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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Reflection on readings for February 24

Do not, O Lord, withhold
    your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    keep me safe forever.
(Psalm 40:11)

Leviticus 15:1-16:28
James Bowley in his Introduction to Hebrew Bible emphasizes that the categories, clean and unclean, in Leviticus are not statements about what we might consider morality or intrinsic worth. Being impure does not equate with being immoral. Rather, the terms "purity and cleanness [in Leviticus] have to do with the order of holiness and the system of separations...."

Bowley describes the three basic categories of impure or unclean situations as mixings, imperfections/incompletions, and disorderly events.

Mark 7:1-23
If you were asked to choose between these two statements, how would you answer? First, this passage demonstrates that Jesus taught that Jews were wrong to focus on the law. Second, Jesus says that anything goes.

The correct answer is: neither of the above.

Jesus is not maligning the Pharisees for attempting to follow the law. He is saying that they aren't following it. That is, they are neglecting the reason that God gave us the law anyway--to help us to live in community and to worship the Lord.

It's not a Jew/Christian thing. Look, Jesus is quoting the prophet Isaiah to help make his point.

Jesus is saying to those who hold themselves out to be religiously scrupulous, "What you are calling a sin is not all that important. If you want to get in line with what God intends then you need to refrain from things like adultery, greed, envy, slander.

Psalm 40:11-17
You have the psalmist's permission to complain when someone has treated you unfairly.

Proverbs 10:13-14

Prayer for Today: Lord, focus us on your will. Cleanse us from wrong actions and wrong thoughts. Aid us to refrain from judging others. Encourage us, strengthen us to be the people you need to carry out your mission. Amen.

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