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, November 21, 2014

Reflection on the One-Year-Bible readings for November 21

Blessed are you, O Lord; 
teach me your statutes.
(Psalm 119:12)

Ezekiel 42:1-43:27
A vision of the temple, restored and filled with the glory of the Lord. Is the temple being described to be a physical structure or is it metaphorical? Verses 10-12 in chapter 43 the description of the temple, now destroyed but to be rebuilt, is tied together of the with recognition of their sins and their need to observe and follow God's law and ordinances.

James 5:1-20
James warns the rich that their riches won't protect them and that they should have paid higher wages to their employees.

James reminds us that Christians know both the bad and good of life. "When you are suffering," he says, "then pray." We are not alone. We are not with help. And he tells us, "When you are cheerful, sing songs of praise." Again, we are not alone, and we need to remember with gratitude the help we've received that led to our cheerfulness.

Also, James reminds us that being a Christian is more than that me-and-Jesus thing. He says to confess our sins to each other. To each other?

And not just pray for my healing, my gratitude, my sins, but also I'm to pray for yours.

James uses the Scripture to bolster his teaching: Remember Elijah.

Psalm 119:1-16
A way that Christians have used to express disdain for Jews--and Protestants for Catholics--is to say that they are obsessed with the law. Walter Breuggemann reminds us that Torah piety is a living-out of the realization that they have been disobedient but were rescued by the Lord anyway. Thus, their commitment to doing what God wanted them to do was driven not by guilt, fear, or coercion, but by joy, comfort, and well-being (Theology of the Old Testament).

Psalm 119 demonstrates this praise of the law and the law-giver.

Brueggemann again, but this time in the commentary, Texts for Preaching, points out the three steps in this section of Psalm 119: Step 1, verses 1-3, We have seen destruction and disappointment. The Lord has shown us how we can attain happiness. Step 2, But, just have been told what to do is not enough. We need continued support--verse 4 shifts to a prayer to the Lord. The third step, verses 5-8, the psalmist expresses the resolve to keep Torah and to establish God's instruction as the pole around which life revolves...and the joy to be found in that commitment.... At the same time that the psalmist gives voice to this resolve, however, he or she confesses the power of human ignorance and weakness. In order to keep Torah, it must first be learned (v. 7b). And even when God's instruction has been learned, faithfulness to it is often interrupted by human weakness and sin, so that the petition in v. 5 becomes a necessary one for the poet to raise.

Proverbs 28:6-7
Better to be poor and walk in integrity 
than to be crooked in one's ways though rich.
Those who keep the law are wise children, 
but companions of gluttons shame their parents.

Prayer for Today: Pray Psalm 119:12-16.

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