It’s been far too long since I posted here. We’ve had crazy weeks at Grace and home.
Our “Ministry Summit” took place, with the Rev. William Weedon as our facilitator. He was inspiring for us all.
Our house in Enid is under contract! Thanks be to God. Pray for a good inspection and no problems till closing!
The kids are fully integrated with school. Read this as: they are driving us crazy with extracurricular activities. Idle hands and all that.
What else? It’s time to close the pool, yardwork, a minor kitchen renovation, diving into the full fall church schedule, Wednesday night programs, New Member class, plans for further adult instruction, a funeral for Ed Flaxbart–a pillar in the congregation–and more. Plus my Church secretary, administrative wonder and heart of Grace Lutheran has been gone for three weeks. We had a lovely volunteer to answer phones, but we need our Alexis back! She’ll be in on Monday.
I stood in red dalmatic and announced the Holy Gospel. Red, as we celebrated the Eve (of the Eve) of the Feast of the Holy Cross, transferred.
The book was covered in gold with images of the Evangelists on the cover. I made the cross at the beginning of the reading, right on the page, and then again on my forehead, lips and heart. After the reading I kissed the book and placed it back on the altar.
Why did I kiss the book? Am I two? Do I kiss owies and scrapes too?
Maybe. Just maybe I am a two-year-old, trying to receive the Kingdom of Heaven like a little child. Maybe just maybe I kissed the book because it gives me Jesus. Maybe I kissed the book because I eat Him.
Luther translated it but didn’t hold it to be part of “Scriptures” much like the Jews. Yet the books appeared in the first Luther Bible and did for generations and generations. Catholic and Orthodox Christians hold them as Scripture, having been found in the Greek Translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint).
And now we Lutherans have it again, though in a separate book. Scripture or not? Read it devotionally, casually or not at all?
Look…they are good stories. Our liturgy quotes from it repeatedly. Heck, even the New Testament quotes from it: Seriously. Here’s a list:
Matt. 6:19-20 – Jesus’ statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 – lay up your treasure.
Matt.. 7:12 – Jesus’ golden rule “do unto others” is the converse of Tobit 4:15 – what you hate, do not do to others.
Matt. 7:16,20 – Jesus’ statement “you will know them by their fruits” follows Sirach 27:6 – the fruit discloses the cultivation.
Matt. 9:36 – the people were “like sheep without a shepherd” is same as Judith 11:19 – sheep without a shepherd.
Matt. 11:25 – Jesus’ description “Lord of heaven and earth” is the same as Tobit 7:18 – Lord of heaven and earth.
Matt. 12:42 – Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books.
Matt. 16:18 – Jesus’ reference to the “power of death” and “gates of Hades” references Wisdom 16:13.
Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 – Gospel writers refer to the canonicity of Tobit 3:8 and 7:11 regarding the seven brothers.
Matt. 24:15 – the “desolating sacrilege” Jesus refers to is also taken from 1 Macc. 1:54 and 2 Macc. 8:17.
Matt. 24:16 – let those “flee to the mountains” is taken from 1 Macc. 2:28.
Matt. 27:43 – if He is God’s Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries follows Wisdom 2:18.
Mark 4:5,16-17 – Jesus’ description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows Sirach 40:15.
Mark 9:48 – description of hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched references Judith 16:17.
We have it so good. I wonder how much tougher people used to be, who faced so much and worse.
St. Denys, Bishop of Alexandria wrote this, “At first they drove us out and…we keppt our festival even then, pursued and put to death by all, and every single spot where we were afflicted became to us a place of assembly for the feast–field, desert, ship, inn, prison.” As Dom Dix describes, the Saint wrote this of Easter 250, when, above the persecution, there was also a civil war, famine and plague happening at the same time (Dix, Shape of the Liturgy, 153).
Seriously? As if hounded by the mob who hates you, tortured by the authorities weren’t enough, God added war, famine and deadly disease to the mix? How could they bear such things? We who rank marriage as one of the most stressful times in life, who think that being yelled at by your boss ruins your day, or week could not bear even one of those disasters. But if we examine history, we’ll find that we are the exception by far. You don’t have to go far in time or space to see those who deal with war, death, disease, persecution. Across the globe, back 60 years and it becomes more and more common.
So give thanks this day and pray for your children and grandchildren, and remember it all ends in victory for those who have died with Christ already.