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, January 29, 2014

Reflection on the readings for January 29

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in the Lord's holy place?
(Psalm 24:3)

Exodus 8:1-9:35
The Lord is persistent. Moses and Aaron are obedient. The court magicians can replicate some of the plagues, but eventually recognize that these plagues were the result of the finger of God.

John Goldingay in his Old Testament Theology, Vol 1, points out that "The signs indicate that the God who delivers Israel from Egypt has sovereign power in the natural world and is prepared to exercise it." and that God is sovereign in both political events and events in the natural realm.

 Pharaoh waivers in letting the people go, but God hardened his heart. Or, this earthly king used to exercising great power can't quite admit that he's not in charge of everything and everybody.

Matthew 19:13-30
Large crowds are following him. Then, to the irritation of the disciples, they start bringing their children to him, asking him to lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples think he should be focusing on more important things that spending time with children. In their world, children were not important, didn't do important work, had no status. Jesus set them straight.

In our time and place, we are eager to include children in our churches (with some qualifications about their behavior, etc.) Yet, we may have difficulty in assimilating other groups of non-working, low status folks.

When a rich young man asked Jesus what he had to do to attain eternal life, Jesus reminded him that he already knew what he was supposed to be doing (and not doing).  The young man asserted that he was already following the commandments and asked what else he could do. Jesus forced him to consider what was really most important to him, what he would cling to than serve Jesus. Jesus admitted that being a follower was hard.

He's talking about more than money. What else in our lives do we need to protect? What are we not willing to give up?

Are we irritated or reassured by his comment that the first will be last, and the last will be first?

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