Archive for the ‘Psalm 34’ Tag

Devotion for the Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany (Year D)   1 comment

the-wrath-of-elihu-william-blake

Above:  The Wrath of Elihu, by William Blake

Image in the Public Domain

The Oratory and Theology of Elihu, Part II

FEBRUARY 2, 2020

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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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Job 33:1-33

Psalm 34:11-18

Matthew 12:1-21 or Mark 3:7-19 or Luke 6:1-16

Hebrews 12:(1-3) 4-17

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When the righteous cry for help,

the LORD hears,

and rescues them from all their troubles.

–Psalm 34:17, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

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The speeches of Job in most of the Book of Job say otherwise.

Elihu, sounding pious and spouting a mix of truth and bad theology, blames the victim in Job 33.  Job must be suffering because of a sin, Elihu is certain.  Elihu is correct that

God does not fit man’s measure.

–Verse 12b, The Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Nevertheless, Elihu fails to recognize that God does not fit his measure.  Spiritual discipline by God is a reality, of course, but it does not explain all suffering.

One can quite easily become fixated on a set of rules and fail to recognize that they do not describe how God works.  For example, keeping the Sabbath is a healthy spiritual exercise.  It is properly an indication of freedom.  It is properly a gift.  It is properly a form of recognition of the necessity of rest.  It is improperly an occasion of legalism, such as in the cases of Jesus healing on the Sabbath and of he and his Apostles picking corn and grain on that day.  They did have to eat, did they not?  And did the man with the withered hand deserve to wait another day to receive his healing?

That healing on the Sabbath, according to all three accounts of it, prompted some of our Lord and Savior’s critics to plot his death.  Luke 6:11 (The New Revised Standard Version, 1989) reports that they were “filled with fury.”

Compassion is a timeless spiritual virtue, one frequently sacrificed on the altars of legalism and psychological defensiveness.  To be compassionate is better than to seek to sin an argument or to destroy one’s adversary.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF GOTTFRIED WILHELM SACER, GERMAN LUTHERAN ATTORNEY AND HYMN WRITER; AND FRANCES ELIZABETH COX, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

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

THE FEAST OF NIKOLAI GRUDTVIG, HYMN WRITER

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/the-oratory-and-theology-of-elihu-part-ii/

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Week of 7 Epiphany: Saturday, Year 2   8 comments

Above:  Infant Baptism

Image Source = Tom Adriaenssen

Mutual Responsibility

NOT OBSERVED THIS YEAR

MARCH 1, 2014

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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.

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James 5:13-20 (Revised English Bible):

Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let him pray.  Is anyone in good heart?  Let him sing praises.  Is one of you ill?  Let him send for the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord; the prayer offered in faith will heal the sick man, the Lord will restore him to health, and if he has committed sins they will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  A good man’s prayer is very powerful and effective.  Elijah was a man just like us; yet when he prayed fervently that there should be no rain, the land had no rain for three and a half years; when he prayed again, the rain poured down and the land bore crops once more.

My friends, if one of you strays from the truth and another succeeds in bringing him back, you may be sure of this:  the one who brings a sinner back from his erring ways will be rescuing a soul from death and cancelling a multitude of sins.

Psalm 34:1-8 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 I will bless the LORD at all times;

his praise shall ever be in my mouth.

2 I will glory in the LORD;

let the humble hear and rejoice.

3 Proclaim with me the greatness of the LORD;

let us exult his Name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me

and delivered me out of all my terror.

5 Look upon him and be radiant,

and let not your faces be ashamed.

6 I called in my affliction and the LORD heard me

and saved me from all my troubles.

The angel of the LORD encompasses those who fear him,

and he will deliver them.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;

happy are they who trust in him.

Mark 10:13-16 (Revised English Bible):

They brought children for him to touch.  The disciples rebuked them, but when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them,

Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you:  whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.

And he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

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The Collect:

O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing: Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Week of 7 Epiphany:  Saturday, Year 1:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/week-of-7-epiphany-saturday-year-1/

Matthew 19 (Parallel to Mark 10):

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/week-of-proper-14-saturday-year-1/

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The psalm includes the lines

Taste and see that the LORD is good;

happy are they who trust in him.

I recall watching the funeral of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin on WGN in the late 1990s.  The congregation, led by a priest, sang “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord” during the service.  I am sure that, prior to the Cardinal’s death, many people prayed for his healing and recovery.  Yet he died of cancer anyway.  So James has oversimplified a point.

Nevertheless, the readings for this day point toward a timeless truth:  We are all responsible for each other in the church.  God calls us to help each other as possible, especially spiritually.  This ethic is evident is the baptismal rites of The Episcopal Church, my denomination.  Baptism is initiation into the Christian household, not fire insurance.

Much of Western Christianity is overly individualistic, falling into the heresy of Jesus-and-Meism.  I have had discouraging conversations with people who have told me that they do not care what happens to this world or on it, for they are saved, and they will go to Heaven when they die.  They are content to be healthy in a sick system, but Jesus calls us to work toward the healing of the system.  Think about the healing stories involving our Lord; he restored the healed to social wholeness.  Besides, Jesus does not call us to be selfish.  If we do indeed love our neighbors as ourselves, and if we love ourselves properly, as God has us to do, we must care about what happens to the world and on it, what fates befall our neighbors.

This is the ethic of James and Jesus.  It is a wise ethic, one more of us should emulate, for the common good and the glory of God.

KRT

Third Week of Advent: Tuesday   8 comments

Above: Grapes (as in the father’s vineyard from the Gospel reading)

Hearing and Doing

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2019

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Zephaniah 3:1-13 (Revised English Bible):

Woe betide the tyrant city,

filthy and foul!

She heeded no warning voice,

took no rebuke to heart;

she did not put her trust in the LORD,

nor did she draw near to her God.

The leaders within her were roaring lions,

her rulers wolves of the plain

that left nothing over till morning.

Her prophets were reckless and perfidious;

her priests profaned the sanctuary

and did violence to the law.

But the LORD in her midst is just;

he does no wrong;

morning after morning he gives his judgment,

every day without fail;

yet the wrongdoer knows no shame.

I have wiped out this arrogant people;

their bastions are demolished.

I have destroyed their streets;

no one walks among them.

Their cities are laid waste,

abandoned and unpeopled.

I said,

Surely she will fear me;

and will take my instruction to heart,

all the commands I laid on her

that her dwelling-place might escape destruction.

But they hastened all the more

to perform their evil deeds.

Therefore wait for me, says the LORD,

wait for the day when I stand up to accuse you;

I have decided to gather nations

and assemble kingdoms,

in order to pour my wrath on them,

all my burning anger;

the whole earth will be consumed

by the fire of my jealousy.

Then I shall restore pure lips to all peoples,

that they may invoke the LORD by name

and serve him with one accord.

My worshipers, dispersed beyond the rivers of Cush,

will bring offerings to me.

On that day, Jerusalem,

you will not be put to shame for any of the deeds

by which you have rebelled against me,

because I shall rid you then

of your proud and arrogant citizens,

and never again will you flaunt your pride

on my holy mountain.

I shall leave a remnant in you,

lowly and poor people.

The survivors in Israel will find refuge in the LORD’s name.

They will do no wrong, nor speak lies;

no words of deceit will pass their lips;

they will feed and lie down

with no one to terrify them.

Psalm 34:1-8 (Revised English Bible):

I shall bless the LORD at all times;

his praise will be ever on my lips.

In the LORD I shall glory;

the humble will hear and be glad.

Glorify the LORD with me;

let us exult his name together.

I sought the LORD’s help; he answered me

and set me free from all my fears.

They who look to him are radiant with joy;

they will never be put out of countenance.

Here is the one who cried out in his affliction;

the LORD heard him and saved him from all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD is on guard

round those who fear him, and he rescues them.

Taste and see that the LORD is good.

Happy are those who find refuge in him!

Matthew 21:28-32 (Revised English Bible):

[Jesus said,]

But what do you think about this?  There was a man who had two sons.  He went to the first, and said, ‘My son, go and work today in the vineyard.’  ‘I will, sir,’ the boy replied; but he did not go.  The father came to the second and said the same.  ‘I will not,’ he replied; but afterwards he changed his mind and went.  Which of the two did what the father wanted?

They [chief priests and elders of the nation] replied,

The second.

Then Jesus said,

Truly I tell you: tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.  For when John came to show you the right way to live, and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes did; and even when you had seen that, you did not change your minds and believe him.

The Collect:

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

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It is not enough to hear what God.  No, one must listen in that way which leads to action.

I suspect that much disobedience to God flows from misunderstanding, not purposeful evasion.  In the name of God people have embarked on Crusades, Inquisitions, and religious wars.  In the name of God people continue to slaughter others and/or lay heavy and needless burdens on their fellow human beings, not recognizing the equality which flows from the image of God each of us bears and from the Holy Spirit, which respects no human-defined boundaries.  Often many of we mere mortals accept as proper the reality in which we socialize.

Yet the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Actually, deeds reveal creeds.  Talk is cheap, but actions tell the truth.  So repentant tax collectors (Roman collaborators and tax thieves) and prostitutes were better off spiritually than certain members of the religious respectable class.

As the prophet Samuel said when he anointed the young David, God looks inward; people look at the outside.

KRT

Written on June 1, 2010

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/hearing-and-doing/