A Lady who was and then wasn’t then was Readings for January 8th

A Lady who was then wasn’t then was! Today St Paul commends to the Church the wonderful deacon named Phoebe. It is clear from both Scriptural references and historical evidence that women were deacons and presbyters and bishops in the Apostolic Church and no one had an issue with that if for no other reason than the very words of the Apostles themselves taught anyone who would listen that in Christ Jesus there is neither male or female! Add to this that in the world of the Roman Empire women were highly regarded as vessels of the Divine! As the centuries past the translators especially those commissioned by King James and before him the Vulgate translators had a problem with Phoebe as a woman deacon and so with a stroke of a pen Phoebe’s title was rendered “servant” rather than deacon! Now this has been corrected to conform to the original Koine Greek and once again Phoebe is a deacon!
Remember every time we try to live the Gospel we will be opposed and more likely than not opposed by the very ones who should know better and who claim to speak in the Name of Christ!
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Today in the American Episcopal Church is the Feast of Blessed Harriet Bedell, Deaconess. In the Coptic Church it is the Commemoration of the Falling Asleep in the Lord of St John the Archpriest of Scetis. In the Mar Thoma Church of India it is the Feast of St Stephen the Deacon and First Martry. In the Armenian Church it is the 3rd Day of the Nativity. In the Church of England and in the Roman Catholic Church today is Tuesday in Epiphanytide.
In the Russian/OCA Kalendar it is the Afterfeast of the Theophany. Ven. George the Chozebite, Abbot (6th c.). Ven. Domnica of Constantinople (474). St. Emilian the Confessor, Bishop of Cyzicus (9th c.). Ven. Gregory, Wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (Near Caves—1093). Ven. Gregory the Recluse, of the Kiev Caves (Far Caves—13th-14th c.). Hieromartyr Isidore and 72 others at Yuriev (Estonia—1472). St. Paisius of Uglich (1504). Hieromartyr Carterius of Cæsarea in Cappadocia (304). Martyrs Theophilus the Deacon, and Helladius, in Libya (4th c.). Martyrs Julian and his wife, Basilissa, and with them Marcionilla, her son Celsus, Anthony, Anastasius, 7 children and 20 soldiers, at Antinoë in Egypt (313). Ven. Elias the Hermit, of Egypt (4th c.). Martyr Abo the Perfumer, of Tiflis (Georgia—790).

In honour of the amazing and loving witness of women in ministry we will use the Propers from the American Episcopal Lectionary with one additional Apostolic Reading from the Roman Rite. This is the Feast of a wonderfully loving person who served with humility and devotion to those often least able to be heard. We give thanks for Blessed Harriet and pray that she pray with us and for us.

The Collect, amended, from the American BCP
Holy God, you chose your faithful servant Harriett Bedell to exercise the ministry of deaconess and to be a missionary among indigenous peoples: Fill us with compassion and respect or all people, and empower us with the assistance of her prayers for the work of ministry throughout the world through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Apostolic Reading

Romans 16:1-2

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.

Second Apostolic Reading from the Roman Lectionary.

1 Jn 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


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