Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 6 Year 1
“When the troops came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, ‘Why has the Lord put us to rout today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, so that he may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” (1Semuel 4:3)
The Hebrew people of that day believed that God only cared about them. This was their God-in-a-box. Some of us still have a God-in-a-box. God-in-a-box is too small. This is a God that we think we decide who God likes or loves and who “our” God does not like or love. We manipulate our God to act in ways pleasing to us. This box can come in various shapes and sizes. It can be our Bible or Prayer Book, it can be the cross we wear, it can be an icon, statue or some work of art, or it can be a box large enough for us to fit in like our church. None of these can contain God. And our God is also the God of the other. This all powerful God cannot be manipulated. It is we who must conform to the righteousness of God. To do this we must accept the fact that God is the God of all the earth and everybody on earth. And, God loves everybody the same, them and us. In praying to God, we must also pray for the other. This is what Jesus tried so hard to tell us.
Thank you Jesus.
June 22 Alban, First Martyr of Britain c. 304
“Alban is the earliest Christian in Britain who is known by name, and, according to tradition, the first British martyr. He was a soldier in the Roman army, stationed at Verulamium, a city about twenty miles northeast of London, now called St. Alban’s. He gave shelter to a Christian priest who was fleeing from persecution and was converted by him. When officers came to Alban’s house, he dressed himself in the garments of the priest and gave himself up. Alban was tortured and martyred in place of the priest, on the hilltop where the Cathedral of St. Alban’s now stands. The traditional date of his martyrdom is 303 or 304, but recent studies suggest that the year was actually 209, during the persecution under the Emperor Septimius Severus.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for June 22)
Christianity is not for the faint of heart. Like Alban, there are many Christians who have paved the way of our faith with their lives. We stand on their shoulders. We must remember their names and their deeds. We should tell them to our children and to their children. One of the readings for Alban comes from 1st John and it reads, “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” (1st John 3:16)
In my faith journey I have found that when I love just one person that I am willing to die for, it becomes not so difficult to add another person, and then another, and another, and so on. I am not yet where I can say that I will die for anybody, but I do believe that I am on that trajectory.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+