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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Hand of God

It seems to me that natural disasters can be a way of humbling us as Christians and as Americans, though not all Americans are Christians, of course. We're a proud nation and that is often assimilated by Christians. We're prone to accommodate to the culture rather than speaking prophetically to the culture. Prophets are stoned and fired from their jobs and who wants to be a martyr for Christ? After all, a man is worse than an infidel if he does not work or feed his family

There is a tension in the biblical texts between responsibility for one's own choices, albeit those choices might seem the godly ones, and persecution by the secular authorities in government and the workplace. That tension remains in today's situation. There is a tremendous temptation to sell out to the world and hope that God will take care of His own business. Yet, Scripture tells us that we are to be obedient to God's revealed will. The Holy Scriptures have many hard sayings--like sell everything and give to the poor. Some of this is just impractical from an American perspective. But the rich young ruler thought it was impractical, too.

Just how would that play out if I sold everything I have? Well, I don't have anything to sell! So how could I sacrifice everything and follow Jesus? I could give up my job and become homeless and travel the nation as a vagabond and beggar. Many priests did that in previous centuries, by the way. The mendicant orders made their living by begging food and clothing. It seems today that instead of begging the television evangelists would just sell a lie that God wants everyone to be wealthy, especially the television evangelists themselves. Personally, I think this makes a mockery of the Gospel.

How hard it is to trust God for daily sustenance. It is even harder when one sees what passes as Christianity bilking the poor and the average joe for billions of dollars a year just so they can live in luxury on earth. Don't they know that this life is temporary and that eternal things are what counts?

May God have mercy on us all!

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