In Times of Distress   Leave a comment

Above:  Pearl of Grief, by Rembrandt Peale

Image in the Public Domain

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For the Second Sunday Before Lent, Year 2

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Lectionary from A Book of Worship for Free Churches (The General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches in the United States, 1948)

Collect from The Book of Worship (Evangelical and Reformed Church, 1947)

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O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do;

mercifully grant that by thy power,

we may be defended against all adversity;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Book of Worship (1947), 139

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Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

Psalm 71

2 Timothy 3:10-4:5

Luke 8:4-15

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These four readings include the unifying theme of perseverance in faith during times of misfortune.  Do we become stronger or weaker in faith during such times?

The bottom has fallen out of my life twice–in late 2006 and early 2007 then again on October 14, 2019.  I rebounded spiritually from the 2006-2007 collapse years ago.  I am still rebuilding spiritually from Bonny’s sudden, violent death on October 14, 2019.  The COVID-19 pandemic has added complications on top of my personal catastrophe.

I have grown the most spiritually during times of distress.  The light of God has seemed brighter in the darkness.  Perhaps that light was as bright as it had always been.  If so, the darkness around it magnified the light’s effectiveness.  I remain grateful for that spiritual growth without wanting to relive those experiences or anything similar to them.

Life is unfair.  It hurts horribly, sometimes.  If one relies on one’s own resources, one cannot move along from one moment to the next, let alone one day to the next.  If one relies on God, both directly and indirectly, however, one can do that.  Life will still hurt, but one will not feel alone in that hurt.  Jesus can identify with us, our temptations, and our pain.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 12, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON, ABOLITIONIST AND FEMINIST; AND MARIA STEWART, ABOLITIONIST, FEMINIST, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS BARTHOLOMEW BUONPEDONI AND VIVALDUS, MINISTERS AMONG LEPERS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM LOUIS POTEAT, PRESIDENT OF WAKE FOREST COLLEGE, AND BIOLOGIST; HIS BROTHER, EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, SR., SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND PRESIDENT OF FURMAN UNIVERSITY; HIS SON, EDWIN MCNEILL POTEAT, JR., SOUTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER, MISSIONARY, MUSICIAN, HYMN WRITER, AND SOCIAL REFORMER; HIS BROTHER, GORDON MCNEILL POTEAT, SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN BAPTIST AND CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND MISSIONARY; AND HIS COUSIN, HUBERT MCNEILL POTEAT, SOUTHERN BAPTIST ACADEMIC AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDWIK BARTOSIK, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1941

THE FEAST OF THOMAS CANNING, U.S. COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

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