Archive for April 2013

Enriching Our Worship (1998)   1 comment

episcopal-shield

Above:  The Episcopal Shield

Enriching Our Worship (1998), authorized by the General Convention in 1997, is the first in a series (of five books so far) of thin paperback volumes of supplementary liturgical resources for The Episcopal Church.  My copy, which predates Enriching Our Worship 2-5, lacks has the simple title Enriching Our Worship, not Enriching Our Worship 1 (hereafter abbreviated as EOW1), as subsequent printings do.

The 88-page book contains alternative texts for Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Great Litany, and the Holy Eucharist.  The purpose of these texts is to expand the range of metaphors for God beyond the predominance of masculine imagery contained in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  The metaphors for God in EOW1, although not exclusively feminine (some are masculine), are primarily so.  The Standing Liturgical Commission, which prepared the book, drew from the Bible and prayers and writings of saints to accomplish a more balanced approach.  Thus Isaiah 66:10-14, which personifies Jerusalem as a mother, has become Canticle E.  Thus we read Canticle Q, a prayer of St. Anselm of Canterbury (died 1109)  in which he addresses Jesus as a mother.  Thus we see generous use of the writings of Julian of Norwich.  And thus we read the following blessing:

May the blessing of the God of Abraham and Sarah, and of Jesus Christ born of our sister Mary, and of the Holy Spirit, who broods over the world as a mother over her children be upon you and remain with you always.  Amen.

I found an insightful comment on page 13:

All liturgy is based upon a set of agreed-upon assumptions.  Whenever those assumptions are altered, there is the possibility of congregational reaction ranging from confusion to anger.

Masculine imagery for God is among the most traditional assumptions regarding Christian liturgy.  Yet feminine images for God occur also in the Bible, so they too are part of the range of Christian tradition reaching back to antiquity.  Patriarchal thinking, however, has ignored and minimized these for thousands of years.

The expansion of the range of prayers in EOW1 pertains to other issues also.   For example, the 1979 BCP version of the Great Litany  contains one petition for the President of the United States and all in positions of authority.  The EOW1 version of the Great Litany has three petitions.  We still pray for the President and all in authority, of course.  But we add the Mayor, the Governor, our state legislators, the members of Congress, and the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

One of the most graceful ways to become more inclusive is to mention women from the Bible; EOW1 does this well.  In Eucharistic Prayer 1, for example, the celebrant says:

Through Abraham and Sarah

you called us into covenant with you.

–page 58

Did not Sarah play a vital role in salvation history?  I think that she did.

If EOW1 is a sign of what the next U.S. BCP will resemble, I anticipate that volume confidently.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

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The Book of Common Prayer (2004)   2 comments

Ireland_amo_2010284_lrg

Above:  Ireland, October 11, 2010

Image Source = Jet Propulsion Laboratory

(http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=49687)

Image Courtesy of Jeff Schmaltz

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A NOTE ABOUT SOURCES:

The contents of this post flow from Bishop Harold Miller’s chapter in The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Payer:  A Worldwide Survey (Oxford University Press, 2006, pages 431-437), his lecture at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University (http://www.yale.edu/ism/colloq_journal/vol3/miller1.html), my online research, and my use and study of The Book of Common Prayer (2004).

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SOME ONLINE RESOURCES:

The Texts Themselves:

http://www.ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=worship&id=12

Worship Homepage, Church of Ireland:

http://ireland.anglican.org/worship/1

Previous Editions of the Irish Prayer Book:

http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/Ireland.htm

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Eternal God and Father,

whose Son at supper prayed that his disciples might be one,

as he is one with you:

Draw us closer to him,

that in common love and obedience to you

we may be united to one another

in the fellowship of the one Spirit,

that the world may believe that he is Lord,

to your eternal glory;

through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (2004), page 335

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PREFACE

Liturgy interests me.  My childhood experiences of bad liturgy in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia interacted with my innate interest in ritualism to make me an Episcopalian.  There were other factors, of course, but those two constituted major factors in my decision to convert.  So I have become attached to versions of the Book of Common Prayer.  I know the 1979 BCP of The Episcopal Church the best.  Indeed, I am a Rite II person.  The 1928 Prayer Book is nothing more than an artifact to me; may it reside only as an exhibit in the proverbial museum of liturgy.  A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/a-new-zealand-prayer-bookhe-karakia-mihinare-o-aotearoa-1989/), among my favorites, has carved out a niche on the vanguard of Prayer Book revision and liturgical renewal.  I seek it out when I want more adventurous and less traditional rites, more experimental than even The Episcopal Church’s Enriching Our Worship series offers.

The language of prayer interests me.  My private name for God–the one I use when speaking to God alone–is simply “You.”  It is a modern English word, for I speak modern English.  “You” is intimate without committing anthropomorphism.  To call God “Thee” in this age is to rebuild a barrier which Jesus tore down via the Incarnation.  And, in the romance language versions of the Bible I have seen, the text uses the informal form of the second person to refer to God.

I understand that it is impossible to avoid committing anthropomorphism when calling God anything other than “You,” given our human perspectives and the limitations of language.  This is especially true in public worship and liturgies for private prayer.  Yet me must remember that our language for God contains many metaphors and that the reality behind them exceeds our capacity for understanding.  So I choose not to take offense at gendered metaphors, which can prove spiritually helpful if one knows that they are merely metaphors.

REVIEW

The Church of Ireland has produced and authorized a new edition of the Book of Common Prayer which contains both Elizabethan and modern English, preserves poetry in the modern English portions, and offers a relatively conservative example of Prayer Book revision.  The Church’s previous Prayer Books (that of 1926, for example) were based mostly on the 1662 BCP.  Liturgical renewal and Prayer Book revision, starting with the publication of the first new rites in 1967, led to the Alternative Prayer Book (1984) and subsequent services in the 1990s.  There were 1926 BCP parishes, 1984 APB parishes, and parishes that alternated between the two books.  But now, with The Book of Common Prayer (2004), the Church of Ireland has just one legal Prayer Book.

Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore, lecturing at the Institute of Sacred Music of Yale University, summarized the volume as follows:

A quick review of prayer books in the Anglican Communion would show many liturgical volumes that are more flexible, more inculturated, more imaginative, and more “on the edge” theologically than the liturgies of the Church of Ireland.  For example, apart from a list of Celtic saints and their dates, and one or two Irish propers, some of the Irish hymns in the hymnal, and the fact that there is an Irish edition of the new BCP, there are very few signs of Celtic spirituality in the formal worship books of the Church of Ireland.  While characteristics such as flexibility, inculturation, and imagination and not in any sense absent from the 2004 Book of Common Prayer, the book is nevertheless characterized above all else by a desire for unity in the worship of God’s people–something greatly treasured in the Church of Ireland, not least because of our other political, cultural, and theological divisions on the island of Ireland.  This desire is, therefore, part of our own inculturation in a varied and sometimes divided community.  The theme song of the 1878 preface to the Book of Common Prayer is very much part of the psyche of the Church of Ireland when it states:  “What is imperfect wiht peace is often better than what is otherwise excellent without it.”

Indeed, unity is what The Book of Common Prayer (2004) is meant to maintain.  For example the rite for the Ash Wednesday service does not mention the imposition of ashes.  As Bishop Miller said at Yale University,

Reference to such a custom might divide.

My use of the book  has been restricted to private devotional purposes.  So I am not equipped to comment on whether the volume has had a unifying effect.  Bishop Miller says that it has had such an effect; I take his word for that.

The book itself is a handsome volume.  The green hardcover book features a Celtic cross and the words

THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER

on the front cover.  The spine displays smaller versions of each of those features.  There are three ribbon bookmarks (white, light green, and dark green) for the user’s convenience.  The paper quality inside is excellent and the font is easy to read.  The rubrics are even printed in red ink.  The volume demonstrates the care which people took in preparing it.

The services and prayers are a combination of Elizabethan and modern English.

  1. Morning and Evening Prayer (printed together with morning and evening portions labeled plainly) come in both forms.
  2. The rites for Holy Communion come in both forms.
  3. The rituals for Christian Initiation come in both forms.
  4. The marriage ceremony comes in both forms.
  5. The Funeral Services come in both forms.
  6. The ordination rites come in both forms.
  7. The Collects and Canticles come in both forms.
  8. Compline comes only in Elizabethan English yet A Late Evening Office comes only in modern English.
  9. The ashless Ash Wednesday service comes only in modern English.
  10. The Daily Prayer service, which comes only in modern English, features a seven-day cycle of thanksgivings and intercessions–a nice touch.
  11. The Psalter, borrowed from The Church of England’s Common Worship (2000), is stately modern English.  Those who prefer the modified Coverdale Psalter from The Book of Common Prayer (1926) have the option of using it instead.
  12. The “Some Prayers and Thanksgivings” section contains both Elizabethan and modern English language.

The most non-traditional service in the 2004 BCP is the Service of the Word, outlined on page 165 with three pages of instructions following.  The rubrics use the word “may” often, as in

A Psalm and/or a Scripture Song may precede or follow readings.

It reminds me of An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist, a.k.a. Rite III, from The Book of Common Prayer (1979) in flexibility of structure.

The 2004 Prayer Book contains the Revised Common Lectionary for Sundays plus readings for major holy days and saints’ days.  The retention of the practice of numbering Sundays after Trinity, not Pentecost, is a holdover from olden times.  (The Episcopal switched to counting Sundays after Pentecost in the 1970s.)  The absence of a Daily Office lectionary seems odd to me, but the Worship Homepage of the denominational website provides that information.

I detect a careful Protestant-Roman Catholic balancing act taking place in the 2004 BCP.  This becomes evident not only in the ashless Ash Wednesday service but in a comparison of Holy Communion One (traditional) and Holy Communion Two (contemporary).  The language in both refers to the body and blood of Jesus in relation to the bread and the wine of the sacrament, but Holy Communion Two contains something crucial which Holy Communion One lacks.  The priest, at the breaking of the bread, says:

The bread which which we beak

is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The congregation responds:

We being many are one body,

for we all we share in the one bread.

Where is the Incarnation of Jesus in the sacrament located?  Is it situated in the bread and wine themselves?  Or is it a non-localized spiritual presence, as in Reformed theology?  The texts are vaguer on that point in Holy Communion Two than those of Holy Communion One are.  And one can read the language (without stretching them too much) in both rites to find them consistent with Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion not withstanding.  This vagueness need not be negative and my comments are not criticisms.  Much of the beauty of Anglicanism is located in its fence-straddling between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.  My own theology borrows generously from both sides.

CONCLUSION

The Book of Common Prayer (2004) has become a valuable part of my library.  I found its services online a few years ago, printed two of them, placed the pages in sheet protectors, and used the rituals.  But it is better to have a book sometimes, and I am a man of books.  True, the 2004 BCP is not a cutting-edge volume in regard to inclusive language or any other criterion, for it is a relatively cautious revision.  But it is a nice and graceful revision, a copy of which occupies space on the same shelf as A New Zealand Prayer Book, my favorite source for good cutting-edge liturgies.  I recognize the good in both and praise them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR

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Proverbs and John, Part IX: Resurrection and Vocation   2 comments

edicule1

Above:  The Edicule, Church of Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Palestine, 1878-1946

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/mpc2004005703/PP/)

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Proverbs 27:1-24 (June 23)

Proverbs 30:1-9, 18-33 (June 24)

Proverbs 31:10-31 (June 25)

Psalm 19 (Morning–June 23)

Psalm 136 (Morning–June 24)

Psalm 123 (Morning–June 25)

Psalms 81 and 113 (Evening–June 23)

Psalms 97 and 112 (Evening–June 24)

Psalms 30 and 86 (Evening–June 25)

John 20:1-18 (June 23)

John 20:19-31 (June 24)

John 21:1-25 (June 25)

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Some Related Posts:

John 20-21:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/feast-of-st-thomas-apostle-and-martyr-december-21/

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

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-year-a-principal-service/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/third-day-of-easter-tuesday-in-easter-week/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/eighth-day-of-easter-second-sunday-of-easter-year-a/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/fiftieth-day-of-easter-day-of-pentecost-year-a/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-year-b-principal-service/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/eighth-day-of-easter-second-sunday-of-easter-year-b/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-year-c-principal-service/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/eighth-day-of-easter-second-sunday-of-easter-year-c/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/sixth-day-of-easter-friday-in-easter-week/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-eighth-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-ninth-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/fifteenth-day-of-easter-third-sunday-of-easter-year-c/

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The readings from Proverbs cover a variety of topics, from friendship to flock management to the imperative of championing the poor and the needy to the virtues of a capable wife.  One can establish links between some of these unites and John 20-21, and I will hint at a few of them.

After one has seen Jesus die and meet him afterward, what is one supposed to do?  He did die as an insurrectionist (that was the charge), so following him was dangerous.  An initial and not unreasonable lack of understanding of the Resurrection faded and made way for mission.  A woman told men that Jesus was alive, thereby becoming the first post-Resurrection evangelist.  (St. Mary Magadalene, as the Eastern Orthodox say, was an equal of the Apostles.)  Returning to  fishing was a momentary lapse; the time had come for people after Christ’s Ascension (or whatever form the departure took according to the laws of Nature.)  Christ changed everything in the lives of those who went on to proclaim him after he left.

Some understanding comes best by experience, for words, although necessary, are woefully inadequate on some occasions.  An author of some proverbs did not grasp how an eagle could fly or a ship navigate.  These were (are remain) natural and technological issues, respectively.  Such matters one can explain well via facts.  The Resurrection of Jesus, however, is more mysterious in its mechanics, and I embrace the mystery.  Besides, the post-Resurrection reality really interests me, for it is my reality.  It has been human reality for nearly two thousand years.  And what that reality will require of me is not necessarily (in technical details) a match for what it will require of you, O reader.  Our circumstances are different, and we are not identical.  There is plenty of work to do for Jesus; may each of us do our part faithfully.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 16, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RUFUS JONES, QUAKER THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN FRANCIS REGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BUTLER, ANGLICAN BISHOP

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Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/devotion-for-june-23-24-and-25-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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Proverbs and John, Part VIII: The Violence of the Wicked   1 comment

edicule

Above:  Pilgrims at the Edicule, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, 1941

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/mpc2004003343/PP/)

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Proverbs 24:1-22 (June 21)

Proverbs 25:1-22 (June 22)

Psalm 51 (Morning–June 21)

Psalm 104 (Morning–June 22)

Psalms 142 and 65 (Evening–June 21)

Psalms 118 and 111 (Evening–June 22)

John 19:1-22 (June 21)

John 19:23-42 (June 22)

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Some Related Posts:

John 19:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-ninth-day-of-lent-good-friday/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/fortieth-day-of-lent-holy-saturday/

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Proverbs 24 speaks of the violence which the wicked plot and perpetrate.  They will meet their ultimate fate, it says.  And they will, but why do so many of them prosper for so long on the earth?  I wonder about that point as I read John 19, which contains an account of our Lord’s crucifixion.  The Roman Empire persisted in some form or another until 1453.  Even after it became officially Christian, it was a state founded on violence.  Then it fell to another state founded on violence.  The Ottoman Empire arrived at its end only after World War I.

One lesson I draw from history in general and the life of Jesus in particular is that the violence of wicked flows from a place of fear and insecurity.  A scared dictator or agent thereof persecutes and/or executes those who call the legitimacy of the state founded on violence into question.  Jesus, by his talk of the Kingdom of God, had described the opposite of the Roman Empire and questioned its legitimacy.  And he had not kept a low profile during the last Passover week, for he had confronted the Temple leadership, composed of collaborators.

A fearful and nervous government authorizes torture, denies civil liberties, and rules by intimidation.  This is an old truth, one as germane today and it was in antiquity.  The fact that this truth remains relevant concerns me greatly, for we humans should have learned more than we have.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 16, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RUFUS JONES, QUAKER THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN FRANCIS REGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BUTLER, ANGLICAN BISHOP

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Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/devotion-for-june-21-and-22-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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Proverbs and John, Part VII: Like a Broken Record   1 comment

first-phonograph

Above:  First Phonograph

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ggb2005022585/)

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Proverbs 20:5-25 (June 18)

Proverbs 22:1-21 (June 19)

Proverbs 22:22-23:12 (June 20)

Psalm 42 (Morning–June 18)

Psalm 89:1-18 (Morning–June 19)

Psalm 97 (Morning–June 20)

Psalms 102 and 133 (Evening–June 18)

Psalms 1 and 33 (Evening–June 19)

Psalms 16 and 62 (Evening–June 20)

John 17:1-26 (June 18)

John 18:1-14 (June 19)

John 18:15-40 (June 20)

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Some Related Posts:

John 17-18:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-third-day-of-easter-seventh-sunday-of-easter-year-a/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-fifth-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-sixth-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-seventh-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/forty-third-day-of-easter-seventh-day-of-easter-year-b/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/forty-third-day-of-easter-seventh-sunday-of-easter-year-c/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-ninth-day-of-lent-good-friday/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/proper-29-year-b/

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I am tiring rapidly of the Book of Proverbs.  Of course I have dipped into it over the years.  And, years ago, I read it from beginning to end as part of a project to read all 78 books of the Slavonic Bible.  Yet the Slavonic Bible project was in the 1990s.  Now, as a daily lectionary takes me through Proverbs again, this time in conjunction with the Gospel of John, I find myself agreeing with the Fourth Gospel and arguing with Proverbs quite often.  Proverbs tends to flit about from topic to topic, saying things like

Put your trust in the LORD and he will deliver you.

–20:22b, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

I reply,

Tell that to Jesus.

The next verse in Proverbs is true, however:

False weights are an abomination to the LORD;

Dishonest scales are not right.

–20:23, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

Today I find myself repeating myself yet again:  Proverbs is excessively optimistic and the Gospel of John subverts certain traditional notions of sin, suffering, and shame, including many in Proverbs.

I will be glad when the lectionary leaves Proverbs behind.  Maybe I will sound less like a broken record…record…record…record…record….record…record…..

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 16, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RUFUS JONES, QUAKER THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN FRANCIS REGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BUTLER, ANGLICAN BISHOP

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Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/devotion-for-june-18-19-and-20-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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Proverbs and John, Part VI: Conquering the World   1 comment

pantocrator

Above:  Christ Pantocrator

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Proverbs 16:1-24 (June 16)

Proverbs 17:1-28 (June 17)

Psalm 103 (Morning–June 16)

Psalm 5 (Morning–June 17)

Psalms 117 and 139 (Evening–June 16)

Psalms 84 and 29 (Evening–June 17)

John 16:1-16 (June 16)

John 16:17-33 (June 17)

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Some Related Posts:

John 16:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-eighth-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-ninth-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-first-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-second-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/forty-fourth-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/fiftieth-day-of-easter-day-of-pentecost-year-b/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/trinity-sunday-year-c/

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A scoundrel plots evil;

What is on his lips is like a scorching fire.

–Proverbs 16:27, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

Jesus was about to die because of human and evil designs.  Yet, in that context, in the Gospel of John, Jesus said,

I have told you all this

so that you  may have peace in me.

In the world you will have hardship,

but be courageous:

I have conquered the world.

–John 16:33, The New Jerusalem Bible

Such theology is either deluded and arrogant (therefore going before ruin and failure, according to Proverbs 16:16) or correct and properly confident.  I deem it to be the latter.  Hatred and raw imperial power can kill one whose example of love confront them, but love will never die.  Roman imperial officials killed Jesus yet God raised them.  The statement

I have conquered the world,

in hindsight, is clearly correct and properly confident, not deluded and arrogant.

As I ponder current events, I think about dictators who are willing to kill much of their population to retain power.  I also recognize indifference to human suffering among those who are not murderous potentates or their lackeys.  Has the love of Christ conquered the world today?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 12, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN GUALBERT, FOUNDER OF THE VALLOMBROSAN BENEDICTINES

THE FEAST OF NATHAN SODERBLOM, ECUMENIST

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Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/devotion-for-june-16-and-17-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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Proverbs and John, Part V: Loving One Another While God Watches Us   1 comment

gender-equality-sign

Above:  Gender Equality Sign

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Proverbs 14:1-27 (June 14)

Proverbs 15:1-29 (June 15)

Psalm 85 (Morning–June 14)

Psalm 61 (Morning–June 15)

Psalms 25 and 40 (Evening–June 14)

Psalms 138 and 98 (Evening–June 15)

John 15:1-11 (June 14)

John 15:12-27 (June 15)

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Some Related Posts:

John 15:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-second-day-of-easter/

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

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-fourth-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-fifth-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/thirty-seventh-day-of-easter/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/twenty-ninth-day-of-easter-fifth-sunday-of-easter-year-b/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/thirty-sixth-day-of-easter-sixth-sunday-of-easter-year-b/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/fiftieth-day-of-easter-day-of-pentecost-year-b/

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We read the following caution in Proverbs 15:3 (TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures):

The eyes of the LORD are everywhere,

Observing the bad and the good.

And, in John 15, we read of great love–the kind which motivates one to die for his friends.  Jesus, who had that love, knew the hatred of people whom he had not wronged.  The mandate of the Apostles

to love one another

–John 15:17b, The New Jerusalem Bible

applies to we Christians today.  We will not always get along; personalities will prove mutually incompatible.  Cultural, educational, and intellectual chasms will exist.  And major disagreements will arise.  Yet we can avoid hating one another or consigning the other to Hell rhetorically.

I, as one considered a heretic so often that I have adopted the label as an affirmative one, am used to the

You will go to Hell

sentence and attitude.  I have chosen not to engage those who scorned me thus in further conversation beyond friendly “Hi” and “Bye” dialogue; what else was there to say?  I sought to explore questions, but the other wanted to spout blind dogma as if on automatic pilot.

My default setting is to regard my fellow human beings–regardless of how annoying I find some of them–as fellow bearers of the Image of God.  And my fellow and sister Christians–including those with whom I have little in common theologically–are my coreligionists.  I accept with great ease many who differ from me.  Others I tolerate, but that is more than some of them do in regard to me.  I wish that friendlier theological cohabitation could occur more often that it does, for all of us know very little of God, whose mysteriousness exists beyond the bounds of human comprehension thereof.  But I try–usually successfully–to eschew hostility in my own mind.

And I try to live and think according to the standard of equality before God.  I take great offense at ecclesiastical acceptance of the tendency to block off women and homosexuals as groups, membership in which makes them second-class members to whom ordination is off-limits.  I was born both male and heterosexual; these were not my choices, not that I argue with them.  Many of the people with whom I worship were born female and/or homosexual; those were not their choices either.  All of us stand equal before God.  Any ecclesiastical body which baptizes females yet refuses to ordain because they are women commits hypocrisy, as does one which baptizes homosexuals yet refuses to ordain them because of that identity.  Such hypocrisy ought to cease.  This is a civil rights issue, a matter of loving one another.  And God is watching us.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 12, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN GUALBERT, FOUNDER OF THE VALLOMBROSAN BENEDICTINES

THE FEAST OF NATHAN SODERBLOM, ECUMENIST

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Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/devotion-for-june-14-and-15-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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