Pondering for Friday, July 17, 2020

Daily Office Readings for Friday of Proper 10: Year 2

Psalm 31; Psalm 35 Joshua 4:19-5:1,10-15Rom. 12:9-21Matt. 26:17-25

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12: 21)

As I write this blog for today, Friday, July 17, I am preparing a sermon for Sunday, July 19.  The sermon will be about evil and comes from the Gospel of Matthew about weeds planted among the wheat.  Evil does exist, sadly.  I will probably use some of the material here as part of my sermon as it deals with evil as it comes among us.

So why does evil exist?  Some say evil is the work of the devil; perhaps. Personally, I think it is more the product of psychosis focused on hurtful and often hateful outcomes that lack any sense of love.  I might even suggest that evil happens in the absence of love.  But love doesn’t just happen, it is taught.

People who are loved, love others.  People who are resented, resent others. Maybe the psychosis of evil will show some chemical imbalance as a probable cause. Whatever the cause, evil is among us.  Our response to it, when we see it, is to not let it cause a like retaliation in us, but rather, use the abundance of love that we have been taught to overcome it. As Paul says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12: 21)

Today we also remember William White, First Presiding Bishop of the newly formed Episcopal Church.

Bishop White was the chief architect of the Constitution of the American Episcopal Church and the wise overseer of its life during the first generation of its history. He was the Presiding Bishop at its organizing General Convention in 1789 and again from 1795 until his death in Philadelphia, on July 17, 1836. (Great Cloud of Witnesses July 17)

White showed courage when he set out to England to be consecrated a Bishop by a nation that our new nation just defeated. “No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who walk with integrity.” (Psalm 84:11)

One other point I would like to share about Bishop White is his ordaining Absalom Jones to the priesthood.  Jones was a former slave and the first African American Priest of the Episcopal Church.  While Jones was ordained by White to serve an African American parish, he was nonetheless officially ordained using the same words and Bishop (and hands) as any other priest of this Church. 

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John

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