Oct 19 – Henry Martyn

Oct 19 - Henry Martyn

Henry Martyn
Translator + Missionary to India & Persia
19 October 1812

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From the Satucket Lectionary

portrait of henry martynHenry Martyn was born in 1781, studied at Cambridge, and became Senior Wrangler. (That is, he won the Cambridge University annual mathematics problem-solving competition, and was accordingly recognized as the University’s best undergraduate mathematician. “Wrangling” is a British University expression for solving mathematical problems.) He had, moreover, a considerable facility in languages. Under the encouragement of Charles Simeon (see 12 Nov 1836), he abandoned his intention of going into law and instead went to India as a chaplain in 1806. In the six remaining years of his life, he translated the New Testament into Hindi and Persian, revised an Arabic translation of the New Testament, and translated the Psalter into Persian and the Prayer Book into Hindi. In 1811 he left India for Persia, hoping to do further translations and to improve his existing ones, there and in Arabia. But travel in those days was not a healthy occupation, and he fell ill and eventually died at Tokat on October 16, 1812. (The American Calendar commemorates him on 19 October.) He was buried by the Armenian church there, with the honors ordinarily reserved for one of their own bishops. His diary (vol. 1, vol. 2) has been called “one of the most precious treasures of Anglican devotion.”

by James Kiefer

 

Oct 19 – William Carey

Oct 19 - William Carey

William Carey
Translator + Missionary to India
19 October 1834

click here for books by or about William Carey


From the SCLM Lectionary

William Carey DD, Professor of Sanskrit, Marat...

William Carey DD, Professor of Sanskrit, Marathi and Bengali in Calcutta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

William Carey was an English Baptist missionary and was a major figure in developing the Protestant missionary movement of the nineteenth century.

Born a son of the Church of England in 1761, Carey took an early interest in his studies and excelled at languages, a gift that would serve him in his ministry. After his village schooling, Carey apprenticed as a cobbler where he came into contact with a fellow worker who was a Nonconformist. Carey was challenged by this relationship and he eventually left the Church of England and became a Congregationalist. Carey developed into a master cobbler, married, and with his wife, Dorothy, had six children, only three of which survived childhood. During his years as a master cobbler, Carey’s interest in languages became a passionate avocation; he learned Italian, French, Dutch, and Hebrew, while increasing his mastery of Latin, a language he had taught himself as a youngster.

Carey’s spiritual quest continued. He was re-baptized in 1783 and was a Baptist for the remainder of his life. He became a schoolmaster and served as a Baptist pastor while struggling with his responsibility to foreign missions. He was among the founders in 1792 of what would become the Baptist Missionary Society. Finally, in 1793, Carey and company set out for India.

After transitional periods in Calcutta and Midnapore, Carey and his fellow missionaries settled in Serampore in 1800 where Carey would spend the rest of his life. He was appointed a professor at Fort Williams College, which had been founded to educate the children of civil servants. While teaching, Carey translated the Bible into Bengali and Sanskrit and the New Testament into other Indian languages and dialects, in addition to providing translations of other Christian literature. Carey also completed a Bengali-English dictionary and other linguistic tools to support missionary work.

In 1818, Carey’s mission established Serampore College for the dual purpose of training indigenous ministers and providing a classical education to anyone regardless of caste or national origin.

William Carey died on June 9, 1834, and was buried in Serampore.

 

Oct 18 – Luke the Evangelist

Oct 18 - Luke the Evangelist

Saint Luke
Physician + Evangelist
18 October NT

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From the Satucket Lectionary

St. LukeAlmost all that we know about Luke comes from the New Testament. He was a physician (Col 4:14), a companion of Paul on some of his missionary journeys (Acts 16:10ff; 20:5ff; 27-28). Material found in his Gospel and not elsewhere includes much of the account of Our Lord’s birth and infancy and boyhood, some of the most moving parables, such as that of the Good Samaritan and that of the Prodigal Son, and three of the sayings of Christ on the Cross: “Father, forgive them,” “Thou shalt be with me in Paradise,” and “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

In Luke’s account of the Gospel, we find an emphasis on the human love of Christ, on His compassion for sinners and for suffering and unhappy persons, for outcasts such as the Samaritans, tax collectors, lepers, shepherds (not a respected profession), and for the poor. The role of women in Christ’s ministry is more emphasized in Luke than in the other Gospel writings.

In the book of Acts, we find the early Christian community poised from the start to carry out its commission, confident and aware of Divine guidance. We see how the early Christians at first preached only to Jews, then to Samaritans (a borderline case), then to outright Gentiles like Cornelius, and finally explicitly recognized that Gentiles and Jews are called on equal terms to the service and fellowship of Christ.

St. Luke, from an old Book of Common PrayerLuke makes many casual references throughout his writings (especially in Acts) to local customs and practices, often with demonstrable and noteworthy precision. To mention just one example, he refers to two centurions by name, Cornelius in Acts 10 and Julius in Acts 27, and he calls them both by nomen only, rather than by nomen and cognomen (Sergius Paulus in Acts 13;7) or cognomen only (Gallio in Acts 18:12), as he does when speaking of civilian officials. It is a distinction that would have been routine at the time that Luke is writing about, but one that had largely died out by, say, 70 AD. His preserving it shows either that (1) he wrote fairly close to the events he described, or (2) he was describing persons and events on which he had good information, or (3) he was an expert historical novelist, with an ear for the authentic-sounding detail.

Luke is commonly thought to be the only non-Jewish New Testament writer. His writings place the life of Christ and the development of the early Church in the larger context of the Roman Empire and society. On the other hand, his writings are focused on Jerusalem and on the Temple. His Gospel begins and ends in the Temple, and chapters nine through nineteen portray Jesus as journeying from Galilee to Jerusalem. Similarly, the Book of Acts describes the Church in Jerusalem (and worshipping in the Temple) and then describes the missionary journeys of Paul as excursions from and returns to Jerusalem.


What writer wrote more pages of the New Testament than anyone else? If you say Paul, try again. In my pocket Bible, Acts and the Gospel of Luke occupy a total of sixty pages, while all the letters traditionally attributed to Paul (not counting Hebrews) total fifty-six.

The writer of the Third Gospel and the Book of Acts does not give his name in his writings. (Except for Nehemiah, no Biblical writer of a narrative book does.) He does claim to be a traveling companion of Paul, and his interests and vocabulary suggest that he is a physician. Since Paul tells us that he had a companion named Luke who was a physician, the conclusion that Luke is the writer we are looking for is reasonable.

Was the two-volume work Luke-Acts in fact written by a companion of Paul? Scholars are not agreed on the answer.

By and large, most German writers favor a negative answer. Their reasons are that (1) the chronology of Paul’s life found in the Book of Acts presents certain apparent conflicts with that found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and that (2) the writer seems unfamiliar with the geography of Israel.

On the other hand, most English scholars favor an affirmative answer. Their reasons are that the “We” sections in Acts (the sections in which the author explicitly claims to have been present at the events he describes) contain a wealth of circumstantial detail that make invention extremely unlikely. (Thus, for example, Mr. James Smith of Jordan Hill, FRS, having sailed a vessel over the same route described in Acts 27-28, argues in his book, The Voyage and Shipwreck of Saint Paul, that the account must have been written by someone who had sailed that route. It used to be a popular theory that the writer had somehow gotten his hands on a travel diary of the real “Luke” and incorporated it into his work. However, a detailed analysis of the writing style of various sections of the work shows none of the differences that would be expected on this theory. Scholars on the affirmative side generally answer the negative objections mentioned above by supposing that (1) the conferences mentioned in Acts 15 and Galatians 2 are not the same conference, and that (2) Luke uses the word “Judea” sometimes to mean the southern portion of the land of Israel, and sometimes to mean the whole land. For some comments on the historical reliability of the opening chapters of the Gospel of Luke, go to the following URLs:
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/CHRISTIA/library/infancy1.html
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/CHRISTIA/library/infancy2.html
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/CHRISTIA/library/infancy3.html
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/CHRISTIA/library/infancy4.html

 

 

Oct 17 – Ignatius of Antioch

Oct 17 - Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of Antioch
Bishop + Martyr
17 October 107

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From the Satucket Lectionary

Ignatius of AntiochAfter the Apostles, Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch in Syria. His predecessor, of whom little is known, was named Euodius. Whether he knew any of the Apostles directly is uncertain. Little is known of his life except for the very end of it. Early in the second century (perhaps around 107 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Trajan), he was arrested by the Imperial authorities, condemned to death, and transported to Rome to die in the arena. By thus dealing with a leader, the rulers hoped to terrify the rank and file. Instead, Ignatius took the opportunity to encourage them, speaking to groups of Christians at every town along the way. When the prison escort reached the west coast of Asia Minor, it halted before taking ship, and delegations from several Asian churches were able to visit Ignatius, to speak with him at length, to assist him with items for his journey, and to bid him an affectionate farewell and commend him to the grace of God. In response he wrote seven letters that have been preserved: five to congregations that had greeted him, en masse or by delegates (Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Philadelphians, and Smyrnaeans), one to the congregation that would greet him at his destination (Romans), and one to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and disciple of the Apostle John.
His letters are available in several modern translations. Perhaps the most accessible is the Penguin Paperback, Early Christian Writings, translated by Maxwell Staniforth. The themes with which he is chiefly concerned are (1) the importance of maintaining Christian unity in love and sound doctrine (with warnings against factionalism and against the heresy of Docetism — the belief that Christ was not fully human and did not have a material body or really suffer and die), (2) the role of the clergy as a focus of Christian unity, (3) Christian martyrdom as a glorious privilege, eagerly to be grasped.

He writes:

I am God’s wheat, ground fine by the lion’s teeth to be made purest bread for Christ.No early pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire. The time for my birth is close at hand. Forgive me, my brothers. Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life; do not wish me stillborn. My desire is to belong to God. Do not, then, hand me back to the world. do not try to tempt me with material things. Let me attain pure light. Only on my arrival there can I be fully a human being. Give me the privilege of imitating the passion of my God.

by James Kiefer

 

Oct 16 – Latimer & Ridley

Oct 16 - Latimer and Ridley

Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley
Bishops + Martyrs
16 October 1555

click here for books about or by Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley


From the Satucket Lectionary

When Henry the Eighth of England died, he left three heirs: his son Edward and his two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. Edward succeeded to the throne and was a staunch Protestant (or at least his advisors were). Under his rule, the church services, previously in Latin, were translated into English, and other changes were made. When Edward died, the throne passed to his sister Mary, who was firmly Roman Catholic in her beliefs. She determined to return England to union with the Pope. With more diplomacy, she might have succeeded. But she was headstrong and would take no advice. Her mother had been Spanish, and she determined to marry the heir to the throne of Spain, not realizing how much her people (of all religious persuasions) feared that this would make England a province of the Spanish Empire. She insisted that the best way to deal with heresy was to burn as many heretics as possible. (It is worth noting that her husband was opposed to this.) In the course of a five-year reign, she lost all the English holdings on the continent of Europe, she lost the affection of her people, and she lost any chance of a peaceful religious settlement in England. Of the nearly three hundred persons burned by her orders, the most famous are the Oxford Martyrs, commemorated today.

Hugh Latimer was famous as a preacher. He was Bishop of Worcester (pronounced WOOS-ter) in the time of King Henry, but resigned in protest against the King’s refusal to allow the Protestant reforms that Latimer desired. Latimer’s sermons speak little of doctrine; he preferred to urge men to upright living and devoutness in prayer. But when Mary came to the throne, he was arrested, tried for heresy, and burned together with his friend Nicholas Ridley. His last words at the stake are well known: “Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man, for we shall this day light such a candle in England as I trust by God’s grace shall never be put out.”

portrait of nicholas ridleyNicholas Ridley became an adherent of the Protestant cause while a student at Cambridge. He was a friend of Archbishop Cranmer and became private chaplain first to Cranmer and then to King Henry. Under the reign of Edward, he became bishop of Rochester, and was part of the committee that drew up the first English Book of Common Prayer. When Mary came to the throne, he was arrested, tried, and burned with Latimer at Oxford on 16 October 1555.

Martyrdom of Latimer & Ridley
Martyrdom of Latimer & Ridley
Cross in Broad St., Oxford, marking the spot where Latimer & Ridley died. [Photo by the web author.]

 

by James Kiefer

 

Oct 15 – Teresa of Avila

Oct 15 - Teresa of Avila

Teresa of Avila
Reformer + Contemplative
15 October 1582

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A Prayer

O God, by your Holy Spirit you moved Teresa of Avila to manifest to your Church the way of perfection: Grant us, we pray, to be nourished by her excellent teaching, and enkindle within us a keen and unquenchable longing for true holiness; through Jesus Christ, the joy of loving hearts, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


From the Satucket Lectionary

Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada (later known as Teresa de Jesus) was born in Avila, Spain, 28 March 1515, one of ten children whose mother died when she was fifteen. Her family was of partly Jewish ancestry. Teresa, having read the letters of Jerome, decided to become a nun, and when she was 20, she entered the Carmelite convent in Avila. There she fell seriously ill, was in a coma for a while, and partially paralyzed for three years. In her early years as a nun, she was, by her account, assiduous in prayer while sick but lax and lukewarm in her prayers and devotions when the sickness had passed. However, her prayer life eventually deepened, she began to have visions and a vivid sense of the presence of God, and was converted to a life of extreme devotion.

In 1560 she resolved to reform the monastery that had, she thought, departed from the order’s original intention and become insufficiently austere. Her proposed reforms included strict enclosure (the nuns were not to go to parties and social gatherings in town, or to have social visitors at the convent, but to stay in the convent and pray and study most of their waking hours) and discalcing (literally, taking off one’s shoes, a symbol of poverty, humility, and the simple life, uncluttered by luxuries and other distractions). In 1562 she opened a new monastery in Avila, over much opposition in the town and from the older monastery. At length Teresa was given permission to proceed with her reforms, and she travelled throughout Spain establishing seventeen houses of Carmelites of the Strict (or Reformed) Observance (the others are called Carmelites of the Ancient Observance). The reformed houses were small, poor, disciplined, and strictly enclosed. Teresa died 4 October 1582. (She is commemorated on the 15th–why not the 14th, I wonder–because the Pope changed the calendar from the Julian to the Gregorian system, a difference of 10 days, on the day after her death.)

Teresa is reported to have been very attractive in person, witty, candid, and affectionate. She is remembered both for her practical achievements and organizing skill and for her life of contemplative prayer. Her books are read as aids to the spiritual life by many Christians of all denominations. Her Life is her autobiography to 1562; The Way of Perfection is a treatise on the Christian walk, written primarily for her sisters but of help to others as well; The Book of Foundations deals with establishing, organizing and overseeing the daily functioning of religious communities; The Interior Castle  (or The Castle of the Soul) deals with the life of Christ in the heart of the believer. Most of these are available in paperback. 31 of her poems and 458 of her letters survive. Her feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is 15 October. The Lutheran Church (ELCA) commemorates her on December 14 together with St. John of the Cross.

Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
compassion on this world
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

by James Kiefer

 

Oct 14 – Samuel Schereschewsky

Oct 14 - Samuel Schereschewsky

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky
Scholar + Translator + Bishop
14 October 1906

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From the Satucket Lectionary

Portrait of Samuel Isaac Joseph SchereschewskySamuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky was born in Lithuania in 1831, went to Germany to study for the rabbinate, there became a Christian, emigrated to America, trained for the priesthood, and in 1859 was sent by the Episcopal Church to China, where he devoted himself from 1862 to 1875 to translating the Bible into Mandarin Chinese. In 1877 he was elected Bishop of Shanghai, where he founded St. John’s University, and began his translation of the Bible into Wenli (the classical Chinese style of writing). He developed Parkinson’s disease, was largely paralyzed, resigned his position as Bishop of Shanghai, and spent the rest of his life completing his Wenli Bible, the last 2000 pages of which he typed with the one finger that he could still move.

Four years before his death in 1906, he said: “I have sat in this chair for over twenty years. It seemed very hard at first. But God knew best. He kept me for the work for which I am best fitted.”

by James Kiefer

Largely because of the quote above, Bishop Schereschewsky has been chosen “patron saint’ of the Anglican internet mailing list, sometimes known as the “cyberparish of St. Sam’s”. You can find out more about him at their web site:http://www.stsams.org/patron.htm