Archive for the ‘October 14’ Category

Feast of Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky (October 14)   2 comments

Above:  Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky

Image in the Public Domain

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SAMUEL ISAAC JOSEPH SCHERESCHEWSKY (MAY 31, 1831-OCTOBER 15, 1906)

Episcopal Bishop of Shanghai, and Biblical Translator

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky was on of the great missionaries.

Schereschewsky, born in Tauroggen, Lithuania, the Russian Empire, on May 31, 1831, grew up in a devout Jewish family.  He began to study for the rabbinate in 1846.  In Breslau (1852-1854), to continue those studies, our saint encountered missionaries from the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews.  He also read the New Testament in Hebrew.  Schereschewsky converted to Christianity in 1854.

That year our saint emigrated to the United States, to matriculate at Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to prepare for the Presbyterian ministry.  In 1857, however, Schereschewsky converted to The Episcopal Church and transferred to the General Theological Seminary, New York, New York.  He graduated in 1859, became a deacon that year, and left for Shanghai, China, as a missionary.  Our saint learned Chinese during the journey.  He, ordained to the priesthood in 1860, worked out of Beijing from 1862 to 1875.  He translated the Bible and much of The Book of Common Prayer into Mandarin during that time.

Schereschewsky served as the Bishop of Shanghai from 1877 to 1883.  He, paralyzed in 1881, spent 1882-1895 (1882-1886 in Switzerland) for medical treatment.  Our saint, who resigned in 1883, had helped to found St. John’s College, Shanghai, and begun to translate the Bible into Wenli.

Asia beckoned.  Schereschewsky and his loving wife, Susan Mary Waring (1836-1909), returned to Shanghai in 1895.  They relocated to Tokyo, Japan, two years later.  She helped him continue to translate the Bible into Wenli.  Our saint typed 2000 pages with just one finger, as well as Susan’s assistance.

Schereschewsky died in Tokyo on October 15, 1831.  He was 75 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 1, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHARLES DE FOUCAULD, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF DOUGLAS LETELL RIGHTS, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD TIMOTHY MICKEY, JR., U.S. MORAVIAN BISHOP AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF PETER MORTIMER, ANGLO-GERMAN MORAVIAN EDUCATOR, MUSICIAN, AND SCHOLAR; AND GOTTFRIED THEODOR ERXLEBEN, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND MUSICOLOGIST

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O God, in your providence you called Joseph Schereschewsky from his home in Eastern Europe

to the ministry of this Church, and sent him as a missionary to China,

that he might translate the Holy Scriptures into languages of that land.

Lead us, we pray, to commit our lives and talents to you,

in the confidence that when you give your servants any work to do,

you also supply the strength to do it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

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

Isaiah 12:1-6

Psalm 84:1-6

2 Corinthians 4:11-18

Luke 24:44-48

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 637

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Feast of Blessed Roman Lysko (October 14)   2 comments

Above:  Blessed Roman Lysko 

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ROMAN MARIA LYSKO (AUGUST 19, 1914-OCTOBER 14, 1949)

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1949

Alternative feast day = April 2

Roman Maria Lysko, born a subject of the Russian Empire near Lviv, Ukraine, on August 19, 1914, spent most of his 35 years serving God.  Our saint’s father was Father Volodymyr Lysko, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest and a member of a branch of the Roman Catholic Church with married priests.  Our saint’s mother was Ivanka Cohelsky.  Roman followed in his father’s footsteps; he studied theology in Lviv and, on August 28, 1941, became a priest during what the Soviet government called the Great Patriotic War (World War II, to the rest of us).  Our saint, active in youth ministry, also had a wife (Neonila Huniovsky) and three children (Oleksander, Zvenyslava, and Chrystyna Lysko).  Roman, arrested by agents of the NKVD for his faith on September 8, 1949, and incarcerated in Lviv, sang Psalms in prison.  His jailers thought he was out of his mind.  Roman, tortured, died of starvation on October 14, 1949.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 2001 then a Blessed later that year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 30, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Roman Lysko

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord,

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Sts. Callixtus I, Anterus, Pontian, and Hippolytus (October 14)   1 comment

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land by George Adam Smith and J. G. Bartholomew

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land by George Adam Smith and J. G. Bartholomew

Above:  Map of the Roman Empire in the Third Century

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CALLIXTUS I (DIED IN 222)

Bishop of Rome

Also known as St. Callistus I

His feast day = October 14

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SAINT ANTERUS (DIED JANUARY 3, 236)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from January 3

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SAINT PONTIAN (DIED CIRCA 236)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from August 13

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SAINT HIPPOLYTUS (DIED CIRCA 236)

Antipope

Feast transferred from August 13

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INTRODUCTION

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This is a story of theft, self-righteousness, schism, false witness, forgiveness, repentance, and martyrdom.  Repentance, as I tire of having to explain, is far more than saying that one is sorry.  No, repentance is turning around or changing one’s mind.  To repent is literally to turn one’s back on sin.  That definition applies well to Sts. Callixtus I and Hippolytus.

Roman Catholic writer Thomas J. Craughwell notes the value of being honest about the dark episodes in the lives of the saints.  He states:

The point of reading these stories is not to experience some tabloid thrill, but to understand how grace works in the world.  Every day, all day long, God pours out his grace upon us, coaxing us, to turn away from everything that is base and cheap and unsatisfying, and turn toward the only thing that is eternal, perfect, and true–that is, himself.

Saints Behaving Badly:  The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil Worshippers Who Became Saints (New York, NY:  Doubleday, 2006), page xii

Some of the most forgiving people have been those who have known of their need of much mercy and received it.  They, having received forgiveness in abundance, have become practitioners of forgiveness–sometimes to the consternation of others, many of whom have thought of themselves as pious and orthodox, as pure.  That summary applied well to St. Hippolytus for much of his life.

Roman Catholic tradition tells the stories of two of these men–Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus–together, for they share the same feast day, August 13.  I have found that I cannot tell their stores properly without recounting that of St. Callixtus I and, in passing, what little we know of St. Anterus.  Each of these two saints has his own feast day on the Roman Catholic calendar.  I, for the sake of convenience, have moved three of the four saints to the date for the feast of St. Callixtus I.  After all, the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is my project; I answer to nobody else with regard to it.

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SAINT CALLIXTUS I

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St. Callixtus I was a slave, a bad investor, an embezzler, and an inciter of needless violence before be became a deacon, a pope, and a martyr.  As a young man he was the slave of one Carpophorus, a Christian of Rome.  Circa 190 Carpophorus founded a bank for the Christians of Rome and made St. Callixtus, who had experience managing money, the administrator thereof.  Many of the depositors were of modest means and there was no ancient equivalent of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (F.D.I.C.).  St. Callixtus proved to be a bad investor and an eager embezzler, so the bank failed, much to the financial detriment of many of the depositors.  The perfidious slave fled Rome and got as far as Portus, where his master captured him.  Back in Rome, Carpophorus sentenced St. Callixtus to the hard labor of turning a large stone wheel at a grist mill daily.  Nevertheless, some of the defrauded depositors were merciful.  They convinced Carpophorus to liberate St. Callixtus, on the condition that the slave try to recover some of the lost funds.

St. Callixtus remained a troublesome character.  He attempted to recover some of the lost funds by interrupting a Jewish worship service, demanding money from investors present, and thereby starting a brawl.  Legal charges of disturbing the peace and desecrating a holy place ensued.  Carpophorus lied in court when he denied that St. Callixtus, a baptized person, was a Christian.  (Christianity was not yet legal in the Roman Empire.)  The prefect sentenced St. Callixtus to scourging then to hard labor in the salt mines of Sardinia.  That was effectively a death sentence.

Marcia, a Christian and the mistress of the Emperor Commodus (reigned 180-192), used her influence to aid her coreligionists.  She asked Pope St. Victor I (reigned 189-198; feast day = July 28) for a list of Christians sent to Sardinia.  He gave her that list, minus St. Callixtus, whose name he omitted on purpose.  Marcia interceded with the governor of Sardinia, who freed all the listed prisoners plus St. Callixtus, who begged his way into freedom.  St. Victor, not convinced that St. Callixtus had ceased to be a scoundrel, sent him to live outside the walls of Rome and gave him an allowance.  Eventually the pontiff concluded that St. Callixtus, who had remained out of trouble for some time, had indeed repented.  St. Victor permitted him to assist St. Zephyrinus, the priest who managed the assignments of priests and deacons in Rome.

St. Zephyrinus became the mentor to St. Callixtus.  St. Victor died in 198; St. Zephyrinus succeeded him as pontiff.  The new pope ordained St. Callixtus to the diaconate and placed him in charge of the Christian cemetery (now the Catacomb of St. Callixtus) on the Appian Way.  St. Callixtus became a powerful figure in the Roman Catholic Church during the papacy of his mentor.  Predictably, he succeeded St. Zephyrinus as the Pope upon the death of the latter in 217.

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SAINTS CALLIXTUS I AND SAINT HIPPOLYTUS

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The election of St. Callixtus displeased St. Hippolytus, a priest, theologian, and author of treatises and Biblical commentaries.  St. Hippolytus, born before 170, practiced a rigorous form of Roman Catholicism.  Pope St. Zephyrinus, he was convinced, held heretical views regarding the Holy Trinity.  (Ironically, in the context of the Council of Nicaea, 325 C.E., St. Hippolytus was heretic avant le lettre regarding the Holy Trinity, for he held to a subordinationist position.)  St. Hippolytus not only spoke out but did something; he became the antipope first to St. Callixtus I (reigned 217-222) then to St. Urban I (reigned 222-230) then to St. Pontian (reigned 230-235) then to St. Anterus (reigned 235-236) and possibly then briefly to St. Fabian (reigned 236-250).  St. Hippolytus led a schismatic group as he condemned St. Callixtus for everything from his past crimes to this eagerness to forgive sinners.  The latter indicated doctrinal laxity, the antipope argued.  St. Hippolytus fumed whenever St. Callixtus forgave an errant and penitent bishop who had committed fornication, for example.  The antipope complained whenever St. Callixtus welcomed former members of schismatic sects back into the fold of Holy Mother Church enthusiastically and without requiring any sign of penance.  Furthermore, St. Hippolytus falsely accused St. Callixtus of being a modalist.

Modalism is a heresy pertaining to the Holy Trinity.  It is, actually, a form of Unitarianism whose proponents argue that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not persons but are really modes of God’s being.  God, in modalist thought, is united and indivisible.  As Praxeas argued circa 210 C.E., God the Father entered the womb of St. Mary of Nazareth, suffered, died, and rose again.  This is false doctrine, as Tertullian (circa 155-225) knew well.  He retorted that Praxeas had

put to flight the Holy Spirit and crucified the Father.

–Quoted in Linwood Urban, A Short History of Christian Thought–Revised and Expanded Edition (New York, NY:  Oxford University Press, 1995), page 58

St. Callixtus was no modalist.  In fact, he excommunicated Sabellius, a prominent modalist.  St. Hippolytus replied that the Pope had done that to cover up his own modalism, however.

The life and papacy of St. Callixtus ended in 222, when a pagan mob murdered him.  Members of that mob then threw his corpse down a well in Rome.

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SUBSEQUENT POPES AND SAINT HIPPOLYTUS

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The persecution of Christianity in the Roman Empire was not continuous.  Certain emperors engaged in the practice; others did not.  Few persecutions were empire-wide; most were regional and sporadic.  For most of the tenure of Pope St. Pontian (July 21, 230-September 28, 235) imperial persecution was not a problem.  Other issues dominated the reign of the son of Calpurnius.  St. Pontian presided over the synod that ratified the decision of St. Demetrius of Alexandria (126-231) to banish Origen (185-254), to refuse to recognize his priestly ordination, and to excommunicate him.  (Nevertheless, Origen found refuge with sympathetic bishops and persuaded heretics to turn to orthodoxy.)  In March 235 Maximinus I became emperor.  He ended his predecessor’s policy of toleration of Christianity and targeted leaders of the faith first.  Authorities arrested Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus, convicted them, and sent them to die in the salt mines of Sardinia.  St. Pontian, recognizing the need of continuous leadership of the church, became the first pope to resign.  He stepped down on September 28, 235.

The next pope, St. Anterus, of whom we know little, much like his predecessor once removed, St. Urban I (reigned 222-230), took office on November 21, 235.  Contrary to the tradition that he died a martyr, St. Anterus seems to have died of natural causes.  His pontificate was brief, ending on January 3, 236.

Pope St. Fabian (reigned January 10, 236-January 20, 250) had a longer pontificate.  He became one of the first victims of the Decian persecution, one of those empire-wide persecutions of Christianity.

Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus died on Sardinia circa 236–the latter of the hard labor and the former by means of a beating by guards.  The antipope renounced schism, reconciled with the Church, and urged his followers to do the same while in prison in Rome or on Sardinia.  (The available sources disagree on that point.)  In 236 or 237 Pope St. Fabian interred the remains of these two men in Rome.  Holy Mother Church forgave him and recognized him as a saint.  To paraphrase Thomas J. Craughwell, writing in Saints Behaving Badly, the Church was more like St. Callixtus I than St. Hippolytus.

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CONCLUSION

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St. Hippolytus, prior to his repentance, thought of the Church as the assembly of saints, not as the hospital for sinners.  He was not the last person to hold that opinion and to start a schismatic movement based on that premise.  For example, just a few decades later, in the wake of the Decian persecution, Donatism (in its narrow definition) arose and persisted for centuries, dividing the Church in northern Africa.  Donatism, in its broad definition, has never ceased.  It has, in fact, led to many ecclesiastical schisms.  My studies of church history have revealed that most ecclesiastical schisms have occurred to the right and most ecclesiastical mergers (unions and reunions) have occurred to the left.  The self-identified pure of theology have long argued not only with those in the institutions from which they departed but also among themselves.  Thus schisms have frequently begat schisms.  (I can recall examples of this generalization easily.  I think for example, of the formation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1936, of the subsequent split in that body almost immediately, and of the rending asunder the group that broke away from it.)  In that process of bickering and breaking away one casualty has frequently been forgiveness.

I spent the most recent Good Friday in Americus, Georgia, away from home.  While in that town I attended the Noontime service at Calvary Episcopal Church.  The Rector said in the homily that we Christians stand in the need of forgiveness, at the foot of the cross of Christ.  Nevertheless, many non-Christians perceive us as standing in the place of judgment, much like Pontius Pilate.  That statement was sadly accurate.  I have concluded that the main cause of the perception that we are judgmental is the fact that many of us are indeed judgmental, that many of us seem not to know that we really stand in the need of forgiveness, at the foot of the cross of Christ.

St. Callixtus I knew where he stood.  St. Hippolytus eventually learned where he stood.  St. Pontian knew where he stood and extended mercy to the antipope.  All three men died as martyrs.

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Holy God, in whom judgment and mercy exist in balance,

thank you for the lived example of Jesus of Nazareth, our Savior and Lord.

May we know that we stand not in the place of judgment

but in need of forgiveness, at the foot of the cross of Christ,

and, by grace, nurture the habit of forgiveness of others and ourselves.

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

Isaiah 30:15-26

Psalm 130

Romans 12:1-21

Luke 17:1-4

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 27, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT, ANGLICAN SCHOLAR, BIBLE TRANSLATOR, AND BISHOP OF DURHAM; AND FENTON JOHN ANTHONY HORT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN HENRY BATEMAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHAN NORDAHL BRUN, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN BISHOP, AUTHOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM REED HUNTINGTON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

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Feast of Thomas Hansen Kingo (October 14)   2 comments

Danish Flag

Above:  The Flag of Denmark

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS HANSEN KINGO (DECEMBER 15, 1634-OCTOBER 14, 1703)

Danish Lutheran Bishop, Hymn Writer, and “Poet of Eastertide”

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Thomas Kingo is the psalmist

Of the Danish temple choir.

This his people will remember

Long as song their hearts inspire.

–Nikolai Grundtvig’s epitaph for Bishop Thomas Hansen Kingo

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Thomas Hansen Kingo (1634-1703) was the first great Danish hymn writer and the “singer of orthodoxy.”  Martin Schwarz Lauten wrote of our saint’s hymns:

In grant fashion, he can describe nature’s beauty and grieve over the corruption of all things.  A healthy joie de vivre and words about daily devotional performance stand side-by-side with penitential Christianity’s confession of sin, a condemnation of human nature, and with revivalistic proclamation–all written out of the personal experiences of a sensitive and vulnerable artistic mind.

I have added translations of some of those hymns to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Denmark 1951

Above: Denmark, 1951

Image Source = Hammond’s Complete World Atlas, 1951

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Thomas Hansen Kingo (1634-1703) entered the world at Slangerup, near Copenhagen, Denmark, on December 15, 1634.  He was the son and grandson of Scottish emigrants who worked as weavers.  Our saint attended the Latin school at Slangerup, where the instruction was poor and the discipline was harsh, so he transferred to the Latin school at Fredriksborg.  The rector of that institution recognized and nurtured Kingo’s budding poetic talent.  Our saint, unlike most of his peers, who studied German literature, chose to study Danish literature instead.

Kingo’s vocation was the ordained ministry.  He completed his theological studies at the University of Copenhagen in 1658.  For the next three years he worked as a private tutor.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, the state church, ordained him in 1661.  Kingo served at a parish near Verby from 1661 to 1668, became pastor at Slangerup in 1668, and left that post in 1677 to begin duties as the Bishop of Funen (Fyn).

Kingo married three times.  In 1669 he married his first wife, Cecille “Sille” Lambertsdatter Balchenborg (circa 1630-1670), a widow with children.  Wife number two was Johanne Lauersdatter Lund (1618-1694), another widow with children.  (He had quite a blended family!)  The third wife was Birgitte Christophersdatter Balslev (1665-1744), a noblewoman who survived him and remarried after becoming a widow.

Bishop Kingo was a literary nationalist.  He wrote both sacred and secular poetry, but his reputation rests on the former.  Many of his hymns had Easter themes, hence his label “Poet of Eastertide.”  He published Spiritual Songs (First Part, 1673; Second Part, 1681).  Kingo dedicated the first volume to King Christian V (reigned 1670-1699) and the second to Queen Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel, King Christian V’s consort.  Our saint wrote in the introduction of the First Part that Danish Christians should cease to depend so heavily on translated foreign hymns.  In the introduction of the Second Part Kingo praised the German-born Queen Charlotte Amalie for learning the Danish language so well.  Our saint’s literary nationalism found expression in beautiful language.  His hymns, according to the 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica,

mark the zenith of Danish baroque poetry.

In these hymns, Nikolai Grundtvig (1783-1872), another great Danish hymn writer, wrote, Kingo

effected a combination of sublimity and simplicity, a union of splendor and fervent devotion, a powerful and musical play of words and imagery that reminds one of Shakespeare.

Edward A. Hansen, in his article about Danish hymnody in Marilyn Kay Stulken‘s Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship (1981), wrote that the dominant characteristic of Danish Lutheran church life in the late 1500s and early 1600s was

a rather staid and unimaginative orthodoxy.

However, Hansen wrote,

The poems and hymns and Thomas Hansen Kingo (1634-1703) stand out against the literary barrenness of this period as an exceptional phenomenon.

Kingo, an orthodox Lutheran, not a Pietistic or Rationalistic one, became a nobleman in 1679 and a Doctor of Theology in 1682.  In 1683 King Christian V appointed Kingo to prepare a hymnal to replace Den danske Psalmebog, the hymnbook the Danish Church had used since 1569.  According to royal decree, copies of this hymnal were in all churches and schools.  The hymnbook which Pastor Hans Thomisson (1532-1573) had prepared had proved to be an enduring legacy.  Time did pass, however, and the state church changed its hymnal eventually.  Our saint had to obey a few rules:

  1. To follow the church year,
  2. To remove undesirable hymns,
  3. To revise outdated rhymes and expressions in traditional hymns while not overhauling those hymns,
  4. To include some of his hymns, and
  5. To make no changes in the meanings of Martin Luther‘s hymns.

Kingo finished part one of his proposed hymnal in 1689.  He had written 136 of the 267 hymns (covering Advent to Easter), about 51% of the content.  The volume proved controversial, for some thought that he had eliminated too many traditional hymns (a complaint many who have prepared hymnals have heard, often legitimately).  The Church rejected this book and started over with another hymnal in 1690.  Three years later a second proposed hymnal, which contained no hymns by Kingo, debuted and met rejection also.  Finally the Church turned to Kingo again.  The Ordained New Church Hymnbook, or Kingo’s Hymnbook, debuted in 1699 and became the replacement for the 1569 hymnal.  Kingo had written 87 of the 297 texts, about 29% of the content.  Some congregations used Kingo’s Hymnbook as late as 1850.  (Scandinavian Lutheran hymnals tend to remain in use for a long time.)

One controversial aspect of Kingo’s hymns (in his several publications of sacred texts) was the music to which he set them.  He, consistent with a tradition, set hymns to folk tunes–in his case, Danish folk tunes.  This met with objections from many people.  (Whether a particular folk tune is suitable for worship is a legitimate question, I propose, but many folk tunes have proven appropriate for use in hymnals.)  Kingo also composed tunes for other texts he wrote.

Kingo died at Odense, Denmark, on October 14, 1703.  His hymns survive him, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 13, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYLVESTER II, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF ISAAC WILLIAMS, WELSH ANGLICAN PRIEST, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Thomas Hansen Kingo)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Proper 23, Year B   Leave a comment

Above:  Front of the 1934 U.S. $100,000 Bill  (Worth $1,630,000 in 2010 Currency)

Images of U.S. banknotes are in the public domain.

God, Injustice, Wealth, and Misplaced Attachments

The Sunday Closest to October 12

Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

OCTOBER 14, 2018

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

Job 23:1-9, 16-17 (New Revised Standard Version):

Then Job answered:

Today my complaint is bitter;

his hand is heavy despite my groaning.

Oh, that I knew where I might find him,

that I might come even to his dwelling!

I would lay my case before him,

and fill my mouth with arguments.

I would learn what he would answer me,

and understand what he would say to me.

Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?

No, but he would give heed to me.

There an upright person could reason with him,

and I should be acquitted forever by my judge.

God has made my heart faint;

the Almighty has terrified me;

If only I could vanish in darkness,

and thick darkness would cover my face!

Psalm 22:1-15 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

and are so far from my cry

and from the words of my distress?

2  O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer;

by night as well, but I find no rest.

3  Yet you are the Holy One,

enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4  Our forefathers put their trust in you;

they trusted, and you delivered them.

5  They cried out to you and were delivered;

they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

6  But as for me, I am a a worm and no man,

scorned by all and despised by the people.

7  All who see me laugh me to scorn;

they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,

8  ”He trusted in the LORD; let him deliver him;

let him rescue him, if he delights in him.”

9  Yet you are he who took me out of the womb,

and kept me safe upon my mother’s breast.

10  I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born;

you were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb.

11  Be not far from me, for trouble is near,

and there is none to help.

12  Many young bulls encircle me;

strong bulls of Bashan surround me.

13  They open wide their jaws at me,

like a ravening and roaring lion.

14  I am poured out like water;

all my bones are out of joint;

my heart within my breast is melting wax.

15  My mouth is dried out like a pot-sherd;

my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;

and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

Amos 5:6-7, 10-15 (New Revised Standard Version):

Seek the LORD and live,

or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire,

and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it.

Ah, that you will turn justice to wormwood,

and bring righteousness to the ground!

They hate the one who reproves in the gate,

and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.

Therefore because you trample on the poor

and take from them levies of grain,

you have built houses of hewn stone,

but you shall not live in them;

you have planted pleasant vineyards,

but you shall not drink their wine.

For I know how many are your transgressions,

and how great are your sins–

you who afflict the righteous, who takes a bribe,

and push aside the needy in the gate.

Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time;

for it is an easy time.

Seek good and not evil,

that you may live;

and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you,

just as you have said.

Hate evil and love good,

and establish justice in the gate;

it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,

will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Psalm 90:12-17 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

12 So teach us to number our days

that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

13 Return, O LORD; how long will you tarry?

be gracious to your servants.

14 Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning;

so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

15 Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us

and the years in which we suffered adversity.

16 Show your servants your works

and your splendor to their children.

17 May the graciousness of the LORD our God be upon us;

prosper the work of our hands;

prosper our handiwork.

SECOND READING

Hebrews 4:12-16 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the yes of him with whom have to do.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

GOSPEL READING

Mark 10:17-31 (Revised English Bible):

As he was starting out on a journey, a stranger ran up, and, kneeling before him, asked,

Good Teacher, what must I do to win eternal life?

Jesus said to him,

Why do you call me good?  No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments:  ‘Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not give false evidence; do not defraud; honour your father and your mother.’

He replied,

But Teacher, I have kept all these since I was a boy.

As Jesus looked at him, his heart warmed to him.

One thing you lack,

he said.

Go, sell everything you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow me.

At these words his face fell and he went away with a heavy heart; for he was a man of great wealth.

Jesus looked round at his disciples and said to them,

How hard it is for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!

They were amazed that he should say this, but Jesus insisted.

Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

They were more astonished than ever, and said to one another,

Then who can be saved?

Jesus looked at them and said,

For men it is impossible, but not for God; everything is possible for God.

Peter said,

What about us?  We have left everything to follow you.

Jesus said,

Truly I tell you:  there is no one who has given up home, brothers or sisters, mother, father, or children, or land, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive in this age a hundred times as much–houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and land–and persecutions besides; and in the age to come eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

The Collect:

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Proper 23, Year A:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/proper-23-year-a/

Proper 23, Year B:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/proper-23-year-b/

Amos 5:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/week-of-proper-8-wednesday-year-2/

Hebrews 4:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/week-of-1-epiphany-saturday-year-1/

Mark 10:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/week-of-8-epiphany-monday-year-1/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/week-of-8-epiphany-tuesday-year-1/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/week-of-8-epiphany-monday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/week-of-proper-3-monday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/week-of-proper-3-tuesday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/week-of-proper-3-monday-year-2/

Matthew 19 (Parallel to Mark 10):

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/week-of-proper-15-monday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/week-of-proper-15-tuesday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/week-of-proper-15-monday-year-2-and-week-of-proper-15-tuesday-year-2/

A Prayer for Proper Priorities:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/a-prayer-for-proper-priorities/

A Prayer for Humankind:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/prayer-for-humankind/

For the Right Use of Possessions:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/for-the-right-use-of-possessions-i/

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/for-the-right-use-of-possessions-ii/

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

Job sought God and, in Chapter 23, did not find him.  In the next chapter he complained about rampant injustice, a subject which also vexed the prophet Amos.  The rich man in Mark 10 also sought God, yet his attachment to his wealth got in the way.

Do not rely on your money and say, “This makes me sufficient.”

Do not yield to every impulse you can gratify

or follow the desires of your heart.

Do not say, “I have no master”;

the Lord, you may be sure, will call you to account.

–Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 5:1-3, Revised English Bible

Both economic injustice and idolization of wealth are sins which go hand-in-hand.  Indeed, the idolization of wealth and one’s corresponding social status can lead to more economic injustice by way of Social Darwinism, which is an unfortunate and misleading label, for Darwin wrote about animal species, not human socio-economic status.  It is easier to cling to wealth in lieu of God when one has much money than when one is quite poor, but both the rich and the poor can cling to a great variety of false security blankets.

We–regardless of status–need to have just one security blanket.

As the author of Hebrews reminds us, we can

approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.–4:16, New Revised Standard Version

 

Our worthiness is in Christ, who died by an unjust act and was therefore acquainted with human inhumanity.  So, where is God in the midst of injustice?  God is in the midst of if with us, suffering with us.  God, who identifies and suffers with us, is our legitimate security blanket.

KRT

Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

Posted November 2, 2011 by neatnik2009 in October 14, Revised Common Lectionary Year B

Tagged with

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for October   1 comment

Calendula

Image Source = Alvesgaspar

1 (Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, British Humanitarian and Social Reformer)

  • Marie-Joseph Aubert, Foundress of the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion
  • Romanus the Melodist, Deacon and Hymnodist
  • Thérèse of Lisieux, Roman Catholic Nun and Mystic

2 (Ralph W. Sockman, U.S. United Methodist Minister)

  • Carl Doving, Norwegian-American Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • James Allen, English Inghamite then Glasite/Sandemanian Hymn Writer; and his great-nephew, Oswald Allen, English Glasite/Sandemanian Hymn Writer
  • Petrus Herbert, German Moravian Bishop and Hymnodist

3 (George Kennedy Allen Bell, Anglican Bishop of Chichester)

  • Alberto Ramento, Prime Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church
  • Gerard of Brogne, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • John Raleigh Mott, U.S. Methodist Lay Evangelist, and Ecumenical Pioneer

4 (Francis of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Friars Minor)

  • William Scarlett, Episcopal Bishop of Missouri, and Advocate for Social Justice

5 (David Nitschmann, Sr., “Father Nitschmann,” Moravian Missionary; Melchior Nitschmann, Moravian Missionary and Martyr; Johann Nitschmann, Jr., Moravian Missionary and Bishop; Anna Nitschman, Moravian Eldress; and David Nitschmann, Missionary and First Bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church)

  • Cyriacus Schneegass, German Lutheran Minister, Musician, and Hymn Writer
  • Francis Xavier Seelos, German-American Roman Catholic Priest
  • Harry Emerson Fosdick, U. S. Northern Baptist Minister and Opponent of Fundamentalism

6 (George Edward Lynch Cotton, Anglican Bishop of Calcutta)

  • Heinrich Albert, German Lutheran Composer and Poet
  • John Ernest Bode, Anglican Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • William Tyndale, English Reformer, Bible Translator, and Martyr; and Miles Coverdale, English Reformer, Bible Translator, and Bishop of Exeter

7 (Wilhelm Wexels, Norwegian Lutheran Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; his niece, Marie Wexelsen, Norwegian Lutheran Novelist and Hymn Writer; Ludwig Lindeman, Norwegian Lutheran Organist and Musicologist; and Magnus Landstad, Norwegian Lutheran Minister, Folklorist, Hymn Writer, and Hymnal Editor)

  • Bradford Torrey, U.S. Ornithologist and Hymn Writer
  • Johann Gottfried Weber, German Moravian Musician, Composer, and Minister
  • John Woolman, Quaker Abolitionist

8 (Erik Routley, English Congregationalist Hymnodist)

  • Abraham Ritter, U.S. Moravian Merchant, Historian, Musician, and Composer
  • Richard Whately, Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, Ireland
  • William Dwight Porter Bliss, Episcopal Priest; and Richard Theodore Ely, Economists

9 (Denis, Bishop of Paris, and His Companions, Roman Catholic Martyrs)

  • John Leonardi, Founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of Lucca; and Joseph Calasanctius, Founder of the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools
  • Robert Grosseteste, English Roman Catholic Scholar, Philosopher, and Bishop of Lincoln
  • Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, Medical Missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador

10 (Johann Nitschmann, Sr., Moravian Missionary and Bishop; David Nitschmann, Jr., the Syndic, Moravian Missionary and Bishop; and David Nitschmann, the Martyr, Moravian Missionary and Martyr)

  • Christian Ludwig Brau, Norwegian Moravian Teacher and Poet
  • Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Louis FitzGerald Benson, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist

11 (PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, DEACON)

12 (Martin Dober, Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer; Johann Leonhard Dober, Moravian Missionary and Bishop; and Anna Schindler Dober, Moravian Missionary and Hymn Writer)

  • Cecil Frances Alexander, Irish Anglican Hymn Writer
  • Edith Cavell, English Nurse and Martyr, 1915
  • Nectarius of Constantinople, Archbishop

13 (Christian David, Moravian Missionary)

  • Claus Westermann, German Lutheran Minister and Biblical Translator
  • Herbert G. May, U.S. Biblical Scholar and Translator
  • Vincent Taylor, British Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

14 (Callixtus I, Anterus, and Pontian, Bishops of Rome; and Hippolytus, Antipope)

  • Roman Lysko, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1949
  • Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, Episcopal Bishop of Shanghai, and Biblical Translator
  • Thomas Hansen Kingo, Danish Lutheran Bishop, Hymn Writer, and “Poet of Eastertide”

15 (Teresa of Avila, Spanish Roman Catholic Nun, Mystic, and Reformer)

16 (Albert E. R. Brauer, Australian Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator)

  • Augustine Thevarparampil, Indian Roman Catholic Priest and “Good Shepherd of the Dalits”
  • Gaspar Contarini, Italian Roman Catholic Cardinal and Agent of Reconciliation
  • Hedwig of Andechs, Roman Catholic Princess and Nun; and her daughter, Gertrude of Trzebnica, Roman Catholic Abbess

17 (Charles Gounod, French Roman Catholic Composer)

  • Birgitte Katerine Boye, Danish Lutheran Poet, Playwright, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer
  • John Bowring, English Unitarian Hymn Writer, Social Reformer, and Philanthropist

18 (LUKE THE EVANGELIST, PHYSICIAN)

19 (Jerzy Popieluszko, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1984)

  • Claudia Frances Ibotson Hernaman, Anglican Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Congregation of Discaled Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion

20 (Philip Schaff and John Williamson Nevin, U.S. German Reformed Historians, Theologians, and Liturgists)

  • Friedrich Funcke, German Lutheran Minister, Composer, and Hymn Writer
  • Mary A. Lathbury, U.S. Methodist Hymn Writer
  • Pavel Chesnokov, Russian Orthodox Composer

21 (George McGovern, U.S. Senator and Stateman; and his wife, Eleanor McGovern, Humanitarian)

  • David Moritz Michael, German-American Moravian Musician and Composer
  • James W. C. Pennington, African-American Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, Educator, and Abolitionist
  • Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena, Foundress of the Works of the Indians and the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and of Saint Catherine of Siena

22 (Frederick Pratt Green, British Methodist Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer)

  • Emily Huntington Miller, U.S. Methodist Author and Hymn Writer
  • Katharina von Schlegal, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Paul Tillich, German-American Lutheran Theologian

23 (JAMES OF JERUSALEM, BROTHER OF JESUS)

24 (Rosa Parks, African-American Civil Rights Activist)

  • Fritz Eichenberg, German-American Quaker Wood Engraver
  • Henry Clay Shuttleworth, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

25 (Philipp Nicolai, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople; and Rusticus, Bishop of Narbonne

26 (Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons)

  • Arthur Campbell Ainger, English Educator, Scholar, and Hymn Writer
  • Francis Pott, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Henry Stanley Oakeley, Composer

27 (James A. Walsh and Thomas Price, Cofounders of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers; and Mary Josephine Rogers, Foundress of the Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic)

  • Aedesius, Priest and Missionary; and Frumentius, First Bishop of Axum and Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
  • Dmitry Bortniansky, Russian Orthodox Composer
  • Harry Webb Farrington, U.S. Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer

28 (SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS)

29 (James Hannington, Anglican Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa; and His Companions, Martyrs)

  • Bartholomaus Helder, German Lutheran Minister, Composer, and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Grigg, English Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Paul Manz, Dean of Lutheran Church Music

30 (Hugh O’Flaherty, “Scarlet Pimperel of the Vatican”)

  • Marcellus the Centurion and Cassian of Tangiers, Roman Catholic Martyrs, 298
  • Oleksa Zarytsky, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1963
  • Walter John Mathams, British Baptist then Presbyterian Minister, Author, and Hymn Writer

31 (Reformation Day)

  • Daniel C. Roberts, Episcopal Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Gerhard Von Rad, German Lutheran Biblical Scholar
  • Paul Shinji Sasaki, Anglican Bishop of Mid-Japan, Bishop of Tokyo, and Primate of Nippon Sei Ko Kei; and Philip Lendel Tsen, Anglican Bishop of Honan and Presiding Bishop of Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui

 

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