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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Reflection on readings for August 20

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in the Lord;
the Lord will act.
(adapted from Psalm 37:5)

Esther 8:1-10:3
Defeat of their aggressors. In order to remember always, they instituted the feast of Purim.

1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
Society then was comprised of different levels. Some people were in categories not much respected or admired. Some people were regarded as being at the top of the social pyramid. 

Not only society in general, but also the church.

Paul instructed them to recognize their mutual need for each other's contributions.

I'm wondering about today's congregations. Some differences in all churches--somebody preaches, somebody teaches children's Sunday School (for churches that still have children), somebody leads the choir, and so on. But, do all congregations include people from different economic and ethnic backgrounds? If they did, what differences would the church experience? What differences would the church make on the world (or, at least, the community around it)?

"If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal....," Paul wrote to the fractious Corinthian congregation.

Sounding good, even great, doesn't mean much in Paul's assessment. Love is requisite.

"If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith...."

Being able to be prophetic, that is, to be able to transmit the words of God, means nothing without love.

Being able to perform miracles, being willing to be generous, even sacrificing one's own safety are all nothing without love.

For the church to continue to do God's work in the world, its members must have love.

And that includes love for each other. Not just feeling, but also acting.

We can see God's love in the community that surrounds us. We can be part of God's love now.

Psalm 37:1-11
Yes, bad things do happen, and, yes, bad people exist. Even if we do what we're supposed to do, we may still have to face the consequences of somebody else's doing what we don't want them to do.

This psalm counsels us on how to get through those bad times.

First, Don't let yourself be tied up in reacting to the person who is trying to hurt you.

After all, they aren't going to be able to sustain themselves forever.

Second, Instead of paying a lot of attention to the person who is trying to upset you, turn that attention to what does last, the Lord.

Paying attention to the Lord, trusting the Lord, will change us.

Vindication may take a while, but leave it up to the Lord.

Proverbs 21:23-24
To watch over mouth and tongue is to keep our of trouble.
The proud, haughty person, named "Scoffer,"
acts with arrogant pride.

Prayer for Today: O Lord our God, help us to notice how those around us show wisdom and generosity, and are willing to share their gifts with the rest of us. Help us now as a church to continue to do your work in the world. Help us to love each other and to act like it. Amen.

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