Tag Archives: George Duffield

Short Homily – Lent 3, Year B

READING:   John 2 verses 13-22

Imagine a fine Spring today.  A man is driving cheerfully along a country road, when, suddenly, from around the bend ahead, a car comes lurching toward him in his lane.  He brakes hard.  As he swerves past, the woman driver screams at him, “Pig!  Pig!”

Furious, he shouts back at her, “Cow!  Cow!”

Pleased with himself, he drives around the curve and runs smack into a pig.

There is no doubt that anger will cause us to do things that we would not do otherwise.

Anger is normally perceived as a negative emotion.  Shouting, bawling and getting all worked up usually doesn’t get us anywhere.  ‘Losing the head’ does not achieve very much, and can make us look quite ridiculous

However, sometimes, there is another kind of anger that is, in context, acceptable, even necessary, if good is to be done.

I suppose we could call it ‘righteous indignation’ – anger which is directed toward some kind of injustice or unfairness.

In the gospel story – appointed for this Third Sunday in Lent (Year B) – we encounter an incident in Christ’s life when he acted very uncharacteristically.

This is not the ‘gentle Jesus, meek and mild’ that we are used to.

This is Jesus getting his dander up.  Here he is anything but meek and mild.

But his anger here was of the ‘righteous indignation kind.

In this story, he was angry at the way the temple traders were profiteering at the expense of the poor.  Here he was directing his anger at those who abused the sacred.

Sometimes there is nothing wrong in taking an aggressive stand for God – if the situation and circumstances seem to warrant it.

Better to speak or act forcefully for what we believe is God’s way, than sit on the fence or do nothing.  And to do so, even if the consequences might hurt us.

This brings me to this very well known story, with which most of us are familiar.  A true incident that happened in 1858.

The young Rector of the Church of the Epiphany in Philadelphia, the Rev. Dudley Atkins Tyng, boldly and aggressively preached against the evils of slavery to his congregation, telling them plainly and bluntly, that to hold a fellow human being in slavery was a sin.

They did not like what they heard.  Many of his congregation owned slaves, a common practice in those days, and they booted Mr Tyng out of his Charge.

Undaunted, he hired a hall in the city, and very successfully carried on his ministry there.

Then, one day, when he was walking alone through the fields of his farm, he stretched out his arm to pat a mule, which was working a machine stripping corn from the cob.

One of the long sleeves of his preacher’s gown was caught in a cog, and he was drawn into the mill, where his arm was torn off.

It was a long time before he was found, and carried to his home.  There his friends and associates gathered to witness his agonising end.

One of those present was a Presbyterian minister, George Duffield.  Moments before he died, Tyng took Duffield’s hand and gave his last instructions for the continuance of his mission.

“Tell them” he said, “to stand up for Jesus”

Deeply moved, and with these rousing and encouraging words ringing in his ears, George Duffield went home and wrote a hymn.

The following Sunday, he preached on a text from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “Stand therefore, having your loins girded with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness”

He concluded the sermon by reading out the words of his new hymn, “Stand up!  Stand up for Jesus!”

When we encounter evil, hypocrisy, corruption, or anything else that is counter to the world of truth, beauty, peace and justice that is God’s will, let us, with righteous indignation, take an aggressive stand for God.  Let us, too, ‘Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!’

Let me finish by quoting a verse from the original version of the hymn:

Stand up, stand up for Jesus!

The solemn watchword hear,

If while ye sleep he suffers,

Away with shame and fear,

Where’er ye meet with evil,

Within you or without,

Charge for the God of battles,

And put the foe to rout.

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Stand up, Stand up, for Jesus

In 1858, a great Christian revival – known as “the work of God in Philadelphia” – swept across that great American city 

Of the participating ministers, it was said that none was more powerful than a twenty-nine year old Episcopalian minister, the Reverend Dudley Atkins Tyng – a bold and uncompromising preacher.

Dudley Atkins Tyng was a tireless advocate for the emancipation of slaves. He was ridiculed and persecuted for his view, and even criticized for bringing politics into the pulpit.  Many of his congregation owned slaves, a common practice in those days, and they didn’t like him telling them plainly and bluntly that to hold a fellow human being in slavery was a sin.

In addition to preaching at his own church, the Church of the Epiphany in Philadelphia, Tyng began holding midday services at the downtown YMCA.  Such was his power and dynamism that great crowds came to hear him preach, and on Tuesday, March 30th 1858, over 5000 men gathered for a mass meeting to hear him.

He took as his text these words from Exodus chapter 10 verse 11: “Go now ye that are men and serve the Lord”

Over 1,000 of the men were converted; the sermon was called “one of the most successful of the time”; the entire city was being stirred; a religious awakening was gaining force.

The next week Tyng returned to his family in the country.   On Tuesday, April 13, 1858, he was watching the operation of a corn-thrasher in a barn.  Raising his arm to place his hand on the head of a mule which was walking up the inclined lane of the machine, the young minister accidentally caught his loose sleeve between the cogs.

His arm was lacerated severely, the main artery severed and the median nerve injured. As a result of shock and a great loss of blood, he died on the 19th

His last words were “Stand up for Jesus, father; stand up for Jesus; and tell my brethren of the ministry, wherever you meet them, to stand up for Jesus.”

On the following Sunday, Tyng’s close friend, George Duffield, the minister of the Temple Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, preached on Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the sixth chapter, beginning at the 14th verse:

“Stand, therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.”

Duffield closed his sermon by reading a poem that he had just written.  It had been inspired by the dying words of his friend.  His words are still with us, of course, known as the hymn “Stand up, stand up, for Jesus.”

As we’ve said, Dudley Atkins Tyng was a vigorous campaigner for the emancipation of slaves. He  stood up in protest against inequality and injustice

– and so must we, wherever God’s will is ignored, wherever wrong and evil flourish….and by doing so, we stand up for Jesus.

We Christians stand up to powers of oppression, we stand firm in our faith, and we stand down when violence becomes the only option, because what we stand for is the very peace Jesus proclaims to his disciples.

Stand up for God’s justice, mercy, and truth. Stand up to protest against something—such as the obscene bonuses paid to failed bankers at this time of economic recession. Stand up against the disintegration of society; stand up for decency, honour and worth in our country. Stand up to affirm something—like the importance of traditional morality, the need for peace and cooperation in Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan and so many other troubled countries in the world,, or hope for the future of humankind..

When we encounter evil, hypocrisy, corruption, or anything else that is counter to the world of truth, beauty, peace and justice that is God’s will, let us, with righteous indignation, take an aggressive stand for God.  Let us, too, ‘Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!’

Let me finish by quoting a verse from the original version of the hymn:

Stand up, stand up for Jesus!

The solemn watchword hear,

If while ye sleep he suffers,

Away with shame and fear,

Where’er ye meet with evil,

Within you or without,

Charge for the God of battles,

And put the foe to rout.

 

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Righteous Indignation

Imagine a fine Spring today.  A man is driving cheerfully along a country road, when, suddenly, from around the bend ahead, a car comes lurching toward him in his lane.  He brakes hard.  As he swerves past, the woman driver screams at him, “Pig!  Pig!”

Furious, he shouts back at her, “Cow! Cow!”

Pleased with himself, he drives around the curve and runs smack into a pig.

There is no doubt that anger will cause us to do things that we would not do otherwise.

Anger is normally perceived as a negative emotion.  Shouting, bawling and getting all worked up usually doesn’t get us anywhere.  ‘Losing the head’ does not achieve very much, and can make us look quite ridiculous

However, sometimes, there is another kind of anger that is, in context, acceptable, even necessary, if good is to be done.

I suppose we could call it ‘righteous indignation’ – anger which is directed toward some kind of injustice or unfairness.

Sometimes there is nothing wrong in taking an aggressive stand for God – if the situation and circumstances seem to warrant it.

Better to speak or act forcefully for what we believe is God’s way, than sit on the fence or do nothing.  And to do so, even if the consequences might hurt us.

In 1858.the young Rector of the Church of the Epiphany in Philadelphia, the Rev. Dudley Atkins Tyng, boldly and aggressively preached against the evils of slavery to his congregation, telling them plainly and bluntly, that to hold a fellow human being in slavery was a sin.

They did not like what they heard.  Many of his congregation owned slaves, a common practice in those days, and they booted Mr Tyng out of his Charge.

 

images

Undaunted, he hired a hall in the city, and very successfully carried on his ministry there.

Then, one day, when he was walking alone through the fields of his farm, he stretched out his arm to pat a mule, which was working a machine stripping corn from the cob.

One of the long sleeves of his preacher’s gown was caught in a cog, and he was drawn into the mill, where his arm was torn off.

It was a long time before he was found, and carried to his home.  There his friends and associates gathered to witness his agonising end.

One of those present was a Presbyterian minister, George Duffield.  Moments before he died, Tyng took Duffield’s hand and gave his last instructions for the continuance of his mission.

“Tell them” he said, “to stand up for Jesus”

Deeply moved, and with these rousing and encouraging words ringing in his ears, George Duffield went home and wrote a hymn.

The following Sunday, he preached on a text from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “Stand therefore, having your loins girded with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness”

He concluded the sermon by reading out the words of his new hymn, “Stand up!  Stand up for Jesus!”

When we encounter evil, hypocrisy, corruption, or anything else that is counter to the world of truth, beauty, peace and justice that is God’s will, let us, with righteous indignation, take an aggressive stand for God.  Let us, too, ‘Stand up! Stand up for Jesus!’

a verse from the original version of the hymn:…..

Stand up, stand up for Jesus!

The solemn watchword hear,

If while ye sleep he suffers,

Away with shame and fear,

Where’er ye meet with evil,

Within you or without,

Charge for the God of battles,

And put the foe to rout.

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic