Tuesday, February 24, 2015

JE #34

Today is the feast of St. Matthias

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
(Acts 1:21-26 ESV)

Monday, February 23, 2015

JE #33

Today is the commemoration of Polycarp, pastor at Smyrna and martyr

"Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, “who bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,” but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him.  Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him.  For He has set us this example in Himself, and we have believed that such is the case." - Polycarp
 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’" (Revelation 2:8-11 ESV)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

JE #32

Today we observe the commemoration of Martin Luther, doctor and confessor

Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word;
Curb those who fain by craft and sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Thy Son
And set at naught all He hath done.
Lord Jesus Christ, Thy pow’r make known,
For Thou art Lord of lords alone;
Defend Thy Christendom that we
May evermore sing praise to Thee.
O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.
- Martin Luther, 1541

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

JE #31

Today is Ash Wednesday

I, a sinner, come to Thee
With a penitent confession;
Savior, mercy show to me
Grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

JE #30

Today we observe the commemoration of Philemon and Onesimus

 I thank my God always when I remember you [Philemon] in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 1:4-7 ESV)

 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. (Philemon 1:9-16 ESV)

JE #29

Yesterday was the commemoration of Philip Melanchthon, confessor

"But faith is not belief in the history of Christ, as the godless think, but belief in the purpose of Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. For he took on flesh, was crucified, and rose from the dead in order to justify all who would believe in him.”

Saturday, February 14, 2015

JE #28

Today is the feast of St. Valentine, martyr

Today's feast is kind of a tricky thing. St. Valentine has fallen out of favor in the last 50 years as his story (or stories) relies on tradition rather than any hard facts. His feast appears to be a co-opted pagan fertility festival which has morphed into a useless Hallmark holiday. Nevertheless, it is on the calendar and I have chocolates and lovey-dovey cards to give to my dear Mr. Bee and our sweet little Bees.

Pictured above is the altar of St. Valentine's Polish National Catholic Church in Philadelphia, and may I say WOW! WHAT AN ALTAR! I hope they are celebrating a wedding there today.

Friday, February 13, 2015

JE #27

Today is the commemoration of Aquila, Priscilla and Apollos

 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. (Acts 18:24-28 ESV)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

JE #26

Today is the commemoration of St. Silas, fellow worker with St. Peter and St. Paul

 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. (Acts 15:32-33 ESV)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

JE #25

Today is the commemoration of Jacob (Israel), Patriarch

 He [Jesus] will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33 ESV)

Monday, February 2, 2015

JE #24

Out my Window: After a very rainy Friday-Saturday (2+ inches!) the sun is out and we have enjoyed a bright and warmer Sunday-Monday. The forecast calls for sun and warm temps (70s) all week. Yes, I DO like Arizona winters.

Weighty Matters: I am working on adopting the DASH diet. Hypertension worries me, especially since it caused the deaths of my mother and my mother-in-law. With the DASH diet I don't need to count calories, just servings. Pretty easy. Right now the antibiotics for my abscessed tooth are wrecking havoc on my guts - yuck. But I will soon be done with those and back to norm. In the meantime I must eat more yogurt.

Churchy Stuff: I am enjoying observing the traditional liturgical year. I think Protestantism has devolved the church in many ways. For a many in the church there are only 2 holidays a year - Christmas and Easter. But in fact, there are many more observances and feasts. It is hard to explain, but for me it adds depth to my faith and to how I view Jesus. Worship is becoming less Sunday-centered.

Today is the Feast of the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple

Today is 40 days after the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas) and according to Mosaic law Mary must present herself and Jesus to the temple along with an offering:

 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation. And she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.

“And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, and he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her. Then she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, either male or female. And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.” (Leviticus 12 ESV)
 The LORD said to Moses, “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” (Exodus 13:1-2 ESV)
 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24 ESV)

Today's holiday is also called Candlemas because it is often celebrated by a procession of candles due to part 2 of the presentation story:

 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:25-32 ESV)

I am keeping a candle burning today to remind me that Jesus is my light.