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 10, 2014

Reflections on readings for January 10

Be gracious to me, O Lord.
See what I suffer fro those who hate me;
you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,
so that I may recount all your praises.
(Psalm 9:13-14a)

Genesis 23:1-24:51
Genesis is a book of cycles--this generation will repeat what the previous generation has done. Yet, no generation repeats exactly. Watch for differences.

For example, compare how Genesis presents Sarah and then Rebekah. We are not told anything about Sarah's life before she married Abraham. We don't know how she reacts to the migration plans. We don't know whether Abraham told anything about his agreement to sacrifice Isaac or whether she was even told about it when Abraham and Isaac returned.

On the other hand, we are introduced to Rebekah even before Isaac is. Abraham sends his servant back to Haran to find a suitable wife for his son. When he sees Rebekah at the spring of water, the servant tells her how wealthy Isaac's father is. He tells her how she is the answer to his prayer. When she tells him who her family is, he gives her gifts of jewelry, and asks her to agree to marry Isaac.

The cycle of the next generation will have similarities and differences. Isaac and Rebekah's son, Jacob, will also marry a woman from Haran. The meeting will also be at a well, but Jacob will make the trip himself.

Matthew 8:1-17
Two people seek Jesus out for healing: a man suffering from a debilitating disease and an officer in the occupying army whose servant is paralyzed. Jesus healed them immediately. Let's pause and consider who seeks help from a church, who is welcome, who even realizes that the church is a source of healing for all kinds of distress.

Then Jesus heals the mother-in-law of a close friend. She gets up and fixes supper. Again, let us consider what we insiders who aren't lying in the bed with a fever are willing to do.

After supper, he healed a lot more people. So can we.

Psalm 9:13-20 
This psalm includes both a prayer for help and a call for us who have been helped to tell the story.

What do oppressors think when they read this psalm? I'm thinking specifically about verses 15-17 that explicitly state that the wicked get what they deserve.

We individual human beings and we groups of people may ignore the needs of the people around us, but we will be judged for this. Read verses 19-20. Can you honestly pray them?

Prayer for Today: We give you thanks for the times that you have supported us, healed us, prodded us into acts of support and healing. Amen.

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