Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saint Bartholomew

Tuesday, August 24, 2010  -- Week of Proper 16, Year Two
Saint Bartholomew the Apostle
More about today's commemoration at our Holy Women, Holy Men blog:

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer)

the readings for Tuesday of Proper 16, p. 981
Psalms 5, 6 (morning)       10, 11 (evening)
Job 6:1-4, 5-15, 21
Acts 9:32-43
John 6:60-71

OR the readings for St. Bartholomew, p. 999
Morning Prayer:  Psalm 86; Genesis 28:10-17; John 43-51
Evening Prayer:  Psalms 15, 67;  Isaiah 66:1-2, 18-23;  1 Peter 5:1-11

I chose the readings for St. Bartholomew

We know little of St. Bartholomew.  His name appears in some, not all, of the lists of the twelve disciples.  Sometimes he is identified with Nathanael because the two do not occur in the same list, hence the gospel reading about the call of Nathanael.  That's all we get from the Gospels.

There are some legends.  There is the tale of a Gospel of Bartholomew, known to Jerome and to Bede but lost to us.  There is a tradition that Bartholomew traveled to India.  Eusebius says that a traveler to India found a Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew around 150 or 200 and was told it had been left behind by Bartholomew.  And he has a martyr's tradition claiming he was flayed alive in Armenia.

So we are given the delightful Psalm 86, a beautiful appeal to God from one in trouble or conflict.  Much of the sentiment of the psalm works well for any morning.  "Be merciful to me, O God, for you are my God.  I call upon you all the day long.  Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O God, I lift up my soul.  For you, O God, are good and forgiving, and great is your love toward all who call upon you.  Give ear, O God, to my prayer, and attend to the voice of my supplication...  I will thank you, my God, with all my heart, and glorify your Name for evermore."

We are also given the story of Jacob's ladder.  As Jacob flees from the expected revenge of his brother Esau whose birthright Jacob had usurped with cunning and deceit, Jacob has a dream of a ladder to heaven, with angels ascending and descending on it.  God visits Jacob and gives him the same blessing God has given to Abraham -- offspring, land, and the promise that "all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring."  After many adventures, and some continued sharp dealing, Jacob will become Israel, the father of a nation.

We hear the echo of that story in Jesus' greeting to Nathanael.  "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!"  Israel/Jacob was a man of deceit.  Here is Nathanael, an offspring of Israel, a man in whom there is no deceit.  What a wonderful adjective.  How many people can we say of them, there is a person in whom there is no deceit.  That would be a fine thing to be said of someone at their funeral. 

So the mysterious, little known apostle Bartholomew gives us a gracious gift this morning.  He reminds us that those who leave no concrete record of deeds or accomplishment are still beloved, certainly remembered in the heart of God.  He gives us a lovely poem to gladden and lift our souls so that we may intercede and be thankful.  We are given a dream of blessing and promise.  We are invited to live this day with integrity, as people in whom there is no guile.



Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
Morning Reflections is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 8:21 AM, Anonymous janet said...

Hi Lowell,

And I read Job, but will go back later and read the others.

And I thought this morning as I continued with the story of Job, how rich I am, how rich is this tradition we are a part of - at the heart of Job I see the divine/human love story - a God so ultimately mysterious that all our understanding falls short, but a God that ultimately loves us fiercly and more than we can know. Our faith must be rooted in trust, to hear and know those words of Love. Peace, Janet

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Thanks for your good words, Janet. Reading Job is such an experience. It's like changing from black-and-white to color TV.


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