“Look down from heaven, O God; behold and tend this vine.” Psalm 80:14,15
Dear Redeemer Family:
I hope that all are well and practicing safety at home and in public. As we continue in the year of the coronavirus, and find ourselves spending more time at home, I thought I would share once more some inspirations of the faith, and possibly some edification. During the month of October, on the Church Calendar, there are numerous commemorations for you to consider.
First, one of my favorites, and one which I have shared with you before, on October 4th, we commemorate St. Francis of Assisi, as Renewer of the Church, who died on this date in 1226. Francis was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. In a public confrontation with his father, her renounced his wealth and future inheritance and devoted himself to serving the poor. Francis described this act as being “wedded to Lady Poverty.” Under his leadership the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) was formed, and they took literally Jesus’ words to his disciples that they should take nothing on their journey and receive no payment for their work. Their task in preaching was to “use words if necessary.” Francis had a spirit of gladness and gratitude for all of God’s creation. This commemoration has been a traditional time to bless pets and animals, which we have practiced in the past at Redeemer, creatures Francis called his brothers and sisters.
Two days later, we have the commemoration of William Tyndale, translator and martyr, who died on October 6th in 1536. William Tyndale was ordained a priest in 1521, and his life’s desire was to translate the scriptures into English. When his plan met with opposition from Henry VIII, Tyndale fled to Germany, where he traveled from city to city, living in poverty and constant danger. It was illegal to translate the Scriptures from Latin at the time. Luther faced the same issue. Tyndale was able to produce a New Testament in 1525. Nine years later he revised it and began work on the Old Testament, which he was unable to complete. He was tried for heresy and burned at the stake. Mile Coverdale completed Tyndale’s work, and the Tyndale-Coverdale version was published as the “Matthew Bible” in 1537. If you find an early copy of this you are very lucky. It is one of the rarest books in the world! Why? Most early copies were burned as heretical. But, for nearly four centuries the style of this translation has influenced English versions of the Bible such as the King James (Authorized Version), which most people believe is the first English version, and up to the New Revised Standard Version, which is what is read in the worship service.
Hopefully, these two historical figures can give you some things to ponder during this time of increase solitude. Stay safe and healthy.