Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Episcopalian Daily And Commemmorative/Festal Readings For Wednesday, 26 January

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Daily and Commemmorative/Festal Readings:

Saints/Martyrs/Heroes/Feasts/Fasts to be observed/commemmorated/celebrated:  Timothy, Titus and Silas



Timothy and Titus appear in the New Testament writings as missionary companions of, and co-workers with, the Apostle Paul.

Titus is mentioned as a companion of Paul in some of his epistles (2 Co 2:13; 7:6,13,14; 8:6,16,23; 12:18; Gal 2:1-3; 2 Tim 4:10).

Timothy is mentioned in Acts 16-20, and appears in 9 epistles either as joining in Paul's greetings or as a messenger.

In addition, Timothy has two New Testament letters addressed to him, and Titus one. From these three letters (called the Pastoral Epistles), it appears that Paul had comissioned Timothy to oversee the Christian community in Ephesus and vicinity, and Titus to oversee that in Crete.

The Pauline authorship of these three letters has been disputed by many scholars who accept as genuine most or all of the other New Testament letters attributed to Paul. In this connection, we may note:

It would be difficult to forge a letter from Paul to an early Christian community. If you did it during Paul's lifetime, the congregation would be likely to reply, thanking Paul for his letter, and he would write back, saying, "What letter?" If you forged a letter from Paul to (say) the Corinthians after his death, sooner or later the Corinthians would hear of the letter, and say, "If Paul wrote that letter to us in his lifetime, why has no one here ever heard of it?" These difficulties are less when one forges, say, a letter from Paul to Timothy, waiting until after the death of both to do so.

There are significant differences in manner between the Pastorals and the other letters. In his letters to churches, Paul routinely presents arguments for the positions he takes. In the Pastorals, he simply states his position and expects that to end the matter. However, it is a matter of common observation that a man may have one style when lecturing to a classroom and another when explaining something to a member of his family. (Hence the saying: Never teach a family member--or let a family member teach you--how to drive a car. The lesson is bound to lead to a shouting match.)

The subjects Paul deals with in the Pastorals are different from those in the other letters, and imply a much more formal church organization. However, it may be noted that Paul normally writes letters dealing with the questions that the recipient has asked, or needs to have answered. He writes to the Thessalonians about the Second Coming because some of them have gotten the idea that it is just around the corner, and so there is no reason to plant the crops. He writes to the Corinthians about the Lord's Supper, because of reports that some of them are behaving irreverently at celebrations thereof. (If the Corinthians had observed proper decorum at the Lord's Table, there would now be scholars who argued that Paul had never heard of the Eucharist, since he never mentions it.) It is not surprising that, having set Timothy and Titus to organize the church in certain areas, he writes to them about church organization.

The preceding remarks are not intended to settle the question of Pauline authorship, or even to present all the arguments on either side. They are merely there to get the reader started.

by James Kiefer



Silas is chiefly remembered as the companion of the Apostle Paul who was arrested with him at Philippi (Acts 16:19-40). They were beaten severely and confined in the inner prison, with their feet in stocks. There they sang hymns in the night, and an earthquake shook the prison, and released them. As a result, the jailer and his household became believers.

The first mention of Silas is earlier. Paul and Barnabas went on a missionary journey (A 13:1-5), taking with them John Mark, who (for unspecified reasons) parted from them and went home in the middle of the journey (A 13:13). Paul and Barnabas completed their mission and returned to Antioch. They had made many Gentile converts on their mission, and the question arose whether a Gentile could become a Christian without also becoming a Jew, being circumcised if male, and undertaking to observe the Law of Moses (A 15:1). The congregation at Antioch referred the question to the Apostles at Jerusalem, and Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to present their case. A council of apostles and elders at Jerusalem judged that, with a few specified exceptions, the Law of Moses was not to be imposed on Gentile Christians, and they sent two men from Jerusalem back to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas to convey their reply. The men were Judas Barsabbas (not otherwise mentioned) and Silas (A 15:22).

Eventually Paul and Barnabas undertook to visit again the congregations they had founded on their previous journey, and Barnabas wished to take John Mark with them, but Paul thought this unwise, and so they determined to travel separately, Barnabas taking Mark, and Paul taking Silas (A 15:36-40). And so Paul and Silas (joined in progress by Timothy and by Luke) went through part of what is now Turkey and then crossed over into Europe and preached at Philippi (where they made converts and were arrested as described above), and went on to Thessalonica and Berea, being the center of riots in each place (A 17:1-13), after which Paul went on to Athens and thence to Corinth, and was soon joined there by Silas and Timothy (A 18:5). And that is the last we hear of Silas.

The name "Silas" is a shortened form of "Silvanus", and the Silvanus whom Paul mentions in his writings to the Corinthians (2 C 1:19) and the Thessalonians (1 Th 1:1; 2 Th 1:1) is almost certainly the Silas of Acts, and probably the same as the Silvanus who carried the Apostle Peter's first letter (1 P 5:12) to its scattered recipients.

Further details of the life of Silas are not known, but he is customarily honored as a martyr.
by James Kiefer


Psalm 112

Blessings of the Righteous

1 Praise the Lord!

Happy are those who fear the Lord,

who greatly delight in his commandments.

2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land;

the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,

and their righteousness endures for ever.

4 They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;

they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

5 It is well with those who deal generously and lend,

who conduct their affairs with justice.

6 For the righteous will never be moved;

they will be remembered for ever.

7 They are not afraid of evil tidings;

their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.

8 Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;

in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

9 They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;

their righteousness endures for ever;

their horn is exalted in honour.

Isaiah 42:5-9

5 Thus says God, the Lord,

who created the heavens and stretched them out,

who spread out the earth and what comes from it,

who gives breath to the people upon it

and spirit to those who walk in it:

6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,

I have taken you by the hand and kept you;

I have given you as a covenant to the people,*

a light to the nations,

7 to open the eyes that are blind,

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,

from the prison those who sit in darkness.

8 I am the Lord, that is my name;

my glory I give to no other,

nor my praise to idols.

9 See, the former things have come to pass,

and new things I now declare;

before they spring forth,

I tell you of them.

Acts 15:22-26,30-33,16:1-5

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers22 Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided to choose men from among their members* and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers, 23with the following letter: ‘The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the believers* of Gentile origin in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24Since we have heard that certain persons who have gone out from us, though with no instructions from us, have said things to disturb you and have unsettled your minds,* 25we have decided unanimously to choose representatives* and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.

30 So they were sent off and went down to Antioch. When they gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31When its members* read it, they rejoiced at the exhortation. 32Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.* 33After they had been there for some time, they were sent off in peace by the believers* to those who had sent them.*

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas16Paul* went on also to Derbe and to Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. 2He was well spoken of by the believers* in Lystra and Iconium. 3Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4As they went from town to town, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.

John 10:1-10

Jesus the Good Shepherd10‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ 6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Preface of Pentecost

PRAYER (traditional wording)

Just and merciful God, who in every generation hast raised up prophets, teachers and witnesses to summon the world to honor and praise thy holy Name: We give thanks for the calling of Timothy, Titus and Silas, whose gifts built up thy Church in the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that we, too, may be living stones built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God now and for ever. Amen.

PRAYER (contemporary wording)

Just and merciful God, in every generation you raise up prophets, teachers and witnesses to summon the world to honor and praise your holy Name: We thank you for sending Timothy, Titus and Silas, whose gifts built up your Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that we too may be living stones built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Silas proviosnally added to this commemoration at General Convention, 2009. Collects and readings also revised.

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Scriptural Readings:

Morning Office:

Psalm 119:49-72

49 Remember your word to your servant,

in which you have made me hope.

50 This is my comfort in my distress,

that your promise gives me life.

51 The arrogant utterly deride me,

but I do not turn away from your law.

52 When I think of your ordinances from of old,

I take comfort, O Lord.

53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,

those who forsake your law.

54 Your statutes have been my songs

wherever I make my home.

55 I remember your name in the night, O Lord,

and keep your law.

56 This blessing has fallen to me,

for I have kept your precepts.

57 The Lord is my portion;

I promise to keep your words.

58 I implore your favour with all my heart;

be gracious to me according to your promise.

59 When I think of your ways,

I turn my feet to your decrees;

60 I hurry and do not delay

to keep your commandments.

61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,

I do not forget your law.

62 At midnight I rise to praise you,

because of your righteous ordinances.

63 I am a companion of all who fear you,

of those who keep your precepts.

64 The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;

teach me your statutes.

65 You have dealt well with your servant,

O Lord, according to your word.

66 Teach me good judgement and knowledge,

for I believe in your commandments.

67 Before I was humbled I went astray,

but now I keep your word.

68 You are good and do good;

teach me your statutes.

69 The arrogant smear me with lies,

but with my whole heart I keep your precepts.

70 Their hearts are fat and gross,

but I delight in your law.

71 It is good for me that I was humbled,

so that I might learn your statutes.

72 The law of your mouth is better to me

than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Isaiah 49:1-12

The Servant’s Mission49Listen to me, O coastlands,

pay attention, you peoples from far away!

The Lord called me before I was born,

while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.

2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword,

in the shadow of his hand he hid me;

he made me a polished arrow,

in his quiver he hid me away.

3 And he said to me, ‘You are my servant,

Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’

4 But I said, ‘I have laboured in vain,

I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;

yet surely my cause is with the Lord,

and my reward with my God.’

5 And now the Lord says,

who formed me in the womb to be his servant,

to bring Jacob back to him,

and that Israel might be gathered to him,

for I am honoured in the sight of the Lord,

and my God has become my strength—

6 he says,

‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant

to raise up the tribes of Jacob

and to restore the survivors of Israel;

I will give you as a light to the nations,

that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’

7 Thus says the Lord,

the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,

to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,

the slave of rulers,

‘Kings shall see and stand up,

princes, and they shall prostrate themselves,

because of the Lord, who is faithful,

the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’

Zion’s Children to Be Brought Home

8 Thus says the Lord:

In a time of favour I have answered you,

on a day of salvation I have helped you;

I have kept you and given you

as a covenant to the people,*

to establish the land,

to apportion the desolate heritages;

9 saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out’,

to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

They shall feed along the ways,

on all the bare heights* shall be their pasture;

10 they shall not hunger or thirst,

neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down,

for he who has pity on them will lead them,

and by springs of water will guide them.

11 And I will turn all my mountains into a road,

and my highways shall be raised up.

12 Lo, these shall come from far away,

and lo, these from the north and from the west,

and these from the land of Syene.*

Galatians 2:11-21

Paul Rebukes Peter at Antioch11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; 12for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. 13And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’*

Jews and Gentiles Are Saved by Faith15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16yet we know that a person is justified* not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.* And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ,* and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. 17But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. 19For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,* who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification* comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Evening Office:

Psalm 49

The Folly of Trust in RichesTo the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.

1 Hear this, all you peoples;

give ear, all inhabitants of the world,

2 both low and high,

rich and poor together.

3 My mouth shall speak wisdom;

the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.

4 I will incline my ear to a proverb;

I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.

5 Why should I fear in times of trouble,

when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,

6 those who trust in their wealth

and boast of the abundance of their riches?

7 Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,*

there is no price one can give to God for it.

8 For the ransom of life is costly,

and can never suffice,

9 that one should live on for ever

and never see the grave.*

10 When we look at the wise, they die;

fool and dolt perish together

and leave their wealth to others.

11 Their graves* are their homes for ever,

their dwelling-places to all generations,

though they named lands their own.

12 Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;

they are like the animals that perish.

13 Such is the fate of the foolhardy,

the end of those* who are pleased with their lot.


14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;

Death shall be their shepherd;

straight to the grave they descend,*

and their form shall waste away;

Sheol shall be their home.*

15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,

for he will receive me.


16 Do not be afraid when some become rich,

when the wealth of their houses increases.

17 For when they die they will carry nothing away;

their wealth will not go down after them.

18 Though in their lifetime they count themselves happy

—for you are praised when you do well for yourself—

19 they* will go to the company of their ancestors,

who will never again see the light.

20 Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;

they are like the animals that perish.

Psalm 53

Denunciation of GodlessnessTo the leader: according to Mahalath. A Maskil of David.

1 Fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’

They are corrupt, they commit abominable acts;

there is no one who does good.

2 God looks down from heaven on humankind

to see if there are any who are wise,

who seek after God.

3 They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse;

there is no one who does good,

no, not one.

4 Have they no knowledge, those evildoers,

who eat up my people as they eat bread,

and do not call upon God?

5 There they shall be in great terror,

in terror such as has not been.

For God will scatter the bones of the ungodly;*

they will be put to shame,* for God has rejected them.

6 O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!

When God restores the fortunes of his people,

Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

Mark 6:13-2913They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

The Death of John the Baptist14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’* name had become known. Some were* saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ 15But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ 16But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’

17 For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod* had married her. 18For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ 19And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed;* and yet he liked to listen to him. 21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22When his daughter Herodias* came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ 23And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ 24She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ 25Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ 26The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s* head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Eucharistic Office:

Hebrews 10:11-18

11 And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12But when Christ* had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God’, 13and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’ 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

16 ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them

after those days, says the Lord:

I will put my laws in their hearts,

and I will write them on their minds’,

17he also adds,

‘I will remember* their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’

18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Psalm 110

Assurance of Victory for God’s Priest-KingOf David. A Psalm.

1 The Lord says to my lord,

‘Sit at my right hand

until I make your enemies your footstool.’

2 The Lord sends out from Zion

your mighty sceptre.

Rule in the midst of your foes.

3 Your people will offer themselves willingly

on the day you lead your forces

on the holy mountains.*

From the womb of the morning,

like dew, your youth* will come to you.

4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,

‘You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.’*

Mark 4:1-20

The Parable of the Sower4Again he began to teach beside the lake. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the lake on the land. 2He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’ 9And he said, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

The Purpose of the Parables10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret* of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12in order that

“they may indeed look, but not perceive,

and may indeed listen, but not understand;

so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.” ’

13 And he said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.* 18And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, 19but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. 20And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’


WEDNESDAY, January 26 (Timothy and Titus, Companions of Saint Paul)

Isaiah 49:1-12. …saying to the prisoners, “Come out,” to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.”

Over the past thirty years, much has been written about church growth and the drop in mainline church membership. I read what pertains to the Episcopal Church, and what I read is usually accompanied by complaints about the direction being taken and some aspect of inclusivity.

When we in the church feel weak or threatened, we tend to be a selective bunch. It has been over ­thirteen years since a new presiding bishop, Edmond Lee ­Browning, issued a historic pronouncement from the pulpit of Washington National Cathedral: “There shall be no outcasts in this church.” Yet, in many parishes it is a struggle to cast our loving, accepting eyes on all those around us.

At every vestry retreat I have ever attended on the subject of church growth, we have been warned that growth brings change and that change can be scary. Unfortunately, many of us have taken that warning to heart and have opted for comfort rather than change.

It is time to reflect on today’s verse from Isaiah and our call to proclaim, “Come out…Show yourselves.” (1998)

PRAY for the Diocese of Lucknow (North India)

Ps 119:49-72 * 49, [53]; Galatians 2:11-21; Mark 6:13-29

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