Week of Proper 23: Monday, Year 1   7 comments

Above:  Trinity Episcopal Church, Statesboro, Georgia (Note the cross with triumphant Jesus on it.)

Image Source = Parish Album at the parish website

Christ Crucified and Raised–Hopefully Not a Disappointment To Us

OCTOBER 16, 2023


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.


With this post I switch translations again.  I do this occasionally to add some variety, truly the spice of life.  I do this also to make a simple point:  I am writing devotions based on the Bible, not one translation of it.  All translations of the Bible are human efforts, and translating from Language A into Language B can be an inexact process.  Something becomes lost in translation.  In addition, one can become so accustomed to certain wordings that one does not really read or listen to certain passages.  So, to mix things up, why not find another version of the Bible and compare and contrast it with the ones I choose to quote?


Romans 1:1-7 (Revised English Bible):

From Paul, servant of Christ Jesus, called by God to be an apostle and set apart for service of his gospel.

This gospel God announced beforehand in sacred scriptures through his prophets.  It is about his Son:  on the human level he was a descendant of David, but on the level of the spirit–the Holy Spirit–he was proclaimed Son of God by an act of power that raised him from the dead; it is about Jesus Christ our Lord.  Through him I received the privilege of an apostolic commission to bring people of all nations to faith and obedience in his name, including you who have heard the call and belong to Jesus Christ.

I send greetings to all of you in Rome, who are loved by God and called to be his people.  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 98 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Sing to the LORD a new song,

for he has done marvelous things.

With his right hand and his holy arm

has he won for himself the victory.

The LORD has made known his victory;

his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.

He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel,

and all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

Shout with joy to the LORD, all you lands;

lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.

Sing to the LORD with the harp,

with the harp and the voice of song.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn

shout with joy before the King, the LORD.

Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it,

the lands and those who dwell therein.

Let the rivers clap their hands,

and let the hills ring out with joy before the LORD,

when he comes to judge the earth.

10 In righteousness shall he judge the world

and the peoples with equity.

Luke 11:29-32 (Revised English Bible):

With the crowds swarming round him [Jesus] he went on to say:

This is a wicked generation.  It demands a sign, and the only sign that will be given it is the sign of Jonah.  For just as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man to this generation.  The queen of the south will appear in court when the men of this generation are on trial, and ensure their condemnation; for she came up from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and what is here is greater than Solomon.  The men of Nineveh will appear in court when this generation is on trial, and ensure its condemnation; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and what is here is greater than Jonah.


The Collect:

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Paul probably dictated the Letter to the Romans in 57 C.E.  Consider that the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus most likely occurred in 29 or 30 C.E., so Paul wrote about these events within a generation of them happening.  It would be like me writing today about an event from the early or middle 1980s, if only in relative temporal terms.

Paul understood correctly that Jesus was the Son of God prior to the Resurrection (Romans 8:3).  But he also grasped that the Resurrection constituted, among other things, a divine proclamation and declaration of Jesus’ true status.  This was a death and Resurrection for the sake of all people.  As Martin Luther understood, one might not be predestined for Heaven, but one still has access to it via Jesus.

Speaking of Jesus…

The reading from Luke 11 contains references to those who traveled far to preach the word of God to strangers or seek wisdom God has bestowed.  The Queen of Sheba was a Gentile.  The character of Jonah was an idiot, but his story teaches, among other things, that God can work even through such people.  And Jonah had a mission to hostile Gentiles.  The Gentiles, hostile or not, were receptive.  So, Jesus is saying, what is wrong with these local people of his tribe?  They want signs.  When they get them, they do not like them.  Some of these locals have even argued that he performed them on the wrong day of the week–the Sabbath, for example.  They refused to be satisfied.

Why was that?  Jesus was not what they wanted him to be.  He did not confirm that they and their form of organized religion were correct.  He disturbed them.

There is a perhaps apocryphal story about a lady who traveled on the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) lecture circuit in the United States in the late 1800s.  She gave her standard stump speech in one town then did something risky:  she asked if anyone had a question.  One polite young man raised his hand.  She called on him.  He asked,

If what you say is true, how do you explain Jesus turning water into wine?

The woman answered,

I would like him better if he had not done that.

Does Jesus disappoint us?  Does he not measure up according to our standards?  If so, we need to reexamine our standards.  He is the incarnate Son of Man.  If anyone did not recognize this, his Resurrection should have made it plain.  If we do not see this and act accordingly, what more do we want?



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