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, September 21, 2014

Reflection on readings for September 21

Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
you forgive our transgressions.
(Psalm 65:1-3)

Isaiah 37:1-38:22

Galatians 6:1-18
Tom Wright in his Paul for Everyone/Galatians and Thessalonians is a useful resource for our daily Bible reading in Galatians. (When N.T. Wright uses the name Tom, I assume he is intending to be more accessible. So, do paid Christians read N.T. and real people read Tom?)

Anyway, in his interpretation of the references to the harvest if you sow in flesh or in spirit (8), he says if you sow barley in your field, you will expect barley to grow there, and if you sow nettles, you won't be surprised to see nettles at harvest:
God has likewise descreed that those who "sow" behaviour [he's British] which relates to the flesh will reap the appropriate result which is ultimately death; and that those who sow to the spirit will reap eternal life, the life of the new age that has already broken in, in Christ, and will one day by complete.
Psalm 65:1-13
The psalm begins with an acknowledgment of the debt we owe God, "Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed."

Not just us, but everyone, "To you all flesh shall come," and "you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas."

This psalm notes specific gifts. One is forgiveness, "When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions."

And God sends rain, "You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it."

I'm struck by the combining of these two, examining parallels between them. What happens to a life without forgiveness, if we become sunk in despair over our past sins, what barrenness of purpose, of existence, would it be? But, God's forgiveness, as abundant as the roaring sea, can make it possible for us to live lives of abundance, providing us with overflowing bounty that we can share as the watered fields provide grain for us.

Proverbs 23:24 (adapted)
Parents of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
the ones who beget a wise child will be glad.

Prayer for Today: O Lord, forgive us the times of unfaithfulness. Keep us mindful of your fidelity. Amen.

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