It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Petition for Forgiveness, a Reflection on Psalm 25:1-10

In this week's gospel passage, Matthew 21:23-32, when Jesus is questioned by religious authorities in his time, where his authority comes from, he tells them about two sons--one who says he won't do what his father wants him to do but then he changes his mind, and the other son who tells the father that he's going to do what he is supposed to, but then doesn't. Jesus asks, "Which did the will of the father?" His critics know the correct answer--at least, about hypothetical sons. They apparently still don't buy into the authority of John or Jesus.

The lectionary pairs Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 to the Matthew lesson. We are responsible for our own actions. If we sin, we will suffer. But, we can stop sinning. We can live the way that God wishes for us. Ezekiel tells them they will be judged for what they do--what they do, not what their parents have done. He calls for them to repent; otherwise, they sins will ruin them.

Psalm 25 is the lectionary response to the Ezekiel reading.

Teach me what I need to know about you. Teach me what I need to know about what I am supposed to do. Forgive me for my failures.

Remember me not for what I have done, but according to what you are, according to your steadfast love.

Praying the words of this psalm is admitting that we have not done what we should have done. and, despite that, we can turn to the Lord for help. We ask for instruction as to what we should be doing, how we can now follow God's ways. We can do this because God is merciful.

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