Archive for the ‘May 14’ Category

Feast of St. Maria Dominica Mazzarello (May 14)   1 comment

Above:  St. Maria Dominica Mazzarello

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARIA DOMINICA MAZZARELLO (MAY 9, 1837-MAY 14, 1881)

Cofounder of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians

St. Maria Dominica Mazzarello devoted most of her 44 years to serving God.  She, born in Mornese, Acqui, Italy, on May 99, 1837, was the first of ten children of Giuseppe and Maddalena Mazzarello, farmers.  Our saint, who worked on the family farm growing up, joined the Pious Union of Mary Immaculate.  She helped the sick and taught the catechism to younger children in her parish.  At the age of 23 years Mazzarello nearly died of typhus.  Although she recovered, she never did so fully.  She and a friend, Petronilla, began to work as dressmakers.  They started a girls’ school; this turned into a boarding school.  This work led to our saint cofounding the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, under the spiritual direction of St. John Bosco, in 1872.  She, the reluctant (and first) Superior of the order, founded houses in France and Italy.  She died at Nizza, Monferrato, Astia, Italy, on May 14, 1881.

Pope Pius XI declared our saint a Venerable in 1936 then a Blessed two years later.  Pope Pius XII canonized her in 1951.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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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 Saint Maria Dominica Mazzarello,

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 Luke 9:57-62

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

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Feast of Sts. Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus (May 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Victor the Martyr

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT VICTOR THE MARTYR

Roman Soldier and Christian Martyr, 165

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SAINT CORONA OF DAMASCUS

Christian Martyr, 165

Also known as Saint Stephanida and Saint Corona the Martyr

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Alternative feast days = November 11 and November 24

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Emperor Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-180 C.E.), in the words of classical historian Michael Grant, considered Christians to be

self-dramatizing martyrs who perversely refused to participate in the common life of the Roman Empire which, for all its imperfections, seemed to him the most complete earthly expression of the ideal Stoic cosmopolis that he always held before his eyes.

The Roman Emperors:  A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 BC-AD 476 (1985), pages 92-93

In other words, Christians were allegedly menaces to society because they refused to conform.  And, if one assumed that the gods would continue to bless the Roman Empire as long as the populace honored the deities, one thought of the Christian gospel as an existential threat to the empire.  From that perspective persecuting Christians was an essential policy, in the name of imperial security.

St. Victor was a Roman soldier stationed in Syria.  He, being a Christian, refused to perform his civic duty–to offer a sacrifice to the gods.  For this offense St. Victor became a prisoner and suffered tortures.  Before his jailers beheaded him, they blinded him.  St. Corona/Stephanida, from our perspective in 2017 the teenage wife of one of the soldiers torturing St. Victor in Damascus, was also a Christian.  She nursed St. Victor while he was in prison.  For that she also went to martyrdom.

Although certain governments are inherently bad–evil, even–others are not.  Even when a government is not necessarily bad (at least not mostly or entirely), certain actions one might take in service to the state are inherently immoral, even when one performs them in the name of national security.  One might not seek to engage in perfidy, but one might perform perfidious acts anyway.  One might not know what one is really doing.  May God forgive one.

May one also honor the faith of Sts. Victor and Corona.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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

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

Inspire us with the memory of Sts. Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage

to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Feast of St. Carthage the Younger (May 14)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Carthage the Younger

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CARTHAGE THE YOUNGER (555-CIRCA 637)

Irish Abbot-Bishop

Also known as Saint Mochuda

Mochuda, a swineherd near Castlemaine, entered the world in County Kerry, Ireland, in 555.  He became a monk under the tutelage of abbot bishop St. Carthage the Elder (feast day = March 5), related to Irish royalty.  Mochuda became so identified with his mentor that the became known as St. Carthage the Younger.  Our saint, a priest and (from 580) a hermit at Kiltallagh, founded the monastery in Raithean, County Offaly, circa 590.  He, the abbot-bishop of the Fereal district, wrote the rule of his monks and composed a 580-line metrical poem.  In 635, due to regional politics, our saint and his 800 monks went into exile from Raithean and arrived in Lismore.  There they founded a new monastery, which became known as a center of learning.  St. Carthage the Younger died at Lismore circa 637.  He was about 82 years old.

Contrary to what many Protestants continue to argue, monastics are not useless.  All one has to do to refute that false argument from a historical perspective is to consider the legacies of evangelism, health care, and education, among other factors, in the monastic past.  Modern-day church-operated orphanages and children’s homes perform functions in the monastic legacy.  Furthermore, if one truly affirms the efficacy of prayer, one should give thanks that certain men and women devote their lives to prayer.  Orders of nuns and hermits, for example, spend their lives in intercessory prayer.

St. Carthage the Younger was indeed quite useful.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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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 Saint Carthage the Younger,

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 Luke 9:57-62

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

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Feast of Francis Makemie (May 14)   Leave a comment

Image in the Public Domain

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FRANCIS MAKEMIE (1658-SUMMER 1708)

Father of American Presbyterianism and Advocate for Religious Toleration

Francis Makemie lived with and resisted religious persecution.  Makemie, born near Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland, in 1658, experienced Anglican persecutions of dissenters as he grew up.  On January 28, 1680, after graduating from the University of Edinburgh, he joined the Laggan Presbytery as a probationer.  In December of that year Makemie heard a reading of a letter from Colonel William Stevens, of the eastern shore of Maryland, regarding the neglected spiritual state of Presbyterians in that colony and requesting a missionary.  Our saint volunteered.

Makemie became the Father of American Presbyterianism.  He, ordained and licensed in 1681, arrived in Maryland in 1683.  That year he founded four churches–at Reheboth, Snow Hill, Princess Anne, and Salisbury.  Later our saint started two more congregations–at Pitts Creek and Buckingham.  For years Makemie traveled widely, from Charleston, South Carolina, to Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and as far as England (1691) and Barbados (1696-1698).  Our saint also published a catechism based on the Westminster Confession.  Makemie, business partner of his father-in-law, wealthy merchant William Anderson, was a jack of all trades.  The missionary could not support his family via missionary work alone, for most Presbyterians in Maryland were poor.  He purchased land in Accomack County, Maryland, in 1687 and married Naomi Anderson in the 1680s or 1690s (definitely prior to 1697).  Makemie settled in Accomack County permanently after his father-in-law died.  The Makemies had two daughters–Anne (born circa 1697) and Elizabeth (born circa 1700).

Makemie advocated for religious freedom and established the first presbytery in America.  He, licensed to preach by civil authorities in Maryland and Virginia in October 1699, became the second dissenting minister licensed in the Old Dominion.  Our saint, concerned that the dearth of towns in the Chesapeake colonies inhibited population growth and the progress of the church in those colonies, traveled to England in 1704, remaining into the following year.  There he persuaded the managers of the Common Fund (Presbyterian and Congregationalist) to support missionaries in America for two years.  Makemie, back in America with two missionaries, had to contend with charges filed by two Anglican rectors in Maryland.  The rectors sought control of Presbyterian church buildings, but the court ruled in our saint’s favor on June 10, 1708.  Makemie, the organizer and first moderator of the Presbytery of Philadelphia (founded in 1706), sought formal relations with the Puritans of New England.  With that goal in mind he undertook a journey to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1707.  John Hampton, a fellow missionary, accompanied him.

En route, in the colony of New York, Makemie established a precedent for religious freedom.  He preached without a license valid in that colony.  Authorities arrested Hampton and our saint then released Hampton quickly.  Makemie spent six weeks in jail, however.  He, released on bail, went on trial.  The verdict was an acquittal, fortunately.  However, the court forced him to pay the prosecutor’s costs anyway.

Makemie, back in Maryland, died before the end of the summer of 1708.  He was about 50 years old.

His legacy has survived, however.  The Presbytery of Philadelphia, having grown, reorganized as the Synod of Philadelphia in 1716.  That institution, consisting of presbyteries, was a forebear of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, which held its first General Assembly in 1789.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Francis Makemie,

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

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

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for May   Leave a comment

Rosa Chinensis

Image Source = Sakurai Midori

1 (PHILIP AND JAMES, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS)

2 (Alexander of Alexandria, Patriarch; and Athanasius of Alexandria, Patriarch and “Father of Orthodoxy”)

  • Charles Silvester Horne, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Julia Bulkley Cady Cory, U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Sigismund of Burgundy, King; Clotilda, Frankish Queen; and Clodoald, Frankish Prince and Abbot

3 (Caroline Chisholm, English Humaniarian and Social Reformer)

  • Marie-Léonie Paradis, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family
  • Maura and Timothy of Antinoe, Martyrs, 286
  • Tomasso Acerbis, Capuchin Friar

4 (Ceferino Jimenez Malla, Spanish Romani Martyr)

  • Jean-Martin Moyë, Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary in China, and Founder of the Sisters of Divine Providence and the Christian Virgins
  • John Houghton, Robert Lawrence, Augustine Webster, Humphrey Middlemore, William Exmew, and Sebastian Newdigate, Roman Catholic Martyrs

5 (Charles William Schaeffer, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Historian, Theologian, and Liturgist)

  • Edmund Ignatius Rice, Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Ireland and the Congregation of Presentation Brothers
  • Friedrich von Hügel, Roman Catholic Independent Scholar and Philosopher
  • Honoratus of Arles and Hilary of Arles, Roman Catholic Bishops, and Venantius of Modon and Caprasius of Lerins, Roman Catholic Hermits

6 (Anna Rosa Gattorno, Foundress of the Institute of the Daughters of Saint Anne, Mother of Mary Immaculate)

  • Tobias Clausnitzer, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Willibald of Eichstatt and Lullus of Mainz, Roman Catholic Bishops; Walburga of Heidenhelm, Roman Catholic Abbess; Petronax of Monte Cassino, Winnebald of Heidenhelm, Wigbert of Fritzlar, and Sturmius of Fulda, Roman Catholic Abbots; and Sebaldus of Vincenza, Roman Catholic Hermit and Missionary
  • Clarence Dickinson, U.S. Presbyterian Organist and Composer

7 (Domitian of Huy, Roman Catholic Archbishop)

  • Harriet Starr Cannon, Foundress of the Community of Saint Mary
  • Joseph Armitage Robinson, Anglican Dean, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Rosa Venerini, Foundress of the Venerini Sisters; mentor of Lucia Filippini, Foundress of the Religious Teachers Filippini

8 (Juliana of Norwich, Mystic and Spiritual Writer)

  • Acacius of Byzantium, Martyr, 303
  • Magdalena of Canossa, Foundress of the Daughters of Charity and the Sons of Charity
  • Peter of Tarentaise, Roman Catholic Archbishop

9 (Stefan Grelewski and his brother, Kazimierz Grelewski, Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1941 and 1942)

  • Dietrich Buxtehude, Lutheran Organist and Composer
  • Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, Cofounders of the Catholic Worker Movement
  • Thomas Toke Lynch, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer

10 (Enrico Rebuschini, Roman Catholic Priest and Servant of the Sick; and his mentor, Luigi Guanella, Founder of the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence, the Servants of Charity, and the Confraternity of Saint Joseph)

  • Anna Laetitia Waring, Humanitarian and Hymn Writer; and her uncle, Samuel Miller Waring, Hymn Writer
  • Ivan Merz, Croatian Roman Catholic Intellectual
  • John Goss, Anglican Church Composer and Organist; and William Mercer, Anglican Priest and Hymn Translator

11 (Henry Knox Sherrill, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • John James Moment, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Matteo Ricci, Roman Catholic Missionary
  • Matthêô Lê Van Gam, Vietnamese Roman Catholic Martyr

12 (Germanus I of Constantinople, Patriarch of Constantinople and Defender of Icons)

  • Christian Friedrich Hasse, German-British Moravian Composer and Educator
  • Gregory of Ostia, Roman Catholic Abbot, Cardinal, and Legate; and Dominic of the Causeway, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • Roger Schütz, Founder of the Taizé Community

13 (Henri Dominique Lacordaire, French Roman Catholic Priest, Dominican, and Advocate for the Separation of Church and State)

  • Frances Perkins, United States Secretary of Labor
  • Gemma of Goriano Sicoli, Italian Roman Catholic Anchoress
  • Sylvester II, Bishop of Rome

14 (Francis Makemie, Father of American Presbyterianism and Advocate for Religious Toleration)

  • Carthage the Younger, Irish Abbot-Bishop
  • Maria Dominica Mazarello, Cofounder of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
  • Victor the Martyr and Corona of Damascus, Martyrs in Syria, 165

15 (JUNIA AND ANDRONICUS, COWORERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

16 (Andrew Fournet and Elizabeth Bichier, Cofounders of the Daughters of the Cross; and Michael Garicoits, Founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Betharram)

  • John Nepomucene, Bohemian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • Martyrs of the Sudan
  • Ubaldo Baldassini, Roman Catholic Bishop of Gubbio

17 (Thomas Bradbury Chandler, Anglican Priest; his son-in-law, John Henry Hobart, Episcopal Bishop of New York; and his grandson, William Hobart Hare, Apostle to the Sioux and Episcopal Missionary Bishop of Niobrara then South Dakota)

  • Caterina Volpicelli, Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart; Ludovico da Casoria, Founder of the Gray Friars of Charity and Cofounder of the Gray Sisters of Saint Elizabeth; and Giulia Salzano, Foundress of the Congregation of the Catechetical Sisters of the Sacred Heart
  • Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall, Attorneys and Civil Rights Activists
  • Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury

18 (Maltbie Davenport Babcock, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Humaitarian, and Hymn Writer)

  • John I, Bishop of Rome
  • Mary McLeod Bethune, African-American Educator and Social Activist
  • Stanislaw Kubski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

19 (Jacques Ellul, French Reformed Theologian and Sociologist)

  • Celestine V, Bishop of Rome
  • Dunstan of Canterbury, Abbot of Glastonbury and Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Ivo of Kermartin, Roman Catholic Attorney, Priest, and Advocate for the Poor

20 (Alcuin of York, Abbot of Tours)

  • Columba of Rieti and Osanna Andreasi, Dominican Mystics
  • John Eliot, “The Apostle to the Indians”
  • Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, Foundress of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne

21 (Christian de Chargé and His Companions, Martyrs of Tibhirine, Algeria, 1996)

  • Eugene de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles and Founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate
  • Franz Jägerstätter, Austrian Roman Catholic Conscientious Objector and Martyr, 1943
  • Joseph Addison and Alexander Pope, English Poets

22 (Frederick Hermann Knubel, President of the United Lutheran Church in America)

  • Georg Gottfried Muller, German-American Moravian Minister and Composer
  • John Forest and Thomas Abel, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1538 and 1540
  • Julia of Corsica, Martyr at Corsica, 620

23  (Ivo of Chartres, Roman Catholic Bishop)

24 (Nicolaus Selnecker, German Lutheran Minister, Theologian, and Hymn Writer)

  • Jackson Kemper, Episcopal Missionary Bishop
  • Edith Mary Mellish (a.k.a. Mother Edith), Foundress of the Community of the Sacred Name

25 (Bede of Jarrow, Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of English History)

  • Aldhelm of Sherborne, Poet, Literary Scholar, Abbot of Malmesbury, and Bishop of Sherborne
  • Madeleine-Sophie Barat, Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart; and Rose Philippine Duchesne, Roman Catholic Nun and Missionary
  • Mykola Tsehelskyi, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr

26 (Augustine of Canterbury, Archbishop)

  • Lambert Péloguin of Vence, Roman Catholic Monk and Bishop
  • Philip Neri, the Apostle of Rome and the Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory
  • Quadratus the Apologist, Early Christian Apologist

27  (Paul Gerhardt, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Alfred Rooker, English Congregationalist Philanthropist and Hymn Writer; and his sister, Elizabeth Rooker Parson, English Congregationalist Hymn Writer
  • Amelia Bloomer, U.S. Suffragette
  • Lojze Grozde, Slovenian Roman Catholic Martyr

28 (John H. W. Stuckenberg, German-American Minister and Academic)

  • Bernard of Menthon, Roman Catholic Priest and Archdeacon of Aosta
  • Edwin Pond Parker, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Jeremias Dencke, Silesian-American Moravian Composer and Organist; and Simon Peter and Johann Friedrich Peter, German-American Composers, Educators, Musicians, and Ministers

29 (Percy Dearmer, Anglican Canon and Translator and Author of Hymns)

  • Bona of Pisa, Roman Catholic Mystic and Pilgrim
  • Jiri Tranovsky, Luther of the Slavs and Father of Slovak Hymnody
  • Joachim Neander, German Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer

30 (Joan of Arc, Roman Catholic Visionary and Martyr)

  • Apolo Kivebulaya, Apostle to the Pygmies
  • Josephine Butler, English Feminist and Social Reformer
  • Luke Kirby, Thomas Cottam, William Filby, and Laurence Richardson, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs

31 (VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH)

Floating

  • Ascension
  • First Book of Common Prayer, 1549

 

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

 

Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year A   Leave a comment

“Do not let your hearts be troubled….”–Jesus

MAY 18, 2014

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Acts 7:55-60 (New Revised Standard Version):

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Stephen gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 (New Revised Standard Version):

In you, O LORD, I seek refuge;

so not let me ever be put to shame;

in your righteousness deliver me.

Incline your ear to me;

rescue me speedily.

Be a rock of refuge for me,

a strong fortress to save me.

You are indeed my rock and my fortress;

for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,

take me out of the net that is hidden for me,

for you are my refuge.

Into your hand I commit my spirit;

you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.

My times are in your hand;

deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

Let your face shine upon your servant;

save me in your steadfast love.

1 Peter 2:2-10 (New Revised Standard Version):

Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander.  Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation–if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For it stands in scripture:

“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,

a cornerstone chosen and precious;

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected

has become the head of the corner,”

and

“A stone that makes them stumble,

and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Once you were not a people,

but now you are God’s people;

once you had not received mercy,

but now you have received mercy.

John 14:1-14 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

The Collect:

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The Authorized Version of the Bible translates “dwelling places” from John 14:2 as “mansions.”  This is a poor translation, for, depending on the scholar one consults, the reference in Greek can have three possible meanings:

1.  There are “many rooms” (as the New International Version renders the text).  The location of one’s room in the afterlife depends on one’s life:  good for good and evil for evil.  Some Jewish literature of the time contained this idea.

2.  There is a series of roadside rooms where a traveler sleeps overnight before rising the next morning and going on his or her way.  So there are stages of one’s spiritual journey, even in Heaven.

3.  There are many rooms in God’s house, with plenty of room for everybody.

I like #2.  But who knows, really?  The main idea we should remember that Jesus is central to this afterlife.

Let us remember, too, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  Given the literary context within the Johannine Gospel, Jesus had many reasons to be troubled.  And yet he said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  And Paul the Apostle endured his share of difficulties after become a Christian and evangelist.  Yet the epistles he wrote and dictated reflect a deep and abiding faith, great determination, and moments of frustration and pique, but not a greatly troubled heart.

I was a student at Valdosta State University and a member of Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta, Georgia, from 1993 to 1996.  One day I attended the funeral for Deacon Stella Clark’s son.  I arrived at the church just before the funeral, for I chose not to skip a class meeting.  The church was full, so I had to sit in the Parish Hall and listen to the service on a speaker.  I recall Stella reading the Gospel, which began “Do not let your hearts be troubled…,” her voice breaking.  That was great faith indeed.  During that service she administered communion, the bread of life, to me.

Life contains the good and the bad, the joyous and the excruciating, and all degrees in the middle.  Through it all we are not alone, no matter how much we feel that way.  Experience has taught me that grace is most noticeable when the need for it is greatest.  So I carry meaningful memories related to traumatic times.  I rejoice in the great joy during those troubled times and thank God for the spiritual growth which has flowed from them, but take no delight in those times themselves.  And I have learned more deeply the truth of “Do not let your hearts be troubled….”  This is a lesson one can learn only by living.

KRT