Week of Proper 16: Monday, Year 2   4 comments

Above:  Map of Greece

Image Source = CIA World Factbook

Congregational Solidarity

AUGUST 27, 2018

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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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2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12 (The Jerusalem Bible):

From Paul, Sulvanus and Timothy, to the Church in Thessalonika which is in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; wishing you grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

We feel we must be continually thanking God for you, brothers; quite rightly, because your faith is growing so wonderfully and the love that you have for one another never stops increasing; and among the churches of God we can take special pride in you for your constancy and faith under the persecutions and troubles you have to bear.  It all shows that God’s judgement is just, and the purpose of it is that you may be found worthy of the kingdom of God; it is for the sake of this that you are suffering now.

Knowing this, we pray continually that our God will make you worthy of his call, and by his power fulfil all your desires for goodness and complete all that you have been doing through faith; because in this way the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in you and you in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 96:1-5 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Sing to the LORD a new song;

sing to the LORD, all the whole earth.

2 Sing to the LORD and bless his Name;

proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations

and his wonders among all peoples.

4 For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised;

he is more to be feared than all gods.

5 As for the gods of the nations, they are but idols;

but it is the LORD who made the heavens.

Matthew 23:13-22 (The Jerusalem Bible):

[Jesus continued,]

Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You who shut up the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces, neither going in yourselves nor allowing others to go in who want to.

Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You who travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when you have him you make him twice as fit for hell as you are.

Alas for you, blind guides!  You who say, ‘If a man swears by the Temple, it has no force; but if a man swears by the gold of the Temple, he is bound.’  Fools and blind!  For which is of greater worth, the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?  Or else, ‘If a man swears by the altar it has no force; but if a man swears by the offering that is on the altar, he is bound.’  You blind men!  For which is of greater worth, the offering or the altar that makes the offering sacred?  Therefore, when a man swears by the Temple he is swearing by that and the One who dwells in it.  And when a man swears by heaven he is swearing by the throne of God and by the One who is seated there.

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The Collect:

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The Canadian Anglican lectionary brings me back into the New Testament by way of 2 Thessalonians, which is Pauline and might be a product of Paul himself.  It is irrelevant if Paul did write or dictate 2 Thessalonians, for the meanings I can derive from the text are crucial in any event.  Incidentally, the Year 1 counterpart to this post begins the 1 Thessalonians sequence.  So, for that epistle, see the posts for Week of Proper 16:  Monday, Year 1 through Week of Proper 17:  Tuesday, Year 1, excluding the Sunday post.

The first chapter of 2 Thessalonians consists of a greeting, a thanksgiving, a notice of a fiery punishment for those injuring the Thessalonian Christians, and a notice of continual prayers for said Thessalonians.  (The lectionary omits the fiery punishment.)  The chapter concludes by saying that the name of Jesus will find glorification in the Thessalonian Christians, who have been productive and loving in their faith lives during difficult times.

This is the good news.  For the other side, read Chapter 3, to which the lectionary will take us.  For today, however, we dwell on the positive.

As I read this lection, I fixate on the first part, the commendation of faithfulness under persecution.  Beyond that, the Christian community of that city has demonstrated great solidarity.  This is what should be.  Yet I can think of congregations which I have known and which have lacked that quality of mutual support.  In particular, my mind dregs up memories of some rural churches in southern Georgia.  They were interlocking extended families, and anyone unrelated by genetics or marriage was an outsider.  My father was the appointed pastor; we were outsiders.  If, by some twist of fate, I were to move back to any of those communities, I would know better than to consider affiliating with and attending certain of these churches, based on experience.  (I would have to revert to my former denomination, but that is another matter.)

I want to avoid seeming tribal, but we Christians, especially inside our congregations, need to help each other.  We vow to do so in The Episcopal Church’s Baptismal Covenant, a fine theological document.  May our vows of mutual encouragement, support, and mutual recognition of dignity extend beyond our words.

KRT

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/congregational-solidarity/

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4 responses to “Week of Proper 16: Monday, Year 2

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  1. Pingback: Congregational Solidarity « BLOGA THEOLOGICA

  2. Pingback: Proper 26, Year C | ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS

  3. Pingback: Proper 26, Year C | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  4. Pingback: Grace, Hope, Free Will, and Doom | BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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