O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
I served as co-chair of the committee that nominated our current bishop and as secretary of the committee that nominated his predecessor. I serve currently as secretary of the Joint Standing Nominating Committee on Nominations of the General Convention.
The eleven apostles had a much more efficient process for elections than we do. They prayed and then threw dice. Most episcopal elections cost an enormous amount of money and require about a year or more.
In our own discernment, it is important to remember that Jesus himself did not have a perfect score in choosing the original twelve. That’s why we have today’s reading, recounting how Judas’ replacement was chosen.
This psalm has attitude, the attitude of one who comfortably lives under all the requirements of God’s law. The attitude is definitive of the Old Covenant.. This psalm all too easily promotes and attitude of self-righteousness. Compare the Quean Lutibelle Revision:
Miserable is the person who never talks with the ungodly,
who goes out of the way to avoid sinners,
who never can see life critically.
The self-righteous live by the rules of the elite,
and by these rules are they compulsive day and night.
They are like trees planted in a swamp, moored
in every flood of fashion.
They seem to endure, and whatsoever they perform
is always noticed.
The humble are not so; but are free,
like leaves which the wind drives everywhere.
Therefore, the humble shall not sit to be judged,
nor shall the gentle join the congregation of the
For God knows the ways of them all,
and only the self-righteous shall perish.
-- Louie Crew
Appeared in Voice of the Turtle 5.1 (1981): 3
1 John 5:9-13
The Navigators were an important component of the team for evangelistic crusades of Billy Graham when I came forward in a revival in Chattanooga in 1954. This passage was one of a set of about a dozen bible passages the Navaigators gave to each of us ‘converts.’
I would not have descriibed myself as a convert at the time, but as a Christian seeking renewal.
I memorized the Navigator selections, including this one, in both French and English.
Temoignage = testimony
Years later in taking the graduate school proficiency examination in French, John’s temoignage helped me translate a passage on the examination successfully.
I am uncomfortable with John's claim. It is comforting only if not read critically. You either have Jesus or you don’t. You either are ‘in Christ’ or you are not ‘in Christ.’ You are saved if you are in Christ; you are damned if you are not in Christ.
What about those who have never heard a convincing temoignage on Jesus’ behalf? Does God condemn to eternal damnation all those whom some Christian was too lazy to talk with? I think not.
John has zero tolerance for ambiguity and zero tolerance for ambivalence. I am glad that God, not John, gets the last word.
As a rambler, I take comfort that Jesus rambled too. His rambling here suggests emotional intensity to his plea that God will continue to care for his disciples once Jesus has left to be with the father.
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