Archive for the ‘Psalm 3’ Tag

Devotion for the Third Sunday After the Epiphany, Year A (Humes)   1 comment

Above:  Ministry of the Apostles

Image in the Public Domain

Faithful Servants of God, Part III

JANUARY 22, 2023


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


Ecclesiastes 1:2-18 or Ezekiel 11:14-20

Psalm 3

Galatians 2:1-13

Matthew 4:12-25


If one begins to read Ecclesiastes and gives up quickly, one might mistake the theme of the book to be that all is futility and vanity.  One might ask,

Why bother doing anything?

If, however, one keeps reading and pays attention, one will arrive at the précis of the book, present at its conclusion, in 12:13-14:  The duty of a human being is to stand in awe of God and keep divine commandments, for God is the judge of everything, whether good or evil.

That ethic is consistent with Ezekiel 11:14-20 and Psalm 3.  Fidelity to God does not ensure a life full of ease, wine, ad roses, but it is one’s duty.  It is the duty to which Jesus, who called his Apostles, continues to call people and for which the Holy Spirit continues to equip the saints.

Sometimes, however, in the name of obeying God, well-meaning people establish or maintain barriers to would-be faithful people who are different.  This segue brings me to the reading from Galatians and to the question of circumcising Gentile male converts to Christianity.  On one level it is a matter of a commandment as old as the time of Abraham.  On another level it is a question of identity.  On yet another level it is, for many, a matter of obedience to God.

For St. Paul the Apostle it was a stumbling block to Gentiles.  He was correct.  Fortunately, St. Paul won that debate.

Fidelity to God is supposed to help others come to God, not to make that more difficult than it is already.  May we who follow Christ never be guilty of standing between God and other people.






Devotion for the Sixth Sunday After the Epiphany (Ackerman)   2 comments

Above:   Ezekiel

Image in the Public Domain

Hearing and Listening

FEBRUARY 12, 2023


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


Ezekiel 2:6-3:4

Psalm 3

Revelation 10:1-11

Matthew 13:10-17


LORD, how many adversaries I have!

how many there are who rise up against me!

–Psalm 3:1, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)


Do not be afraid of their words and do not be dismayed by them, though they are a rebellious breed; but speak My words to them, whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious.

–Ezekiel 2:6b-7, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)


The imagery of eating a scroll indicates accepting a prophetic call from God.  Often the vocation of the prophet entails being unpopular, for speaking uncomfortable truths leads to that result.  Also, speaking such truths might place the life and liberty of the prophet at risk.

For some time the passage from Ezekiel has haunted me, so to speak.  The imagery of the bitter scroll tasting as sweet as honey, indicating Ezekiel’s glad acceptance of his commission, has come to mind often.  This imagery, echoed in Revelation 10, has reminded me of the mix of the bitter and sweet lives in while following God.  It has challenged me to accept bitterness as sweetness in the service of God.  I have not lived fully into that challenge yet.

The passage in Luke 13 reminds us of the difference between hearing and listening.  We might hear, but we might not listen.  Listening is much harder work, after all.  And, assuming that we do listen to the prophetic words of God via Ezekiel, Jesus, or anyone else, we might not like them.  How we respond or react to them is spiritually telling.







Week of 4 Epiphany: Monday, Year 2   2 comments

Above:  David at Bahurim

Things Fall Apart

JANUARY 31, 2022


Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), of The Episcopal Church, contains an adapted two-years weekday lectionary for the Epiphany and Ordinary Time seasons from the Anglican Church of Canada.  I invite you to follow it with me.


2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-14 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

And a messenger came to David, saying,

The hearts of the men of Israel have gone to Absalom.

Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem,

Arise, and let us flee; or else there will be no escape from Abasalom; go in haste, lest he overtake us quickly, and bring down evil upon us, and strike the city  with the edge of the sword.

(Zadok, the high priest, removes the Ark of the Covenant from Jerusalem, but David orders him to return it to the city.)

But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered; and all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went.

When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a  man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Simei, the Son of Gera; and as he came he cursed continually.  And he threw stones at David, and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.  And Shime-i said as he cursed,

Begone, begone, you man of blood, you worthless fellow!  The LORD has avenged upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom.  See, your ruin is on you, for you are a man of blood.

Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king,

Why should this dead dog curse my lord and the king?  Let me go over and take off his head.

But the king said,

What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah?  If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, “Curse David,” who then shall say, “Why have you done so?”

And David said to Abishai and to all his servants,

Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite!  Let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD has bidden him.  It may be that the LORD will look upon my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.

So David and his men went on the road, while Shime-i went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him and flung dust.  And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan, and there he refreshed himself.

Psalm 3 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1  LORD,  how many adversaries I have!

how many there are who rise up against me!

2  How many there are who say of me,

“There is no help for him in his God.”

3  But you, O LORD, are a shield about me;

you are my glory, the one who lifts up my head.

4  I call aloud to the LORD,

and he answers me from his holy hill;

5  I lie down and go to sleep;

I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

6  I do not fear the multitudes of people

who set themselves against me all around.

7  Rise up, O LORD; set me free, O my God;

surely, you will strike all my enemies across my face,

you will break the teeth of the wicked.

8  Deliverance belongs to the LORD.

Your blessing be upon your people!

Mark 5:1-20 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.  And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.  Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones.  And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him; and crying out with a loud voice, he said,

What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I adjure you by God, do not torment me.

For he had said to him,

Come out of him, you unclean spirit!

And Jesus asked him,

What is  your name?

He replied,

My name is Legion; for we are many.

And he begged him eagerly not to send them out of the country.  Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they begged him,

Send us to the swine, let us enter them.

So he gave them leave.  And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.

The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country.  And people came to see what it was that had happened.  And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid.  And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine.  And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood.  And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.  But he refused, and said to him,

Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.

And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marveled.


The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


A Related Post:

Week of 4 Epiphany:  Monday, Year 1:


The best way to begin is to remind everyone of the content of link, in which the prophet Nathan confronted David for committing adultery with Bathsheba, fathering her child, and arranging for the death of her husband, and David expressed contrition.  But, the prophet warned, dire consequences would flow from these sins.

They began to flow in 2 Samuel 13.  This is the summary of the events of 2 Samuel 13:1-15:12:

  1. Amnon, a son of David, rapes his sister, Tamar.
  2. Absalom avenges his half-sister, Tamar, by arranging for the death of his half-brother, Amnon.
  3. Absalom has to flee Jerusalem.
  4. David eventually brings Absalom back and forgives him.
  5. Absalom usurps his father’s throne.

David flees Jerusalem and comes to Bahurim, where one Shime-i heckles him and throws stones and dust at him, even following David’s retinue to do this.  Abishai, one of David’s servant, interpret’s Shime-i’s actions as warranting death, but David thinks otherwise, assuming that Sheme-i is merely obeying God.  So David goes on his way, with Sheme-i not far behind, at least for a little while.

That David took this heckling and stoning, signs of great disrespect, spoke well of him.  His attitude probably stemmed from his awareness of his own sins; it reflected a level of humility.  Sheme-i was at least partially correct; David was a man of blood.  How many men had died in his wars?  Then there were those he ordered killed.  These included the Amalekite who claimed to have killed Saul, the men who assassinated Ish-bosheth, and Uriah the Hittite.

When the chickens come home to roost, how do we respond or react?  Are we automatically defensive, or are we consider the possibility that there might be an element of justice in this?  The question assumes that there is justice in the unfortunate events.  Indeed, sometimes bad things happen without constituting chickens coming home to roost.

But, as David knew, chicken roosting can constitute a spiritual growth opportunity.  And who knows where that will lead and how far its influence will reach, given the interconnected nature of people?