Archive for October 2013

Cats as Ministers of Grace   Leave a comment

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Above:  The Beginning of the Draft of This Post

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Bats, swallows and birds alight on their bodies and heads; and so do cats.

–Letter of Jeremiah 22, The New Revised Standard Version

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I have known many felines and had a strong dislike for only one.  There was a neighborhood cat who encroached on the territory of Duncan Gray Cat Taylor, a most mellow creature of God who had adopted me.  I sided with Duncan, of course.  (I had, by the way, named him after three Episcopal Bishops of Mississippi–Duncan Montgomery Gray Sr., Jr., and III.)

Cats are the finest creatures on four legs.  This I affirm, partially because, deep down in the core of my being, I wish that I could be more similar to them.  Their independence of spirit appeals to me.  But they have an advantage I lack:  furriness.  One can get away with much by being soft and furry.  Behaviors which would be maddening otherwise become endearing.  So, as an old saying tells us, kittens are constantly forgiven.  Then we humans, trained well by cats, continue to forgive our older feline companions.

I have spent much of my life to date being emotionally closer to certain cats than to people.  Felines do not meow platitudes at awkward moments.  They do not care about one’s past either.  No, cats who are habituated to humans are likely to warm up to anyone who will treat them kindly.  And cats are not selfish and lacking in affection for others.  They are simply not dogs.  I have read enough about feline behaviors to know when they are marking me as property and when they are being affectionate, so I recognize the latter easily.

I recall occasions when I felt rather badly and needed someone nearby.  I did not need or want words.  No, I required and desired presence.  And, much of the time, that presence has come in feline form.  Sometimes, when resting and ill, I have awoken to find a sleeping cat.  Then I have felt better immediately.  I cannot attest to the feline’s motivations yet know what the effects were.  That is enough.

Our companion animals are good for us.  May we be at least as good for them.  And may we thank God often for them, assuming that we belong to any.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 27, 2013 COMMON ERA

PROPER 25–THE TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR CAMPBELL AINGER, ENGLISH EDUCATOR, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT AEDESIUS, PRIEST AND MISSIONARY; AND SAINT FRUDENTIUS, FIRST BISHOP OF AXUM AND ABUNA OF THE ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX TEWAHEDO CHURCH

THE FEAST OF THE VICTIMS OF THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS

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Below:  The End of the Draft of This Post

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Posted October 27, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Baruch

Tagged with ,

Spiritual Orientations and Temperaments   1 comment

Snapshot_20131024

Above:  The Beginning of the Rough Draft of This Post

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God created people to differ from each other much of the time, not to function as clones of each other.  This I affirm.  Thus, when I state firm opinions, I do not insist that others must or should think or act as I do or be in grave error otherwise.  I do not hope–even in fantasies–for a mass of people to be just like me.  After all, variety is the spice of life.  Yet I affirm what I like and choose not to equivocate on those matters.

Thus certain practices make me uncomfortable; I say so plainly.  If more people would keep them away from me more often I would be grateful.  One of these practices is singing hymns with few words.  (Spirituals and praise songs are notorious for this offense.)  I value a high and literate culture, one in which hymn texts convey profound theological meaning.  Thus many old hymns, a large number of which contemporary hymnals do not include, impress me favorably.  Yet I am no reactionary, for I have found some well-crafted and profound hymn texts less than twenty years old.  I affirm quality when and where I find it.

A true story comes to mind.  Over ten years ago, when I was applying to graduate schools, I pondered attending The University of Florida.  Thus I looked up websites of Episcopal churches in Gainesville, Florida.  I ruled out one congregation because, on its roster of people, included the individual responsible for keeping track of the overhead transparencies for use during worship.  Chills ran up and down my spine when I read that.  More traditional worship appeals to me.

Another pet peeve is one which well-intentioned people inflict on me in their ignorance.  (They know not what they do.)  My introversion makes me uncomfortable praying in public without a Prayer Book.  I know that, in many Protestant denominations, extemporaneous public prayer is ubiquitous, but I do not belong to that subculture.  No, even praying aloud in small groups without the benefit of a Prayer Book makes me cringe.  So I prefer that nobody ask me to do so again.  Whenever they do, I decline politely, my discomfort obvious due to my bad poker face.

My spiritual orientation and temperament makes me a good Episcopalian and a natural contemplative.  My prayer life has become increasingly silent, therefore focused on listening to God more often than speaking.  (I have no “Lord, we just…” cadence.)  And, when I do speak, I do so in a conversational tone and honest manner, referring to God simply as “you,” the most minimal metaphor I can muster.  The deity exists beyond all human concepts, such as sex and gender, but to remove all metaphors from our languages is impossible.  Nor should we try to do so.  Rather we ought to use helpful metaphors in the knowledge of what they are.

In wordy hymns and in deep silence, among other ways, I seek to draw closer to God, whom I have known for a long time.  I am sufficiently Anglican and Catholic to consider my baptism as inseparable from regeneration.  And I have no “born again” experience on file in my memory, not that I need such an experience.  God drew near to me a long time ago.  And I responded favorably, something I have continued to do.  It was initially very subtle, a characteristic which has remained almost always present during my spiritual walk.  The results speak for themselves.

My spiritual ways confuse many other people, especially certain Low Church Protestants.  But that is fine, for I do not answer to them.  And they, likewise, do not answer to me.  No, all of us answer to God.  And we ought to consider seriously both divine judgment and mercy, which exist side-by-side.  Standing humbly in the context of God should , if it does not do so already, prompt more of us to tolerate certain differences, at least.  Those differences are those which cause discomfort to one or both of us without bringing about harm to anyone.  And we can still cling to our preferences, for agreement is not a requirement much of the time.   Beyond that trying not to do something which we know will irritate another person is a virtuous act.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTHONY CLARET, FOUNDER OF THE CLARETIANS

THE FEAST OF ROSA PARKS, MOTHER OF THE MODERN-DAY CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

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Below:  The End of the Rough Draft of This Post

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Missing the Obvious   1 comment

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Above:  Elijah in the Wilderness, by Washington Allston

(Image in the Public Domain)

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The Collect:

O God, in the transfiguration of your Son you confirmed the

mysteries of the faith by the witness of Moses and Elijah,

and in the voice from the bright cloud declaring Jesus your beloved Son,

you foreshadowed our adoption as your children.

Make us heirs with Christ of your glory, and bring us to enjoy its fullness,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 25

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The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 33:7-23 (Monday)

1 Kings 19:9-18 (Tuesday)

Psalm 78:17-20, 52-55 (Both Days)

Acts 7:30-34 (Monday)

Romans 11:1-6 (Tuesday)

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Some Related Posts:

Exodus 33:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/devotion-for-the-sixteenth-and-seventeenth-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/week-of-proper-12-tuesday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/proper-24-year-a/

1 Kings 19:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/proper-14-year-a/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/week-of-proper-5-friday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/proper-8-year-c/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/devotion-for-september-1-2-and-3-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Romans 11:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/devotion-for-january-21-and-22-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-fifth-sunday-after-epiphany-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/week-of-proper-25-saturday-year-1/

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They tested God in their hearts

and demanded food for their craving.

They spoke against God and said,

“Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?

He struck the rock indeed,

so that the waters gushed out and the streams overflowed,

but can he give bread or provide meat for his people?”

–Psalm 78:18-20, Common Worship (2000)

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God had delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.  The Book of Exodus, having attempted a natural explanation for the parting of the waters, regarded freedom as the miracle.  And freedom was the miracle.  Yet the slave mentality persisted, so the next generation (not raised as slaves) entered the Promised Land.

God had revealed Baal to be imaginary.  The only real deity, quite different from false gods, spoke in silence, not noise.

God–I AM–had done so much publicly.  Why was it not enough for many people?  We human beings seem to have a reluctance to change our minds about the major issues much of the time.  This is partially an evolutionary adaption–a survival technique in the wilderness.  If, for example, gatherers thought that a certain variety of mushroom was poisonous due to passed-down folklore, they were slow to reverse that assumption–probably for a good cause.  Yet this evolutionary adaptation, combined with the frailties of ego, leads to

don’t confuse me with the facts

religion, theology, and politics.

I am cautious to avoid being excessively certain about divine attributes out of a desire to avoid heresy as God defines it.  Yet I make the following statement confidently:  God, in the Bible, has a track record of doing unexpected (from a human perspective) things.  Thus we move in Scripture from the mysterious encounters of Moses with God to the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity as Jesus of Nazareth, whereby many people saw the face of God.  And I wonder what God is doing that I see without recognition because I do not expect it or I do not want facts to upset my conclusions.  It is a question worth applying to self, is it not, O reader?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 22, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK PRATT GREEN, BRITISH METHODIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMEW ZOUBERBUHLER, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF PAUL TILLICH, LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

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Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/devotion-for-monday-and-tuesday-after-the-last-sunday-after-epiphany-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

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Humility Before God and the Reality of Unexpected Suffering   1 comment

brueghel_lancien_-_la_prc3a9dication_de_saint_jean-baptiste

Above:  The Preaching of Saint John the Baptist, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

Image Source = Yelkrokoyade

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brueghel_l%27Ancien_-_La_Pr%C3%A9dication_de_Saint_Jean-Baptiste.jpg)

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The Collect:

O God, in the transfiguration of your Son you confirmed the

mysteries of the faith by the witness of Moses and Elijah,

and in the voice from the bright cloud declaring Jesus your beloved Son,

you foreshadowed our adoption as your children.

Make us heirs with Christ of your glory, and bring us to enjoy its fullness,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 25

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The Assigned Readings:

1 Kings 21:20-29

Psalm 2

Mark 9:9-13

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Some Related Posts:

1 Kings 21:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/week-of-proper-6-tuesday-year-2/

Mark 9:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/week-of-6-epiphany-saturday-year-1/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/devotion-for-the-third-sunday-in-lent-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/week-of-proper-1-saturday-year-1/

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Now therefore be wise, O kings;

be prudent, you judges of the earth.

–Psalm 2:10, Common Worship (2000)

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Of those who are sleeping in the Land of Dust, many will awaken, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace.  Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightness, as bright as stars for all eternity.

–Daniel 12:2-3, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

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Look, I shall send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.  He will reconcile parents to their children and children to their parents, lest I come and put the land under a ban to destroy it.

–Malachi 4:4-6, The Revised English Bible (1989)

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“It is quite true,” he told them, “that Elijah does come first, and begins the restoration of all things.  But what does the scripture say about the Son of Man?  This:  that he must go through much suffering and be treated with contempt.  I tell you that not only has Elijah come already but they have done to him exactly what they wanted–just as the scripture says of him.”

–Mark 9:12-13, J. B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English, Revised Edition (1972)

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There is much happening in the background of the Gospel lection for today:

  1. The resurrection of the dead is associated with the Day of the Lord in Daniel 12:2-3.
  2. In Malachi 3:23-24/4:5-6 (depending on which versification system one follows), Elijah will return before judgment day and function as an agent of reconciliation.
  3. Jesus identifies the late St. John the Baptist as Elijah in Mark 9:13.
  4. Yet is not the expectation in Malachi that Elijah will prevent suffering?

The account in Mark overturns old assumptions.  For that matter, the entire Gospel of Mark argues against a certain understanding of Messiahship.  In the earliest canonical Gospel, the crucifixion of Jesus makes his status as the Messiah unmistakable.  That has become a common reading of Messiahship since the first century of Christianity yet was once a radical notion.  The same rule applies to St. John the Baptist as “Elijah.”  Our Lord and Savior’s cousin was also his forerunner in suffering and death.

If humbling oneself before God postpones punishments (at least in some cases), the fact remains that the consequences of misdeeds and sins of omission will fall in time–perhaps upon the next generation, as unfair as that might seem.  But that is how reality works, is it not?  Yet the fact remains that one generation leaves legacies–positive and negative–which affect people into the future.  However the Atonement works (I side with the Eastern Orthodox, who argue against the Western Christian tendency to explain away certain mysteries), I like to think that it leaves a positive legacy of negating much of the negative which would have come down to us otherwise.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 22, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK PRATT GREEN, BRITISH METHODIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMEW ZOUBERBUHLER, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF PAUL TILLICH, LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

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Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/devotion-for-saturday-before-the-last-sunday-after-epiphany-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

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Active Faith II   1 comment

jmdp-56

Above:  Jonathan Myrick Daniels Memorial , August 9, 2013

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

(https://plus.google.com/photos/114749828757741527421/albums/5910907140282601969/5910903135957646082?banner=pwa&pid=5910903135957646082&oid=114749828757741527421)

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The Collect:

O God, in the transfiguration of your Son you confirmed the

mysteries of the faith by the witness of Moses and Elijah,

and in the voice from the bright cloud declaring Jesus your beloved Son,

you foreshadowed our adoption as your children.

Make us heirs with Christ of your glory, and bring us to enjoy its fullness,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 25

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The Assigned Readings:

Exodus 6:2-9 (Thursday)

Exodus 19:9b-25 (Friday)

Psalm 2 (Both Days)

Hebrews 8:1-7 (Thursday)

Hebrews 11:23-28 (Friday)

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Some Related Posts:

Exodus 19:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/week-of-proper-11-thursday-year-1/

Hebrews 8:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/week-of-2-epiphany-thursday-year-1/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-first-day-of-easter-easter-sunday-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Hebrews 11:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/week-of-4-epiphany-monday-year-1/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/devotion-for-tuesday-after-the-first-sunday-of-advent-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/devotion-for-january-4-and-5-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-fifth-day-of-easter-thursday-in-easter-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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The kings of the earth rise up,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the Lord and against his anointed:

“Let us break their bonds asunder

and cast away their cords from us.”

He who dwells in heaven shall laugh them to scorn;

the Lord shall have them in derision.

–Psalm 2:2-4, Common Worship (2000)

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But when Moses repeated those words to the Israelites, they would not listen to him, because of their cruel slavery, they had reached the depths of despair.

–Exodus 6:9, The Revised English Bible (1989)

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Active faith by which we follow God has changed the world for the better.  In the United States of America, for example, it fueled the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  Such active faith overturned Apartheid in the Republic of South Africa.  This continues to compel people to work for social justice all over the planet.

Yet passiveness born of resignation stymies progress.  Giving up on improving conditions in this world and seeking a better lot only in the afterlife does nothing to work for a just society on this plane of reality.  The Hebrew prophets condemned social injustice.  Our Lord and Savior did likewise.  Indeed, seeking to improve this reality is part and parcel of loving one’s neighbor and pursuing the great Jewish ethic of healing the world.

So may each of us never make peace with oppression.  May all of us take to heart and act on the following prayer:

O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.  Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.  Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 22, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK PRATT GREEN, BRITISH METHODIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF BARTHOLOMEW ZOUBERBUHLER, ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF PAUL TILLICH, LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

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Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/devotion-for-thursday-and-friday-before-the-last-sunday-after-epiphany-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

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Endurance   1 comment

Common Raven

Above:  A Common Raven, March 2004

Photographer = Dave Menke

Image Source = U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

(http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/natdiglib/id/7399/rec/7)

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The Collect:

God of tender care, like a mother, like a father,

you never forget your children, and you know already what we need.

In our anxiety give us trusting and faithful hearts,

that in confidence we may embody the peace and justice

of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 25

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The Assigned Readings:

Deuteronomy 32:1-14 (Monday)

1 Kings 17:1-16 (Tuesday)

Isaiah 66:7-13 (Wednesday)

Psalm 104 (All Days)

Hebrews 10:32-39 (Monday)

1 Corinthians 4:6-21 (Tuesday)

Luke 12:22-31 (Wednesday)

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Some Related Posts:

Deuteronomy 32:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/devotion-for-october-29-30-and-31-lcms-daily-lectionary/

1 Kings 17:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/week-of-proper-5-monday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/week-of-proper-5-tuesday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/proper-27-year-b/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/devotion-for-august-30-and-31-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Isaiah 66:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/devotion-for-january-6-lcms-daily-lectionary/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/proper-9-year-c/

Hebrews 10:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/week-of-3-epiphany-friday-year-1/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/devotion-for-the-fourth-day-of-easter-wednesday-in-holy-week-lcms-daily-lectionary/

1 Corinthians 4:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/week-of-proper-17-saturday-year-2/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/devotion-for-august-9-and-10-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Luke 12:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/devotion-for-the-twenty-ninth-thirtieth-and-thirty-first-days-of-easter-lcms-daily-lectionary/

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All of these look to you to give them their food in due season.

When you give it to them, they gather it;

you open your hand and they are filled with good.

When you hide your face they are troubled,

when you take away their breath,

they die and return again to the dust.

When you send forth your spirit, they are created,

and you renew the face of the earth.

–Psalm 104:29-32, Common Worship (2000)

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The Book of Job is allegedly about why people suffer.  I have read that book closely several times recently and concluded that the book is about a different topic–how many pious people misunderstand God and presume to spread their confusion.  As for the cause of suffering in the Book of Job, the text makes clear that, in the titular character’s case, God permitted it.

There is no single cause of suffering.  Possible causes include one’s own sin, another person’s sin, and the fact of being alive.  The main topic of these days’ readings, however, is endurance, not suffering.  While we endure, do we welcome those agents of grace God sends to us?  Do we cease to endure, abandoning faith in God?  Or do we mature spiritually?  And do we anticipate the blessings which follow after suffering ends?

J. B. Phillips, in his classic book, Your God is Too Small (1961), posited that many people have spiritual deficiencies flowing from inadequate God concepts.  I find this conclusion persuasive.  It applies to the human characters in the Book of Job, for example.  And it applies to many, if not most of us who describe ourselves as religious.

A woefully inadequate God concept can contribute to buckling under pressure and not trusting in God, therefore in not enduring then maturing spiritually.  This is not a condemnation of anyone, for I know firsthand about struggling spiritually when one’s world collapses.  I also know what grace feels like in those dark days, weeks, and months.  And I know that it is to emerge–singed, to be sure–from the metaphorical fire.

So from experience I write the following:  No matter how bad the situation is now and how dire it seems to be, there is no shortage of grace.  Thanks be to God!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

PROPER 24–THE TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

THE FEAST OF MARY A. LATHBURY, U.S. METHODIST HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERTILLA BOSCARDIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND NURSE

THE FEAST OF JOHN HARRIS BURT, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF TARORE OF WAHOARA, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY

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Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/devotion-for-monday-tuesday-and-wednesday-after-the-eighth-sunday-after-epiphany-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

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Turning Toward the False and Illusory   1 comment

08508v

Above:  The Pool of Hezekiah, Jerusalem, Palestine, Between 1898 and 1946

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/mpc2005000364/PP/)

Reference Number = LC-DIG-matpc-08508

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The Collect:

God of tender care, like a mother, like a father,

you never forget your children, and you know already what we need.

In our anxiety give us trusting and faithful hearts,

that in confidence we may embody the peace and justice

of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 25

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 31:1-9

Psalm 131 (Both Days)

Luke 11:14-23

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Some Related Posts:

Isaiah 31:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/devotion-for-december-15-lcms-daily-lectionary/

Luke 11:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/twentieth-day-of-lent/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/week-of-proper-22-friday-year-1/

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O Israel, trust in the Lord,

from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 131:4, Common Worship (2000)

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The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume V (1956), page 338 on Isaiah 31:1-3:

This oracle is a companion piece to 30:1-7, with its references to the Judean embassy seeking Egyptian help, to the illusory strength of Egypt, to the wisdom and the spirit of God, and to the inevitable discomfiture of a plan to seek foreign aid rather than to rely on God.  The propensity of human beings in time of danger to grasp for material support at whatever moral cost, and to neglect the priority of spiritual realities because they are intangible, is here vividly set out.  The grandiose dreams of the Judean leaders will come to nothing; instead, they will invoke the nemesis of history.  For this the prophet gives two reasons:  (a) their policy flouts the wise purpose of Yahweh, which alone governs the course of events; and (b) they are putting their trust in something as weak and transitory as themselves, which will perish with them.

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King Hezekiah, seeking defense against Assyria, had entered into an alliance with Egypt, whose leadership, as Volume V (1956) of The Interpreter’s Biblestated on page 330, made grand promises yet could do nothing more than talk.  For this talking the Pharaoh received tribute from Judah.  There was no security to find in that alliance.

A common belief in the Hellenistic Mediterranean world was that demonic possession caused a variety of conditions.  Today we call them a range of terms, from stress to mental illness.  In those days, however, the term for treating those conditions was exorcism.  Some of our Lord and Savior’s opponents accused him of exorcising via a league with Satan.  Even inside the cultural milieu the logic failed immediately.

The unifying theme this day is turning away from God and toward that which is false, illusory, and incapable of meeting the needs of the moment.  We humans do this often.  Related to this pattern is a constant–human nature, with its strengths and weaknesses.  The weaknesses share the central seat with divine fidelity in this post.

Whenever we seek substitutes for God, whether they be sports, drugs, bad religion, or other idols, we attempt to force square pegs into round holes.  We set off upon foolish and doomed errands.  May we cease to do that, by grace and for the glory of God, the benefit of our fellow human beings, and the best interests of ourselves.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

PROPER 24–THE TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

THE FEAST OF MARY A. LATHBURY, U.S. METHODIST HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT BERTILLA BOSCARDIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND NURSE

THE FEAST OF JOHN HARRIS BURT, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF TARORE OF WAHOARA, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY

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Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/devotion-for-saturday-before-the-eighth-sunday-after-epiphany-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

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Posted October 24, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Isaiah 31-32, Luke 11

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