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.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reflection on readings for June 22

I say to the Lord,
"You are my God;
give ear, O Lord,
to the voice of my supplications."
(Psalm 140:6)

2 Kings 3:1-4:17
At first the prophet Elisha doesn't want to do anything to help the king of Israel (remember the conflicts between his mentor Elijah and King Ahab). Yet, the current king of Israel, Jehoram, is able to convince him to work with him, King Jehoshaphat of Judah, and their current ally, the king of Edom, in opposition to the king of Moab who has refused to deliver wool to Israel.

Elisha calls for a musician. As the music is played, the power of the Lord comes upon Elisha and sends convincing signs.

War begins. Israel triumphs at first, but withdraws when the king of Moab does something that seems very wrong to us.

Elisha is then called upon by a widow to protect her from a creditor who wants to take her two children as slaves. When he asks her if she anything of value, she responds that she has only a jar of oil. Through his intervention, so much oil appears that she has to borrow vessels from her neighbors. Elisha tells her "Sell the oil to pay your debts so you and your children can live on the rest."

Elisha next helps a wealthy widow.

Acts 14:8-28
Paul and Barnabus preach a message about the one God, Creator of all. Things go badly. In Lystra (Turkey), they heal a man who had been crippled from birth. The residents are joyous; they think their gods (Greek ones) have come to them in human form. Not so for Paul's and Barnabus' religious traditionalists. They excite the crowd to stone Paul, leaving him for dead. But, when the disciples surrounded him he got up. The next day he and Barnabas went to the neighboring Derbe where they made many disciples, then came back to Lystra then to Iconium and Antioch.

Psalm 140
The psalmist gives us words to pray when we are attacked by enemies--the violent and the snarky. Note that the psalmist is not opposed to all violence. Also note that the Psalmist affirms the knowledge that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy and executes justice for the poor.

Are we more willing to let the Lord handle the violence than for us to do that for ourselves? Are we more willing to let the Lord handle the cause of the needy without our help?

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.

Prayer for Today: Lord, help us to sort out what part you would have us pay in resolving injustice. Amen.

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