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, May 23, 2014

Reflection on readings for May 23

With my whole heart I seek you;
do not let me stray from your commandments.
I treasure your word in my heart,
so that I may not sin against you.
(Psalm 119:10-11)

2 Samuel 2:12-3:39
War between the supporters of the two kings went on and on. Ishbaal insulted Abner, the commander of the army from Saul's time and the one who had made Isbaal king. Abner defected to David. David agreed to accept him only if he would secure the release of  Michal (the wife he had won by killing and mutilating Philistines at the command of Saul, the wife who later had helped him escape from assassins sent by Saul).

John 13:1-30
Jesus willingly performed the actions of a servant. He told that this was an example for them to follow? How hard could it be?

He had also metaphorized the foot washing by adding that not all of them were clean. At dinner later, he pointed out who he meant.

Psalm 119:1-16
A way that Christians have used to express disdain for Jews--and Protestants for Catholics--is to say that they are obsessed with the law. Walter Breuggemann reminds us that Torah piety is a living-out of the realization that they have been disobedient but were rescued by the Lord anyway. Thus, their commitment to doing what God wanted them to do was driven not by guilt, fear, or coercion, but by joy, comfort, and well-being (Theology of the Old Testament).

Psalm 119 demonstrates this praise of the law and the law-giver.

Brueggemann again, but this time in the commentary, Texts for Preaching points out the three steps in this section of Psalm 119:

Step 1, verses 1-3, We have seen destruction and disappointment. The Lord has shown us how we can attain happiness.

Step 2, But, just have been told what to do is not enough. We need continued support--verse 4 shifts to a prayer to the Lord.

The third step, verses 5-8, the psalmist expresses the resolve to keep Torah and to establish God's instruction as the pole around which life revolves...and the joy to be found in that commitment....

At the same time that the psalmist gives voice to this resolve, however, he or she confesses the power of human ignorance and weakness. In order to keep Torah, it must first be learned (v. 7b). And even when God's instruction has been learned, faithfulness to it is often interrupted by human weakness and sin, so that the petition in v. 5 becomes a necessary one for the poet to raise.

Proverbs 15:29-30
The Lord is far from the wicked,
but hears the prayer of the righteous.
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the holy.

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

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