Archive for the ‘September 3’ Category

Feast of Arthur Carl Lichtenberger (September 3)   4 comments

Above:  The Flag of The Episcopal Church

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and Witness for Civil Rights


Fast from criticism, and feast on praise.

Fast from self-pity, and feast on joy.

Fast from ill-temper and feast on peace.

Fast from resentment, and feast on contentment.

Fast from jealousy, and feast on love.

Fast from pride, and feast on humility.

Fast from selfishness, and feast on service.

Fast from fear, and feast on faith.

–Arthur Carl Lichtenberger on Lenten practice


Arthur Carl Lichtenberger was a leader of The Episcopal Church during a transitional period of its life.  His influence has been evident since his term as Presiding Bishop.

Lichtenberger was a theologian and a scholar.  He, born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on January 8, 1900, was a child of Adam Lichtenberger and Thereza Heitz.  He graduated from Kenyon College with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1923.  Two years later he graduated from the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Our saint, ordained a deacon in 1925 and a priest the following year, was Professor of New Testament at St. Paul’s Divinity School, Wuchang, China, from 1925 to 1927.  Graduate work at Harvard University followed in 1927-1928.  Next our saint was the Rector of Grace Church, Cincinnati, Ohio (1928-1933).  While the Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Brookline, Massachusetts (1933-1941), Lichtenberger was also a lecturer at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge (1935-1941).  Our saint went on to serve as the Dean of Trinity Cathedral, Newark, New Jersey (1941-1948), then as Professor Pastoral Theology at the General Theological Seminary, New York City (1948-1951).  Throughout his career Lichtenberger received numerous Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Sacred Theology, Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Civil Law, and Doctor of Humane Letters degrees.

Lichtenberger joined the ranks of bishops in 1951.  That year he became the Bishop Coadjutor of Missouri.  The following year he succeeded to become the Bishop of Missouri.  While in the Diocese of Missouri Lichtenberger wrote the exposition on the Book of Esther for Volume III (1954) of The Interpreter’s Bible.  He also initiated congregational-level study of church mission, resulting in an increase in the amount of outreach and the number of churches.

Above:  A Portion of The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume III (1954), x

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

At the General Convention of 1958 Lichtenberger won the election for Presiding Bishop, to succeed Henry Knox Sherrill (1890-1980), who had served in that post since 1947.  On that occasion Lichtenberger affirmed those unalienable rights no government, person, or group has a moral right to deny anyone.  He said that the human rights

to vote, to eat a hamburger where you want, to have a decent job, to live in a house fit for habitation are not rights to be litigated or negotiated.

(Those are still disputed points in the United States of America in 2018, unfortunately.)  Our saint led The Episcopal Church in affirming civil rights.  On his watch the House of Bishops supported the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August 1963) and what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  In June 1964, after Congress passed that landmark law, Lichtenberger issued a public statement in which he acknowledged that

legislation cannot change attitudes,


…law does influence the way in which men and women treat one another, and more than just relationships do provide a social climate in which attitudes change….We must commit ourselves without reservation to the full support of civil rights.

Baptism, Lichtenberger argued, creates a new social order.  This understanding, which influenced his views on the imperative of civil rights protections, has become part of the Baptismal Covenant in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).

Speaking of liturgical revision, Lichtenberger supported it.  At the General Conventions of 1961 and 1964 he favored the authorization of “trial use” liturgies.  The process of revising The Book of Common Prayer (1928) was underway when he died in 1968.

Lichtenberger became the Presiding Bishop when the denominational headquarters were inadequate.  The Church had occupied 281 Fourth Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, since 1894.  By 1958 branch offices in Connecticut, Chicago, and elsewhere in New York City were necessary.  Since 1960 the headquarters of The Episcopal Church have been at 815 Second Avenue, Manhattan.

On the ecumenical front Lichtenberger made history.  In 1961, en route to the Third Assembly of the World Council of Churches, our saint visited Pope St. John XXIII, thereby becoming the first Episcopal Presiding Bishop to visit a pope.

Lichtenberger was unable to complete a full term as Presiding Bishop.  As Parkinson’s Disease took its toll, our saint realized that he had to resign.  So, at the General Convention of 1964, the House of Bishops elected John Hines (1910-1997) to lead the denomination.  On his way out of office Lichtenberger published The Day is at Hand (1964), a collection of some of his writings.  From 1965 to 1968 our saint was Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lichtenberger, aged 68 years, died in Bethel, Vermont, on September 3, 1968.

Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia, has as one of its endowed chairs the Arthur Carl Lichtenberger Chair in Pastoral Theology and Continuing Education.

I revere John Hines, who deserves many accolades was still stands as a controversial and prophetic figure in 2018.  History should give him his due.  Yet I notice that his legacy overshadows that of Lichtenberger, a man no less supportive of civil rights and liturgical revision.  It is past time that Lichtenberger receive his due, which need not come at the expense of Hines.








Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Arthur Carl Lichtenberger,

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 power in 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), 60



Feast of Jedediah Weiss (September 3)   Leave a comment

Bethlehem and South Bethlehem 1877

Above:  Bethlehem and South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Looking Northeast, 1877

Copyright Owner = Schwartz and Weaver

3700H2 U.S. Copyright Office

Image Creator = G. A. Rudd

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-02565



U.S. Moravian Craftsman, Merchant, and Musician

Jedediah Weiss, a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was a great man.  God gave him talents and opportunities, which he used to glorify God.  Weiss, born in Bethlehem, spent his life there, was active in community life, and left his city better than he found it.

Our saint was the second son of Johann (John) George and Elizabeth Schneider Weiss.  Johann (John) George Weiss was a church organist at Bethlehem.  Young Jedediah attended school then, at age sixteen, became an apprentice to John Samuel Krause, a maker of watches and clocks.  Three years later, in 1815, Weiss opened his own business, from which he retired in 1865.  He repaired watches and clocks, sold jewelry, and made silver spoons.  Weiss also trained apprentices.  He was a skilled clock maker.  The mechanical clock he built for the steeple of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Allentown, Pennsylvania, was apparently a device of great renown.

Our saint was also a family man.  In 1820 he married Mary Stables, originally of Alexandria, Virginia.  She had moved to Bethlehem to become a tutor at the Young Ladies’ Seminary.  The couple had four children:

  1. George Alexander Weiss (1821-1853),
  2. Elizabeth Caroline Weiss (1824-1906),
  3. William Matthias Weiss (1827-1855), and
  4. Amelia Catherine Weiss (1830-1898).

Mary died on May 18, 1872.  Our saint followed her about sixteen months later.

Weiss, consistent with the best of the culture of his native Moravian Church, was a skilled musician.  He played the trombone, bassoon, and violin well.  For more than half a century Weiss was active in the local trombone quartet.  In 1821 and 1822 he played in performances by the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia (founded in 1820), including a performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s The Creation in 1822.  Our saint was also capable vocalist; he sang bass.

Weiss was a good friend of composer Charles Hommann (1803?-1872).  Hommann, a native of Philadelphia and a son of Johann (John) C. (a German immigrant) and Constantia Hommann, was a church musician (for St. James’ Church then Third Dutch Reformed Church, Philadelphia) who was one of the first U.S. composers to write chamber and orchestral music successfully.  He was a famous composer in his day, but has fallen into obscurity.  In fact, only three of Hommann’s compositions–the Overture in D Major (dedicated to Weiss), the Symphony in E-flat Major, and a second overture–survive.  Hommann moved to New York City in 1854 and presumably died there.

Weiss, an avid reader of literature and keeper of bees, died on September 3, 1873.








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

We bless your name for inspiring Jedediah Weiss

and all those who with skill and music 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 Sundar Singh (September 3)   Leave a comment

Punjab and Kashmir 1945

Above:  Punjab and Kashmir, 1945

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

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor



Indian Christian Evangelist

Various books supply names for my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  With Sundar Singh I begin to draw names from The Book of Worship of the Church of North India (1995), which lists his feast day as September 3.

Punjabi native Sundar Singh (1889-1929) came from a wealthy Sikh family.  Young Sundar, who was familiar with Hindu and Muslim sacred texts, studied English and encountered the Bible at a Christian school in his hometown, Ludhiana.  He was also close to his mother, who encouraged him to become a sadhu, a traditional Indian ascetic holy man.  Her death when he was fourteen years old (1903) prompted an angry reaction against Christianity and set the stage for his conversion to it.

Sundar’s initial reaction was to strike out against Christianity.  He, for example, threw stones at preachers, encouraged others to do so, tore a Bible apart, and burned another copy.  The young man, in a suicidal mood, prayed for direction.  He reported a vision (just one of many during his lifetime) in which Jesus appeared to him and said:

How much longer are you going to search for me?  I have come to save you.  You prayed for the right path.  Why have you not followed it?

Our saint became a Christian.  In reaction to this his family renounced and ostracized him.  The date of Singh’s baptism at an Anglican church was his sixteenth birthday, September 3, 1905.  During the following year he became a Sadhu Christian, living as a traditional Indian ascetic and blending Indian cultural practices with the Christian Gospel, for he understood that doing so made him a more effective evangelist within his milieu.

Thus our saint set the pattern he followed for most of the rest of his life.  The period of December 1909-July 1910, when he studied at the St. John School of Theology, Lahore (an Anglican school), proved to be an exception to this rule.  Much of the curriculum, he concluded, was irrelevant to the cultural context of the Indian Subcontinent.  Singh traveled widely throughout India, preaching, suffering attacks, learning how many people God had put in place to deliver him, and reflecting Christ to those whom he met.

Our saint traveled beyond the subcontinent also.  From 1918 to 1922 he traveled in Ceylon, Malaysia, Japan, China, the United States, Western Europe, Australia, and Palestine.  Travels, both domestic and foreign, took a toll on his increasingly fragile health.  Concerns regarding Singh’s health led to his decision to cease his usual summertime trip to Tibet in 1922.  His final journey in Tibet began in April 1929.  The last date, as far as anyone knows, that people saw him alive was April 18, 1929.

Our saint wrote eight books from 1922 to 1929:

  1. At the Master’s Feet (1922);
  2. Reality and Religion:  Meditations on God, Man, and Nature (1924);
  3. The Search After Reality:  Thoughts on Hinduism, Buddhism, Muhammadanism, and Christianity (1925);
  4. Meditations on Various Aspects of Spiritual Life (1926);
  5. Visions of the Spiritual World (1926);
  6. With and Without Christ (1929);
  7. The Real Life (published in 1965); and
  8. The Real Pearl (published in 1965).

Sundar Singh glorified God in his cultural setting.  May each of us do the same in ours.








Raise up among us, O Lord, prophets and teachers;

and when the Holy Spirit shall command us to separate any to the work to which you call them,

so that the senders and the sent alike may do your will,

and bide your time, and see your glory;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:1-10

Psalm 96

Acts 13:1-3

Luke 10:1-20

–After The Book of Common Worship (1963, The Church of South India), page 66


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 17, Year A   Leave a comment

The Burning Bush Logo of the Church of Scotland

The Call of God

The Sunday Closest to August 31

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost

AUGUST 31, 2014




Exodus 3:1-15 (New Revised Standard Version):

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM Who I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:

This is my name forever,

and this is my title for all generations.

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Give thanks to the LORD and call upon his Name;

make known his deeds among the peoples.

Sing to him, sing praises to him,

and speak of all his marvelous works.

Glory in his holy Name;

let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

Search for the LORD and his strength;

continually seek his face.

5 Remember the marvels he has done,

his wonders and the judgments of his mouth,

6 O offspring of Abraham his servant,

O children of Jacob his chosen.

23 Israel came into Egypt,

and Jacob became a sojourner in the land of Ham.

24 The LORD made his people exceedingly fruitful;

he made them stronger than their enemies;

25 Whose heart he turned, so that they hated his people,

and dealt unjustly with his servants.

26 He sent Moses his servant,

and Aaron whom he had chosen.

45c Hallelujah!


Jeremiah 15:15-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

O LORD, you know;

remember me and visit me,

and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors.

In your forbearance do not take me away;

know that on your account I suffer insult.

Your words were found, and I ate them,

and your words became to me a joy

and the delight of my heart;

for I am called by your name,

O LORD, God of hosts.

I did not sit in the company of merrymakers,

nor did I rejoice;

under the weight of your hand I sat alone,

for you had filled me with indignation.

Why is my pain unceasing,

my wound incurable,

refusing to be healed?

Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook,

like waters that fail.

Therefore thus says the LORD:

If you turn back, I will take you back,

and you shall stand before me.

If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,

you shall serve as my mouth.

It is they who will turn to you,

not you who will turn to them.

And I will make you to this people

a fortified wall of bronze;

they will fight against you,

but they shall not prevail over you,

for I am with you

to save you and deliver you, says the LORD.

I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,

and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

Psalm 26:1-8 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Give judgment for me, O LORD,

for I have lived with integrity;

I have trusted in the LORD and not faltered.

2 Test me, O LORD, and try me;

examine my heart and my mind.

3 For your love is before my eyes;

I have walked faithfully with you.

I have not sat with the worthless,

nor do I consort with the deceitful.

I have hated the company of evildoers;

I will not sit down with the wicked.

I will wash my hands in innocence, O LORD,

that I may go in procession round your altar,

7 Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving

and recounting all your wonderful deeds.

8 LORD, I love the house in which you dwell

and the place where your glory abides.


Romans 12:9-21 (New Revised Standard Version):

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Matthew 16:21-28 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The Collect:

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.


The prophet Jeremiah was having a very bad day.  He had been preaching the word of God for awhile.  And, for all his trouble, he had faced rejection and persecution.

Be honest.  Have you not turned to God and complained bitterly?  Have you not accused God of being absent in your time of need?  I have.  So did Jeremiah.  There is nothing wrong with this, for a relationship with God, if it is healthy, is honest.

And God answered Jeremiah’s lament.  Get beyond yourself, God said.  Get busy, God said.  And I will be with you, God said.

This was also God’s message to Moses, a fugitive murderer on the run from Egyptian authorities.  Moses received a straight-forward mandate:  to return to Egypt, speak for God, and play a vital part in the divine plan to liberate the Hebrews from slavery.  This was a daunting task, and Moses was a poor speaker.  But Aaron was a better orator, and God would be with them.

God does not call the qualified; God qualifies the called.

Jeremiah had asked God to undertake vengeance upon his enemies.  Paul, in Romans, reflects the opposite point of view.  Vengeance, he says, is purely a matter for God.  Followers of God are supposed to love their enemies, as well as their friends and other like-minded people.  Vengeance is a natural desire, one I know well.  But it does not help one glorify and enjoy God forever.  Revenge is not Christ-like.

Speaking of Jesus…

Last week, Peter had just become the first rock of human faith on the rock mass of God, and Jesus had just said how blessed the Apostle was.  Then, in this week’s installment, Jesus predicted his own arrest, torture, execution, and resurrection.  Peter, horrified, protested.  Then Jesus rebuked the man he had just blessed.  Jesus understood his own divine call, which was to atone for sin.  This purpose came at a high cost to him.  The mission of the Apostles was to follow their Lord, and most of them became martyrs.

God challenges us to move beyond ourselves, serve others, love others as ourselves–created in the divine image, and take on difficult tasks for a greater purpose.  This is truly risky business, but Moses, Jeremiah, Jesus, and Simon Peter chose to remain faithful and to endure.  Two of them died for it, one died in exile, and the fourth spent a generation in the Sinai Desert with a horde of grumblers.  And all four are heroes of faith.

Jesus, of course, was and is far more than a hero of faith.  And he calls us to assume risks.  Each of us ought to take up a cross and follow him.  We need to be the best disciples we can be.  That is the call of God.



Posted May 8, 2011 by neatnik2009 in Revised Common Lectionary Year A, September 3

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