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, September 10, 2014

Reflection on readings for September 10

Hear my prayer, O God;
give ear to the words of my mouth.
(Psalm 54:2)

Isaiah 6:1-7:25
Verses 1-4 describe an overwhelming sense of God's glory and the appropriate response to it. On a throne. A high and lofty throne. So large that just the hem of his robe fills the temple. Heavenly beings attend him. They sing, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts."

Verses 5, in contrast, describes the great contrast with this glory with the human condition. Isaiah realizes that he is unworthy.

Verses 6-7 give us reassurance. Since we are not worthy, God has a way of redeeming us, of overcoming our sin. Isaiah's guilt was removed.

Verse 8 reminds us why we need this redemption. We have a task. Isaiah accepted his call.

(much of this from or inspired by Isaiah 1-39, by Walter Brueggeman)

How much of this is repeated in a typical church service? Do we recognize an overwhelming divine presence? Do we recognize our own sinfulness? Can we receive redemption? If so, what are we prepared to do with it?

King Ahaz was more willing to trust the Assyrians than he was to believe that the Lord would save his country from invasion by Aram (2 Kings 16; Isaiah 7:1-6).

The Lord spoke to this fearful king--please note that the threat he fears is real, that's he's not just timid. "Ask me for a sign," the Lord said. But Ahaz refused saying "I will not test the Lord." We can interpret his refusal as piousness or as an unwillingness to know what God wants him to do after he has already decided what's best.

The Lord gives him a sign anyway.

Ahaz had been focusing on kings and armies and enemies. Isaiah points his attention to a young woman who is about to bear a child, "She will name him Immanuel, God is with us. What you fear, you need no longer fear."

2 Corinthians 11:16-33
Paul criticizes his critics and asserts his own qualifications as a true apostle.

He recounts the dangers he has faced because of that apostleship.

Following Jesus can be risky.

Psalm 54:1-7
This psalm gives us words to pray when we have been mistreated. Notice that revenge is left to God to handle.

Proverbs 23:1-3
When you sit down to ear with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you have a big appetite.
Do not desire the ruler's delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.

Prayer for Today: O Lord, sustain us through our fears, our fears of physical harm and our fears of criticism. Keep our attention focused on your will. Amen.

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