had been Amanda.)
  4. Heard resigned his postal job to accept a post in Aiken, South Carolina.  His financial compensation was $650 (about $16, 930 in 2020 currency) the first year then about $930 (about $24, 223 in 2020 currency) the second year.
  5. Next, the future bishop served at Mount Zion Church, South Carolina (1885-1888), followed by a year (1888-1889) at Allen Chapel Church (now Allen Church), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  6. After a year as the Presiding Elder of the Lancaster District, Heard spent two years as pastor of Mother Bethel Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1890-1892.)
  7. While in Philadelphia, our saint studied at Reformed Episcopal Seminary.
  8. Heard was the pastor of Bethel Church, Wilmington, Delaware (1892-1894).
  9. Then he served at the A.M.E. congregation that, at the time, occupied a building on State Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Above:  Eliza Turner Memorial A.M.E. Church, Monrovia, Liberia

Image in the Public Domain

Heard went to Liberia next.  Henry McNeal Turner, a bishop since 1880, arranged for President Grover Cleveland to appoint our saint the U.S. Minister Resident and Consul General and doubled as a missionary.  He transferred to the A.M.E. Church’s Liberia Conference and doubled as a missionary.  He founded and led Eliza Turner Memorial Church, Monrovia.  (Eliza Turner had been Bishop Turner’s first wife.)

Heard’s third stage of ministry spanned 1899-1909.

  1. He spent a year (1899-1900) at Zion Mission, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, followed by another year (1900-1901) as the Presiding Elder of the Long Island District.  Then he spent several months at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
  2. Bishop Turner arranged for the appointment of Heard to the pulpit of Allen Temple Church, Atlanta, Georgia, in August 1901, after the death of the previous pastor.  Heard left that pulpit in 1904.
  3. His next position was Secretary-Treasurer of the A.M.E. Church’s Connectional Preacher’s Aid and Mutual Relief Society.  Then, in 1908, he became a bishop.

Heard had three assignments as a bishop.  He returned to West Africa (Liberia, especially) in 1909.  From 1917 to 1920, our saint presided over the Eighth Episcopal District (Mississippi and Louisiana).  His final assignment (1920-death) was the First Episcopal District (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and New England).

Heard, aged 87 years, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 1937.

Heard found his niche, excelled in it, and glorified God in doing so.  May we, by grace, live so that others, speaking and writing about us, may truthfully and accurately describe our lives in those words or in words to that effect.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JUNIA AND ANDRONICUS, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant William Henry Heard,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the full stature of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of Sts. Domingo Henares de Zafira Cubero, Phanxico Do Van Chieu, and Clemente Ignacio Delgado Cebrian (June 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Indochina, 1837

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT DOMINGO HENARES DE ZAFIRA CUBERO (DECEMBER 19, 1765-JUNE 25, 1838)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Phunhay, Vietnam, and Martyr

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SAINT PHANXICÔ ÐO VAN CHIEU (CIRCA 1797-JUNE 25, 1838)

Vietnamese Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr

Also known as Saint Francis Chieu

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SAINT CLEMENTE IGNACIO DELGADO CEBRIÁN (NOVEMBER 23, 1761-JULY 12, 1838)

Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr in Vietnam

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Alternative feast day = November 24 (as Martyrs of Vietnam)

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St. Domingo Henares de Zafira Cubero spent much of his life in Vietnam.  He, born in Baena, Cordoba, Spain, on December 19, 1765, came from a poor family.  He joined the Dominicans (the Order of Preachers) at Granada, Spain, in 1783.  On September 29, 1785, Henares sailed from Asia.  He arrived in the Philippines on July 9, 1786.  There our saint studied theology at the College of St. Thomas, Manila and became a teacher.  Henares, ordained to the priesthood on September 18, 1790, became an Apostolic Vicar and the Titular Bishop of Fez on September 9, 1800.  From 1893 Henares was the Bishop of Phunhay, Vietnam.

One of his aides was St. Phanhixô Ðo Van Chieu, born in Trung Le, Liên Thùy, Nam Ðinh, Vietnam, circa 1797.  Chieu grew up a Christian.  He served as a catechist and assisted missionary priests.

The third saint was Clemente Ignacio Delgado Cebrián, born in Villafeliche, Zaragoza, Spain, on November 23, 1761.  He came from a devout family.  In 1780 Cebrián joined the Order of Preachers.  He, later ordained a priest, served as a missionary in the Philippines then in Vietnam.  Cebrián, from 1794 the Titular Bishop of Metellopolis, was, with Henares, an Apostolic Vicar.

Emperor Minh Mang (reigned 1820-1841) considered Christianity to be a threat to Vietnamese culture.  He therefore persecuted Christians, both foreign and domestic.  In 1838, at the beginning of the persecution, authorities arrested our three saints.  Henares and Chieu became martyrs (by beheading) on June 25, 1838.  Cebrián and several other Dominicans hid in a cave until May 13, 1838, when, after a betrayal, they became prisoners.  Cebrián spent his final weeks in a public cage, subject to abuse.  He died of thirst, hunger, and exposure to elements on July 12, 1838.

The Roman Catholic Church has recognized these saints.  Pope Leo XIII declared them Venerables in 1799 then Blesseds the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized them in 1988.

Minh Mang’s policy of persecuting Christians failed to eliminate Christianity in Vietnam, obviously and fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBERT THE GREAT AND HIS PUPIL, SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the hearts of your holy martyrs

Saint Domingo Henares de Zafira Cubero,

Saint Phanxicô Ðo Van Chieu, and

Saint Clemente Ignacio Delgado Cebrián:

Grant to us, your humble servants a like faith, and power of love,

that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their examples;

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

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

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 715

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Proper 7, Year A   Leave a comment

scapegoat

Above: The Scapegoat, by William Holman Hunt (1954)

Image in the Public Domain

No More Scapegoating

The Sunday Closest to June 22

The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

JUNE 25, 2023

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

Genesis 21:8-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.  But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham,

Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.

The matter was very distressing to Abraham, on account of his son.  But God said to Abraham,

Do not be distressed because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah does to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you.  As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.

So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away.  And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba.

When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes.  Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said,

Do not let me look on the death of the child.

And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.  And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her,

What troubles you, Hagar?  Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.  Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.  She sent, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.

God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.  He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got him a wife from the land of Egypt.

Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me,

for I am poor and in misery.

2 Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful;

save your servant who puts his trust in you.

Be merciful to me, O LORD, for you are my God;

I call upon you all the day long.

4 Gladden the soul of your servant,

for to you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

5 For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving,

and great is your love toward all who call upon you.

Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer,

and attend to the voice of my supplications.

7 In the time of trouble I will call upon you,

for you will answer me.

8 Among the gods there is none like you, O LORD,

nor anything like your works.

9 All nations you have made will come and worship you, O LORD,

and glorify your Name.

10 For you are great;

you do wondrous things;

and you alone are God.

16 Turn to me and have mercy upon me;

give your strength to your servant;

and save the child of your handmaid.

17 Show me a sign of your favor,

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

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

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

Jeremiah 20:7-13 (New Revised Standard Version):

O LORD, you have enticed me,

and I was enticed;

you have overpowered me,

and you have prevailed.

I have become a laughingstock all day long;

everyone mocks me.

For whenever I speak, I must cry out,

I must shout, “Violence and destruction!”

For the word of the LORD has become for me

a reproach and derision all day long.

If I say, “I will not mention him,

or speak any more in his name,”

then within me there is something like a burning fire

shut up in my bones;

I am weary with holding it in,

and I cannot.

For I hear many whispering:

“Terror is all around!

Denounce him!  Let us denounce him!”

All my close friends

are watching for me to stumble.

“Perhaps he can be enticed,

and we can prevail against him,

and take our revenge on him.”

But the LORD is with me like a dread warrior;

therefore my persecutors will stumble,

and they will not prevail.

They will be greatly shamed,

for they will not succeed.

Their eternal dishonor

will never be forgotten.

O LORD of hosts, you test the righteous,

you see the heart and the mind;

let me see your retribution upon them,

for to you I have committed my cause.

Sing to the LORD;

praise the LORD!

For he has delivered the life of the needy

from the hands of evildoers.

Psalm 69:8-11 (12-17), 18-20 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Surely, for your sake have I suffered reproach,

and shame has covered my face.

9 I have become a stranger to my own kindred,

an alien to my mother’s children.

10 Zeal for your house has eaten me up;

the scorn of those who scorn you has fallen upon me.

11 I humbled myself with fasting,

but that was turned to my reproach.

12 I put on sack-cloth also,

and became a byward among them.

13 Those who sit at the gate murmur against me,

and the drunkards make songs about me.

14 But as for me, this is my prayer to you,

at the time you have set, O LORD;

15 “In your great mercy, O God,

answer me with your unfailing help.

16 Save me from the mire; do not let me sink;

let me be rescued from those who hate me

and out of the deep waters.

17 Let not the torrent of waters wash over me,

neither let the deep pit swallow me up;

do not let the Pit shut its mouth upon me.

18 Answer me, O LORD, for your love is kind;

in your great compassion, turn to me.”

SECOND READING

Romans 6:1b-11 (New Revised Standard Version):

Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?  By no means!  How can we who died to sin go on living in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into his death?  Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might no longer be enslaved to sin.  For whoever has died is freed from sin.  But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.   We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.  So you must also consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

GOSPEL READING

Matthew 10:24-39 (New Revised Standard Version):

[Jesus said,] “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master.  If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.  What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.  Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  And even the hairs of your head are all counted.  So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

For I have come to set a man against his father,

and a daughter against her mother,

and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

The Collect:

O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness; 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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Problems are real.  When faced with the necessity of facing a difficult or awkward situation  honestly and resolving a it, one might do so, or one might find a scapegoat instead.  Often we humans scapegoat.  This day’s readings concern scapegoating.

Abraham and Sarah had known for years that he would have many descendants.  First, however, he needed one.  So they decided to act, and Sarah granted her permission for Abraham to sire his heir via Hagar, her Egyptian slave.  Ishmael was the result.  His existence became awkward after the birth of Isaac.

Whatever else the Bible is, it is honest about the faults of figures the reader is supposed to admire.  Abraham, for example, comes across as a really bad father.  In Genesis 21 he consents to the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael.  And he tries to kill Isaac in the next chapter.  That story disturbs me deeply, but I get ahead of myself; that tale will wait until Proper 8, Year A.

Note, anyway, the sympathetic tone in the text with regard for the plight of Hagar and her son.  These two were not responsible for what was happening, yet they bore the brunt of the circumstances of Sarah’s jealousy.  This jealousy created a new problem in time, for ethnic tensions arose from it.  Jewish tradition links Ishmael to the origin of Arab bedouin tribes, and the Koran states that Muhammad is descended from Abraham’s firstborn son.  People still use the tale of Ishmael and Isaac to justify hatred.

The prophet Jeremiah spent years speaking unpopular truths and behaving bizarrely.  He ate a scroll, walked around naked, and said that the Kingdom of Judah was doomed.  The latter point was fairly obvious by his time, for the Chaldean (a.k.a. Babylonian) Empire menaced the kingdom.  Furthermore, the two Kings of Judah were puppets of foreigners–one of Egypt and the other of Babylonia.  Jeremiah faced scorn and persecution for his efforts.  This day’s reading from the book bearing his name (The actual author of the book was the scribe Baruch.) contains one of the prophet’s understandable complaints to God.  Jeremiah had become a scapegoat.  What he said would happen did occur, of course, so scapegoating him did not resolve the national crisis.

Jesus was a scapegoat, too.  As some religious authorities said, they preferred to sacrifice him to the Roman Empire than for the imperium to kill many people.  Both happened, of course, just about a generation apart.  As the reading from Matthew acknowledges, the mere existence of Jesus was divisive.  And it still is, especially in families where someone has converted to Christianity and religious law and/or cultural custom requires the convert’s death on the charge of apostasy.  But, as Paul wrote far better than I can, the death of Jesus bestows spiritual life in God.  So, as Jesus said, one should not fear those who can kill only the body.  No, spiritual death is what one ought to fear and avoid.

God cares for us.  God cared for Hagar and Ishmael, for Jeremiah, and for Jesus and Paul.  All of them suffered, but God was with them through it all and provided for them.  And God cares for us, too.  Will we reciprocate and trust God to provide for us, or will we seek convenient, easy solutions, which will only complicate the issue?  Will we listen to God and to God’s prophets, or will we engage in scapegoating?

The death and resurrection of Jesus were profound events packed with meanings.  Among them is this:  Scapegoating is destructive and ineffective.  Why do we continue to scapegoat?  I think the answer is that we like the seemingly easy way out.  May God have mercy on us.

KRT

PUBLISHED ORIGINALLY AT ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS  ON DECEMBER 6, 2010

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Posted June 3, 2014 by neatnik2009 in June 25, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

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Feast of Sts. William of Vercelli and John of Matera (June 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  Italy in 1190 Common Era

SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI (1085-1142)

Roman Catholic Hermit

His feast = June 25

friend of

SAINT JOHN OF MATERA (DIED 1139)

a.k.a. Saint John of Pulsano

Roman Catholic Abbot

His feast transferred from June 20

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I have detected a pattern common to many hermits:  They seek solitude yet attract followers.  It is good to seek to follow a holy person, a positive influence, for the polar opposite is to run with a bad crowd.  But what about the holy hermit’s need for solitude?  Today’s saints were such hermits.

St. John of Matera (died 1139) was born–where else?–at Matera, in Basilicata, in southern Italy.  He joined an island monastery nearby, off the coast of Taranto, in the region of Apulia.  His aloofness and austerity alienated other monks there, so he left for Calabria then for Sicily.  Spending 2 1/2 years as a monk at Ginosa, St. John rebuilt a church.  Unfortunately for the saint, he allegedly found a hidden treasure.  This charge was enough for authorities to imprison him.  Yet the saint broke out of jail and fled the area.

Next he encountered St. William of Vercelli (1085-1142).  St. William was a nobleman from Vercelli, in the Piedmont region of northern Italy.  His parents died when he was an infant, so relatives raised him.  At age fourteen St. William made a pilgrimage to Compostela.  Seven years later, at Melfi, in Basilicata, in southern Italy, he began to live as a hermit on Monte Solicoli.  Once St. William began to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but he abandoned it after robbers attacked him.  He became a hermit at Monte Virgiliano instead.  St. William attracted so many followers that he built a monastery there.  And there St. John of Matera, a fugitive, joined the community.  It was a strict community–too austere for many.  So Sts. William and John, along with five followers, left for Monte Laceno in Apulia, in southern Italy.  This community ended in fire.  The hermitages destroyed, the saints went their separate ways.

St. John moved to Bari, where his effective preaching did not shield him from charges of heresy.  So he returned to the community at Ginosa.  Later he went to Monte Gargano, where he built a monastery and served as abbot.

St. William relocated to Monte Cogneto in Basilicata.  Later he founded monasteries at Salerno, Conza, and Guglietto.  While at Salerno St. William advised King Roger II of Sicily (reigned 1102-1154), whose empire ranged from southern Italy to northern Africa and who reformed the law and patronized science.  St. William died at Guglietto.

Reading about lives of saints and organizing the material one has learned can be quite interesting.  In this post alone I have had the opportunity to write about an empire and a jailbreak.  Even better, I had a chance to ponder two men within whom still waters ran deeply.  That was inspiring.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 20, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALCUIN OF YORK, DEACON AND ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT HELENA, MOTHER OF EMPEROR CONSTANTINE I

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate  love of this world,

that we, inspired by the devotion of your servants

Saints William of Vercelli and John of Matera,

may serve you with singleness of heart,

and attain to the riches of the age to come;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or 9:57-62

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for June   Leave a comment

Honeysuckles

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

  • David Abeel, U.S. Dutch Reformed Minister and Missionary to Asia
  • 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
  • John Lancaster Spalding, Roman Catholic Bishop of Peoria then Titular Bishop of Seythopolis
  • 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, Co-Founder of the Minor Clerks Regular
  • Maurice Blondel, French Roman Catholic Philosopher and Forerunner of the Second Vatican Council
  • 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)

  • Elias Benjamin Sanford, U.S. Methodist then Congregationalist Minister and Ecumenist
  • 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
  • Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood
  • 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)

  • 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
  • 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”)

  • Frank Laubach, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Missionary
  • 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, CO-WORKER 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
  • William Cullen Bryant, U.S. Poet, Journalist, and Hymn Writer

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

  • Brevard S. Childs, U.S. Presbyterian Biblical Scholar
  • Sigismund von Birken, German Lutheran 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

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)

  • Francis J. Uplegger, German-American Lutheran Minister and Missionary; “Old Man Missionary”
  • 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 Co-Founder 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 Saint Joseph of the Apparition
  • Jane Cross Bell Simpson, Scottish Presbyterian Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Mark Hopkins, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Theologian, Educator, and Physician
  • 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
  • Vernard Eller, U.S. Church of the Brethren Minister and Theologian

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
  • 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
  • Bernard Adam Grube, German-American Minister, Missionary, Composer, and Musician
  • 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)

  • 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
  • Nicetas of Remesiana, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Paulinus of Nola, Roman Catholic Bishop of Nola

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

  • Heinrich Gottlob Gutter, German-American Instrument Maker, Repairman, and Merchant
  • John Johns, English Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Vincent Lebbe, Belgian-Chinese Roman Catholic Priest and Missionary; Founder of the Little Brothers of Saint John the Baptist
  • 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
  • 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
  • Pearl S. Buck, U.S. Presbyterian Missionary, Novelist, and Social Activist
  • 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 (Teresa Maria Mastena, Founder of the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Face)

  • Clara Louise Maass, U.S. Lutheran Nurse and Martyr, 1901
  • Plutarch, Marcella, Potanominaena, and Basilides of Alexandria, Martyrs, 202
  • William Mundy 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.