Archive for the ‘St. Andrew’ Tag

Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B   Leave a comment

Above:  Donkeys

Image Source = Mates II

Putting the Saddlebags on Jesus, Not the Donkey

JANUARY 21, 2018

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Jonah 3:1-5, 10 (New Revised Standard Version):

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying,

Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.

So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD.  Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across.  Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk.  And he cried out,

Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!

And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When God say what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he said he would bring upon them and he did not do it.

Psalm 62:6-14 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

6 For God alone my soul in silence waits;

truly, my hope is in him.

7 He alone in my rock and my salvation,

my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken.

8  In God is my safety and my honor;

God is my strong rock and my refuge.

9  Put your trust in him always, O people,

pour out your hearts before him, for God is our refuge.

10  Those of high degree are but a fleeting breath,

even those of low estate cannot be trusted.

11  On the scales they are lighter than a breath,

all of them together.

12  Put no trust in extortion;

in robbery take no empty pride;

though wealth increases, set not your heart upon it.

13  God has spoken once, twice have I heard it,

that power belongs to God.

14  Steadfast love is yours, O Lord,

for you repay everyone according to his deeds.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (New Revised Standard Version):

I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with this world as though they had no dealings with it.  For the present form of the world is passing away.

Mark 1:14-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying,

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea–for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them,

Follow me and I will make you fish for people.

And immediately they left their nets and followed him.  As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets.  Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired him, and followed him.

The Collect:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/third-sunday-after-the-epiphany-year-a/

Jonah 3:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/week-of-proper-22-tuesday-year-1/

Mark 1:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/week-of-1-epiphany-monday-year-1/

St. Simon Peter, Apostle and Martyr:

https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/feast-of-sts-peter-and-paul-apostles-and-martyrs-june-29/

St. Andrew, Apostle and Martyr:

https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/feast-of-st-andrew-apostle-and-martyr-november-30/

St. James the Greater, Apostle and Martyr:

https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/feast-of-st-james-bar-zebedee-apostle-and-martyr-july-25/

St. John the Evangelist, Apostle:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/third-day-of-christmas-the-feast-of-st-john-apostle-and-evangelist-december-27/

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Rumi, or, as Persians and Afghanis call him, Jelaluddin Balkhi, lived from 1207 to 1273 C.E.  He was one of the great poets.  Professor Coleman Barks has translated many of Rumi’s works into English.  Among these is “A Basket of Fresh Bread,” part of which I quote here:

Stay bewildered in God,

and only that.

Those of you are scattered,

simplify your worrying lives.  There is one

righteousness:  Water the fruit trees,

and don’t water the thorns.  Be generous

to what nurtures the spirit and God’s luminous

reason-light.  Don’t honor what causes

dysentery and knotted-up tumors.

Don’t feed both sides of yourself equally.

The spirit and the body carry different loads

and require different attentions.

Too often

we put saddlebags of Jesus and let

the donkey run loose in the pasture.

Don’t make the body do

what the spirit does best, and don’t let a big load

on the spirit that the body could carry easily.

(Source = The Essential Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry, and Reynold Nicholson, HarperCollins, 1995; paperback, 1996; page 256)

Following God requires us to make changes.  The grace may be free to us, but it is not cheap.  We read in Jonah 3 that the prophet’s message found a receptive audience, but we discover in Jonah 4 that this fact disappointed Jonah.  He needed to lay aside his desire to see the people of Nineveh suffer for their sins.

As for Paul of Tarsus, all I can say is that I do not recall hearing this passage or the verse immediately before it read at a wedding, for good reason.

Yet those who marry will experience distress in life, and I would spare you that.–1 Corinthians 7:28b

Paul expected Jesus to return very soon, so marriage and other matters of daily life seemed relatively unimportant to him.  Two thousand years later, however, human relationships continue and Jesus has yet to return.  Some parts of the Bible are timeless; others are not.

And the Apostles?  Some of them left family businesses behind, and most of them died because they insisted on spreading the news of Jesus.  Nearly two thousand years later countless members of successive generations have known the mercies of Jesus because of what these men did.  I owe my faith in part to them.

Grace was not cheap for them.  This is the grace which grants repentance–literally turning around or changing one’s mind–and then forgiveness of sins.  Such grace scandalizes some of us from time to time, but we benefit from grace, too.  Consider this:  Somebody might find the grace God has extended to you scandalous.

Playing with Rumi’s word pictures, how often do we put the saddle bags on Jesus and let the donkey run loose in the pasture?  How often do we, perhaps out of ignorance, malnourish ourselves spiritually?  And how often do we water thorns?  I need to deal with these issues at least as much as do many other people.

The reality is that we–you and I–will not be the most effective ambassadors for Christ until, by grace, we begin to correct these bad habits and continue to replace them with good habits.  What we–you and I–do affects others in ways we cannot imagine.  Our influence, whether direct or indirect, is greater than we know.  So, by grace, may it be as positive as possible.

KRT

Published originally at ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on June 11, 2011

Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle and Martyr (November 30)   7 comments

Above:  Seal of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

He Found the Messiah (John 1:41)

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Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (The Jerusalem Bible):

[Moses continued,] “For this Law that I enjoin on you today is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach.  It is not in heaven, so that you need to wonder, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we may hear and keep it?’  Nor is it beyond the seas, so that you need to wonder, ‘Who will cross the seas for us and bring it back to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?’  No, the Word is very near you, it is in your mouth and in your heart and for your observance.”

Psalm 19:1-6 (The Jerusalem Bible):

The heavens declare the glory of God,

the vault of heaven proclaims his handiwork;

day discourses of it to day,

night to night hands on the knowledge.

No utterance at all, no speech,

no sound that anyone can hear;

yet their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their message to the ends of the earth.

High above, he pitched a tent for the sun,

who comes out of his pavilion like a bridegroom,

exulting like a hero to run his race.

He has his rising on the edge of heaven,

the end of his course is its furthest edge,

and nothing can escape his heat.

Romans 10:8b-18 (The Jerusalem Bible):

On the positive side it [the text] says:  The word, that is the faith we proclaim, is very near you, it is on your lips and in your heart. If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved.  By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved.  When scripture says: those who believe in him will have no cause for shame, it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek:  all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many may ask his help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But they will not ask his help unless they believe in him, and they will not believe in him unless they have heard of him, and they will not hear of him unless they get a preacher, and they will never have a preacher unless one is sent, but as scripture says:  The footsteps of those who bring good news is a welcome sound. Not everyone, of course, listens to the Good News.  As Isaiah says:  Lord, how many believed what we proclaimed? So faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ.

Let me put the question:  is it possible that they did not hear?  Indeed they did; in the words of the psalm, their voice has gone out through all the earth, and their message to the ends of the world.

Matthew 4:18-22 (The Jerusalem Bible):

As he [Jesus] was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother, Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen.  And he said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  And they left their nets at once and followed him.

Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them.  At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

The Collect:

Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your Holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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St. Andrew was the brother of Simon, whom Jesus called Cephas, or Peter, meaning “Rock.”  Simon became the Rock in part because Andrew introduced him to Jesus, identifying Jesus as the Messiah.

Andrew, a fisherman like his brother, left his trade behind to follow Jesus.  His vocation as an apostle seems to have included introducing people to Jesus.  It was Andrew, originally a disciple of John the Baptist, introduced the boy with five loaves and two fishes to Jesus before our Savior fed thousands of people.  And tradition holds that Andrew spoke of Jesus for the rest of his life, traveling as far as Byzantium, the city the Roman Emperor Constantine I (“the Great”) rebuilt and renamed Constantinople, and is now Istanbul.  The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is the successor of St. Andrew, just as the Bishop of Rome is the successor of St. Peter.

It seems that St. Andrew died no later than 38 C.E., crucified on an X-shaped cross at Patras, Achaia.  The official website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate lists the second Patriarch as Stachys the Apostle, who held that office from 38 to 54 C.E.  The mode of St. Andrew’s martyrdom explains the fact that the St. Andrew’s Cross is X-shaped.  Tradition holds furthermore that his bones wound up in Scotland; hence he is the patron saint of Scotland.

Below:  The Flag of Scotland, bearing the St. Andrew’s Cross

The St. Andrew’s Cross is evident in numerous denominational logos, such as those for the Church of Scotland, the original Presbyterian denomination, and The Episcopal Church, for Scottish Episcopalian bishops consecrated the first U.S. bishop, Samuel Seabury.

Below:  Seal of the Church of Scotland

Below:  Seal of The Episcopal Church

Thus we see the influence of one man.  Indeed, one person can make a great and positive difference.  What will your contribution be?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 10, 2010

FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.), 1983

FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA, 1925

FEAST OF SAINT EPHREM OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC DEACON AND HYMN WRITER

Posted June 10, 2010 by neatnik2009 in November 30, Saints of the Bible

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