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, June 28, 2014

Reflection on readings for June 28

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
(Psalm 146:1-2)

2 Kings 13:1-14:29
While Joash (also known as Jehoash) was ruling in Judah,  Jehoahaz begin his reign in Israel. [I am having trouble keeping these kings straight]. He was sinful. The Lord got angry. Things went bad for Israel. The king begged the Lord for help. The Lord helped by sending a savior.

In Israel, King Joash also did evil. He sought the help of Elisha but wasn't able to do what Elisha expected of him. Yet the Lord, remembering the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, had compassion on Israel. Israel was able to regain some territory that had been lost to Aram.

After I had been wrestling with the confusion of the similar names, I looked them up in John Rogerson's Chronicle of the Old Testament Kings. He reports that "several factors point to the possibility that ...the biblical material has failed to register that Jehoram of Israel and Jehoram of Judah were one and the same person...."

The succeeding kings of Israel, Jeroboam II, and of Judah, Amaziah, had some accomplishments but some defaults.

Acts 18:23-19:12
Paul asked the new disciples whether they had received the Holy Spirit when they had become believers. Their answer was either truthful or clever or disappointing: "We didn't even know there was a Spirit."

Christian educators, do the people you serve even know there is a Spirit?

In many, many ways the Christian church has changed since the days of Paul. Yet, we do share some characteristics. For example, we still need to improve Christian education. While visiting Ephesus, Paul discovered that they lacked some theological grounding that he considered important. I'm trying to imagine some Paul showing up in any congregation today and asking seemingly simple questions that could well expose our, well, our not-knowing what Paul thought we should have already learned.

I don't know what to do with verse 6.

Psalm 146:1-10
Every once in a while I hear someone say to somebody who has just gotten something great, "That shows that God really loves you." And, sometimes, I read Psalm 146 and wonder.

This psalm begins by acclaiming praise for God and disdaining trust in powerful men. They won't last. God will.

According to this psalm, God cares about the oppressed, the hungry, prisoners, the blind, immigrants, orphans, and widows.

And this is what followers of God are called to do. God acts on earth through the people who are gathered to worship and to demonstrate God's power and love.

Psalm 146 provides a checklist for each church congregation: What have we done to ensure that prisoners can be released? What have we done to prevent blindness--have we opened a eye-clinic in a poor community, have we helped to distribute glasses to people who can't afford them? What are we doing about immigrants? What attention are we paying to people whose families aren't able to care for them, or to people without family?

Proverbs 18:2-3
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing personal opinion.
When wickedness comes, contempt comes also.
and with dishonor comes disgrace.

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

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