Saturday, October 21, 2017
Sunday, October 22, 2017THE TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST (Pr. 24)
Almighty and everlasting God, who in Christ hast revealed thy glory among the nations: Preserve the works of thy mercy, that thy Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of thy Name; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Proper 24)
Monday, October 23, 2017SAINT JAMES (THE JUST) OF JERUSALEM
This, according to Lesser Feasts and Fasts of the Episcopal Church (2000):
In the Gospel according to Matthew and in the Epistle to the Galatians, the James whom we commemorate today is called the Lord’s brother. Other writers, following Mark’s tradition, believe him to have been a cousin of Jesus. Certain apocryphal writings speak of him as a son of Joseph’s first wife. Whatever his relationship to Jesus — brother, half-brother, or cousin — James was converted after the resurrection. Eventually, he became Bishop of Jerusalem.
In the first letter to the Corinthians (15:7), Paul says that James was favored with a special appearance of the Lord before the ascension. Later, James dealt cordially with Paul at Jerusalem, when the latter came there to meet Peter and the other apostles. During the Council of Jerusalem, when there was disagreement about whether Gentile converts should be circumcised, James summed up the momentous decision with these words: “My judgment is that we should impose no irksome restrictions on those Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19).
Eusebius, quoting from an earlier church history by Hegesippus, declares that James was surnamed “the Just.” He was holy, abstemious, did not cut his hair nor oil his body, and was continually on his knees in prayer, interceding for his people. “As many as came to believe did so through James,” says Hegesippus.
James’ success in converting many to Christ greatly perturbed some factions in Jerusalem. According to Hegesippus, they begged him to “restrain the people, for they have gone astray to Jesus, thinking him to be the Messiah . . . we bear you witness that you are just. . . . Persuade the people that they do not go astray . . . we put our trust in you.” They then set James on the pinnacle of the temple, bidding him to preach to the multitude and turn them from Jesus. James, however, testified for the Lord. Thereupon, they hurled him from the roof to the pavement, and cudgeled him to death.
Grant, we beseech thee, O God, that after the example of thy servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, thy Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Thursday, October 26, 2017Alfred the Great
King of the West Saxons
O Sovereign Lord, who didst bring thy servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people: Awake in us also, we beseech thee, a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world, and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, October 27, 2017
Saturday, October 28, 2017SAINT SIMON AND SAINT JUDE
We don’t know very much about Saints Simon and Jude the Apostles.
This Saint Simon is not Peter but “Simon the Canaanite” or “Simon the Zealot.” That means this apostle was, before he followed Jesus, probably a Jewish nationalist revolutionary against the authority of Rome.
Jude, who also was called Lebbaeus and surnamed Thaddeus, is mentioned in Saint John’s Gospel as a brother of Saint James the Greater (brother also of John and son of Zebedee), and therefore is also a family member of Christ himself. The New Testament Epistle of Jude is traditionally ascribed to this Jude. For many centuries, Saint Jude Thaddeus has been regarded in popular devotion as the “patron saint of desperate or lost causes,” but the basis of this tradition is obscure.
Saints Simon and Jude are linked together as apostles to Persia (Iran) and martyrs there. The churches they founded, in spite of centuries of persecution, still exist.
O God, we thank thee for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, October 29, 2017THE TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST (Pr. 25)
Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Monday, October 30, 2017SAINT ANDREW
A new church year begins on the Sunday closest to November 30, which is the Feast of Saint Andrew. We sometimes do not celebrate Saint Andrew on November 30 itself, when that date falls on a Sunday, as it does in 2014, in which November 30 is the First Sunday of Advent and we celebrate Saint Andrew on Monday, December 1 instead.
It is interesting that it is Saint Andrew that corresponds to the start of a new church year. Why Andrew?
Perhaps it is because, according to Saint John, Andrew was one of two disciples who followed Jesus after John the Baptist pointed Jesus out by saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." Andrew went and told his brother and brought him to Jesus. This makes Andrew among the first to recongnize that the man named Jesus was not only the Messiah, but, quite shockingly, a Messiah who would be sacrificed for his people.
Perhaps it is because, according to Saint Matthew, Andrew and his brother Peter, both fisherman, were the first to become disciples of Jesus, when he called them to make them "fishers of men." This makes them the first disciples, as well as the first evangelists.
Perhaps it is because, according to Saint John, Andrew was the one who brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus for the feelding of the multitude. This act not only marks Andrew as a faithful servant, but also, along with his recognition of Jesus as the Lamb of God, gives Andrew a central role in the development of what would become the Eucharist.
Andrew is very much at the beginning of discipleship and evangelism. And so as we celebrate his feast day, we also celebrate the beginning of a new church year.
Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.