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, March 10, 2014

Reflection on readings for March 10

God looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
    who seek after God.
(Psalm 53:1)

Numbers 14:1-15:16
The people respond to the two very different reports that they had heard by believing the scary one. They loudly complain against Moses and Aaron who have brought them to die in this wilderness. Slavery in Egypt was better than this. Caleb's son, Joshua, tries to reassure them.

The people threaten. God responds. Moses intercedes by arguing that Israel is proof of God's strength.

God forgives but punishes, "None of you who I rescued from Egypt, those that complained against me, will see the land I have promised."

They repented, or they said that they had. Yet, they couldn't believe Moses. Separating themselves from him, making decisions he didn't agree with had bad results. Very troubling to Protestants--don't we believe we have direct access to God?

In chapter 15, the Lord describes the offering that will be appropriate when they enter the promised land.  Both native Israelites and any aliens living among them were to make offerings. The Lord said, "There shall be for both you and the resident alien a single statute. You and the alien shall be alike before the Lord. You and the alien who resides with you shall have the same law and the same ordinance."

They are to treat their immigrants very differently than the way the Egyptians had treated them.

Mark 14:53-72
As you read about Jesus on trial, consider the responses of two different persons: The high priest and the disciple.

The Sanhedrin consisted of 71 members who were charged with the responsibility of keeping their religious community safe--and sometimes safe meant accommodating the needs of the ruling authorities, the occupying force, the Romans. And, sometimes, safe meant protecting from internal heresy.

They have rules but don't follow them. Instead, they offer false testimony, and can't even agree on which falsities to swear to.

Frustrated, the High Priest addresses Jesus directly, "Are you the Messiah?"

Jesus responds, "I am."

The Council condemns Jesus as one deserving death.

Peter has been one of the disciples closest to Jesus. And he has failed him before. While he was supposed to be keeping watch at Gethsemane, he fell asleep three times.

Now, while Jesus is being condemned to death, Peter is nearby. One of the high priest's servants sees him and recognizes him, "You're with that guy that's on trial." Peter denies it. She tells some bystanders, and he denies it. Some of the bystanders say the same thing, and he once more denies it. Three times.

Peter broke down and wept.

The High Priest would not recognize that this man brought before him was the Anointed One of Israel. Did Peter? Do we? How do we demonstrate this recognition?

Psalm 51:1-19

Proverbs 11:4

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

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