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.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Reflections on readings for March 8

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
   and cleanse me from my sin
(Psalm 51:1-2)

Numbers 10:1-11:23
With the ark of the covenant of the Lord going before them by a three-days' journey, they left Sinai to move to the place the Lord had promised them.

They complained.

Think about the complaint. How does this generation view life in Egypt? Remember they are the parents of the generation that will enter the Promised Land. How do we prepare the next generation for their world when we really want to go back to our old one?

Moses also complains. God uses less than perfect leaders.

Moses, Israel, and even God often seem on the verge of dropping the whole thing.

Mark 14:1-21

Psalm 51:1-19
Psalm 51 is one of only seven penitential psalms. I'm wondering why only seven.

Although most of the psalms are communal prayers, this psalm is expressed as an individual cry: Have mercy on me, blot out my transgressions, wash me, and purify me.

And I can ask this of God because mercy is what God is like, because mercy befits God's faithfulness, because God is abundantly compassionate.

Sometimes, we need reminders that we are sinning. And, sometimes, we are so burdened by our sins that we need reminders that God is compassionate.

We can pray Psalm 51 when we recognize that we need forgiveness, that we want forgiveness:
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
And we can pray Psalm 51 when we want what forgiven people have--restoration
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Proverbs 10:31-32

Prayer for Today: Pray Psalm 51 or use the prayers from Joan Stott's website The Timeless Psalms.

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