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.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reflections on the readings for January 2

Happy are we when we take refuge in you. (after Psalm 2:11).

Genesis 3:1-4:6

In his "Come Out, My People!" Wes Howard-Brook points out that the woman misquotes the Lord God. Compare 2:16-17 with 3:2-3. The woman makes several changes including the addition of a prohibition, "nor shall you touch it."

We still do this. We read in the Scriptures what God has said. Then we enhance it or manipulate it to fit actions we don't approve of or to malign people that seem disagreeable to us.

What is the sin? Can overstating God's commands lead us to inappropriate actions?

God had told the man (the woman wasn't there yet) that he could eat what ever looked good to him with one exception, fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:7-9, 15-17).  But, the serpent enticed the woman to eat from that tree, assuring her that anyone who did would be like God, knowing good and evil. She ate and gave some fruit to her husband, too. What the serpent had told them turned out to be true--they knew the difference between good and evil. They immediately put some clothes on, sewed-together fig leaves.

When they heard the Lord, they were afraid and tried to hide. The Lord God found them and asked the man why he had eaten from the one tree that he had been told not to. He blamed the woman. She blamed the serpent. The Lord God cursed the serpent.

God described what life out of Eden would be like, pain and toil and  disappointments and death. Before their departure, God made them some fur clothes (Genesis 3:8-22).

We've read more of the story so we know that even after being expelled from the garden, Adam and Eve and those that came after them were not expelled from the presence of God. Nor did the gifts of God stop at the borders of the garden. God continued, continues, to provide.

Something else hasn't changed. We still do just what we know that God doesn't want us to do. We still blame others for the decisions we make. We still get forgiveness.

Matthew 2:13-3:6

Long ago, parents carried their child to a foreign country hoping to protect his safety. When the imminent threat passed they were able to return home.

Today, many parents are still taking their children to places that seem safer for them than their birthplace.

In their new homes, the children grow up, go to school, volunteer for the military. And, in the U.S., some think that they should be given the opportunity to be citizens.

Dream Acts failed and immigrants face limits.

"A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more."

Proverbs 1:7-9

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my child, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching; for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck. [Common English Bible]

Prayer for Today: God, during disputes between nations or within families, we turn to you. We take refuge in you as we seek peace. Guide our attention now to the strangers in our midst that also are seeking peace. Help us find ways to protect them and welcome them. Amen.

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