The Third Sunday of Advent – What Anne Boleyn would have read

Anne Boleyn CornelliIf you’ve read my previous two Sunday articles, you’ll know that I have been sharing readings from French Reformer Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples’ book “Epistres et Evangiles pour les cinquante et deux semaines de l’an”, or “Epistles and Gospels for the 52 Weeks of the Year”. Anne Boleyn owned an illuminated manuscript of Lefèvre’s work, a manuscript which was prepared for her and given to her by her brother George. It would have been very precious to her so I’m sure she delighted in reading it every Sunday.

In Anne’s manuscript and my copy of Lefèvre’s book, the readings are in French but I am giving the New International Version’s readings. Lefèvre also included an exhortation in French, but that is too long to translate and copy here.

1 Corinthians 4:1-5

This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

Matthew 11:2-10

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’”

Click here to read the readings for the first Sunday of Advent and here for the one for the second Sunday.

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2 thoughts on “The Third Sunday of Advent – What Anne Boleyn would have read”
  1. So this then is the real revolution in the Christian Faith – reading the “sacred words” of the Bible, God’s own language, for oneself? Just how shocking for conservatives like Jane Seymour was the action of the Queen in placing an open Bible in her chambers for all women to read?

    1. Yes, we take for granted being able to read the Bible in our own language and even having access to a Bible, yet this was very new and radical back then.

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