Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of Proper 14: Year 2
Psalms 101, 109:1-4(5-19)20-30, 119:121-144; Judges 13:15-24; Acts 6:1-15; John 4:1-26
“And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables. (Acts 6:2) And also, John: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4: 24)
Today’s readings presented me with hard choices. On the one hand I am passionate about the self-righteous attitude of the apostles; on the other hand, I love the words of our Lord Jesus about who God is. Also, there is Florence Nightingale who is remembered today. Let’s start with the Acts reading.
The apostles decided that, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables.” I beg to differ. Servitude is the Word of God. After John and James were caught trying to get good positions in heaven, and the rest of the apostles became angry, Jesus explains the importance of servitude. He told them, “It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26 – 28) Therefore, in my humble opinion, the twelve were wrong, serving tables is following Christ, it is carrying out the word of God.
From the Gospel of John, Jesus explains to the woman at the well that God is not some old human man on a throne far away. God is Spirit! God is Truth! We must get rid of any notion that God is human, save God Incarnate, Jesus himself. God can, and should, be worshiped everywhere, and always. “God is spirit, and those who worship [God] must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4: 24)
“Florence Nightingale, whom we remember today, was born to a wealthy English family in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820. She was trained as a nurse in a hospital run by a Lutheran order of Deaconesses at Kaiserwerth (1851) and in 1853 became superintendent of a hospital for invalid women in London. In response to God’s call and animated by a spirit of service, in 1854 she volunteered for duty during the Crimean War and recruited 38 nurses to join her. With them she organized the first modern nursing service in the British field hospitals of Scutari and Balaclava.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for August 12) Like most mystics, Florence had a very prayerful side. “An Anglican, she remained committed to a personal mystical religion, which sustained her through many years of poor health until her death in 1910. Until the end of her life, although her illness prevented her from leaving her home, she continued in frequent spiritual conversation with many prominent church leaders of the day, including the local parish priest, who regularly brought Communion to her. By the time of her death on August 13, 1910, her accomplishments and legacy were widely recognized, and she is honored throughout the world as the founder of the modern profession of nursing.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for August 12)
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