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, April 21, 2014

Reflection on readings for April 21

Righteousness and justice are the 
    foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness 
    go before you.
Happy are the people 
    who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord,
    in the light of your countenance;
they exult in your name all day long,
and extol your righteousness.

For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favor our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the Lord, 
our king to the Holy One of Israel.
(Psalm 89:14-18)

Joshua 22:21-23:16
When they got to their region, the eastern tribes built an altar. The other Israelites became so angry about this that were ready to go to war against them. The eastern tribes rationale for their altar was not that it was an altar for an alien God but an altar for the same God the other Israelites recognized. They had just been worried that the Jordan River would be used as a boundary to separate them from the rest of the tribes. They wanted to insure that they could continue to worship the Lord they knew. These words satisfied the other families.

Modern day worshippers still disagree, still distrust others, still separate themselves because of these disagreements and distrust.

Joshua's farewell speech reminded them that their possessions had come to them because of the Lord, and that the Lord continues to fight for them. They are supposed to love the Lord, and be careful not to fall in the ways of the Lord rather than fall into habits of temptations.

Luke 20:27-47
Jesus has come to Jerusalem. The crowds welcomed him enthusiastically but the religious authorities are not pleased with him at all. They have questioned him and even sent spies to try to trap him into saying something about taxes that would warrant his arrest (19:29-26).

When that trick did not work, they try another. They try to force him to take a position on the theory the alternative he proposed would alienate either the Pharisees, who believe in resurrection, or the Sadducees, who don't. That is, the Sadducee asking the question doesn't want elucidation or support; he wants to drive a wedge into the crowd of supporters.

The question was based on the requirement in Deuteronomy that if a man died without a heir, then his brother should marry the widow. They asked then if a seven brothers followed their law one after the other, at the resurrection, whose wife would she be?

Jesus responded first by stating that life after death is not like life before it. Resurrection is not merely resuscitation (also see 1 Corinthians 15:35-57).

Then he uses a reference to Exodus to remind them that those who are dead to us are alive to God.

I've used Sharon Ringe's commentary on Luke in this comment and now quote directly:
Jesus' response ends the riddles (20:39-40) but not the opposition. One who speaks so well that he is able to defuse the arguments of the powerful presents a clear and present danger to the public order, and appropriate steps must be taken.
Psalm 89:14-37
Psalm 89 is an assertion of the covenant God has made with David, and a reminder that this covenant is unconditional, "Forever I will keep my steadfast love for him, and my covenant with him will stand firm" (23).

Reading this psalm after the exile, the Jews could adopt God's promise to David as king to themselves as descendants of the people in David's kingdom. Christians have also appropriated this promise since we recognize Jesus as a direct descendant of David.

We might discuss who is included and if anyone is not.

And we need to think about what this unconditional covenant means.

Verses 30-33 remind us that sin has consequences. We may suffer because of wrong choices we have made. We may suffer because of wrong choices someone else has made.

Sin has consequences.

Yet, God doesn't give up on us so easily.

We need to remember both of those things.

Proverbs 13:17-19

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

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