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, August 15, 2014

Reflection on readings for August 15

O magnify the Lord with me.
O Lord, we exalt your name together. 
(adapted from Psalm 34:3)

Nehemiah 9:22-10:39
When they overcame their enemies, when they had lots of possessions. When they had copious amounts of food, they didn't bother to obey the Lord. Their sinning had consequences. They cried out to the Lord for rescue and after receiving mercy, they turned back to sinning.

They ask the Lord for mercy again.

1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13
The first missionaries were reaching out to people who had been raised like them and people who had not, people who were used to the same kind of worship, and people who were not. They faced the same set of decisions that missionaries continue to face--how much like us do they have to be and how much like them should I be willing to be?

Some missionaries travel to foreign distant lands; some work within their own hometowns.

Paul has said that he was willing to be under Jewish law to convince fellow Jews, and willing to be outside his own tradition for the Gentiles. He was willing to change a stance that was not requisite for a Christian life. But, he was not preaching no standards at all.

Being a Christian requires effort and discipline. Preaching the gospel (by word or deed) may turn out to be as strenuous as running a marathon. Do it anyway.

Psalm 34:1-10
The psalmist has noticed that the Lord has done something. And the psalmist is not going to keep quiet about it.

Receiving help, Noticing, Announcing.

Also, the psalmist is reminding others to join in the praise. After all, they need the Lord. After all, the Lord has helped them, too.

The psalm begins with testimony, "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord"

and turns to lesson, "Let the humble hear and be glad. Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together."

Prayer is not restricted to only private conversation. Prayer at times can and should be communal.

Hear the invitation to join in prayer with someone who has known difficulty and has known rescue:

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. ...O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him."

Proverbs 21:13
If you close your ear to the cry of the poor,
you will cry out and not be heard.

Prayer for Today: O Lord our God, encourage us to be willing to be among people who don't agree with us on everything. Help us even to see when we should change. Open us to notice your support, your help, your compassion. Open us to telling others about that. Amen.

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