Lift up your hands to the holy place,
and bless the Lord.
1 Kings 14:1-15:24
The prophet who had said that Jeroboam should be king of Israel now says that now because of his sinfulness, he will lose everything and that Israel will be destroyed. Judah under King Rehoboam committed many, many sins as well. War between Israel and Judah continued.
A messenger from heaven came to the hungry Peter and offered him a meal--all kinds of four footed creatures and reptiles and birds. Peter, of course, refused the gift because the animals were ones that were considered unsuitable for the people of God to eat. He knew the rules and intended to keep them--even if he was very hungry. The voice from heaven spoke to Peter again, "If I say something is clean, it is."
Peter was puzzled about how to interpret this message.
Let's read this psalm as extolling harmony in a family as applying literally to a biological family but not restrict our reading to that application. Let us consider what benefits derive from unity in each organization we humans are part of.
When we (family, church congregation, neighborhood) are at peace with each other, blessings are available and possible. When we don't have to use resources for peace-keeping, they are then available for enjoyment. Those blessings extend great distances--both literally and metaphorically. And they support our life.
"How very good and pleasant is it when kindred live in unity!"
Good and pleasant and necessary.
As necessary as for life as water--Mount Hermon was the source of the Jordan River. As good and necessary as their goal--Zion, the place that God had blessed, the place where blessings were bestowed. (with thanks to John H. Hayes' contribution to Preaching through the Christian Year, Trinity Press International.)
Fine speech is not becoming to a fool;
still less is false speech to a ruler.
A bribe is like a magic stone
in the eyes of those who give it.
Prayer for today: Choose a prayer from Joan Stott's website The Timeless Psalms.