Re the Daily Office Readings 4/25/2020

The Feast of St Mark the Evangelist

The Readings: Morning Prayer: Ecclesiasticus 2:1-11; Acts 12:25—13:3; Evening Prayer: Isaiah 62:6-12; 2 Timothy 4:1-11

In the years that I served as rector of St Peter’s in Ripon I often bicycled through the surrounding countryside. South of the city a farm had that small sign in their front yard. It doesn’t do a bad job of capturing today’s readings in celebration of St Mark the Evangelist.

I slowed down at two points in the readings:

“Accept whatever befalls you, and in times of humiliation be patient. For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation” (Sir. 2:4-5). Adversity (generally) and humiliation (specifically) tempt us to devalue ourselves. Ben Sira’s gold metaphor can counterbalance that.

“Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it renowned throughout the earth” (Isa. 62:6-7). Give God no rest. Is this where Jesus got his widow and unjust judge parable? Adversity can narrow our focus; the text encourages us not to let that happen.

Multiple themes in these texts; what holds them together? I ended up recalling Billie Holiday’s rendition of Sigman & Russell’s “Crazy,” describing a love that empowers the final couplet “The difficult I’ll do right now / The impossible will take a little while.” Enjoy.

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