Pondering for Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 8: Year 1

Morning, Psalms [120], 121, 122, 123; Evening,  Psalms 124, 125, 126, [127];

1st  Samuel 11:1 to 15Acts 8:1 to 13Luke 22:63 to 71:

In our readings for today we have the action of two Sauls. The name Saul then must be a common name in the tribe of Benjamin of which both were members in their respective times.

The Saul of the Hebrew Testament rejoices after a victory and calls the people to renew his kingship.  After reading about this Saul, the next reading is about the New Testament Saul who consented to Stephen’s death by stoning.  The two Sauls will go different ways.  The Saul of the Hebrew Testament will lose favor with God while the Saul of the Christian Testament will gain favor with God. The death of people is involved in both.

The biggest difference between the Sauls is the “why” they did the things they did.  The Hebrew Testament Saul begins to praise his own kingship, the kingship of himself.  The New Testament Saul was always zealous for God but learns to honor the Kingship of Christ Jesus and lives out the remainder of his days as Paul only to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Perhaps many of us have names that are recycled through our families.  I am named after my uncle and my dad.  I don’t know that with my name I also received any of my uncle’s or dad’s personality traits.  No matter our name, in Christ Jesus we are a new creation, and maybe even have our names changed as did Saul to Paul and Simon to Peter.

Today we remember Saints Peter and Paul.

“Peter and Paul, the two greatest leaders of the early church, are commemorated separately, Peter on January 18, for his confession of Jesus as the Messiah, and Paul on January 25, for his conversion, but they are commemorated together on June 29 in observance of the tradition of the Church that they both died as martyrs in Rome during the persecution under Nero in 64. Paul, the well-educated and cosmopolitan Jew of the diaspora, and Peter, the uneducated fisherman from Galilee, had differences of opinion in the early years of the church concerning the mission to the Gentiles. More than once, Paul speaks of rebuking Peter for his continued insistence on Jewish exclusiveness; yet their common commitment to Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel proved stronger than their differences; and both eventually carried that mission to Rome, where they were martyred. According to tradition, Paul was granted the right of a Roman citizen to be beheaded by a sword, but Peter suffered the fate of his Lord, crucifixion, though with head downward.” (Lesser Feasts and Fasts for June 29)

Let us live in order that we might love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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