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, March 21, 2014

Reflection on readings for March 21

Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord
    and take refuge in him.
Let all the upright in heart glory.
(Psalm 64:10)

Numbers 32:1-33:39
Crisis then compromise. It's time to cross the Jordan. The Reubenites and Gadites don't see how it is in their interest to enter into the risks of war. Their present location suits them fine. Moses uses history, threat, and compromise to convince them to join the other tribes in their struggle.

We still see conflict between vested interest and willingness to take risk. How important is someone else's security and well-being to those of us who already have it pretty comfortable? How important to us is what a former leader tells us about the history of our community?

Aaron, brother of Moses, priest, a leader in the first generation, dies.

Luke 4:31-5:11
After his escape in Nazareth, he traveled, healing and preaching in synagogues. Response was positive. On the other hand, the religious leaders react negatively to Jesus' teaching--both to content and to effect.

Many people came out to see him. So many people that he needed help in order to continue to carry out his work

He asked Simon, (whose mother-in-law had been one of the persons he had healed) to take him out in the boat a little way from shore so he could speak to that crowd that had gathered.

One lesson--Jesus needs us to help him do his work.

After he had finished speaking, and they were still in the boat out in the lake, Jesus told Simon, "Take the boat out to the deep water so you can go back to fishing" Peter said that he could and would move the boat but that the fish weren't biting that day.

Another lesson--even people who have witnessed miracles up close don't always believe that Jesus can help them with their current need.

Related lesson--even people who don't believe at a particular moment can still follow the commands of Jesus.

Simon obeyed Jesus. He took Jesus out in his boat so he could preach. Despite his disbelief that it would do any good, he tried fishing. They caught so many fish that their nets almost broke. They caught so many fish that their boats began to sink.

The great result when he had expected nothing frightens Simon. He begs Jesus to leave him alone, that he is not worthy to be with him. Jesus disagrees. He can provide fish where professional fishermen can't find them. He tells Simon and his partners, James and John, that now they will be fishing not for fish but for people.

They walk away from their boats--their livelihood, their regular lives, and follow Jesus.

Further note: the first hearers of Luke's gospel may have been familiar with Ezekiel 47:1-10. We should be, too. A stream of water from the temple gushes like a river, like deep water. In this sea, the water will become wholesome. Every living creature will be able to live wherever this stream goes. The fish will be abundant.

Psalm 64:1-10

Proverbs 11:22

Prayer for Today: Lord, build our trust in you so that we can continue to do your work. Amen.

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