Archive for the ‘March 17’ Category

Feast of Blessed Maria Barbara Maix (March 17)   1 comment

Above:  The Flag of Brazil (1822-1870)

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIA BARBARA MAIX (JUNE 27, 1818-MARCH 17, 1873)

Foundress of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Also known as Maria Barbara of the Most Holy Trinity

Blessed Maria Barbara Maix is one of the more recent additions to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.

Maix was Austrian by birth.  She, born in Vienna on June 27, 1818, was a daughter of Joseph Maix and Rosalia Mauritz (Maix).  Our saint was physically frail, suffering from asthma.  She, as a youth, worked as a maid at the Schönbrunn Palace.  She, orphaned at the age of 15 years, went to work as a seamstress.  Several years later, in 1836, our saint and her sister Maria opened a home for poor people in Vienna.  Blessed Maria Barbara established a Marian order for women, the origin of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in 1843.  She had an appointment to meet with Pope Gregory XVI, to ask for papal approval of the order, in 1846, but he died one day prior to the appointment.

1848-1849 was a revolutionary time in much of Europe, including Austria.  In late 1848 the Austrian government expelled Maix and the other 21 members of her order.  Maix decided at the last minute to depart for Brazil, not the United States, from Hamburg.  The women arrived in Rio de Janeiro on November 8, 1848.  The Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary formally came into existence on May 8, 1849.

Our saint and the other members of her order fulfilled their vocation.  They worked with street children, operated a school for orphaned girls, fought slavery (legal in Brazil until 1888), and tended to soldiers during the Paraguayan War/War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870).

Pope Benedict XVI declared our saint a Venerable in 2008 then beatified him in 2010.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER MEN, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1990

THE FEAST OF LADISLAO BATTHÁNY-STRATTMANN, AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND PHILANTHROPIST

THE FEAST OF LOUISE CECILIA FLEMING, AFRICAN-AMERICAN BAPTIST MISSIONARY AND PHYSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, THE UNION OF CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, AND THE SISTERS OF THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE

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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 servant Blessed Maria Barbara Maix,

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

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 722

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Feast of St. Jan Sarkander (March 17)   1 comment

Above:  St. Jan Sarkander

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JAN SARKANDER (DECEMBER 20, 1576-MARCH 17, 1620)

Silesian Roman Catholic Priest and “Martyr of the Confessional,” 1620

Protestant-Roman Catholic tensions have cooled since the lifetime of St. Jan Sarkander, but petty personal politics have remained constant.  Unfortunately, so has judicial murder.

St. Jan Sarkander, born in Skotschan, Silesia (now Skocjow, Poland), on December 20, 1576, was a son of Georg Mathias Sarkander and Helene Kornize (Sarkander).  Georg died when our saint was young.  Jan’s marriage ended with the death of his wife.  The couple had no children.  Then Sarkander turned to the Church.

Sarkander became a priest.  He studied under Jesuits in Prague, earning his master of philosophy degree in 1603.  Then he studied theology in Austria.  This led to his ordination to the priesthood in 1607, at Grozin.  Sarkander, curate at Boskowitz from 1613 to 1616, became a parish priest in Olmütz, Moravia (now Olomouc, Czech Republic).  Moravia was a strongly Protestant area.  Bitowsky von Bystritz, a wealthy landowner and a Protestant, opposed our saint.  Sarkander had a prominent supporter and parishioner, though; Baron von Labkowitz favored him.

Sarkander became a victim of Bystritz.  The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) was, in part, a war of religion (Protestant versus Roman Catholic).  Our saint, briefly forced into exile during Protestant occupation of the area, returned to tend to his flock.  In 1620, when Roman Catholic forces approached the area, Sarkander prevented combat by taking a monstrance to the would-be battlefield.  Bystritz accused the priest of treason.  Bystritz was really seeking information to use against Labkowitz.  Sarkander never violated the seal of the confessional, despite tortures.  He died (by burning alive) at Olmütz on March 17, 1620.  He was 43 years old.

The Roman Catholic Church recognized Sarkander formally.  Pope Pius IX declared our saint a Venerable in 1859 then beatified him the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized Sarkander in 1995.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER MEN, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1990

THE FEAST OF LADISLAO BATTHÁNY-STRATTMANN, AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND PHILANTHROPIST

THE FEAST OF LOUISE CECILIA FLEMING, AFRICAN-AMERICAN BAPTIST MISSIONARY AND PHYSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, THE UNION OF CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, AND THE SISTERS OF THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE

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

who have given their lives for the message of your love.

Inspire us with the memory of those martyrs for the Gospel

[like your servant Saint Jan Sarkander] whose faithfulness led them in the way of the cross,

and give us the courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany (March 8-April 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of the Raising of Lazarus

Image in the Public Domain

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A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is one of my hobbies, not a calendar of observances with any force or a popular following.  It does, however, constitute a forum to which to propose proper additions to church calendars.

Much of the Western Church observes January 18 as the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter the Apostle, the rock upon which Christ built the Church.  (Just think, O reader; I used to be a Protestant boy!  My Catholic tendencies must be inherent.)  The celebration of that feast is appropriate.  The Church does not neglect St. Martha of Bethany, either.  In The Episcopal Church, for example, she shares a feast with her sister (St. Mary) and her brother (St. Lazarus) on July 29.

There is no Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany, corresponding to the Petrine feast, however.  That constitutes an omission.  I correct that omission somewhat here at my Ecumenical Calendar as of today.  I hereby define the Sunday immediately prior to Palm/Passion Sunday as the Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany.  The reason for the temporal definition is the chronology inside the Gospel of John.

This post rests primarily on John 11:20-27, St. Martha’s confession of faith in her friend, Jesus, as

the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.

The combination of grief, confidence, and faith is striking.  It is one with which many people identify.  It is one that has become increasingly relevant in my life during the last few months, as I have dealt with two deaths.

Faith frequently shines brightly in the spiritual darkness and exists alongside grief.  Faith enables people to cope with their grief and helps them to see the path through the darkness.  We need to grieve, but we also need to move forward.  We will not move forward alone, for God is with us.  If we are fortunate, so are other people, as well as at least one pet.

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Loving God, who became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth

and enjoyed the friendship of Saints Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany:

We thank you for the faith of St. Martha, who understood that

you were the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who was coming into the world.

May we confess with our lips and our lives our faith in you,

the Incarnate, crucified, and resurrected Son of God, and draw others to you;

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

Jeremiah 8:18-23

Psalm 142

1 Corinthians 15:12-28

John 11:1-44

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

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Feast of St. Patrick (March 17)   Leave a comment

st-patricks-cathedral-armagh

Above:  St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, Ireland, Circa 1854

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT PATRICK (BETWEEN 387 AND 390-BETWEEN 461 AND 464)

Apostle of Ireland

Many legends populate accounts of St. Patrick‘s life.  We can be reasonably sure of some details, though.

The native of the borderlands of England and Scotland grew up in a Christian family.  His grandfather was a priest and his father, Calpornius, was a deacon and a member of the local town council.  Despite his upbringing, St. Patrick was not especially pious at first.  When our saint was 16 years old Irish slaves abducted him.  He spent the next five years as a poorly clad shepherd in Ireland.  During this time St. Patrick began to take religion seriously.  Eventually he escaped from Ireland and slavery.  St. Patrick credited God for this.

Next St. Patrick, back in Britain, studied for ministry.  Circa 431 the newly minted bishop returned to Ireland.  Has was neither the first missionary nor the first bishop on the Emerald Isle, for there were already Christians, who had a bishop, there.  Yet St. Patrick was the most influential missionary bishop in Irish history.  He established his see at Armagh and presided over a campaign of evangelism.  He had churches built on holy sites and crosses carved on Druidic altars.  St. Patrick also baptized tens of thousands of people and ordained hundreds of priests.

Irish hagiography is replete with people whom St. Patrick ordained, baptized, confirmed, or befriended.  This fact comfirms the centrality of our saint on the Emerald Isle for a certain period of time.

I Bind Unto Myself Today,” attributed to St. Patrick, is a theologically sound text and my favorite hymn.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DEICOLA AND GALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS; AND OTHMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AT SAINT GALLEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be an apostle to the Irish people,

to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you:

Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 36:33-38

Psalm 97:1-2, 7-12

1 Thessalonians 2:2b-12

Matthew 28:16-20

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 273

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Posted January 20, 2017 by neatnik2009 in March 17, Saints of 400-499

Tagged with ,

Feast of Ebenezer Elliott (March 17)   1 comment

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Above:  The Great Stack, Sheffield (1909), by Joseph Pennell (1857-1926)

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-22370

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EBENEZER ELLIOTT (MARCH 17, 1781-DECEMBER 1, 1849)

“The Corn Law Rhymer”

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This businessman author made himself a voice for the inarticulate cry of the downtrodden.  His hymns should arouse all Christians to a realization that in God’s sight persons are of more value than property.

–William Chalmers Covert and Calvin Weiss Laufer, eds., Handbook to The Hymnal (Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1935), page 394

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I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.  We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society.  When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

–The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., Riverside Church, New York, New York, April 4, 1967; quoted in James Melvin Washington, ed., A Testament of Hope:  The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. (San Francisco, CA:  HarperCollins, 1986; paperback, 1991), page 240

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Where injustice rules as tyrant,

give us courage, God, to dare

live our dreams of transformation.

Make our lives incarnate prayer.

–O. I. Cricket Harrison, 1988; revised in 1993; from Hymn #658, Chalice Hymnal (1995)

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Some background information is crucial to understanding the politics of our saint.

In 1815 the Tory-controlled Government of Great Britain passed the Corn Law while starving people protested outside the Halls of Parliament.  This law restricted the importation of inexpensive corn, benefiting some while harming many others.  Especially hard hit were poor people.  A peaceful protest against the Corn Law at Manchester in 1819 ended violently when soldiers attacked the crowd, which included many women and children.  Four hundred suffered severe injuries and eleven people–including one child–died.  This became a notorious incident and the cause of much political discontent, but the Government cracked down on dissent, making large public gatherings almost impossible and cracking down on the liberal press.  Law and order triumphed over social reform.

The Government finally repealed the Corn Law in 1846 due to pressure from the Irish Potato Famine.  In the meantime, people had suffered needless burdens of preventable hunger as the Government and businesses conspired to keep wages low and food prices high.  Opposition to such injustice had continued, as the Anti-Corn Law League had formed in 1838 and Ebenezer Elliott had written against the bread tax.

The family of Ebenezer Elliott (1781-1849), born at Yorkshire, had suffered because of the Corn Law and similar measures.  Although he was a conservative by temperament, the food-and-wage policies of the Tory Party (and later of the Conservative Party) pushed him into liberal politics.  Our saint, an ironmonger by profession, spent most of his life in Sheffield, a site of many abuses of industrialization.  (The reference to “dark Satanic mills” in “Jerusalem” was no exaggeration.)  On the side Elliott became a bard of the poor, publishing social protest poems in the local press and helping to build support for the repeal of the bread tax in 1846.

By accident one of his texts, “When Wilt Thou Save the People?,” published posthumously in an 1850 volume, became a hymn.  The text remains relevant.

May the faithful example of Ebenezer Elliott remind us of our responsibility to condemn injustice.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 19, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANNE HUTCHINSON, REBELLIOUS PURITAN

THE FEAST OF BLAISE PASCAL, MATHEMATICIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN EUDES, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF JESUS AND MARY

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For Further Reading:

http://www.historyhome.co.uk/people/elliott.htm

http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/AuthorRecord.php?&recordid=33382

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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 Ebenezer Elliott, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, 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

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

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Revised on December 23, 2016

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Feast of Henry Scott Holland (March 17)   1 comment

St. Paul's Cathedral, London

Above:  St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England, United Kingdom, 1890-1900

Images Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08571

Title from the Detroit Publishing Co., Catalogue J foreign section, Detroit, Mich. : Detroit Publishing Company, 1905

Print no. “11096”

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HENRY SCOTT HOLLAND (JANUARY 27, 1847-MARCH 17, 1918)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

Social concern is a great biblical value.  Hebrew prophets condemned those who exploited others.  And, in the Parable of Lazarus and Dives, the main offense of the latter was that he knew about the presence of the former and did not care for him.  Sometimes apathy is the opposite of compassion.

Henry Scott Holland demonstrated compassion.  He, educated at Eton then Balloil College, Oxford, joined the ranks of the clergy of The Church of England in 1872.  He served at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, then at Truro, then at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, before returning to Oxford.  His final position was Professor of Divinity at Oxford, from 1910 to 1918.  In 1889 Holland cofounded the Christian Social Union.  From 1896 to 1918 he edited its publication, The Commonwealth.  The cause of Christian Socialism was close to his heart.

Holland wrote extensively.  His works included:

  • Creeds and Critics;
  • Logic and Life;
  • Christ or Ecclesiates;
  • On Behalf of Belief;
  • God’s Pity;
  • Vital Values; and
  • A Bundle of Memories.

He also worked on The English Hymnal (1906) and The New Cathedral Psalter (1909).  Among Holland’s hymns was “Judge Eternal, Enthroned in Splendour,” which appeared initially in a 1902 issue of The Commonwealth.

Judge eternal, throned in splendour,

Lord of lords and King of kings,

With thy living fire of judgement

Purge this land of bitter things;

Solace all its wide dominion

With the healing of thy wings.

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Still the weary folk are pining

For the hour that brings release,

And the city’s crowded clangor

Cried aloud for sin to cease;

And the homesteads and the woodlands

Plead in silence for their peace.

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Crown, O God, thine own endeavour,

Cleave our darkness with thy sword;

Feed the faint and hungry heathen

With the richness of thy word;

Cleanse the body of this nation

Through the glory of the Lord.

The Latin inscription on Holland’s memorial at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, translates as:

As beholding God invisible, he was unceasingly founding on earth His Heavenly Kingdom, in unshaken faith, lively hope, joyous love.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 15, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., NATIONAL BAPTIST PASTOR

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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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Revised on December 24, 2016

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Second Sunday in Lent, Year C   Leave a comment

Above:  Celtic Cross Over a Church Door

The Narrow Door

FEBRUARY 21, 2016

MARCH 17, 2019

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Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 (New Revised Standard Version):

The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision,

Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.

But Abram said,

O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?

And Abram said,

You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.

But the word of the LORD came to him,

This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.

He brought him outside and said,

Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.

Then he said to him,

So shall your descendants be.

And he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Then he said to him,

I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.

But he said,

O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?

He said to him,

Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,

To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates.

Psalm 27 (Revised English Bible):

The LORD is my light and my salvation;

whom should I fear?

The LORD is the stronghold of my life;

of whom then should I go in dread?

When evildoers close in on me to devour me,

is my adversaries, my enemies,

who stumble and fall.

Should an army encamp against me,

my heart would have no fear;

if armed men should fall upon me,

even though I would be undismayed.

One thing I ask of the LORD,

it is the one thing I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD

all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the LORD

and to seek him in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of misfortune;

he will conceal me under cover of his tent,

set me high on a rock.

Now my head will be raised high

above my enemy all about me;

so I shall acclaim him in his tent with a sacrifice

and sing a psalm of praise to the LORD.

Hear, LORD, when I cry aloud;

show my favour and answer me.

Come,

my heart has said,

seek his presence.

I seek your presence, LORD;

do not hide your face from me,

nor in your anger turn away from your servant,

whose help you have been;

God my saviour, do not reject me or forsake me.

Though my father and my mother forsake me,

the LORD will take me into his care.

Teach me your way, LORD;

do not give me up to the greed of my enemies;

lead me by a level path

to escape the foes who beset me:

liars breathing malice come forward

to give evidence against me.

Well I know that I shall see the goodness of the LORD

in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD; be strong and brave,

and put your hope in the LORD.

Philippians 3:17-4:1 (Revised English Bible):

Join together, my friends, in following my example.  You have us for a model; imitate those whose way of life conforms to it.  As I have often told you, and now tell you with tears, there are many whose way of life makes them enemies of the cross of Christ.  They are heading for destruction, they make appetite their god, they take pride in what should bring shame; their minds are set on earthly things.  We, by contrast, are citizens of heaven, and from heaven we expect our deliverer to come, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will transfigure our humble bodies, and give them a form like that of his own glorious body, by that power which enables him to make all things subject to himself.  This, my dear friends, whom I live and long for, my joy and crown, this is what it means to stand firm in the Lord.

Luke 13:22-35 (Revised English Bible):

He [Jesus] continued his journey through towns and villages, teaching as he made his way towards Jerusalem.  Someone asked him,

Sir, are only a few saved?

His answer was:

Make every effort to enter through the narrow door; for I tell you that many will try to enter but will not succeed.

When once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may stand outside and knock and say, “Sir let us in!” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.”  Then you will protest, “We used to eat and drink with you, and you taught in our streets.”  But he will repeat, “I tell you, I do not know where you come from.  Out of my sight, all of you, you and your wicked ways!”  There will be wailing and grinding of teeth there, when you see prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves are driven away.  From east and west, from north and south, people will come and take their places at the banquet in the kingdom of God.  Yes, and some are now last who will be first, and some who are first will be last.

At that time a number of  Pharisees came and warned him [Jesus],

Leave this place and be on your way; Herod wants to kill you.

He replied,

Go and tell that fox, “Listen:  today and tomorrow I shall be driving out demons and working cures; However, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the next day, because it is unthinkable for a prophet to meet his death anywhere but in Jerusalem.”

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, city that murders the prophets and stones the messengers sent to her!  How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings; but you would not let me.  Look!  There is your temple, forsaken by God.  I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!”

The Collect:

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-second-sunday-in-lent/

Prayer of Confession:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/prayer-of-confession-for-the-second-sunday-in-lent/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-the-second-sunday-in-lent/

Prayer:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/prayer-for-the-second-sunday-of-lent/

Hope of the World:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/hope-of-the-world/

A Prayer for Compassion:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/a-prayer-for-compassion/

A Prayer to Embrace Love, Empathy, and Compassion, and to Eschew Hatred, Invective, and Willful Ignorance:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/a-prayer-to-embrace-love-empathy-and-compassion-and-to-eschew-hatred-invective-and-willful-ignorance/

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Who were the “enemies of the cross” in Philippians?  They could have belonged to more than one camp, including early Gnostics, who thought that matter was evil, so the human body was evil.  So Jesus could not have died on a cross or then risen from the dead, according to Gnostics.  Hence Gnostics were not Christians.  And, since they considered the human body to be evil, some favored starving it.  Others gorged it.

Meanwhile, in Genesis, elderly Abram trusted God’s promise of progeny.

And because he put his trust in the LORD, He reckoned it to his merit.

–Genesis 15:6, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

The Lukan reading requires some textual context.  In Chapter 13:1-21 alone we find the following happening:

  1. Jesus encourages repentance. (1-5)
  2. Jesus tells a parable about giving a non-productive fig tree extra fertilizer and one more chance to avoid destruction. (6-9)
  3. Jesus heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath.  He incurs criticism for doing this deed on that day. (10-17)
  4. Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a small mustard seed, which produces a very large weed. (18-19)
  5. Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a small amount of yeast which produces enough to feed 150 people. (20-21)

Then we read about entering by the narrow door.  The Kingdom of God is generous, even weed-like, beyond human control, but the portal to it is narrow.

Who are the excluded?  Among them must be the “enemies of the cross,” those who are materialistic (even if some of them regard matter as evil, ironically).  And I propose that among the excluded are so persnickity about religious matters (such as the Sabbath) that they do not live compassionately.  They have the outward forms yet lack the substance.  God welcomes the repentance of all.  So God does not exclude anyone.  Yet the excluded define themselves as such by not repenting.

As we continue to read we find that our Lord’s life is at risk (31-35).  In the Gospel of Luke’s narrative Jesus had

resolute turned his face towards Jerusalem. (9:51, The New Jerusalem Bible)

So all of Chapter 13 occurs in the shadow of the cross to come.

To pass through a narrow door one must establish priorities.  Some items will never make the cut, for they are too large.  So one must travel lightly through the narrow door.  May we leave behind the bulky furniture of hatred, greed, resentment, prejudice, discrimination, and legalism, among other things.  And may we take compassion with us; it nullifies the items from the preceding sentence.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 14, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS MAKEMIE, FATHER OF U.S. PRESBYTERIANISM

THE FEAST OF NGAKUKU, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY

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Posted November 11, 2012 by neatnik2009 in March 17, Revised Common Lectionary Year C

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