Archive for November 2011

Nothing is Impossible with God   1 comment

Above:  The Annunciation, by El Greco

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

THE FIRST READING

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now when the king [David] was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan,

See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.

Nathan said to the king,

Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you.

But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan:

Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

THE TWO OPTIONS FOR THE RESPONSE

Canticle 15 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

(The Magnificat plus the Trinitarian formula)

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him

in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,

he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,

and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,

for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

The promise he made to our fathers,

to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

as it was in the beginning is now, and will be for ever.  Amen.

Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing;

from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.

For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever;

you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;

I have sworn an oath to David my servant;

‘I will establish your line for ever,

and preserve your throne for all generations.’”

19  You spoke once in a vision and said to your faithful people:

“I have set the crown upon a warrior

and have exalted one chosen out of the people.

20  I have found David my servant;

with my holy oil have I anointed him.

21  My hand will hold him fast

and my arm will make him strong.

22  No enemy shall deceive him,

nor any wicked man bring him down.

23  I will crush his foes before him

and strike down those who hate him.

24  My faithfulness and love shall be with him,

and he shall be victorious through my Name.

25  I shall make his dominion extend

from the Great Sea to the River.

26  He will say to you, ‘You are my Father,

my God, and the rock of my salvation.’

THE SECOND READING

Romans 16:25-27 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith– to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.

THE GOSPEL READING

Luke 1:26-38 (New Revised Standard Version):

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said,

Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.

But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her,

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

Mary said to the angel,

How can this be, since I am a virgin?

The angel said to her,

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.

Then Mary said,

Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.

Then the angel departed from her.

The Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

Some Related Posts:

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/fourth-sunday-of-advent-year-a/

First Sunday of Advent, Year B:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/first-day-of-advent-first-sunday-of-advent-year-b/

Second Sunday of Advent, Year B:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/eighth-day-of-advent-second-sunday-of-advent-year-b/

Third Sunday of Advent, Year B:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/fifteenth-day-of-advent-third-sunday-of-advent-year-b/

O Blessed Mother:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/o-blessed-mother/

The Hail Mary:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/the-hail-mary/

Romans 1:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/week-of-proper-26-saturday-year-1/

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

“What is really going on here?”  That was the question a spiritual mentor of mine in the early-middle 1990s asked himself when he approached any passage from the Bible.  Let us apply it to the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B.

“Nothing is impossible with God.”  We read this in the Gospel lesson.  How does an obscure young woman become the mother not only of the Messiah, but of God incarnate?  And how does a shepherd, the runt of his family, become a great king and the founder of a dynasty?  God makes such things happen.  Let us appreciate the mystery, not quarrel about divine tactics.

“Nothing is impossible with God.”  When we examine our own lives and those of the people closest to us, do we believe that nothing is impossible with God?  Have we become so jaded that we have lost hope that God can and will act wondrously and beyond our expectations?  I hope not.

To what spectacular wonders is God preparing to give birth in you and in others?  Time will tell.  By faith and grace, may we look forward to the blessed events.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 5, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

Published originally at ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/fourth-sunday-of-advent-year-b/

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

Posted November 18, 2011 by neatnik2009 in 2 Samuel 7, Luke 1, Psalm 89, Romans 16

Tagged with

Here Ends Our Advent Journey   1 comment

Above:  John the Baptist, by Titian, 1542

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

2 Samuel 7:1-16 (Revised English Bible):

Once the king was established in his palace and the LORD had given him security from his enemies on all sides, he said to Nathan the prophet,

Here I am living in a house of cedar, while the Ark of God is housed in a tent.

Nathan answered,

Do whatever you have in mind, for the LORD is with you.

But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan:

Go and say to David my servant, This is the word of the LORD:  Are you to build me a house to dwell in?  Down to this day I have never dwelt in a house since I brought Israel up from Egypt; I lived in a tent and a tabernacle.  Wherever I journeyed with Israel, did I ever ask any of the judges whom I appointed shepherds of my people Israel why they had not built me a cedar house?

Then say this to my servant David:  This is the word of the LORD of Hosts:  I took you from the pastures and from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel.  I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have destroyed all enemies in your path.  I shall bring you fame like the fame of the great ones of the earth.  I shall assign a place for my people Israel; there I shall plant them to dwell in their own land.  They will be disturbed no more; never again will the wicked oppress them as they did in the past, from the day when I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I shall give you peace from all your enemies.

The LORD has told you that he would built up your royal house.  When your life ends and you rest with your forefathers, I shall set up one of your family, one of your own children, to succeed you, and I shall establish his kingdom.  It is he who is to build a house in honour of my name; and I shall establish his royal throne for all time.  I shall be a father to him, and he will be my son.  When he does wrong, I shall punish him as a father might, and not spare the rod.  But my love will never be withdrawn from him as I withdrew it from Saul, whom I removed from your path.  Your family and your kingdom will be established for ever in my sight; your throne will endure for all time.

Psalm 89:1-4, 19-29 (Revised English Bible):

I shall sing always of the loving deeds of the LORD;

throughout every generation I shall proclaim your faithfulness.

I said:  Your love will stand firm for ever;

in the heavens you have established your faithfulness.

I have made a covenant with the one I have chosen,

I have sworn an oath to my servant David:

“I shall establish your line for ever,

I shall make your throne endure for all generations.”

A time came when you spoke in a vision,

declaring to your faithful servant:

I have granted help to a warrior;

I have exalted one chosen from the people.

I have found David my servant

and anointed him with my sacred oil.

My hand will be ready to help him,

my arm to give him strength.

No enemy will outwit him,

no wicked person will oppress him;

I shall crush his adversaries before him

and strike down those who are hostile to him.

My faithfulness and love will be with him

and through my name he will hold his head high.

I shall establish his rule over the sea,

his dominion over the rivers.

He will say tome, “You are my father,

my God, my rock where I find safety.”

I shall give him the rank of the firstborn,

highest among the kings of the earth.

I shall maintain my love for him for ever

and be faithful in my covenant with him.

I shall establish his line for ever

and his throne as long as the heavens endure.

Luke 1:67-79 (Revised English Bible):

And Zechariah his [John’s] father was filled with the Holy Spirit and uttered this prophecy:

Praise to the Lord, the God of Israel!

For he has turned to his people and set them free.

He has raised for us a strong deliverer

from the House of his servant David.

So he promised: age to age he proclaimed

by the lips of his holy prophets,

that he would deliver us from our enemies,

out of the hands of all who hate us;

that, calling to mind his solemn covenant,

he would deal mercifully with our fathers.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,

to rescue us from enemy hands and set us free from fear,

so that we might worship in his presence

in holiness and righteousness our whole life long.

And you, my child, will be called Prophet of the Most High,

for you will be the Lord’s forerunner, to prepare his way

and lead his people to a knowledge of salvation

through the forgiveness of their sins:

for in the tender compassion of our God

the dawn from heaven will break upon us,

to shine on those who live in darkness, under the shadow of death,

and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

Saint John the Baptist (or Baptizer or Immerser) was the forerunner of Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, and heir to the House of David.  John identified Jesus, baptized him, and died before Jesus did.

As I have typed these texts and pondered them I have played a recording of the Christmas Oratorio of Johann Sebastian Bach.  It is a glorious work, a product of Bach’s deep Lutheran faith.  One fact about it stands out in mind:  The Christmas Oratorio contains the music to which I am used to singing the great Good Friday hymn, “O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded.”  The liner notes to the two-CD set give the following English translation to the German text of the chorale:

How can I fitly greet Thee,

how rightly Thee extol?

Of Man the best Beloved,

thou treasure of my soul!

O Lord, I pray Thee carry

the torch to light my way,

that I may know thy treasure

and serve Thee day by day!

That is an appropriate attitude for any day, especially that time when Advent transitions into Christmas.  Like John, may you decrease as Jesus increases.

Merry Christmas!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 4, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN XXIII, BISHOP OF ROME

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

Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/advent-devotion-for-december-24/

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

Posted November 18, 2011 by neatnik2009 in 2 Samuel 7, Luke 1, Psalm 89

Tagged with ,

The Importance of a Name   1 comment

Above:  Zechariah

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

Malachi 3:1-5 (Revised English Bible):

I am about to send my messenger to clear a path before me.  Suddenly the Lord whom you seek will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight is here, here already, says the LORD of Hosts.  Who can endure the day of his coming?  Who can stand firm when he appears?  He is like a refiner’s fire, like a fuller’s soap; he will take his seat, testing and purifying; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver, and so they will be fit to bring offerings to the LORD.  Thus the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as they were in former days, in days long past.  I shall appear before you in court, quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, against those who cheat the hired labourer of his wages, who wrong the widow and the fatherless, who thrust the alien aside and do not fear me, says the LORD of Hosts.

Psalm 25:1-15 (Revised English Bible):

LORD my God, to you I lift my heart.

In you I trust: do not let me be put to shame,

do not let my enemies exult over me.

No one whose hope is in you is put to shame;

but shame comes to all who break faith without cause.

Make your paths known to me, LORD;

teach me your ways.

Lead me by your faithfulness and teach me,

for you are God my saviour;

in you I put my hope all day long.

Remember, LORD, your tender care and love unfailing,

for they are from of old.

Do not remember the sins and offences of my youth,

but remember me in your unfailing love,

in accordance with your goodness, LORD.

The LORD is good and upright;

therefore he teaches sinners the way they should go.

He guides the humble in right conduct,

and teaches them his way.

All the paths of the LORD are loving and sure

to those who keep his covenant and his solemn charge.

LORD, for the honour of your name

forgive my wickedness, great though it is.

Whoever fears the LORD

will be shown the path he should choose.

He will enjoy lasting prosperity,

and his descendants will inherit the land.

The LORD confides his purposes to those who fear him;

his covenant is for their instruction.

My eyes are ever on the LORD,

who alone can free my feet from the net.

Luke 1:57-66 (Revised English Bible):

When the time came for Elizabeth’s child to be born, she gave birth to a son.  Her neighbours and relatives heard what great kindness the Lord had shown her, and they shared her delight.  On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up:

No!

she said,

He is to be called John.

They said,

But there is nobody in your family who has that name.

Then inquired of his father by signs what he would like him to be called.  He asked for a writing tablet and to everybody’s astonishment wrote,

His name is John.

Immediately his lips and tongue were freed and he began to speak, praising God.  All the neighbours were overcome with awe, and throughout the uplands of Judaea the whole story became common talk.  All who heard it were deeply impressed and said,

What will this child become?

For indeed the hand of the Lord was upon him.

The Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

The countdown to Christmas Day draws very near to its end with this day in Advent.  Yet let us give each remaining day before December 25 its due.

The day had come for the circumcision and naming of the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, the latter of which was still mute.  The ceremony was a community event, and custom contained a preference for naming a son after his father or grandfather, usually the grandfather.  Yet this child’s name was unique in his family tree.  The child was to be named John, or, in Hebrew, Jehohanan, which means, “God’s gracious gift.”

As British scholar G. B. Caird wrote in Saint Luke (Pelikan Books then Penguin Books, 1963, with reprints), a child’s name “was closely related to the character and nature of the bearer” and reflected his or her parents’ faith and aspirations for him or her in the Jewish culture of Judea in the late First Century B.C.E.  And while we ponder names, think about these facts:  Zechariah means “the LORD has recalled” and Elizabeth means “oath of God.”  I detect a congruency in these names coming together.

I am grateful to my parents for, among other things, giving me a name I have been able to carry well into adulthood.  That was a great kindness.  And it helps that “Kenneth” is the name of at least two saints–one of Scotland, the other of Wales.  Indeed, I have heard of some truly unfortunate names that have the effect of making it impossible for one to get a job interview, for, when pronounced, they sound like curse words.  (I am not referring to foreign names transliterated into English.)

It is common in some religious orders, when one joins, to receive a new name.  This is symbolic of becoming a new person.  And some indigenous cultures in North America change a person’s name after childhood, to reflect who this individual has become.  A name, I think, ought to be something noble, something into which to strive to grow then to continue to honor.  It is, after all, what we call ourselves and others call us.

“What is this child to become?” the neighbors asked themselves about the young John.  That child was literally “God’s gracious gift,” a statement I hope is true of all of us, for the benefit of others and the glory of God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 4, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN XXIII, BISHOP OF ROME

REVISED ON MAY 19, 2011

THE FEAST OF SAINT DUNSTAN OF CANTERBURY, ARCHBISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVO OF KERMARTIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND ADVOCATE OF THE POOR

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

Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/advent-devotion-for-december-23/

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

Posted November 18, 2011 by neatnik2009 in Luke 1, Malachi 3, Psalm 25

Tagged with

Magnificat   1 comment

Above: The Magnificat in Latin

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

FIRST READING:  1 Samuel 1:19-28 (Revised English Bible):

(From the story of Hannah and Elkanah, parents of the prophet Samuel)

Next morning they were up early, after prostrating themselves before the LORD, returned to their home at Ramah.  Elkanah had intercourse with his wife, Hannah, and the LORD remembered her; she conceived, and in due time bore a son, whom she named Samuel,

because,

she said,

I asked the LORD for him.

Elkanah with his whole household went up to make the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to keep his vow.  Hannah did not go; she said to her husband,

After the child is weaned I shall go up with him to present him before the LORD; then he is to stay there always.

Her husband Elkanah said to her,

Do what you think best; stay at home until you have weaned him.  Only, may the LORD indeed see your vow fulfilled.

So the woman stayed behind and nursed her son until she had weaned him.

When she had weaned him, she took him up with her.  She took also a bull three years old, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him, child as he was, into the house of the LORD at Shiloh.  When the bull had been slaughtered, Hannah brought the boy to Eli and said,

Sir, as sure as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD.  It was they boy that I prayed for and the LORD has granted what I asked.  Now I make him over to the LORD; for his whole life is lent to the LORD.

And they prostrated themselves there before the LORD.

RESPONSE, OPTION #1:  Canticle 9, from The Book of Common Prayer, page 86:

(Isaiah 12:2-6)

Surely, it is God who saves me;

I will trust in him and not be afraid.

For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense,

and he will be my Savior.

Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing

from the springs of salvation.

On that day you shall say,

Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;

Make his deeds known among the peoples;

see that they remember that his Name is exalted.

Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things,

and this is known in all the world.

Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy,

for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.  Amen.

RESPONSE, OPTION #2:  Psalm 133 (Revised English Bible):

How good and pleasant it is

to live together as brothers in unity!

It is like fragrant oil poured on the head

and falling over the beard,

Aaron’s beard, when the oil runs down

over the collar of his vestments.

It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling

on the mountains of Zion.

There the LORD bestows his blessing,

life for evermore.

RESPONSE, OPTION #3:  Psalm 122 (Revised English Bible):

I rejoiced when they said to me,

Let us go to the house of the LORD.

Now we are standing

withing your gates, Jerusalem:

Jerusalem, a city built

compactly and solidly.

There the tribes went up, the tribes of the LORD,

to give thanks to the name of the LORD,

the duty laid on Israel.

For there the thrones of justice were set,

the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

May those who love you prosper;

peace be within your ramparts

and prosperity in your palaces.

For the sake of these my brothers and my friends,

I shall say,

Peace be within you.

For the sake of the house of the LORD our God

I shall pray for your well-being.

GOSPEL: Luke 1:46-56 (Revised English Bible):

And Mary said:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour;

for he has looked with favour on his servant,

lowly as she is.

From this day forward

all generations will count me blessed,

for the Mighty God has done great things for me.

His name is holy,

his mercy sure from generation to generation

toward those who fear him.

He has shown the might of his arm,

he has routed the proud and all their schemes;

he has brought down monarchs and their thrones,

and raised on high the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

and sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the help of Israel his servant,

as he promised to our forefathers;

he has not forgotten to show mercy

to Abraham and his children’s children for ever.

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.

The Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

While typing these readings and copying and pasting the collect I have been listening to Charles Gound’s glorious St. Cecilia Mass (1855).  To read and type the text of the Magnificat while listening to the “Sanctus” from that great choral work is quite an experience, and one I recommend for anyone.  Now I am in the “Benedictus,” and think that listening to Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass while writing devotional blog entries is the best possible way to have spent this evening.

Intertwined threads run through readings for this day.  God grants a child, a mother consecrates said offspring to the service of God, and this child grows up to serve God until the end.  Samuel became a great prophet, anointing David as King of Israel.  And we all know how Jesus turned out, do we not?

Grace is wonderful, and we are correct to thank God for it in our prayers.  We need to thank God for it with our lives, too.  Samuel was the most precious person in Hannah’s life, and she gave him to God.  I hear that parenthood is never easy, but imagine being the Mother of God.  Mary gave her best, too.  God wants the best we have to offer, not our leftovers.  So let us offer the best we have, whether tangible or intangible.

Now I am still in Heaven on Earth, for the beautiful final movement, “Domine Salvum,” is playing.  I savor this moment and thank God for the musical talents of Charles Gounod, the conductor, orchestra members, choir members, and soloists.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/advent-devotion-for-december-22/

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

The Mother of My Lord   1 comment

Above: Visitation, by Jacques Daret, Circa 1435

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

FIRST READING FOR YEARS A AND B:  Zephaniah 3:14-18a (Revised English Bible):

Zion, cry out for joy;

raise the shout of triumph, Israel;

be glad, rejoice with all your heart,

daughter of Jerusalem!

The LORD has averted your punishment,

has swept away your foes.

Israel, the LORD is among you as king;

never again need you fear disaster.

On that day this must be the message to Jerusalem:

Fear not, Zion, let not your hands hang limp.

The LORD your God is in your midst,

a warrior who will keep you safe.

He will rejoice over you and be glad;

he will show you his love once more;

he will exult over you with a shout of joy

as on a festal day.

FIRST READING FOR YEAR C:  Song of Songs 2:8-14 (Revised English Bible):

Bride

Hark!  My beloved!  Here he comes, bounding over mountains, leaping over the hills.

My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.

There he stands outside the wall, peering in at the windows, gazing through the lattice.

My beloved spoke, saying to me:

Rise up my darling; my fair one, come away.

For see, the winter is past!  The rains are over and gone;

the flowers appear in the countryside; the season of birdsong is come,

and the turtle-dove’s cooing is heard in our land;

the green figs ripen on the fig trees and the vine blossoms give forth their fragrance.

Rise up, my darling; my fair one, come away.

RESPONSE:  Psalm 33:1-5, 20-22 (Revised English Bible):

Shout for joy in the LORD, you that are righteous;

praise comes well from the upright.

Give thanks to the LORD on the lyre;

make music to him on the ten-stringed harp.

Sing to him a new song;

strike up with all your skill and shout in triumph,

for the word of the LORD holds true,

and all his work endures.

He is a lover of righteousness and justice;

the earth is filled with the LORD’s unfailing love.

We have waited eagerly for the LORD;

he is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts are glad,

because we have trusted in his holy name.

LORD, let your unfailing love rest on us,

as we have put our hope in you.

GOSPEL:  Luke 1:39-45 (Revised English Bible):

Soon afterwards Mary set out and hurried away to a town in the uplands of Judah.  She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.  And when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby stirred in her womb.  Then Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed in a loud voice,

God’s blessing is on you above all women, and his blessing is on the fruit of your womb.  Who am I, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?  I tell you, when your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby in my womb leapt for joy.  Happy is she who has faith that the Lord’s promise to her would be fulfilled!

The Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

This day’s readings consist of a combination of verse and prose poetry.  Sometimes the most appropriate contemplation of a wondrous event entails poetry.

I have spent the last few minutes typing the readings from a hardcover Bible and contemplating them along the way.  At this moment my contemplations take me to a spiritual place where words are woefully inadequate.  This, I think, is a healthy sign.  So I encourage you to ponder these lessons and let them take you to a profound spiritual place beyond words, and to exist there for a while.

May the peace of the incarnated God be with you now and always.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/advent-devotion-for-december-21/

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

Posted November 18, 2011 by neatnik2009 in Luke 1, Psalm 33, Song of Songs 2, Zephaniah 3

Hail Mary, Full of Grace….   2 comments

Above: The Annunciation, by El Greco

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

Isaiah 7:10-17 (Revised English Bible):

The LORD spoke further to Ahaz.

Ask the LORD your God for a sign,

he said,

whether from Sheol below or from heaven above.

But Ahaz replied:

No, I will not put the LORD to the test by asking for a sign.

Then the prophet said:

Listen, you house of David.  Not content with wearing out the patience of men, must you also wear out the patience of men, must you also wear out the patience of my God?  Because you do, the Lord of his own accord will give you a sign; it is this:  A young woman is with child, and she will give birth to a son and call him Immanuel.  By the time he has learnt to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will eating curds and honey; before that child has learnt to reject evil and choose good, the territories of those two kings before whom you now cringe in fear will lie desolate.  The LORD will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house, a time the like of which has not been since Ephraim broke away from Judah.

Psalm 24 (Revised English Bible):

To the LORD belong the earth and everything in it,

the world and all its inhabitants.

For it was he who founded it on the seas

and planted it firm on the waters beneath.

Who may go up the mountain of the LORD?

Who may stand in his holy place?

One who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who has not set his mind on what is false

or sworn deceitfully.

Such a one shall receive blessing from the LORD,

and be vindicated by God his saviour.

Such is the fortune of those who seek him,

who seek the presence of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, you gates,

lift yourselves up, you everlasting doors,

that the king of glory may come in.

Who is this king of glory?

The LORD strong and mighty,

the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, you gates,

lift them up, you everlasting doors,

that the king of glory may come in.

Who is he, this king of glory?

The LORD of Hosts, he is the king of glory.

Luke 1:26-38 (Revised English Bible):

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, with a message for a girl betrothed to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David; the girl’s name was Mary.  The angel went in and said to her,

Greetings, most favoured one!  The Lord is with you.

But she was deeply troubled by what he said and wondered what this greeting could mean.  Then the angel said to her,

Do not be afraid, Mary, for God has been gracious to you; you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David, and he will be king over Israel for ever; his reign shall never end.”

Mary said,

How can this be?  I am still a virgin.

The angel answered,

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason the holy child to be born will be called Son of God.  Moreover your kinswoman Elizabeth has herself conceived a son in her old age; and she who is reputed barren is now in her sixth month, for God’s promises can never fail.

Mary said,

I am the Lord’s servant; “may it be as you have said.

Then the angel left her.

The Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

I grew up a low church Protestant, specifically Southern rural United Methodist.  This happened in the context of a religious culture in which the Southern Baptists (especially the fundamentalist wing of that denomination) and their ways dominated, with Cleveland, Tennessee, Church of God-ers and their ilk not far behind.  This was a religious milieu in which the Mother of Our Lord and Savior received insufficient attention.

For a long time I did not pay her enough respect.  I have changed my ways since becoming an Episcopalian, however, for I am “one step from Rome,” as an old, fun ditty says:

I am an Anglican; I’m TEC;

I’m not high church, nor low church

but Catholic and Protestant and free.  I’m not a Luth’ran,

nor a Presby,

nor a Baptist white with foam.

I am an Anglican, just one step from Rome.

I am an Anglican, just one step from Rome.

–sung to the tune of “God Bless America,” by the way

Now the Hail Mary is part of my prayer life.

Jesus became the man he did in large part because of who Mary was.  May we honor her, the Mother of God, the Theotokos, and in some way the spiritual mother of us all.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/advent-devotion-for-december-20/

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

Samson and John the Baptist   1 comment

Above:  A Statue of Samson

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

Judges 13:2-7, 24-25 (Revised English Bible):

There was a certain man from Zorah of the tribe of Dan whose name was Manoah and whose wife was barren; she had no child.  The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said,

Though you are barren and have no child, you will conceive and give birth to a son.  Now be careful to drink no wine or strong drink, and to eat no forbidden food.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor must touch his head, for the boy is to be a Nazirite, consecrated to God from birth.  He will strike the first blow for Israel’s freedom from the power of the Philistines.

The woman went and told her husband,

A man of God came to me,

she said to him;

his appearance was that of an angel of God, most terrible to see.  I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘You are going to conceive and give birth to a son.  From now on drink no wine or strong drink and eat no forbidden food, for the boy is to be a Nazirite, consecrated to God from his birth to the day of his death.’

The woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson.  The boy grew up in Mahaneh-dan between Zorah and Eshtaol, and the LORD blessed him, and the spirit of the LORD began to move him.

Psalm 71:1-8 (Revised English Bible):

In you, LORD, I have found refuge;

let me never be put to shame.

By your saving power rescue and deliver me;

hear me and save me!

Be to me a rock of refuge

to which at all times I may come;

you have decreed my deliverance,

for you are my rock and stronghold.

Keep me safe, my God, from the power of the wicked,

from the clutches of the pitiless and unjust.

You are my hope, Lord GOD,

my trust since my childhood.

On you I have leaned from birth;

you brought me from my mother’s womb;

to you I offer praise at all times.

I have become like a portent to many,

but you are my strong refuge.

My mouth will be full of your praises,

I shall tell of your splendour all day long.

Luke 1:5-25 (Revised English Bible):

In the reign of Herod king of Judaea there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of the priesthood called Abijah.  His wife, whose name was Elizabeth, was also of priestly descent.  Both of them were upright and devout, blamelessly observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.  But they had no children, for Elizabeth was barren, and both were well on in years.

Once, when it was the turn of his division and he was there to take part in the temple service, he was chosen by lot, by priestly custom, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and to offer the incense; and at the hour of the offering the people were all assembled at prayer outside.  There appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right of the altar of incense.  At this sight, Zechariah was startled and overcome by fear.  But the angel said to him,

Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard:  your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to name him John.  His birth will fill you with joy and delight, and will bring gladness to many; for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord.  He is never to touch wine or strong drink.  From this very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit; and he will bring back many Israelites to the Lord their God.  He will go before him as a forerunner, possessed by the spirit and power of Elijah, to reconcile father and child, to convert the rebellious father and child, to convert the rebellious to the ways of the righteous, to prepare a people that shall be fit for the Lord.

Zechariah said to the angel,

How can I be sure of this?  I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.

They angel replied,

I am Gabriel; I stand in attendance on God, and I have been sent to speak to you and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news.  But now, because you have not believed me, and you will lose all power of speech and remain silent until the day when these things take place; at their proper time my words will be proved true.

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, surprised that he was staying so long inside the sanctuary.  When he did come out he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had had a vision.  He stood there making signs to them, and remained dumb.

When his period of duty was completed Zechariah returned home.  His wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she lived in seclusion, thinking,

This is the Lord’s doing; now at last he has shown me favour and taken away from me the disgrace of childlessness.

The Collect:

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

This series of Advent devotions is nearing its end and climax.  December 24 will be the last day of Advent, so the assigned readings (especially the Gospel readings), which span Luke 1:5 to Luke 1:79, bring us to the verge of Christmas Day.

This day’s readings tell of two men whose backstories were similar yet whose lives were different.  The stories of the births of Samson and John the Baptist contain an angel, a miracle, and a mission for the yet-unborn child.  Samson’s mission took a detour; he gave into his weakness for women, and one woman, a spy, in particular.  Yet John the Baptist remained true to his mission from beginning to end.

John chose the better path.  May we do likewise.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 3, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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

Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/advent-devotion-for-december-19/

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

Posted November 18, 2011 by neatnik2009 in Judges 8-21, Luke 1, Psalm 71

Tagged with , ,