Saturday, February 27, 2016

George Herbert, Priest

Today the church remembers George Herbert, Priest, 1633.

George Herbert was brilliant, wealthy, well-born, handsome, and a favorite of the king and court. To the astonishment of a generation of prominent Englishmen, he abandoned a promising career in public life, took holy orders, and accepted a call to the humble parishes of Fugglestone and Bemerton. As he put it, "Methought I heard one calling, "Child.' And I replied, "My Lord.' "

In his short life (George Herbert was only forty when he died), he made a lasting contribution to the church's life. He wrote A Priest to the Temple; or the Country Parson. He wrote many excellent poems and hymns. Most important of all, he left us a beautiful example of a small town pastor. It was in tiny Bemerton, and not at the mighty Court of St. James, that George Herbert found depth and meaning in life. At Bemerton he was able to witness for his Master in unselfish service to others. He had learned an age-old lesson. "Nothing," he wrote, "is little in God's service."

O eternal Lord God, who holds all souls in life: We humbly ask you to shed forth upon your whole Church in paradise and on earth the bright beams of your light and thy peace; and grant that we, following the good examples of your servant George Herbert, and of all those who loved and served you here, may at the last enter with them into your unending joy. Amen.

Our God and King, you called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Herbert

Daily Readings for February 27, 2016

Genesis 43:16-34
When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, "Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon." The man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph's house. Now the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph's house, and they said, "It is because of the money, replaced in our sacks the first time, that we have been brought in, so that he may have an opportunity to fall upon us, to make slaves of us and take our donkeys." So they went up to the steward of Joseph's house and spoke with him at the entrance to the house. They said, "Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food; and when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each one's money in the top of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it back with us. Moreover we have brought down with us additional money to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks." He replied, "Rest assured, do not be afraid; your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your sacks for you; I received your money." Then he brought Simeon out to them. When the steward had brought the men into Joseph's house, and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, they made the present ready for Joseph's coming at noon, for they had heard that they would dine there. When Joseph came home, they brought him the present that they had carried into the house, and bowed to the ground before him. He inquired about their welfare, and said, "Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?" They said, "Your servant our father is well; he is still alive." And they bowed their heads and did obeisance. Then he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, "Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!" With that, Joseph hurried out, because he was overcome with affection for his brother, and he was about to weep. So he went into a private room and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out; and controlling himself he said, "Serve the meal." They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. When they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, the men looked at one another in amazement. Portions were taken to them from Joseph's table, but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.

 
1 Corinthians 7:10-24
To the married I give this command-- not I but the Lord-- that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. To the rest I say-- I and not the Lord-- that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you. Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife. However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but obeying the commandments of God is everything. Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called. Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever. For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters. In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.


Mark 5:1-20
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me." For he had said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion; for we are many." He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, "Send us into the swine; let us enter them." So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you." And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.


Psalm 75 Confitebimur tibi (thanks to you)
1   We give you thanks, O God, we give you thanks, calling upon your Name and declaring all your wonderful deeds.
2   I will appoint a time, says God; I will judge with equity.
3   Though the earth and all its inhabitants are quaking, I will make its pillars fast.
4   I will say to the boasters, 'Boast no more, ' and to the wicked, 'Do not toss your horns;
5   Do not toss your horns so high, nor speak with a proud neck.'"
6   For judgment is neither from the east nor from the west, nor yet from the wilderness or the mountains.
7   It is God who judges; he puts down one and lifts up another.
8   For in the LORD'S hand there is a cup, full of spiced and foaming wine, which he pours out, and all the wicked of the earth shall drink and drain the dregs.
9   But I will rejoice for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10   He shall break off all the horns of the wicked; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.


Psalm 76 Notus in Jud├Ža (In Judea)
1   In Judah is God known; his Name is great in Israel.
2   At Salem is his tabernacle, and his dwelling is in Zion.
3   There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of battle.
4   How glorious you are! more splendid than the everlasting mountains!
5   The strong of heart have been despoiled; they sink into sleep; none of the warriors can lift a hand.
6   At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and rider lie stunned.
7   What terror you inspire! who can stand before you when you are angry?
8   From heaven you pronounced judgment; the earth was afraid and was still;
9   When God rose up to judgment and to save all the oppressed of the earth.
10   Truly, wrathful Edom will give you thanks, and the remnant of Hamath will keep your feasts.
11   Make a vow to the LORD your God and keep it; let all around him bring gifts to him who is worthy to be feared.
12   He breaks the spirit of princes, and strikes terror in the kings of the earth.


Psalm 23 Dominus regit me (The Lord is my shepherd)
1   The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
2   He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
3   He revives my soul and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
4   Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5   You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6   Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


Psalm 27 Dominus illuminatio (Lord is my light)
1   The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?
2   When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh, it was they, my foes and my adversaries, who stumbled and fell.
3   Though an army should encamp against me, yet my heart shall not be afraid;
4   And though war should rise up against me, yet will I put my trust in him.
5   One thing have I asked of the LORD; one thing I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life;
6   To behold the fair beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
7   For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling and set me high upon a rock.
8   Even now he lifts up my head above my enemies round about me.
9   Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation with sounds of great gladness; I will sing and make music to the LORD.
10   Hearken to my voice, O LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me.
11   You speak in my heart and say, "Seek my face." Your face, LORD, will I seek.
12   Hide not your face from me, nor turn away your servant in displeasure.
13   You have been my helper; cast me not away; do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.
14   Though my father and my mother forsake me, the LORD will sustain me.
15   Show me your way, O LORD; lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.
16   Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, and also those who speak malice.
17   What if I had not believed that I should see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
18   O tarry and await the LORD'S pleasure; be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the LORD.

Daily Meditation for February 27, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

Mark 5:8-9 For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”

For us, demon possession is generally considered the stuff of supernatural thrillers and horror films. Many people don’t believe in demons, and even those who believe don’t encounter demons in the regular course of day-to-day life. Why, then, are the many exorcisms portrayed in the gospels relevant to us today?

They matter because even if we don’t believe in demons, we know evils that take over people and drive them to destruction—evils that seem impossible to eradicate. Evils such as substance abuse, war, racism, greed, and the persecution of the weak take over both individuals and entire cultures, and we are not enough to fight them alone.

Whatever we may believe about demons, the gospels’ exorcism stories offer contemporary Christians the greatest possible comfort: though evil sometimes feels impossible to eradicate, Christ still has the power to overcome it.