Archive for the ‘Luke 7’ Category

Ministry of St. Simon Peter   1 comment

Above:  St. Simon Peter

Image in the Public Domain

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READING LUKE-ACTS, PART LXIV

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Acts 9:32-11:18

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I refer you, O reader, to the other posts here at BLOGA THEOLOGICA in which I have written about the constituent parts of Acts 9:32-11:18.  In this post, I focus on broader themes, not narrower ones.

The power of God that flowed through Jesus through St. Simon Peter, according to Acts 9:32-42.

Jewish-Gentile relations require some attention.

As we have already established in this series, Judaism allowed for divine acceptance of righteous Gentiles.  Earlier in Luke-Acts, Jesus healed the slave of a Roman centurion who had favorable relations with the Jewish community of Capernaum (Luke 7:1-10).  Yet, obviously, in Acts 10:1-11:18, some Jews were less accepting of Gentiles than other Jews were.

We need to read Acts 10:1-11:18 on three levels:

  1. the timeframe in which 10:1-11:18 is set,
  2. the timeframe of circa 85 C.E, and
  3. the timeframe of today.

The problem of social relations between Christians converted from Judaism and Christians converted from paganism underlies the narrative, cf. 10:10-16, 28-29; 11:2-14; and Ga[latians] 2:11-21.

The Jerusalem Bible (1966), 217

The present-day lens of Acts 10:1-11:18 was circa 85 C.E.  St. Paul the Apostle had argued valiantly and vehemently on the behalf of Christians converted from paganism, that they did not have to obey the Law of Moses.  Decades after his martyrdom in Rome, the debate continued to rage.

Alas, St. Simon Peter was inconsistent regarding accepting Gentiles after Acts 10-11 (Galatians 2:11-21).

I, not content to chastise long-dead people and feel spiritually smug and self-righteous, look in the spiritual mirror instead.  In my cultural context, which people do I exclude wrongly?  And which people do I favor including yet get quiet about because of what others may think, say, or do?  You, O reader, should ask yourself the same questions.  Likewise, communities and institutions should ask themselves these questions, also.  For example, many congregations proclaim that everyone is welcome.  How accurate is that sentiment, though?

I realized then that God was giving them the identical thing he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and who was I to stand in God’s way?

–Acts 11:17, The Jerusalem Bible (1966)

Who am I to stand in God’s way?  Who are you, O reader, to stand in God’s way?  Who is anyone to stand in God’s way?  What is any institution or congregation to stand in God’s way?

Grace scandalizes by not discriminating.  Does that make you, O reader, comfortable or uncomfortable?  If it makes you uncomfortable, why does it do so?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 21, 2022 COMMON ERA

THURSDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMAN ADAME ROSALES, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1927

THE FEAST OF SAINT CONRAD OF PARZHAM, CAPUCHIN FRIAR

THE FEAST OF DAVID BRAINERD, AMERICAN CONGREGATIONALIST THEN PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY AND MINISTER

THE FEAST OF GEORGE B. CAIRD, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST THEN UNITED REFORMED MINISTER, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF GEORGIA HARKNESS, U.S. METHODIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, ETHICIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIMON BARSABAE, BISHOP; AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS, 341

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The Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of the Ascension, by Andrei Rublev

Image in the Public Domain

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READING LUKE-ACTS, PART LIII

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Luke 24:50-53

Acts 1:1-11

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Given that I have written numerous blog posts about the Ascension, and given that they are available at this weblog, I do not seek to replicate them in this post.

As I continue through Luke-Acts, I notice a narrative contradiction.  Luke 24:50-53, read within the narrative context of chapter 24, dates the Ascension to Easter Day.  Yet Acts 1:3 dates the Ascension to forty days after Easter Day.  Interpretations of this discrepancy include:

  1. “Forty days” is symbolic,
  2. The forty days fill out the calendar, and
  3. Acts 1:3 corrects Luke 24 after St. Luke the Evangelist uncovered more information than he had when he wrote the Gospel of Luke.

I am not a fundamentalist.  Biblical inerrancy and infallibility are utter nonsense.  If St. Luke changed his mind, so be it.  If “forty days” is symbolic, so be it.  I do not know which interpretation is corect.

Forty is frequently a symbolic number in the Bible.  One may recall that the reign of King David lasted for about forty years, that the Hebrews wandered in the desert for forty years, that Jesus spent forty days in the desert, and that the mythical Great Flood lasted for forty days and forty nights.  Forty is a sacred number in the Bible.  It, therefore, recurs in the Bible for many more examples than i have cited.  Forty, symbolically, is a round number that designates a fairly long time in terms of human existence or endurance.

So, even if the forty days (Acts 1:3) are symbolic, they still contradict Luke 24, with Jesus’s resurrection and the Ascension occurring on the same day.

Anyway, “ascension” may not be the most accurate word for Jesus’ departure.  “Assumption” may be better.  Christ’s departure resembles the assumptions of Elijah (2 Kings 2:9-11; Sirach 48:9) and Enoch (Genesis 5:23-24; Sirach 49:14b), with apocalyptic imagery added.

The priestly gestures and blessings of Jesus before his departure, followed by worship, close the Gospel of Luke fittingly.  Recall Luke 1:20-23, O reader:  the priest Zechariah could not pronounce a blessing.

The Lukan accounts of the Ascension of Jesus also draw from Sirach 50:1-21, about the high priest Simon II.  The account of Simon II depicts him as the culmination of Israel’s history, at the point of the composition of that book.  Luke-Acts, which postdates Sirach, depicts Jesus as the culmination of Israel’s history.

In Luke 24, the Ascension is the fitting end of the story of Jesus.  In Acts 1, however, the Ascension is the beginning of the story of the mission of the Church.  Placing the two Lukan interpretations side-by-side provides the full picture.

I also detect one of St. Luke’s organizing principles in Luke 24 and Acts 1.  Luke-Acts finishes focusing on one story before focusing on another one, although the stories may overlap.  Consider the focus on St. John the Baptist (Luke 3) before the focus on Jesus (Luke  4-24), O reader.  Then we come to a different focus, starting in Acts 1.

The story of the mission of the Church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, follows.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 2, 2022 COMMON ERA

ASH WEDNESDAY

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Jesus and Women   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of St. Mary Magdalene

Image in the Public Domain

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READING LUKE-ACTS, PART XIX

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Luke 7:36-8:3

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We may blame Pope St. Gregory I “the Great” (reigned 590-604) for starting a dubious tradition in Biblical scholarship.  St. Gregory I was a great man.  He functioned as a Roman (Byzantine) imperial statesman, albeit reluctantly.  (Somebody had to do it.)  St. Gregory I launched the Roman Catholic mission to England.  Yet he conflated the unnamed prostitute in Luke 7:36-50 with St. Mary Magdalene (8:2).  This false assumption has tainted the reputation of St. Mary Magdalene since and contributed to the term “Madonna-Whore Complex.”

Luke 8:2 tells us that St. Mary Magdalene supported Jesus’s ministry financially.  That verse also tells us that Jesus had exorcised seven demons from her.  Other passages from the canonical Gospels tell of her dedication to Christ, all the way to the empty tomb.

I do not think as people did in the first century C.E did.  I understand, for example, that epilepsy, various physical conditions, and mental illnesses do not result from demonic possession.  They have organic causes.  Neither do I reject the existence of the demonic.  Nevertheless, I do not know how to interpret Luke 8:2.  I conclude, however, that, whatever Jesus did to help St. Mary Magdalene, he won a disciple when he did it.  That may suffice.

Each of the canonical Gospels contains a story of a woman anointing Jesus, usually as foreshadowing of the anointing of his corpse.  In three of the four accounts, the texts do not name the woman.  She is St. Mary of Bethany in the Gospel of John.  The traditional confusion of mistaking Sts. Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany for the same woman results from a combination of misinterpretations of germane texts.  In some stories, the woman (sometimes a penitent sinner) anointed Jesus’ feet; in others, she anointed his head.  Biblical scholarly consensus has settled on two anointings having occurred, and the story in the Johannine Gospel containing elements of both.

Limitless gratitude is common to both the woman in Luke 7:36-50 and the women in Luke 8:1-3.  Limitless gratitude does not care if its expressions seem to be or are bizarre, suspicious, and undignified.  Limitless gratitude goes as far as it needs to go, regardless of the costs.  Limitless gratitude deserves recognition, not scorn.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 30, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF ALLEN EASTMAN CROSS, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORGE WALLACE BRIGGS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN MAIN, ANGLO-CANADIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MONK

THE FEAST OF JOSIAH BOOTH, ENGLISH ORGANIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TUNE COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF FRANCES JOSEPH-GAUDET, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATOR, PRISON REFORMER, AND SOCIAL WORKER

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Jesus and St. John the Baptist   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of St. John the Baptist

Image in the Public Domain

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READING LUKE-ACTS, PART XVIII

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Luke 7:18-35

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The doubts of St. John the Baptist may surprise many people.  These doubts do not surprise me, though.  Incarceration frequently sows the seeds of doubt and despair.  I, like Jesus, do not condemn St. John the Baptist.  No, I commend the great forerunner of Christ.

Chapter 7 is a fine example of how the Gospel of Luke is “an orderly account.”  The passage of time is vague in Luke 7.  An account of healing and an account of Jesus raising a widow’s son from the dead precede the arrival of the messengers from St. John the Baptist.  Then Jesus cites evidence, including Luke 7:1-17.  The two stories in 7:1-17 are fresh in the memories of an observant reader when that reader gets to verse 18f.

Some people refuse to be satisfied; they thrive on criticizing (in the negative sense of that word).  What ever one does or does not do, these critics will find fault with one.  Being this critical must be an unpleasant way to live, but many people prefer it.  Human psychology makes no sense sometimes.

Jesus and St. John the Baptist had to contend with such critics.  St. John the Baptist lived austerely and received criticism for doing so.  Jesus dined with people in their homes and received criticism for doing so.  These critics’ standards were inconsistent.

This situation reminds me of the Argument Clinic, one of my favorite sketches from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

I came here for an argument!

No, you didn’t!

Some people argue for the sake of arguing and criticize for the sake of criticizing.  In so doing, they do not contribute to understanding.  Yet maybe they reinforce their dysfunctional egos.

Jesus and St. John the Baptist made positive differences, though.  And their constructive lives led to their unjust executions.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS (TRANSFERRED)

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A Healing and a Raising   Leave a comment

Above:  Jesus Healing the Servant of a Centurion, by Paolo Veronese

Image in the Public Domain

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READING LUKE-ACTS, PART XVII

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Luke 7:1-17

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We read of two miracles in these verses.  We moderns think of miracles as violations of at least one law of nature.  We, heirs of the Scientific Revolution and its glorious child, the Enlightenment, have the category “laws of nature,”  a category unknown to people during the time of Christ.

They did have a category for extraordinary events, though.

One theme in the canonical Gospels is that the miracles of Jesus indicated the presence of the Kingdom of God.

The story of the Roman centurion’s slave refers to:

  1. his amicable relationship with Jews, and
  2. his faith.

This story fits to prominent Lucan themes:

  1. highlighting good Roman imperial officials, although the empire itself was at odds with God; and
  2. highlighting faithful Gentiles.

One can legitimately link Luke 7:1-10 to Acts 10:34-35:

Then Peter began to speak:

“Of a truth I begin to see quite plainly that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he who fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.

Helen Barrett Montgomery, The Centenary Translation of the New Testament (1924)

The story of Jesus restoring the son of the widow of Nain ought to remind one of Elijah raising the son of the widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17-24).  Jesus is greater than Elijah, we read.  1 Kings 17 tells us that Elijah had to stretch himself over the corpse three times.  Luke 17 tells us that Jesus used a few words.

Jesus is seen as “a great prophet” in the service of God’s people.  His ministry extends not only to the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, and the downtrodden, but even to those in the grip of death.

–Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke I-IX (1981), 660

Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS (TRANSFERRED)

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Posted December 29, 2021 by neatnik2009 in 1 Kings 17, Luke 7

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Introduction to Luke-Acts   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of St. Luke the Evangelist

Image in the Public Domain

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READING LUKE-ACTS, PART I

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The whole of Luke’s gospel is about the way in which the living God has planted, in Jesus, the seed of that long-awaited hope in the world.

–N. T. Wright, Lent for Everyone:  Luke, Year C–A Daily Devotional (2009), 2

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The Gospel of Luke is the first volume of a larger work.  The Acts of the Apostles is the second volume.  One can read either volume spiritually profitably in isolation from the other one.  However, one derives more benefit from reading Luke-Acts as the two-volume work it is.

Each of the four canonical Gospels bears the name of its traditional author.  The Gospel of Luke is the only case in which I take this traditional authorship seriously as a matter of history.  One may recall that St. Luke was a well-educated Gentile physician and a traveling companion of St. Paul the Apostle.

Luke-Acts dates to circa 85 C.E.,. “give or take five to ten years,” as Raymond E. Brown (1928-1998) wrote in his magisterial An Introduction to the New Testament (1997).  Luke-Acts, having a Gentile author, includes evidence that the audience consisted of Gentiles, too.  The text makes numerous references to the inclusion of Gentiles, for example.  Two of the major themes in Luke-Acts are (a) reversal of fortune, and (b) the conflict between the Roman Empire and the Kingdom of God.  The smoldering ruins of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 C.E. inform the present tense of the story-telling.

Many North American Christians minimize or ignore the imperial politics in the New Testament.  In doing so, they overlook essential historical and cultural contexts.  Luke-Acts, in particular, performs an intriguing political dance with the Roman Empire.  The two-volume work unambiguously proclaims Jesus over the Emperor–a treasonous message, by Roman imperial standards.  Luke-Acts makes clear that the Roman Empire was on the wrong side of God, that its values were opposite those of the Kingdom of God.  Yet the two-volume work goes out of its way to mention honorable imperial officials.

Know six essential facts about me, O reader:

  1. This weblog is contains other blog posts covering Luke-Acts, but in the context of lectionaries.  I refer you to those posts.  And I will not attempt to replicate those other posts in the new posts.  Finding those posts is easy; check the category for the book and chapter, such as Luke 1 or Acts 28.
  2. I know far more about the four canonical Gospels, especially in relation to each other, than I will mention in the succeeding posts.  I tell you this not to boast, but to try to head off anyone who may chime in with a rejoinder irrelevant to my purpose in any given post.  My strategy will be to remain on topic.
  3. My purpose will be to analyze the material in a way that is intellectually honest and applicable in real life.  I respect Biblical scholarship that goes deep into the woods, spending ten pages on three lines.  I consult works of such scholarship.  However, I leave that work to people with Ph.Ds in germane fields and who write commentaries.
  4. I am a student of the Bible, not a scholar thereof.
  5. I am a left-of-center Episcopalian who places a high value on human reason and intellect.  I value history and science.  I reject both the inerrancy and the infallibility of scripture for these reasons.  Fundamentalists think I am going to Hell for asking too many questions.  I try please God, not fundamentalists. I know too much to affirm certain theological statements.
  6. I am a sui generis mix of Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican theological influences.  I consider St. Mary of Nazareth to be the Theotokos (the Bearer of God) and the Mater Dei (the Mother of God).  I also reject the Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception with it.

Make of all this whatever you will, O reader.

Shall we begin our journey through Luke-Acts?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 20, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT DOMINIC OF SILOS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF BATES GILBERT BURT, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF BENJAMIN TUCKER TANNER, AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL BISHOP AND RENEWER OF SOCIETY

THE FEAST OF D. ELTON TRUEBLOOD, U.S. QUAKER THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHANN CHRISTOPH SCHWEDLER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MICHAL PIASCZYNSKI,POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1940

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Agents of Divine Grace   Leave a comment

Above:  The Parable of the Fig Tree, by Jan Luyken

Image in the Public Domain

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For the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, 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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Lord, we pray thee, that thy grace may always go before and follow after us,

and make us continually to be given to all good works;

through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth

with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.  Amen.

The Book of Worship (1947), 214

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1 Kings 17:17-24

Psalm 116

Acts 17:16-34

Luke 7:11-17

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The readings from 1 Kings 17 and Luke 7 share a theme:  the raising of a widow’s son.

Widows were some of the most vulnerable members of society during the times of Elijah and Jesus.  On top of the usual grief of a parent for a child was the dread of,

What will happen to me now?

God is gracious, Psalm 116 tells us.  God has been patient, St. Paul the Apostle said in Athens, Greece, in Acts 17.  Recognition of God and faithfulness to God has never been a guarantee against harm and disaster.  However, as Psalm 116 tells us, the faithful do not suffer alone.  Those oblivious to God do not know what they are missing.  They condemn themselves.

One may legitimately ask how God is present with the faithful who suffer.  God is present both directly and indirectly.  I know from experience that God speaks directly sometimes.  More frequent, though, is the experience of others–humans, mainly, but cats, also–functioning as agents of divine grace.  The existence and the caring nature of God does not absolve anyone of the responsibility to function as an agent of divine grace.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD GRUBB, ENGLISH QUAKER AUTHOR, SOCIAL REFORMER, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JAMES D. SMART, CANADIAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS, AND HYMN WRITER

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Deeds and Creeds III   Leave a comment

Above:  King Josiah of Judah

Image in the Public Domain

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For the First 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, who hast taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth;

send thy Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,

the very bond of peace and of all virtues,

without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee.

Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake.  Amen.

The Book of Worship (1947), 141

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2 Kings 22:8-20

Psalms 15 and 16

Romans 5:13-25

Luke 7:1-16

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God calls Jews.  God calls Gentiles, too.  God also cares deeply about how we humans treat each other.  Orthopraxy is the practical side of orthodoxy.  Deeds reveal creeds.  Faith without works is dead.

I grew up around an evangelical subculture in small towns and communities in rural Georgia, mostly in the southern part of the state.  The cultural milieu was primarily racist, provincial, conservative, conformist, homophobic, anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, and anti-Roman Catholic.   I grew up United Methodist in a subculture the Southern Baptist Convention defined.  My latent Roman Catholic tendencies ceased to be latent after a while.  My intellectualism and acceptance of science added to my marginalization.  My rebelliousness in the face of continuous pressures to conform increased.  Fortunately, my parents raised me to think for myself.  They also raised me to oppose racism.

So, O reader, know that I am a churchy person with a sometimes jaundiced view of the institutional church.  I recall examples of life-long church members protesting they were not racists as they opposed funding a denominational scholarship fund for African-American college students.  I know the pressures to fit into an ecclesiastical subculture in violation of my personality type.  I know the feeling of having people indicate that my preference for contemplative prayer over oral, extemporaneous prayer (which they preferred) is inherently defective.  A difference is not necessarily a defect.  I know that the church has shot many of its own, so to speak.  It has shot me, so to speak.

Deeds reveal creeds.  Works reveal active faith.  God has created an astounding variety of personalities.  Each of us has received spiritual gifts.  All of them are essential.  So are all the personalities.

Deeds reveal creeds.  Do we believe that diversity is crucial in the church?  Do we believe that there are no outsiders and marginal characters in Christ?  Some of us do.  Others do not, based on their deeds.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 13, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHNSON, “THE GREAT MORALIST”

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN FURCHTEGOTT GELLERT, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, EDUCATOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELLA J. BAKER, WITNESS FOR CIVIIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF PAUL SPERATUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN BISHOP, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PIERSON PARKER, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

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Two Banquets, Part III   Leave a comment

Above:  Christ in the House of Simon, by Dieric Bouts

Image in the Public Domain

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For the Second Sunday after Trinity, Year 1

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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, who never failest to help and govern those

whom thou dost bring up in thy steadfast fear and love;

make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Book of Worship (1947), 186

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Proverbs 9:1-11

Psalms 11 and 12

1 John 3:13-18

Luke 7:36-50

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To correct a scoffer,

or rebuke a wicked man for his blemish,

Is to call down abuse on oneself.

Do not rebuke a scoffer, for he will hate you;

Reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

–Proverbs 9:7-8, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

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Jesus disregarded that advice, did he not?

Anyway, Lady Wisdom (contrasted with Lady Folly in Proverbs 9) was a fine hostess.  Simon the Pharisee was a bad host in Luke 7.  The woman in in Luke, 7, like the Psalmist(s) in Psalms 11 and 12, knew to whom to turn.  She was so grateful that she did not care what other people thought of her.  She knew and accepted her need for God.  She knew and accepted her need for forgiveness.  Therein resided her liberation from her former life.

Give up simpleness and live,

Walk in the say of understanding.

–Proverbs 9:6, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

Love must be active if it is to be genuine.  This is a teaching from 1 John 3, among other sources.  In the context of 1 John 3, this is love in faith community.  This is a lesson Simon the Pharisee had yet to learn.

This is a lesson of which most of us need reminders.  Some of us require more reminders than others.  All of us fall short of the high standards Jesus has modeled for us.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 13, 2020 COMMON ERA

MONDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARBER LIGHTFOOT, BISHOP OF DURHAM

THE FEAST OF HENRI PERRIN, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC WORKER PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOHN GLOUCESTER, FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN I, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR, 655; AND SAINT MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR, EASTERN ORTHODOX MONK, ABBOT, AND MARTYR, 662

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROLANDO RIVI, ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR, 1945

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Sin and Its Consequences   1 comment

Above:  Gideon

Image in the Public Domain

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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 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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Judges 6:11-24 or Jeremiah 2:4-13

Psalm 89:1-4, 24-33

Romans 1:16-32

Luke 7:36-50

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Sin, or rebellion against God, leads to consequences.  To “miss the mark,” literally, is to fail God and our fellow human beings spiritually and morally.  Consequences are inevitable.  Yet may we avoid the error of mistaking consequences of sin for God proverbially sending a thunderbolt one’s way.  May we not blame God when we should hold ourselves accountable.

We–collectively and individually–have moral and spiritual blind spots.  We learn many of them from other people and develop or find other blind spots independently.

The old Presbyterian Church in the United States (the “Southern Presbyterian Church”) summarized our collective quandary well in its Brief Statement of Belief (1962).  It read, in part:

Sin permeates and corrupts our entire being and burdens us more and more with fear, hostility, guilt, and misery.  Sin operates not only within individuals but also within society as a deceptive and oppressive power, so that men of good will are unconsciously and unwillingly involved in the sins of society.  Man cannot destroy the tyranny of sin in himself or in his world; his only hope is to be delivered from it by God.

As we (as in Judges) play our cycles of sin, consequences, repentance, and deliverance, we do not learn our collective and individual lessons.  If we did, we would not repeat the cycle.

The contrast between God and human beings is stark.  As we read in the Confession of 1967 (The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.):

The reconciling act of God in Jesus Christ exposes the evil in men as sin in the sight of God.  In sin men claim mastery of their own lives, turn against God and their fellow men, and became exploiters and despoilers of the world.  They lose their humanity in futile striving and are left in rebellion, despair and isolation.

May we accept God’s offer to deliver us from the tyranny of sin in ourselves and in the world.  May we, by grace, repeat the cycle fewer times than we would otherwise.  And may we not be self-righteous.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 13, 2020 COMMON ERA

MONDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARBER LIGHTFOOT, BISHOP OF DURHAM

THE FEAST OF HENRI PERRIN, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC WORKER PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOHN GLOUCESTER, FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN I, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR, 655; AND SAINT MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR, EASTERN ORTHODOX MONK, ABBOT, AND MARTYR, 662

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROLANDO RIVI, ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR, 1945

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Adapted from this post:

https://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2020/04/13/devotion-for-proper-9-year-c-humes/

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