Have you decided upon a Lenten discipline? The traditional grouping is Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, and Scripture Reading. If you aren’t sure where to start, Lenten Devotionals abound. Here are some recommendations:
Redeemer Church’s Lenten Devotional - convenient to add to your Google or iCalendar
Lent with the Church Fathers – In 10-20 minutes a day, you can soak in centuries of wisdom.
For a good daily email inbox devotional, I recommend Rediscover Jesus.
And one church has urged their members to copy – by hand – the entirety of the Book of Proverbs (omitting Saturdays & Sundays, which can be used to “catch up” should you fall behind).
Whatever you do, make sure that you are pushing out things that keep you from prayer, fasting, alms giving, and Scripture reading. And make sure it’s something to which you can commit. If you do something – even a SMALL something – you’ll reach Easter with a greater understanding of your call to join Christ in his resurrection life.
There are many legends but little known history regarding Kentigern. All the sources are from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Most are from the northern part of Britain, where Kentigern’s evangelistic and pastoral ministry took place. The sources contain various folkloric elements which are considerably older than the eleventh century, but which have no clear historical value (including in one source a confrontation with the druid Merlin). From these traditions we may with some assurance of historicity assume that Kentigern was the son of a British prince (perhaps Owain of Rheged) and of illegitimate birth. Under his nickname Mungo (meaning “darling”) was educated by Bishop Serf at Culross and became a monk in the austere Irish tradition. He later traveled to the northern British kingdom of Strathclyde (Stratclut), in what is now southwestern Scotland, where he was ordained bishop by another Irish missionary bishop. He continued the work of Saint Ninian in preaching the Gospel to the people in the vicinity of Dumbarton, the capital of the kingdom of Strathclyde, and established a religious foundation near Dumbarton, around which the city of Glasgow later grew. Persecuted by the pagan king Morcant Mwynfawr, Kentigern fled to Cumbria (in the kingdom of Rheged) for some time. On the accession of Morcant’s brother, king Riderch Hael the Generous, he was summoned back by the already-baptized king to continue his work of evangelism among the Britons of Strathclyde. Kentigern likely lived to the age of 85, and he died and was buried at his religious foundation at Glasgow. His relics are claimed by Glasgow Cathedral.
Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Kentigern, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of northwestern Britain. Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Kentigern, Missionary Bishop, is commemorated on his traditional feast day of January 13 in the Calendars of the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church. He is commemorated on January 14 in the Calendar of the Church in Wales. January 14 has been chosen for this sanctoral diary so as not to conflict with the commemoration of Hilary of Poitiers on January 13.
The icon of Saint Kentigern is from Aidan Hart’s gallery of Western Orthodox saints and is reproduced here with his generous permission.
Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, was a prolific writer on Scripture and doctrine, an orator, and a poet to whom some of the earliest Latin hymns have been attributed. Augustine called him “the illustrious doctor of the Churches”. Jerome considered him “the trumpet of the Latins against the Arians”. For his defense of the Nicene faith, he is also known as “the Athanasius of the West”.
Hilary (Hilarius) was born in Pectavus (later Poitiers) in Gaul, about 315, into a pagan family of wealth and power. In his writings, he describes the stages of the journey that led him to the Christian faith. He was baptized when he was about thirty years old.
In 350, Hilary was made Bishop of Poitiers. Although he demurred at first, he was finally persuaded by the people’s acclamations. He proved to be a bishop of skill and courage. His orthodoxy was shown when, in 355, the Emperor Constantius ordered all bishops to sign a condemnation of Athanasius (the bishop of Alexandria, champion of Nicene trinitarianism against the Arians), under pain of exile. Hilary wrote to Constantius, pleading for peace and unity. His plea accomplished nothing, and, when he dissociated himself from three Arian bishops in the West, Constantius ordered Julian (later surnamed the Apostate for his conversion to Neoplatonic paganism) to exile Hilary to Phrygia. There Hilary remained for three years, without complaining, writing scriptural commentaries and his principal work, De Trinitate (On the Trinity).
Hilary was then invited by a party of the semi-Arians, who hoped for his support, to a council at Seleucia in Asia, largely attended by Arians; but with remarkable courage, in the midst of a hostile gathering, Hilary defended the Council of Nicaea and its definition of the Trinity, giving no aid to the semi-Arians. He wrote again to Constantius, offering to debate Saturninus, the Western bishop largely responsible for his exile. The Arians feared for the outcome of the debate and persuaded Constantius to return Hilary to Poitiers.
In 360, Hilary was welcomed back to his see with great demonstrations of joy and affection. He continued his battle against Arianism, but he never neglected the needs of his people. Angry in controversy with heretical bishops, he was always a loving and compassionate pastor to his diocese. Among his disciples was Martin, later bishop of Tours, whom Hilary encouraged in his endeavors to promote the monastic life.
from Lesser Feasts and Fasts, with additions
O Lord our God, you raised up your servant Hilary to be a champion of the catholic faith: Keep us steadfast in that true faith which we professed at our baptism, that we may rejoice in having you for our Father, and may abide in your Son, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; who live and reign for ever and ever.Amen.
The propers for the commemoration of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, are published on the Lectionary Page website.
William Laud, born in 1573, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, having been King Charles’ principal ecclesiastical adviser for several years before. He was the most prominent of a new generation of churchmen who disliked many of the ritual practices which had developed during the reign of Elizabeth the First (many of which began during the reign of her younger brother, Edward VI), and who were bitterly opposed by the Puritan party in the Church of England.
Laud believed the Church of England to be in direct continuity with the medieval Church, and he stressed the unity of the Church and State, exalting the role of the king as Supreme Governor of the Church. He emphasized the ministerial priesthood and the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, and caused consternation by insisting on the reverencing of the altar, returning it to its pre-Reformation position against the east wall of the church, and hedging it about with rails. (During Edward’s reign, and Elizabeth’s, altars had been removed, and simpler communion Tables set lengthwise – long axis oriented east-west – in the chancel of the church. Those who intended to take communion would move from the nave into the chancel at the offertory, and the priest or bishop would preside at the eucharist, standing on the north side of the Table.)
As head of the courts of High Commission and the Star Chamber, Laud persecuted Puritans and was abhorred for the harsh sentencing of some of the prominent members of the party. His identification with the unpopular policies of King Charles, his support of the Bishops’ War against Scotland in 1640 (triggered, in part, by Charles’ and Laud’s attempt to impose an English prayerbook on the Church of Scotland), and his efforts to make the Church independent of Parliament, made him widely disliked. He was impeached for treason by the Long Parliament in 1640, and finally beheaded on January 10, 1645.
Laud’s reputation remains controversial to this day. Honored as a martyr and condemned as an intolerant bigot, he was compassionate in his defense of the rights of the common people against the landowners. He was honest, devout, loyal to the king and to the rights and privileges of the Church of England. He tried to reform and protect the Church in accordance with his convictions – though these attempts at reform were marred by his treatment of those who strenuously disagreed with him theologically and liturgically. In many ways he was out of step with the views of the majority of his countrymen, especially in his espousal of royal Stuart views of the “Divine Rights of Kings”. The historian Nicholas Tyacke rates Laud as one of the greatest of the Archbishops of Canterbury, not giving him complete approval, but recognizing that his contribution to the future of the English Church was of major importance.
Writing in the Church Quarterly Review in 1945, A.W. Ballard stated that
As far as doctrine was concerned Laud carried on the teaching of Cranmer and Hooker. He held that the basis of belief was the Bible, but that the Bible was to be interpreted by the tradition of the early Church, and that all doubtful points were to be subjected, not to heated arguments in the pulpits, but to sober discussion by learned men. His mind, in short, like those of the earlier English reformers, combined the Protestant reliance on the Scriptures with reverence for ancient tradition and with the critical spirit of the Ranascence.
Laud made a noble end, praying on the scaffold: “The Lord receive my soul, and have mercy on me, and bless this kingdom with peace and charity, that there may not be this effusion of Christian blood amongst them.”
The prayer for the Church on page 816 in the Book of Common Prayer (1979), added to the American Prayer Book in 1928, was written by Archbishop Laud. It was first published in A Summarie of Devotions (1677), adapted from his manuscripts. The original version of the prayer reads:
Gracious Father, I humbly beseech Thee for Thy holy Catholic Church, fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purge it; where it is in error, direct it; where it is superstitious, rectify it; where anything is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen and confirm it; where it is in want, furnish it; where it is divided and rent asunder, make up the breaches of it; O Thou Holy One of Israel. Amen.
taken from Lesser Feasts and Fasts, with additions, including from
Fathers and Anglicans: The Limits of Orthodoxy (Arthur Middleton, Gracewing 2001) and Commentary on the American Prayer Book (Marion J. Hatchett, Harper San Francisco 1995)
Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like your servant William Laud, we may live in your fear, die in your favor, and rest in your peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The propers for William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, are published on the Lectionary Page website.
Born at Samosata in Syria, Lucian became a presbyter of the Church at Antioch, where he was especially interested in amending the corrupt texts of the Holy Scriptures then current and in teaching their literal (plainest) sense. He founded an important theological school in Antioch, one of whose members was Arius, later known for his heresy regarding the deity of Jesus, whose followers sometimes called themselves Lucianists. Although Lucian was involved in the schism in the Church of Antioch and although his orthodoxy was highly suspect, he made his peace with the Church in 285 and died a martyr in full communion with the Church at Nicomedia, the eastern capital of the Roman Empire, in 312. It is said that on his way to Nicomedia, to be brought before the emperor, he converted forty soldiers to the faith. Following interrogation and flogging, he was cast into prison, where he suffered death by starvation.
His body was taken to Drepanum, later renamed Helenopolis by the emperor Constantine in memory of his mother. Evidence of his veneration is provided by Eusebius, the fourth century historian and bishop of Caesarea and by John Chrystostom, late fourth century bishop of Constantinople.
St John Chrysostom writes of him, “He scorned hunger: let us also scorn luxury and destroy the power of the stomach that we may, when the time that requires such courage comes for us, be prepared in advance by the help of a lesser ascesis, to show ourselves glorious at the time of battle.”
Lucian is commemorated on January 7, the date of his martyrdom, in the West, and on October 15 in the East. While he is not commemorated in later Anglican calendars, he is listed in the Calendar of the 1662 Prayer Book.
adapted from The Oxford Dictionary of Saints
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
The name of this Feast of our Lord is derived from a Greek word meaning manifestation or appearing. Historically, Anglican Prayer Books have interpreted the name with a subtitle, “The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles”. The last phrase is, of course, a reference to the narrative of the Wise Men, the Magi, who appeared in Judaea from the East in order to worship the newborn King of the Jews.
A Christian observance on January 6 is found as early as the end of the second century in Egypt. This feast combined the commemorations of the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus in the waters of the River Jordan, and Jesus’ first recorded miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, all of which are manifestations of the deity of the incarnate Lord.
The Epiphany is still the primary Feast of the Incarnation in Eastern Churches, and the three-fold emphasis is prominent. In the West, however, including Anglican Churches, the feast has emphasized the narrative of the Magi nearly to the exclusion of the other two events. Modern lectionary revision, reflected in such lectionaries as that of the 1979 Prayer Book and the Revised Common Lectionary, has recovered the primitive trilogy by setting the Baptism of our Lord as the theme of the First Sunday after the Epiphany in all three years of the lectionary cycle, and by providing the narrative of the miracle at the wedding at Cana as the Gospel for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany in Year C.
adapted from Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980)
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Isaiah 60:1-6, 9
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult,
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.
For the coastlands shall hope for me,
the ships of Tarshish first,
to bring your children from afar,
their silver and gold with them,
for the name of the Lord your God,
and for the Holy One of Israel,
because he has made you beautiful.
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Give the King your justice, O God, *
and your righteousness to the King’s Son;
That he may rule your people righteously *
and the poor with justice;
That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, *
and the little hills bring righteousness.
He shall defend the needy among the people; *
he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.
He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, *
from one generation to another.
He shall come down like rain upon the mown field, *
like showers that water the earth.
In his time shall the righteous flourish; *
there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute, *
and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.
All kings shall bow down before him, *
and all the nations do him service.
For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, *
and the oppressed who has no helper.
He shall have pity on the lowly and poor; *
he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, *
and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
The scripture texts for the Lesson, the Epistle, and Gospel are taken from the English Standard Version Bible. The Collect and Psalm are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (1979).
If called upon to pray at your family gathering, here are a few helpful prayers from the BCP:
Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the
fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those
who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards
of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and
the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with
thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The General Thanksgiving (from the Daily Office)
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men.
We bless thee for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit,
be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.
From the Rogation days:
Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray
that thy gracious providence may give and preserve to our
use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper
all who labor to gather them, that we, who constantly receive
good things from thy hand, may always give thee thanks;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with
thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
For the Harvest
Most gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are
broken up and the clouds drop down the dew: We yield thee
hearty thanks and praise for the return of seed time and harvest,
for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of its fruits,
and for all other blessings of thy merciful providence
bestowed upon this nation and people. And, we beseech thee,
give us a just sense of these great mercies, such as may appear
in our lives by a humble, holy, and obedient walking before
thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom,
with thee and the Holy Ghost be all glory and honor, world
without end. Amen.
For the Right Use of God’s Gifts:
Almighty God, whose loving hand hath given us all that we
possess: Grant us grace that we may honor thee with our
substance, and, remembering the account which we must one
day give, may be faithful stewards of thy bounty, through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Harvest of Lands and Waters
O gracious Father, who openest thine hand and fillest all
things living with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters,
and multiply the harvests of the world; let thy Spirit go
forth, that it may renew the face of the earth; show thy
loving-kindness, that our land may give her increase; and
save us from selfish use of what thou givest, that men and
women everywhere may give thee thanks; through Christ
our Lord. Amen.
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.
Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so
freely bestowed upon us.
For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and
sky and sea.
We thank you, Lord.
For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women,
revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.
For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and
We thank you, Lord.
For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.
For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.
For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering
and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.
For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.
For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.
Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and
promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the
Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.
In Matthew 13 and Mark 6, James is listed first among the brothers of Jesus: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 1 that he met James, “the Lord’s brother”, at Jerusalem on his first visit to the city after becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. From the second century, there has been some uncertainty about the exact relationship between Jesus and his brothers. In the second century, Epiphanius suggested that the “brothers” were sons of Joseph by a former marriage (Joseph being a widower at his marriage to Mary), which remains the view of the Eastern Church. Helvidius, a fourth century writer who opposed belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary, the mother of Jesus, claiming the support of Tertullian wrote that Jesus was Mary’s first child and that the brothers (and sisters) noted in the Gospels were children of Mary and Joseph, born after Jesus. In response to Helvidius, Saint Jerome stated that the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus were either older children of Joseph’s former marriage, and thus step-siblings of the Lord (following Epiphanius), or that they were actually the children of the Virgin Mary’s sister, and thus Jesus’ cousins (the word in the Gospels translated “brothers” can also be used of cousins). Jerome’s view prevailed in the West until most post-Reformation Protestants and Anglicans adopted Helvidius’ view.
Whatever his relationship to Jesus – younger brother, older step-brother, or cousin – James became a follower of Jesus after the Resurrection, when Jesus appeared specially to him. From early on, James was recognized as a leader in the church at Jerusalem. Although not one of the Twelve, he was regarded as an apostle (see Galatians 1). Saint Paul recognized James, along with the apostles Peter and John, as pillars of the church at Jerusalem. During the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), which resolved the deeply divisive issue of whether Gentile converts should be circumcized before baptism, James defended the position argued by Paul and Barnabas against requiring circumcision and summarized the council’s decision: “Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God”, thus establishing the Church’s policy toward Gentile converts from that time forward.
The fourth century historian Eusebius, quoting from an earlier church history by Hegesippus, writes that James was surnamed “the Just” (the Righteous) on account of his great piety and ascetical life. He went frequently into the Temple alone to pray and knelt so often, interceding for the forgiveness of the people, that his knees became as callused as a camel’s. Eusebius recounts that James was so persuasive in leading people to faith in Jesus that the scribes and Pharisees entreated him to “restrain the people, who are led astray after Jesus, as if he were the Messiah.” Refusing to do so, James was then thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple, where he had been placed to denounce Jesus to the people, and once he was upon the pavement was cudgeled to death. Toward the end of the first century, the Jewish historian Josephus recounted that James “with certain others” was stoned to death in the year 62 at the instigation of the high priest Annas.
prepared from The New Book of Festivals and Commemorations,
Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980), and Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History
Grant, O God, that, following the example of your servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul fas they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,
“‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’
Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
Beatus vir qui non abiit
Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, *
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
Their delight is in the law of the LORD, *
and they meditate on his law day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
everything they do shall prosper.
It is not so with the wicked; *
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, *
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, *
but the way of the wicked is doomed.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you — unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
Saint James of Jerusalem is commemorated by the Eastern Churches and by several Anglican Churches on October 23.
The icon of Saint James of Jerusalem was written by Tobias Stanislas Haller, BSG and is reproduced here with his generous permission.
Luke was a Gentile, a physician, and one of Paul’s disciples and fellow missionaries in the early spread of the Gospel through the Roman world. He is the author both of the Gospel that bears his name and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles. He apparently did not know Jesus, writing that he compiled his narrative from the report of “those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses” (Luke 1). A tradition attested by Eusebius holds that he was one of the first members of the Christian community at Antioch.
Much can be gleaned about his character from his writings. In his Gospel the elements particular to him include much of the account of the virgin birth of Jesus, some of the most moving parables such as those of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, and the words of Jesus during his passion to the women of Jerusalem and the penitent malefactor who was crucified alongside Jesus. All of these elements emphasize the compassion of Christ, which together with Luke’s emphasis on poverty, prayer, and purity of heart make up much of his specific appeal to the Gentiles, for whom he wrote this Gospel of the Savior of the world. Women figure more prominently in Luke’s Gospel than in any other, including Mary, Elizabeth, the widow of Nain, and the woman who was a sinner. Luke also emphasizes Jesus’ deity, from the angelic announcement of “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” that applies the Roman imperial titles of soter (savior) andkyrios (lord) not to Caesar in Rome, but to the newborn child in the backwater town of Bethlehem; to the subtlety of the Greek words used to address Jesus by different persons (or angels) at different times through his Gospel. In the first part of his Gospel, up through the passion and death of Jesus, human beings address Jesus as “master”, while angels refer to him as “Lord” (the Greek kyriosechoing the Hebrew adonai, a term applied to God). After his Resurrection, through the witness of God’s vindication of him, Jesus is called “Lord” by his disciples.
In the Acts of the Apostles Luke shows himself a remarkably accurate observer, concerned with making necessary links between the history of the early Church and the contemporary history of the Roman Empire. As noted about his Gospel, above, Luke showed himself an artist with words, which is perhaps the basis for the tradition that he was a painter and that he made the first icon of the Blessed Virgin. For this reason, Luke has become the patron not only of physicians and surgeons, but also of artists. When he is represented with the other Evangelists, his symbol is an ox, derived from Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 1) and sometimes explained by reference to sacrifice in the Temple in the early chapters of his Gospel.
Luke was with Paul until the apostle’s martyrdom in Rome. What became of Luke after this is unknown. Early tradition holds that he wrote his Gospel in Achaia, and that he died at the age of eight-four in Boetia. In 357 the emperor Constantinus the Second had the presumed relics of Saint Luke translated from Thebes in Boetia to Constantinople, where they were placed with the relics of Saint Andrew in Church of the Holy Apostles. The observance of his feast day on the eighteenth of October is quite old in the East, but it appears on Western calendars only in the eighth century. The date itself is universal, and may be based on the actual date of his death.
prepared from The Oxford Dictionary of Saints
and Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980)
Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Honor the physician according to your need of him,
for the Lord created him;
for healing comes from the Most High,
and he will receive a gift from the king.
The skill of the physician lifts up his head,
and in the presence of the great he is admired.
The Lord created medicines from the earth,
and a sensible man will not despise them.
He gave skill to human beings
that he might be glorified in his marvelous works.
By them he heals and takes away pain;
the pharmacist makes of them a compound.
His works will never be finished;
and from him health is upon the face of the earth.
My child, when you are sick do not be negligent,
but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.
Give up your faults and direct your hands aright
and cleanse your heart from all sin.
Give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;
let him not leave you, for there is need of him.
There is a time when success lies in the hands of physicians,
for they too will pray to the Lord
that he should grant them success in diagnosis
and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.
How good it is to sing praises to our God! *
how pleasant it is to honor him with praise!
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem; *
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted *
and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars *
and calls them all by their names.
Great is our LORD and mighty in power; *
there is no limit to his wisdom.
The LORD lifts up the lowly, *
but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; *
make music to our God upon the harp.
2 Timothy 4:5-13
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, vhe went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
The icon of Saint Luke the Evangelist is from the hand of Master Theodoric, the fourteenth century Prague court painter of the Holy Roman emperor Charles the Fourth.