Archive for the ‘Psalm 7’ Tag

Jealousy   1 comment

Above:   Cain and Abel

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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Genesis 4:1-16

Psalm 7

Jude 8-13

Matthew 9:32-34

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In Psalm 7 the author seeks divine protection from enemies.  In Genesis 4 Cain kill Abel.  God exiles the murderer yet protects him.

Genesis 4, unlike a host of exegetes dating from antiquity to the present day, does not explain why God favored one sacrifice over the other.  The story does, however, make clear the defective character of Cain, who acted out of, among other motivations, jealousy.  Genesis 4:7 offers a vivid image of sin as, in the words of the Everett Fox translation, “a crouching demon” by an entrance.  One has the option of not giving into temptation, of course, as the text tells us.

Jealousy leads to many sins, especially of one passion or another.  Out of jealousy one might accuse an agent of God (Jesus, for example) of being in league with evil (as in Matthew 9:32-34).  Jealousy can also lead to spiritual blindness, consciously or otherwise.  Either way, one commits serious error.

May we, by grace, rule over the metaphorical demon of sin crouching by the door, waiting to ambush us.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 3, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIE-LEONIE PARADIS, FOUNDER OF THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE HOLY FAMILY

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM WHITING, HYMN WRITER

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Adapted from this post:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/devotion-for-the-eighth-sunday-after-the-epiphany-ackerman/

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This is post #500 of ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS.

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Being Good Soil   1 comment

Parable of the Sower

Above:  The Parable of the Sower

Image in the Public Domain

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The Collect:

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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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 6:(8) 9-13 or Ezekiel 17:22-24 or Daniel 4:1-37

Psalm 7

Matthew 14:10-17 (18-33) 34-35 or Mark 4:1-25 or Luke 8:4-25; 13:18-21

Ephesians 4:17-24 (26-32; 5:1-2) 3-7 or 2 Peter 2:1-22

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Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of the truth.

–Ephesians 4:23-24, The Jerusalem Bible (1966)

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Much of the content of the assigned readings, with their options, functions as commentary on that summary statement.  To borrow a line from Rabbi Hillel, we ought to go and learn it.

The commission of (First) Isaiah might seem odd.  Does the text indicate that God is commanding Isaiah to preach to the population but not to help them avoid the wrath of God?  Or, as many rabbis have argued for a long time, should one read imperative verbs as future tense verbs and the troublesome passage therefore as a prediction?  I prefer the second interpretation.  Does not God prefer repentance among sinners?  The pairing of this reading with the Parable of the Sower and its interpretation seems to reinforce this point.  I recall some bad sermons on this parable, which is not about the sower.  The sower did a bad job, I remember hearing certain homilists say.  To fixate on the sower and his methodology is to miss the point.  The name of the story should be the Parable of the Four Soils, a title I have read in commentaries.  One should ask oneself,

What kind of soil am I?

Am I the rocky soil of King Zedekiah (in Ezekiel 17:11-21) or the fertile soil of the betrayed man in Psalm 7?  A mustard seed might give rise to a large plant that shelters many varieties of wildlife, and therefore be like the Davidic dynastic tree in Ezekiel 17:22-24 and Nebuchadnezzar II in Daniel 4, but even a mustard seed needs good soil in which to begin the process of sprouting into that plant.

One might be bad soil for any one of a number of reasons.  One might not care.  One might be oblivious.  One might be hostile.  One might be distracted and too busy.  Nevertheless, one is bad soil at one’s own peril.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 16, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE TWENTIETH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF GUSTAF AULEN, SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT FILIP SIPHONG ONPHITHAKT, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN THAILAND

THE FEAST OF MAUDE DOMINICA PETRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MODERNIST THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF RALPH ADAMS CRAM AND RICHARD UPJOHN, ARCHITECTS; AND JOHN LAFARGE, SR., PAINTER AND STAINED GLASS MAKER

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Adapted from this post:

https://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/devotion-for-proper-6-year-d/

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Salvation, Past, Present, and Future   1 comment

christ-exorcising-the-gerasene-demoniac

Above:  Christ on the Cross, by Gerard David

Image in the Public Domain

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The Collect:

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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The Assigned Readings:

Numbers 10:33-36

Deuteronomy 10:11-12:1

Judges 5:1-31

Song of Songs 4:9-5:16

Isaiah 26:1-21

Psalms 7; 17; 44; 57 or 108; 119:145-176; 149

Matthew 7:1-23

Luke 7:36-8:3

Matthew 27:62-66

1 Corinthians 15:27-34 (35-38) 39-41 (42-58)

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In Luke 7:38 the former Gerasene demoniac, recently healed by Jesus, seeks to follow Jesus physically.  Our Lord and Savior has other plans, however.  He sends the man away with these instructions:

Go back home and report all that God has done for you.

–Luke 7:39a, The Jerusalem Bible (1966)

The text informs us that the man obeyed Jesus.

The theme of the Great Vigil of Easter, as evident in assigned readings, is salvation history.  In Hebrew thought God is like what God has done–for groups as well as individuals.  The responsibility of those whom God has blessed is to proclaim by words and deeds what God has done–to function as vehicles of grace and to glorify God.  Salvation history is important to understand.  So is knowing that salvation is an ongoing process.

Happy Easter!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 10, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN NITSCHMANN, SR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF CECIL FRANCES ALEXANDER, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN LUDWIG BRAU, NORWEGIAN MORAVIAN TEACHER AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

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Adapted from this post:

https://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/devotion-for-the-great-vigil-of-easter-year-d/

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Vindication   1 comment

Triumph of Mordecai

Above:  The Triumph of Mordecai, by Pieter Lastman

Image in the Public Domain

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The Collect:

God of power and might, your Son shows us the way of service,

and in him we inherit the riches of your grace.

Give us the wisdom to know what is right and

the strength to serve the world you have made,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 53

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The Assigned Readings:

Esther 8:3-17

Psalm 7

Revelation 19:1-9

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Let the malice of the wicked come to an end,

but establish the righteous;

for you test the mind and heart, O righteous God.

–Psalm 7:10, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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Haman’s plot to kill the Jews fails in Esther 7.  Haman dies by impaling–the means of death he had planned for Mordecai.  King Ahasuerus bestows Haman’s property upon Queen Esther and grants Mordecai and Esther the authority to countermand the order to kill the Jews.  Then, in Chapter 9, Jews massacre their enemies, numbered in the tens of thousands.  Ahasuerus becomes a monarch who does not sanction genocide and Mordecai receives a major promotion.

In Revelation much rejoicing in Heaven follows the fall of Rome, for God has avenged those whom the empire had victimized.

Many of psalms contain prayers for vindication.  Esther 9 and Revelation 19 reflect the same desire.  I recall also an episode of Hunter (1984-1991) I watched on DVD recently.  A stereotypically White trash criminal, upon learning of the death of his wife, prays in one scene for the aid of Jesus in killing the man who took her life.

The desire for vindication is a natural and predictable one.  Indeed, I know it well.  Yet I know also that there would be less violence and more peace in the world if fewer people sought vindication and left that matter to God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SHEPHERD KNAPP, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN DUCKETT AND RALPH CORBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS IN ENGLAND

THE FEAST OF NIKOLAI GRUNDTVIG, HYMN WRITER

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Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/devotion-for-tuesday-after-proper-29-year-a-elca-daily-lectionary/

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Domesticating Jesus   1 comment

Logo of the Moravian Church

Image Source = JJackman

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AgnusDeiWindow.jpg)

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

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Jeremiah 11:18-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

It was the LORD who made it known to me, and I knew;

then you showed me their evil deeds.

But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter.

And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying,

Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,

let us cut him off from the land of the living,

so that his name will no longer be remembered!

But you, O LORD of hosts, who judge righteously,

who try the heart and the mind,

let me see your retribution upon them,

for to you I have committed my cause.

Psalm 7:6-11 (New Revised Standard Version):

Rise up, O LORD, in your anger;

lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;

awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment.

Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you,

and over it take your seat on high.

The LORD judges the peoples;

judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness

and according to the integrity that is in me.

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,

but establish the righteous,

who test the minds and hearts,

O righteous God.

God is my shield,

who saves the upright in heart.

God is a righteous judge,

and a God who has indignation every day.

John 7:37-52 (New Revised Standard Version):

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out,

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.  As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’

Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit because Jesus was not yet glorified.

When they heard these words, some in the crowd said,

This is really the prophet.

Others said,

This is the Messiah.

But some asked,

Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?  Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?

So there was a division in the crowd because of him.  Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them,

Why did you not arrest him?

The police answered,

Never has anyone spoken like this!

Then the Pharisees replied,

Surely you have not been deceived, too, have you?  Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him?  But this crowd, which does not know the law–they are accursed.

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked,

Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?

They replied,

Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you?  Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.

The Collect:

Mercifully hear our prayers, O Lord, and spare all those who confess their sins to you; that those whose consciences are accursed by sin may by your merciful pardon be absolved; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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This day’s readings are full of anger.  A righteous man obeying divine instructions faces the dangers associated with his thankless calling and pleas for retribution upon his persecutors.  A psalmist makes the same request.  And religious authorities continue their plotting to eliminate Jesus, whom they perceive as a threat.

Like anyone else I have opinions, many of which I hold strongly.  Sometimes I think that anyone who disagrees with me is misinformed at best.  If I feel less charitable, I might perceive the disagreeing party as an idiot.  On occasion I think that another opinion is dangerous, but never have I agreed with or advocated an assassination squad, torture, execution, or a show trial for anyone.

Yet some of these suggestions have appeared in readings to date, and others will do so.  Characters who identify themselves with godliness supported such tactics in the pages of the Gospels.  Perhaps some of this is due to the fact the partisans of Jesus wrote the canonical Gospels, for one must consider who wrote a document when interpreting it.  Yet I stand convinced that any exaggeration, if present, is slight.  My study of history and recent and current events tells me that people who think they are on God’s side (and therefore all who disagree with them are not) and who feel defensive and homicidal can rationalize to themselves even the greatest atrocities, ranging from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the Religious Wars to the Salem Witch Trials to terrorist attacks.  So, a plot among religious leaders to kill Jesus (ultimately via the Roman Empire) is believable.

It is easy to criticize these conspirators thousands of years later.  But think about this honestly, and perhaps painfully:  Which character are you in each of these readings?  I am not certain that I would have welcomed and followed Jesus had I lived in his time and place.  This conclusion disturbs my conscience and moves to seek divine pardon.  Jesus upset many apple carts in ancient times, and continues to do so.

Too often we of the Church have attempted to domesticate Jesus.  We have reduced him to a smiling man with a child on one knee while dispensing wisdom.  And we have oversimplified his character and occasional mood swings and chosen to ignore difficult sayings.  And when we have arrived at hard-to-digest material, such as the Passion narrative, we have reduced our Lord and Savior to a martyr about whom we make positive statements, but whom we dare not follow too closely.  We have passed off padlum as truth.

Well, Jesus is not domesticated, and God does not fit into a theological box.  Human minds cannot perceive the immensity of God and divine judgment and mercy.  So, much theological humility is appropriate on everybody’s part.    And we must submit ourselves to the mystery which is God without committing intellectual suicide. And we must be open to divine surprises, which are numerous.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 4, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF PAUL CUFFEE, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MISSIONARY TO THE SHINNECOCK NATION

THE FEAST OF CARL SYLVIUS VOLKNER AND MOKOMOTO, SYMBOLS OF RECONCILATION

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARINUS OF CAESAREA, ROMAN SOLDIER AND CHRISTIAN MARTYR, AND SAINT ASTERIUS, ROMAN SENATOR AND CHRISTIAN MARTYR

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Adapted from this post:

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

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Posted February 13, 2012 by neatnik2009 in Jeremiah, John 7, Psalms I: 1-41

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