Archive for the ‘September 13’ Category

Feast of Peter of Chelcic and Gregory the Patriarch (September 13)   1 comment

Holy Roman Empire 1559

Above:  Bohemia, 1559

Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1967)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Bohemian Hussite Reformer



Founder of the Moravian Church

I have been writing about saints from the history of the Moravian Church for a while.  With this post I add two foundational figures from the history of that denomination to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Peter of Chelcic (circa 1390-circa 1460), whose origins have remained mysterious, was the Moravian forerunner.  The opinions of the fiery preacher were not mysterious, however.  He condemned the union of church and state, the violence of the Hussite Wars, the profiteering of priests who charged fees for the administration of sacraments, the existence of religious sects, and royal authority.  He was a communalist, a pacifist, an anarchist, a radical egalitarian, an advocate of simple living, and a champion of the poor.  Peter, a leader of the Bohemian Reformation, had read and absorbed works of John Wycliffe and Jan Hus.  Peter taught the priesthood of the believer, communal living, and a life of voluntary goodness.  Good works, he said, are vital even though all people depend on divine grace.  He also affirmed only two sacraments–baptism and the Holy Eucharist–and offered Eucharistic theology which presaged Lutheran Consubstantiation.  Peter’s theology also influenced the Anabaptist movement, which came into existence in the 1520s.

There were Hussite factions after the execution of Jan Hus in 1417.  The two germane to this post were the Taborites and the Calixtines/Utraquists.  Peter of Chelcic was a Taborite.  The Taborites were similar to the Lollards, who formed in support of Wycliffe’s views and expanded on them.  The Calixtines/Utraquists, many of whom had returned to Holy Mother Church in 1434, were the Hussite establishment.  They administered the Holy Eucharist in both kinds–wafer and wine, hence the name “Utraquist.”  The leaders of the Utraquists were the Bohemian monarchs and the Archbishop-Elect of Prague.  From 1448 the latter was John Rockycana (circa 1396-1471).  He was the Archbishop-Elect, not the Archbishop, because Prague was a vacant see from 1421 to 1561, for political reasons.

I have chosen to be more generous to Rockycana than J. E. Hutton, author the now-public domain A History of the Moravian Church (1909), was.  He, in Chapter 5, wrote of Rockycana:

For all his fire in the pulpit, he was only a craven at heart.

Later in the same paragraph Hutton wrote that Rockycana sought not

the Kingdom of God, but his fame and glory.

That evaluation might be correct, but I do not know that for a fact.  I do know for a fact that Rockycana was in a difficult situation, flung between the Roman Catholic Church on one side and radical Hussite factions on the other side.  In an age when the union of church and state was normative, there was no separation between matters political and theological.  Thus the union of church and state created perilous ground to tread.  In that context Rockycana helped the nascent Moravian Church, or the Bohemian Brethren, until he stopped doing so, as he balanced political-theological considerations.  This reality made him imperfect, but not necessarily “a craven at heart.”

Rockycana’s nephew was Gregory the Patriarch (circa 1420-September 13, 1473), the founder of the Moravian Church.  Gregory, a son of a Bohemian knight, had been a monk.  The monastery, he learned, however, was corrupt, so he left.  Rockycana gave his nephew a copy of some of the writings of Peter of Chelcic.  Gregory found much worthy in them and befriended Peter.  Later, Gregory, with support from Rockycana, established a settlement in the valley of Kunwald in 1457 or 1458.  (J. E. Hutton wrote in A History of the Moravian Church that the traditional date, March 1, 1457, which the Moravian Church has taken as its founding, lacks documentary support.)  Thus the origins of the Moravian Church, or the Bohemian Brethren, entailed merging Taborite and Calixtine/Utraquist elements.  King George Podiebrad of Bohemia (reigned 1458-1471), who was initially supportive of the Kunwald settlement, changed his mind in 1461, when he learned that the Brethren of Kunwald were administering the Holy Eucharist in the forms of bread (not wafers) and wine.  This seemed like heresy to him, and he resolved not to condone heresy in his realm.  The first persecution of the Moravian Church followed.  It entailed incarcerating people, torturing them, and burning some of them at the stake as heretics.  Gregory endured torture until his uncle arranged for his release.

The scattered community of Kunwald reconstituted itself in time.  The synod of 1467 established the Moravian episcopate.  That succession of bishops has remained unbroken despite the century or so (1620-1722) the Moravian Church existed as an underground institution.  The first bishop was Matthias of Kunwald (died in 1500), who succeeded Gregory as the leader of the Brethren in 1473.

The Moravian Church, the original Protestant denomination, has blessed the human race with a generous theology (“In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, love”) and a magnificent musical legacy.  Peter of Chelcic and Gregory the Patriarch were present at creation, laying the foundations of a work which has grown to become a global church.  I, although an active member and communicant of a different communion, one to which I am suited by temperament, thank God for the Moravian Church.







Almighty God, we praise you for your servants

Peter of Chelcic and Gregory the Patriarch,

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 10:35-43

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


Feast of Narayan Seshadri of Jalna (September 13)   Leave a comment

Part of India, 1945

Above:  The Germane Part of a Map of India, 1945

Image Source = Hammond’s New Era Atlas of the World

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Indian Presbyterian Evangelist and “Apostle to the Mangs”

This saint’s name came to my attention via The Book of Worship of the Church of North India (1995), which lists his feast day as September 13.

The Free Church of Scotland emerged from the Great Disruption in the Church of Scotland in 1843.  The new denomination’s first convert in India was Narayan Seshadri, a Brahmin, who became a Christian on September 13, 1843.  This happened despite strong opposition (including a court case) from his family.  Our saint, ordained in 1854, ministered in Bombay and Poona until 1862, when he departed for Jalna, in the Nizan territory of Hyderabad.  At Jalna he founded the Bethel Mission, through which he ministered to the poor, especially the Mangs, the outcaste poor of the region.  Our saint, who received a D.D. from the University of Montreal, traveled in Scotland and North America to raise funds for the Bethel Mission.  He died en route to Scotland on July 21, 1891.

The poor, as Narayan Seshadri of Jalna and St. Laurence of Rome understood, are the treasures of the Church.  The radical message to defend the poor from the onslaughts of exploitation and artificial scarcity is evident in the Law of Moses, the words of Hebrew prophets, and the ethics of the New Testament.  Yet it remains a radical message, one which some critics within the Church accuse readily and falsely of being dangerous, perhaps even communistic or (gasp!) socialistic.  Yet “Blessed are the poor,” Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Luke.  The poor will always be with us for a number of reasons, especially unjust socio-economic-political systems, but the proportion of economic justice to economic injustice can increase.

May no agent of the Church ever scorn the poor.







Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may do justice,

love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight,

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer,

who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 736


Feast of Godfrey Thring (September 13)   4 comments


Above:  Wells Cathedral, Between 1890 and 1900

Published by the Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08952



Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

The Reverend John Gake Dalton Thring, Rector of Alford, Somerset, England, and his wife, Sarah Jenkyns Thring, had a son, Godfrey Thring, in 1823. A previous son, Edward Thring, had arrived in 1821.

Edward was a remarkable person.  He, ordained by The Church of England in 1846, served as the headmaster of Uppingham School from 1853 to 1887.  He transformed it from a small, rural school into a large, public one.  Edward also encouraged music education, considered one of his duties to be to identify what each student could do well, and wrote Theory and Practice of Teaching (1883) for young teachers.  He was one of the leading English educators of his day.

Both Edward and Godfrey grew up in a household that taught them more of duty than of sentimentality.  John Gale Dalton Thring wanted Godfrey to enter the Royal Army, but Sarah Jenkyns Thring, insisted upon the priesthood for her younger son.  Godfrey obeyed his mother and fulfilled his duties with great care.  He served a few congregations for the first twelve years of his priesthood.  Then, in 1858, the Baillol College, Oxford-educated Godfrey succeeded his father as the Rector of Alford.  He was a rural dean (1867-1876) then the Prebendary of East Harptree at Wells Cathedral (1876-1893).

Our saint made his primary contribution in the realm of hymnody.  He wrote many hymns.  He also compiled three hymnals:

  • Hymns Congregational and Others; Hymns and Verses (1866);
  • Hymns and Sacred Lyrics (1874); and
  • A Church of England Hymn Book Adapted to the Daily Services of the Church Throughout the Year (1880); revised as The Church of England Hymn Book (1882).

Our saint’s 1880/1882 hymnal constituted a protest against the practice of factions within The Church of England publishing their own hymnals, thereby denying adherents of other factions certain hymns.  The 1880/1882 hymnal also established a new, higher literary standard for English hymnals.  It favored quality of words over rampant Victorian sentimentality.

I got the impression from reading the brief biography of our saint in Robert Guy McCutchan, Our Hymnody:  A Manual of The Methodist Hymnal, 2d. Ed. (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1937) that McCutchan preferred more sentimentality than did Godfrey Thring.  But there is such a thing as excessive sentimentality.

In a letter Edward Thring told his brother, our saint:

Be sure that no painting, no art work you could have done, by any possibility could have been so powerful for good, or given you the niche you now occupy.  As long as the English language lasts, sundry of your hymns will be read or sung, yea, even to the last day, and many a soul of God’s best creatures thrill with your words.  What more can a man want?  Very likely, if you had all the old heathendom rammed into you, as I had, and all the literary artists slicing and pruning, and had been scissored like me, you would have lost the freshness and simple touch which make you what you are.  No, my boy, I make a tidy schoolmaster and pass into the lives of many a pupil, and you live on the lips of the Church.  So be satisfied.  And what does it matter, if we do the Master’s work?

–Quoted in Robert Guy McCutchan, Our Hymnody (1937), 70

Godfrey Thring occupied a fine niche in the Church.







Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Godfrey Thring

and all those who with us have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728


Feast of Jane Crewdson (September 13)   1 comment


Above:  Falmouth, Cornwall, England, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Creator = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress


Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08217



English Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer

Of Jane Crewdson (1809-1863) I found little information.  She was born Jane Fox in a Quaker family at Cornwall in October 1809.  Jane married Thomas D. Crewdson, a manufacturer in Manchester, in 1836.  She wrote books of poetry:

  • Aunt Jane’s Verses for Children (1851);
  • Lays of the Reformation and Other Lyrics (1860);
  • The Singer of Eisenach; and
  • A Little While, and Other Poems (1864).

Sources refer to an unspecified “long illness” which caused our saint much pain.  Of Jane Crewdson James Moffatt wrote:

As a constant sufferer, the spiritual life deepening, and the intellectual life retaining all its power, she became well prepared to testify to the all-sufficiency of her Saviour’s love.

–Handbook to The Church Hymnary (London, UK:  Oxford University Press, 1927, page 310)

I have already posted two of our saint’s hymns here.  Her hymns did reflect a profound spirituality, for which I honor her.






Aunt Jane’s Verses for Children:


Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Jane Crewdson and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20








Saints’ Days and Holy Days for September   Leave a comment


Image Source = Wilder Kaiser

1 (Dionysius Exiguus, Roman Catholic Monk and Reformer of the Calendar)

  • David Pendleton Oakerhater, Cheyenne Warrior, Chief, and Holy Man, and Episcopal Deacon and Missionary in Oklahoma
  • Fiacre, Roman Catholic Hermit
  • François Mauriac, French Roman Catholic Novelist, Christian Humanist, and Social Critic

2 (F. Crawford Burkitt, Anglican Scholar, Theologian, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator)

  • David Charles, Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Martyrs of New Guinea, 1942 and 1943
  • William of Roskilde, English-Danish Roman Catholic Bishop

3 (Jedediah Weiss, U.S. Moravian Craftsman, Merchant, and Musician)

  • Arthur Carl Lichtenberger, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Witness for Civil Rights
  • James Bolan Lawrence, Episcopal Priest and Missionary in Southwestern Georgia, U.S.A.
  • Sundar Singh, Indian Christian Evangelist

4 (Paul Jones, Episcopal Bishop of Utah, and Peace Activist; and his colleague, John Nevin Sayre, Episcopal Priest and Peace Activist)

  • E. F. Schumacher, German-British Economist and Social Critic
  • Joseph and Mary Gomer, U.S. United Brethren Missionaries in Sierra Leone
  • William McKane, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar

5 (Carl Johannes Sodergren, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Theologian; and his colleague, Claus August Wendell, Swedish-American Lutheran Minister and Theologian)

  • Athol Hill, Australian Baptist Biblical Scholar and Social Prophet
  • Teresa of Calcutta, Foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity
  • William Morton Reynolds, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Episcopal Priest, Educator, and Hymn Translator

6 (Charles Fox, Anglican Missionary in Melanesia)

  • Aaron Robarts Wolfe, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Allen Crite, Artist
  • William F. Albright and G. Ernest Wright, U.S. Biblical Scholars and Archaeologists

7 (Beyers Naudé, South African Dutch Reformed Minister and Anti-Apartheid Activist)

  • Elie Naud, Huguenot Witness to the Faith
  • Jane Laurie Borthwick and Sarah Borthwick Findlater, Scottish Presbyterian Translators of Hymns
  • John Duckett and Ralph Corby, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs in England, 1644

8 (Nikolai Grundtvig, Danish Lutheran Minister, Bishop, Historian, Philosopher, Poet, Educator, and Hymn Writer)

  • Gottfried Wilhelm Sacer, German Lutheran Attorney and Hymn Writer; and Frances Elizabeth Cox, English Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Shepherd Knapp, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Søren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher and Theologian, and Father of Existentialism

9 (Martyrs of Memphis, Tennessee, 1878)

  • Francis Borgia, “Second Founder of the Society of Jesus;” Peter Faber, Apostle of Germany, and Cofounder of the Society of Jesus; Alphonsus Rodriguez, Spanish Jesuit Lay Brother; and Peter Claver, “Apostle to the Negroes”
  • Lynn Harold Hough, U.S. Methodist Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar
  • William Chatterton Dix, English Hymn Writer and Hymn Translator

10 (Alexander Crummell, U.S. African-American Episcopal Priest, Missionary, and Moral Philosopher)

  • Mordecai Johnson, Educator
  • Nemesian of Sigum and His Companions, Roman Catholic Bishops and Martyrs, 257
  • Salvius of Albi, Roman Catholic Bishop

11 (Paphnutius the Great, Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Thebaid)

  • Anne Houlditch Shepherd, Anglican Novelist and Hymn Writer
  • John Stainer and Walter Galpin Alcock, Anglican Church Organists and Composers
  • Patiens of Lyons, Roman Catholic Archbishop

12 (Frederick J. Murphy, U.S. Roman Catholic Biblical Scholar)

  • Franciscus Ch’oe Kyong-Hwan, Korean Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr, 1839; Lawrence Mary Joseph Imbert, Pierre Philibert Maubant, and Jacques Honoré Chastán, French Roman Catholic Priests, Missionaries to Korea, and Martyrs, 1839; Paul Chong Hasang, Korean Roman Catholic Seminarian and Martyr, 1839; and Cecilia Yu Sosa and Jung Hye, Korean Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1839
  • Kaspar Bienemann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • William Josiah Irons, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; and his daughter, Genevieve Mary Irons, Roman Catholic Hymn Writer

13 (Peter of Chelcic, Bohemian Hussite Reformer; and Gregory the Patriach, Founder of the Moravian Church)

  • Godfrey Thring, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Jane Crewdson, English Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Narayan Seshadri of Jalna, Indian Presbyterian Evangelist and “Apostle to the Mangs”


15 (Martyrs of Birmingham, Alabama, September 15, 1963)

  • Charles Edward Oakley, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • James Chisholm, Episcopal Priest
  • Philibert and Aicardus of Jumieges, Roman Catholic Abbots

16 (Cyprian of Carthage, Bishop and Martyr, 258; and Cornelius, Lucius I, and Stephen I, Bishops of Rome)

  • George Henry Trabert, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Missionary, and Hymn Translator and Author
  • James Francis Carney, U.S.-Honduran Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, Revolutionary, and Martyr, 1983
  • Martin Behm, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

17 (Jutta of Disibodenberg, Roman Catholic Abbess; and her student, Hildegard of Bingen, Roman Catholic Abbess and Composer)

  • Gerard Moultrie, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns
  • Zygmunt Szcesny Felinski, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Warsaw, Titutlar Bishop of Tarsus, and Founder of Recovery for the Poor and the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary
  • Zygmunt Sajna, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1940

18 (Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations)

  • Edward Bouverie Pusey, Anglican Priest
  • Henry Lascelles Jenner, Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand
  • John Campbell Shairp, Scottish Poet and Educator

19 (Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury)

  • Emily de Rodat, Founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Villefranche
  • Walter Chalmers Smith, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • William Dalrymple Maclagan, Archbishop of York and Hymn Writer

20 (Henri Nouwen, Dutch Roman Catholic Priest and Spiritual Writer)

  • John Coleridge Patteson, Anglican Bishop of Melanesia, and His Companions, Martyrs, 1871
  • Marie Therese of Saint Joseph, Foundress of the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus
  • Nelson Wesley Trout, First African-American U.S. Lutheran Bishop


22 (Philander Chase, Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, and of Illinois; and Presiding Bishop)

  • C. H. Dodd, Welsh Congregationalist Minister, Theologian, and Biblical Scholar
  • Charlotte Elliott, Julia Anne Elliott, and Emily Elliott, Anglican Hymn Writers
  • Justus Falckner, Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer

23 (Amos Niven Wilder, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Poet, Literary Critic, and Biblical Scholar)

  • Bernhard W. Anderson, U.S. United Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • Elizabeth Kenny, Australian Nurse and Medical Pioneer
  • Francisco de Paula Victor, Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest

24 (Anna Ellison Butler Alexander, African-American Episcopal Deaconess in Georgia, and Educator)

  • Henry Hart Milman, Anglican Dean, Translator, Historian, Theologian, and Hymn Writer
  • Juvenal of Alaska, Russian Orthodox Martyr in Alaska, and First Orthodox Martyr in the Americas, 1796
  • Peter the Aleut, Russian Orthodox Martyr in San Francisco, 1815

25 (Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, African-American Educator; her sister, Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, African-American Dentist; and their brother, Hubert Thomas Delany, African-American Attorney, Judge, and Civil Rights Activist)

  • Euphrosyne and her father, Paphnutius of Alexandria, Monks
  • Herman of Reichenau, Roman Catholic Monk, Liturgist, Poet, and Scholar
  • Sergius of Radonezh, Abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Sergiyev Posad, Russia

26 (Paul VI, Bishop of Rome)

  • Frederick William Faber, English Roman Catholic Hymn Writer
  • John Bright, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Biblical Scholar
  • John Byrom, Anglican then Quaker Poet and Hymn Writer

27 (Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic Bishop of Geneva; Vincent de Paul, “The Apostle of Charity;’ Louise de Marillac, Cofounder of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul; and Charles Fuge Lowder, Founder of the Society of the Holy Cross)

  • Eliza Scudder, U.S. Unitarian then Episcopalian Hymn Writer
  • Martyrs of Melanesia, 1864-2003

28 (Jehu Jones, Jr., African-American Lutheran Minister)

  • Joseph Hoskins, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Lorenzo Ruiz, Roman Catholic Martyr

29 (Mary Ramabai, Prophetic Witness and Evangelist in India)

  • Francis Turner Palgrave, Anglican Poet, Art Critic, and Hymn Writer

30 (Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury)


  • Labor Day


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

Proper 19, Year A   Leave a comment

Above: Forgiveness

Image Source = AK Pastor

Forgiveness, the Way of Peace and Freedom

The Sunday Closest to September 14

Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020



Exodus 14:19-31 (New Revised Standard Version):

The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the LORD tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the LORD did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the LORD and believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

Psalm 114 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 Hallelujah!

When Israel came out of Egypt,

the house of Jacob from a people of strange speech,

2 Judah became God’s sanctuary

and Israel his dominion.

3 The sea beheld it and fled;

Jordan turned and went back.

The mountains skipped like rams,

and the little hills like young sheep.

5 What ailed you, O sea, that you fled?

O Jordan, that you turned back?

6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams?

you little hills like young sheep?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,

at the presence of the God of Jacob,

8 Who turned the hard rock into a pool of water

and flint-stone into a flowing spring.

Or this alternative to Psalm 114:

Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;

horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.

The LORD is my strength and my might,

and he has become my salvation;

this is my God, and I will praise him,

my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

The LORD is a warrior;

the LORD is his name.

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea;

his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.

The floods covered them;

they went down into the depths like a stone.

Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power–

your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy.

In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries;

you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.

At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up,

the floods stood up in a heap;

the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.

The enemy said, “I will pursue, I will overtake,

I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.

I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.”

You blew with your wind, the sea covered them;

they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?

Who is like you, majestic in holiness,

awesome in splendor, doing wonders?

Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing.  And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;

horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.”


Genesis 50:15-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, `Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Psalm 103:(1-7), 8-13 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.

2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits.

3 He forgives all your sins

and heals all your infirmities;

He redeems your life from the grave

and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness;

5 He satisfies you with good things,

and your youth is renewed like an eagle’s.

6 The LORD executes righteousness

and judgment for all who are oppressed.

7 He made his ways known to Moses

and his works to the children of Israel.

The LORD is full of compassion and mercy,

slow to anger and of great kindness.

He will not always accuse us,

nor will he keep his anger for ever.

10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,

nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,

so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.

12 As far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed our sins from us.

13 As a father cares for his children,

so does the LORD care for those who fear him.


Romans 14:1-12 (New Revised Standard Version):

Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,

and every tongue shall give praise to God.”

So then, each of us will be accountable to God.


Matthew 18:21-35 (New Revised Standard Version):

Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, `Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

The Collect:

O God, because without you we are not able to please you mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Sometimes the readings for any given Sunday, according to the Revised Common Lectionary, fit together smoothly.  Other times, however, they do not.  This happens most often during the Season after Pentecost.  The readings from Genesis, Romans, and Matthew mesh well, for they pertain to forgiveness.  But where is the forgiveness (especially for the Egyptians) in the Exodus lections?

I have written on the subject of forgiveness at least several times on my devotional blogs, for the lectionaries I have chosen to follow touch on this subject again and again.  What I have written stands; this is difficult for me.  Here is a prayer I wrote on February 27, 2011:

Gracious God, why is forgiving so difficult?

I know what I need to do, and I want to do it–

except when I do not want to do it.

Forgive me for this sin, I ask you,

and bestow grace upon me sufficient to enable me

to forgive others and myself,

so to live in Godly liberation with you and my fellow human beings.


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On a different aspect, however…

Yesterday I taught another session of my World Civilization II course for Gainesville State College.  I spent most of the time discussing Islam, the Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Empire, and Western imperialism in the Middle and Near East, as well as indigenous reactions and responses to it.  One of the reactions was Wahhabism, the legacy of which includes the attacks of September 11, 2001.  I told the gathered students that resentments which flow from being on the colonial end of imperialism are understandable, but that resentment which festers for too long turns poisonous.  It devours the person who harbors the resentment(s) and therefore affects those around him or her.  And sometimes, as in the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, it it consumes a nation.  And, in the case of 9/11, it strikes far overseas.  How much better would world history have played out had more people combined forgiveness with their nationalism, instead of mixing militant religion with it?

But two wrongs do not make a right, and one person’s intolerance does not excuse corresponding intolerance.  The proper extinguishing agents for hatred are love and forgiveness, for they break the cycle.  If we do not break the cycle of hatred and violence, it will break us.  God offers us freedom in forgiveness; may we accept it and extend it ourselves and each other.


Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on March 20, 2011

Posted May 9, 2011 by neatnik2009 in Revised Common Lectionary Year A, September 13

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