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955Jon Kennedy's Belfast Blog for the Feast of Stephen

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Dec 27, 2013
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      Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
      his soj
      ourn in Northern Ireland'
      My Google+ diary and Belfast blog

      Jon Kennedy        

      JONAL ENTRY 1362 | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 27 2013

      Today's Scripture: The Lord said this parable, "There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying 'They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it was marvelous in our eyes?'"
      From the Gospel of Matthew 21:33-42,
      from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
      See the homiletical thought below.

      Today's diary
      The Third Day of Christmas has been windy and wet in Belfast, with my weather app saying it's 45° F, though my personal windchill indicator says it's more like 0°. Even though bus service seems back to weekend normal, there were fewer shoppers downtown today and very few riding the buses, mainly because of the weather, I'm guessing. Tonight those of us from the Loom are planning to go to a Third Day of Christmas get-together at the home of a Church of Ireland colleague.

      Besides being the third day of Christmas it's the feast of Stephen (the saint's day of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, cf. Acts 6 and 7). Remember the carol "Good King Wenceslas"?

      Happy saint's day, all Steves and Stephens, and especially to all my co-parishioners at St. Stephen's Church, Campbell, Calif.

      Today's Christmas fare

      In my post on December 12, I recounted the day's adventures on, among other avenues, Grafton Street, Dublin, earlier that day. It turns out I was 12 days too early to witness the season's most memorable event there. For on Christmas eve, Dublin's most famous contemporary citizen, Paul David Hewson, better known as Bono, the frontman, lead singer, and composer of the legendary rock band, U2, walked down Grafton, alongside his friends Glen Hansard of the Frames, Liam O'Maonlai from The Hothouse Flowers, and Irish singer and songwriter Mundy, and they paused amid the throng to sing a contemporary secular Christmas jingle, Slade's "Merry Christmas Everyone," followed by "O Come All Ye Faithful," which Bono first dedicated to the babe born in the manger. Here's one of the YouTube videos posted of those magic moments.

      Bono and Glen Hansard performing in Dublin on Christmas Eve 2013.
      Click here to watch on YouTube.

      Part 4

      The following questions were given in a GCSE examination in Swindon, Wiltshire (U.K.). These genuine (or so it says here) answers are from 16-year-olds. Presumably a teacher or test grader added the comments seen here in parentheses.
      Q. What is the most common form of birth control
      A. Most people prevent contraception by wearing a condominium (That would work)

      Q. Give the meaning of the term 'Caesarean section'
      A. The caesarean section is a district in Rome

      Q. What is a seizure?
      A. A Roman Emperor. (Julius Seizure: I came, I saw, I had a fit)

      Q. What is a terminal illness
      A. When you are sick at the airport. (Irrefutable)
      To be continued . . .
      Today's quotes

      The stamp of the Saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus.
      — C.S. Lewis

      Swimming lessons are better than a lifeline to the shore.
      — C.S. Lewis
      Homiletical thought: The choice of the Gospel reading for St. Stephen's Day illustrates that the fathers of the early church considered the martyrdom of Jesus' disciples a continuation of the persecution and stoning of the Prophets. The saints of the church are the complements to the Prophets of Israel, the last and greatest of whom (Jesus said) was John the Baptist.
      In the parable, the servants of the vineyard owner who are killed are figures of the Prophets of God who sent them to Israel, and the the vineyard owners son is a metaphor for God's Son, Jesus, who was also slain for giving the tenant farmers the truth they needed to hear.
      Jesus' warnings that those who chose to follow Him would suffer persecution was no surprise to Jews who knew the Scriptures, as Prophets always suffered for their preaching against the trends of their times.
      May St. Stephen's example of loyalty and joyful acceptance of the Lord's plan for him inspire and lead us to greater gratitude and submission to His will. May we always be ready to share the truth even when it's difficult and likely to meet opposition.
      §     §     §
      Unless specified otherwise, none of the message memes used in this blog are the creation or property of the author, but are reposted here from the social networks. 
      Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page.

      § I have now uploaded over 2,700 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
      For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand (click on either icon to go to the site). 

                  Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there.
      Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....
      Feedback is always welcome.
      §     §     §

      Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

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      © 2013 JRK
      Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence