Spiritual Good Fruit   1 comment

Jeremiah

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Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Jeremiah 20:7-13 (Revised English Bible):

You have duped me, LORD,

and I have been your dupe;

you have outwitted me and prevailed.

All the day long I have been made a laughing-stock;

everyone ridicules me.

Whenever I speak I must needs cry out,

calling,

Violence!

and

Assault!

I am reproached and derided all the time

for uttering the word of the LORD.

Whenever I said,

I shall not call it to mind

or speak in his name again,

then his word became imprisoned within me

like a fire burning in my heart.

I was weary with holding it under,

and could endure no more.

For I heard many whispering,

Terror let loose!

Denounce him! Let us denounce him.

All my friends were on watch for a false step,

saying,

Perhaps he may be tricked;

then we can catch him

and have our revenge on him.

But the LORD is on my side,

a powerful champion;

therefore my persecutors will stumble and fall powerless.

Their abasement will be bitter when they fall,

and their dishonour will long be remembered.

But, LORD of Hosts, you test the righteous

and search the depths of the heart.

To you I have committed my cause;

let me see your vengeance on them.

Sing to the LORD, praise the LORD;

for he rescues the poor

from those who would do them wrong.

Psalm 18:1-6 (Revised English Bible):

I love you, LORD, my strength.

the LORD is my lofty crag, my fortress, my champion,

my God, my rock in whom I find shelter,

my shield and sure defender, my strong tower.

I shall call to the LORD to whom all praise is due;

then shall I be made safe from my enemies.

The bonds of death encompassed me

and destructive torrents overtook me,

the bonds of Sheol tightened about me,

the snares of death were set to catch me.

When in anguish of heart I cried to the LORD

and called for help to my God,

he heard me from his temple,

and my cry reached his ears.

John 10:31-42 (Revised English Bible):

Once again [some of] the Jews picked up stones to stone him [Jesus].  At this Jesus said to them,

By the Father’s power I have done many good deeds before your eyes; for which of these are you stoning me?

The Jews replied,

We are not stoning you for any good deed, but for blasphemy: you, a man, are claiming to be God.

Jesus answered,

Is it not written in your law, “I said: You are gods”?  Is it those to whom God’s word came who are called gods–and scripture cannot be set aside.  Then why do you charge me with blasphemy for saying, “I am God’s son,” I whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world.?  If my deeds are not the deeds of my Father, do not believe me.  But if they are, then even if you do not believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may recognize and know that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

This provoked them to make another attempt to seize him, but he escaped from their clutches.

Jesus withdrew again across the Jordan, to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and stayed there while crowds came to him.

John gave us no miraculous sign,

they said,

but all that he told us about this man was true.

And many came to believe in him there.

The Collect:

O Lord, you relieve our necessity out of the abundance of your great riches: Grant that we may accept with joy the salvation you bestow, and manifest it to all the world by the quality of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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One New Testament ethic teaches that one knows a tree by its fruit and the quality thereof.  The same principle applies to human beings, with attitudes and deeds as the produce.

In this day’s readings obedience to God (certainly good fruit) leads to danger from fellow human beings.   Sometimes this peril is life-threatening, leading the psalmist to refer to Sheol. [Note: The psalmist’s reference to Sheol is to a pre-Heaven and Hell concept of the afterlife.  In widely accepted ancient Near Eastern cosmology the world was flat, with a subterranean underworld–Sheol, or “the Pit,” to the Hebrews–and water below the earth and above the dome of the sky.  The St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible contains an illustration of this on the page opposite Genesis 1.] The experiences of Jeremiah, the psalmist, and Jesus contradict prosperity theology, which teaches that faithfulness leads to happiness and prosperity.  (In the North American context witness many television evangelists, namely Robert Tilton and the Reverend Ike.)

Out of these readings I derive three main points.

First, may each of us bear good fruit indicative of God.  This is possible by grace.

Second, may we who are blessed with religious liberty support as best we can (at least with prayer) our fellow Christians who face persecution.  Many of them live in predominantly Islamic cultures in Asia, where there was no Enlightenment.  Yet history and current events reveal the identities of other persecutors.  Protestants have persecuted each other and Roman Catholics.  Roman Catholics have persecuted Protestants and Eastern Orthodox.  Eastern Orthodox have persecuted Roman Catholics and Protestants.  And Atheistic regimes  have persecuted Christians of all stripes, to the present day.

Third, let us remember Jesus’ command to pray for persecutors and enemies, too.  He led by example.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 14, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MATHILDA, QUEEN OF GERMANY

THE FEAST OF KEREOPA AND MANIHERA OF TARANAKI, ANGLICAN MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF PAVEL CHESNOKOV, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF PETER GRAVES, ACTOR

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Adapted from this post:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-third-day-of-lent/

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Posted February 14, 2012 by neatnik2009 in Jeremiah, John 10, Psalm 18

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  1. Pingback: Thirty-Third Day of Lent « LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

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