Archive for the ‘Isaiah 26’ Tag

Devotion for Wednesday After Proper 5, Year B (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment

Christ Pantocrator--Greece

Above:  Christ Pantocrator Moody

Image in the Public Domain

Calling Good Evil

JUNE 13, 2018

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The Collect:

All-powerful God, in Jesus Christ you turned death into life and defeat into victory.

Increase our faith and trust in him,

that we may triumph over all evil in the strength

of the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 39

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 26:16-27:1

Psalm 74

Luke 11:14-28

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Bestir Yourself because of the perpetual tumult,

all the outrages of the enemy in the sanctuary.

–Psalm 74:3, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

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O LORD:  In their distress they sought You;

Your chastisement reduced them

To anguished whispered prayer.

–Isaiah 26:16, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

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But [Jesus] said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

–Luke 11:28, The New Revised Standard Version (1989)

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The Bible, being of human authorship and containing texts reflecting changing perspectives over a long period of time, contradicts itself on points small, medium, and large.  This fact does not trouble me, for (A) I am not a biblical literalist, and (B) I worship God, not the Bible.  I do detect much biblical consistency, however.  Again and again biblical texts tell us, for example, to obey the commandments of God and agree that these include social and economic justice.  Texts tell us consistently of divine preference for the poor and disapproval of the exploitation of people.  Pure doctrine alone is insufficient, for justice matters to God.

The people in Isaiah 26 had committed idolatry, as had our Lord and Savior’s accusers in Luke 11.  The idols in Luke 11 were ideas about God and how God works.  Jesus exposed these ideas as false, but ideologies clung to their doctrines and attempted to explain away the evidence they saw.  The enemies in the sanctuary were among the professional religious people.

Lest we, you and I, O reader, congratulate ourselves on our fidelity to God (unlike those people of Judah in Isaiah 26 and like those religious officials in Luke 11), may we avoid the sin of self-righteousness.  God remains active and continues to refuse to fit into the God-shaped boxes we call theology.  Do we see God’s actions then call them evil?  We might.  Have we confused our opinions for God’s facts?  Certainly, at least part of the time.  May we be and remain open to spiritual correction and recognize good when we see it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 18, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LEONIDES OF ALEXANDRIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR; ORIGEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN; DEMETRIUS OF ALEXANDRIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND ALEXANDER OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANSELM II OF LUCCA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAUL OF CYPRUS, EASTERN ORTHODOX MARTYR

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/calling-good-evil/

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Devotion for Thursday and Friday Before Proper 3, Year A (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment

Paul

Above:  St. Paul Writing His Epistles, by Valentin de Boulogne

Image in the Public Domain

Showing the Way

NOT OBSERVED THIS YEAR

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The Collect:

God of tender care, like a mother, like a father, you never forget your children,

and you know already what we need.

In all our anxiety give us trusting and faithful hearts,

that in confidence we may embody the peace and justice

of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 37

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The Assigned Readings:

Proverbs 12:22-28 (Thursday)

Isaiah 26:1-6 (Friday)

Psalm 131 (Both Days)

Philippians 2:19-24 (Thursday)

Philippians 2:25-30 (Friday)

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O Lord, I am not proud;

I have no haughty looks.

I do not occupy myself with great matters,

or with things that are too hard for me.

But I still my soul and make it quiet,

like a child upon its mother’s breast;

my soul is quieted within me.

O Israel, wait upon the LORD,

from this time forth forevermore.

–Psalm 131, Book of Common Worship (1993)

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If anyone had good reasons for being concerned and worried, St. Paul the Apostle did. He experienced beatings, a shipwreck, and incarcerations. Yet he was not worried about himself in Philippians 2. He was concerned, however, about the congregation at Phiippi. That assembly had to contend with a host of local opponents.

Timothy, the great Apostle wrote, was not like the others around the imprisoned Paul. They were

all wrapped up in their own affairs

and did

not really care for the cause of Jesus Christ.

–Philippians 2:21, J. B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English, Revised Edition, 1972

Yet Timothy, like Paul, cared about the Philippian Christians. So Paul sent Timothy to them, to encourage them in their faith.

The ability to get outside oneself is the essence of compassion. To care about the other more than for onselef is a great moral state in which to reside. Furthermore, having confidence that God will stand with the oppressed people who trust in God helps one to care more about others when one is among the oppressed righteous population. This helps one to say, in the words of Isaiah 26:4 (The New Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition):

Trust in the LORD forever,

for in the LORD GOD

you have an everlasting rock.

And having such confidence helps one live according to the statement in Proverbs 12:26 (The New Jerusalem Bible):

The upright shows the way to a friend;

the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Challenges remain for churches. These challenges have existed since the birth of the Christian movement, in fact. They come from within and without. Positive challenges—to abandon prejudices, which injure others spiritually—often meet with strong opposition. But, to quote a frequently used statement,

I believe in the separation of church and hate.

Sometimes this opposition has proved sufficient to divide congregations and denominations, thereby weakening the body of Christ. It still does.

Other challenges have resulted from open hostility to the church from quarters outside it. Sometimes this has led to martyrdom and less extreme methods of persecution. Yet, as an old saying tell us,

The blood of the martyrs waters the church.

Then there have been the challenges which indifference has wrought and continues to create. In my nation-state, the United States of America, the fastest growing religious affiliation is none. This fact causes me great concern, but I know that the church has survived and re-emerged in the face of more daunting circumstances during its long history. After all, the Kingdom of God, Jesus said, is like a really big and persistent weed, for it will go where it will. The church might live underground for periods of time in certain places, but it will survive.

So I am confident that God will prevail despite all that we humans—apathetic, hostile, or misdirected yet well-intentioned—have done, do, and will do. And I hope that I am among those walking faithfully in the way of righteousness—at least more often than not—and that I am not leading anyone astray.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 10, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THEODORE PARKER, ABOLITIONIST AND MAVERICK UNITARIAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANTONY PIEROZZI, A.K.A. ANTONINUS OF FLORENCE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF FLORENCE

THE FEAST OF JOHN GOSS, ANGLICAN CHURCH COMPOSER AND ORGANIST; AND WILLIAM MERCER, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF NICOLAUS LUDWIG VON ZINZENDORF, RENEWER OF THE CHURCH

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https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/showing-the-way/

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Week of Proper 10: Thursday, Year 2   3 comments

Above:  The Mythical Phoenix

Rebirth After Disaster

JULY 16, 2020

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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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Isaiah 26:8-19 (TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures):

For Your just ways, O LORD, we look to You;

We long for the name by which You are called.

At night I yearn for You with all my being,

I seek You with all the spirit within me.

For when Your judgments are wrought on earth,

The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

But when the scoundrel is spared, he learns not righteousness;

In a place of integrity, he does wrong–

He ignores the majesty of the LORD.

O LORD!

They see not Your hand exalted.

Let them be shamed as they behold

Your zeal for Your people

And fire consuming Your adversaries.

O LORD!

May you appoint well-being for us,

Since you have also requited all our misdeeds.

O LORD our God!

Lords other than You possessed us,

But only Your name shall we utter.

They are dead, they can never live;

Shades, they can never rise;

Of a truth, You have dealt with them and wiped them out,

Have put an end to the mention of them.

When you added to the nation, O LORD,

When you added to the nation,

Extending all the boundaries of the land,

You were honored.

O LORD!  In their distress, they sought You;

Your chastisement reduced them

To anguished whispered prayer.

Like a woman with child

Approaching childbirth,

Writhing and screaming in her pangs,

So are we because of You, O LORD.

We were with child, we writhed–

It is as though we had given birth to wind;

We have won no victory on earth;

The inhabitants of the world have not come to life!

Oh, let Your dead revive!

Let corpses arise!

Awake and shout for joy,

You who dwell in the dust!–

For Your dew is like the dew on fresh growth;

You make the land of the shades come to life.

Psalm 102:12-22 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

11  My days pass away like a shadow,

and I wither like grass.

12  But you, O LORD, endure for ever,

and your Name from age to age.

13  You will arise and have compassion on Zion,

for it is time to have mercy upon her;

indeed, the appointed time has come.

14  For your servants love her very rubble,

and are moved to pity even for her dust.

15  The nations shall fear your Name, O LORD,

and all the kings of the earth your glory.

16  For the LORD will build up Zion,

and his glory will appear.

17  He will look with favor on the prayer of the homeless;

he will not despise their plea.

18  Let this be written for a future generation,

so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD.

19  For the LORD looked down from his holy place on high;

from the heavens he beheld the earth;

20  That he might hear the groan of the captive

and set free those condemned to die;

21  That they may declare in Zion the Name of the LORD,

and his praise in Jerusalem;

22  When the peoples are gathered together,

and the kingdoms also, to serve the LORD.

Matthew 11:28-20 (An American Translation):

[Jesus continued,]

Come to me, all of you toil and learn from me, and I will let you rest.  Let my yoke be put upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-minded, and your hearts can find rest, for the yoke I offer you is a kindly one, and the load I ask you to bear is light.

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The Collect:

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Links:

Week of Proper 10:  Thursday, Year 1:

https://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/week-of-proper-10-thursday-year-1/

A Prayer for Those Who Have Harmed Us:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/a-prayer-for-those-who-have-harmed-us/

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This day’s reading from Isaiah is part of a plea to God to destroy to destroy the wicked so that the redemption of the righteous may follow soon thereafter.  This projected sequence of events reflects an understanding that difficult times will come, but that circumstances will improve for the righteous afterward.  So, in the midst of impending violence, hope for a better future persists.  God will make this predicted hope a reality, and the children of Israel will weather the storm of exile.  That is the point of this day’s text.

They did weather that storm, of course, and return to their homeland, thanks to God and the Persian Empire.  That covers the historical particulars of this text.  Yet what about contemporary applications?

As I write these words, the global economy is shaky.  This is a time of globalization, so what affects one economy can become an international contagion.  For example, if Nation A in Europe is bankrupt and in need of a bailout, this fact affects the economies of other European nations, due in part to trade and also to the reality of the Euro.  And these effects are evident in international trade with the United States.  Furthermore, troubles in the U.S. economy have affected Europe.  It easy to assign blame, but I prefer that policy makers in various nations find the proper solutions first and foremost.

As for the rest of us, those of us not in the halls of governments, corporate headquarters, and central banks, we ought to look upon these troubled times as an opportunity to sort out our priorities.  How much do we really need?  What is most important?  We cannot take our money and material goods with us when we die; we know that much, do we not?  So, what matters most?  God matters most of all.  The test for loving God entails loving each other.  With that in mind, may we contemplate how God calls each of us to love one another in deeds.  May we build up our human communities, basing them on active compassion.  Social change occurs because enough people change their minds.  And, as we think, so we are; actions flow from attitudes.

This is an opportunity to participate in the remaking of the world, or of parts thereof.  This recreating and remolding is a continuous process.  By grace, may more compassion for each other and deeper, healthier spirituality result.  We can emerge stronger and better on the other side of difficulty.

KRT

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/rebirth-after-disaster/