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.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Reflection on readings for January 17

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Genesis 35:1-36:43
After the slayings and plundering, God told Jacob to leave Shechem and to go to Behel, the place where he had built an altar when he was fleeing Esau's wrath. The move this time is a new start--they are to leave behind foreign gods, purify themselves, and change their clothes.

A question I don't know the answer to: Why is Rebekah's nurse mentioned? Where is Rebekah? The last we heard from her was in Ch 27 ( although she was mentioned as a relative in 28 and 29). We have no explicit statement that she ever saw her favorite son after he left home.

Matthew 12:1-21
The more things change....  Religious authorities were upset that Jesus healed somebody on the Sabbath. They prepared lunch. We moderns have become accustomed to fixing lunch or having someone prepare it for us, to go to ball games (or watch them on TV), or go shopping, and so on. We have become willing to ignore one of the ten commandments if it affects our pleasure. 

Two take-aways. First, the sabbath is intended as a gift. Second, don't use scripture to criticize people that you are mad at for some other reason.

Psalm 15:1-5
This psalm is given to us in the words of David but the concerns are ours as well. It begins with the question, "Lord, who is welcome in your house?"

The answer given:the one who lives without blame
who does what is right, who has never done wrong to anyone
who stands by his oath even if doing so hurts him
who has never lent money at interest
who has accepted a bribe.
I'm trying to imagine this list posted at the door of a church--or synagogue or mosque. How many of us would read that list and then go on in?

On the other hand, why is it so much easier for so many of us to imagine a quite different list of who should be allowed in our congregation? Furthermore, why is it so much easier for some of us Christians to think that our Jewish ancestors cared only about dietary restrictions?

Although I'm having a hard time imagining that anyone could live up to the requirements of Psalm 15 completely, I can recognize that I need to try. I need to live and speak in a way that does not harm those around me. I need to remember that any assets I am in possession of are being held by me in trust for the Lord. If I say I'll do something--and it's something I ought to do, then I should do it.

Prayer for Today: Choose a prayer from Joan Stott's website Timeless Psalms.

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