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.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mititgations, a reflection on 2 Esdras 9:1-10:24

In response to Ezra's comment, "You've told us what not when," the Lord listed some signs: earthquakes, tumult of peoples, intrigues of nations, wavering of leaders, confusion of princes.

He did offer some reassurance that some will be saved--on account of their works or by their faith.

And some won't: the ones who didn't recognize that the Lord was providing them with benefits, that scorned the law, didn't repent.

Ezra contended that by using those standards, not many would be saved. The Lord agreed.

Ezra spent some time contemplating how Israel after being given so much did not respond by obeying the Lord. His assessment, "For we who have received the law and sinned will perish, as well as our hearts that received it; the law, however, does not perish but survives in its glory."

His thoughts were interrupted by the appearance of a woman who was weeping and mourning loudly. When he asked her what had happened, she told him that she had prayed for 30 years to have a son, and that after God answered her prayers, that son died on his wedding day,

Ezra assessed this tragedy as depicting what had happened to Israel, "You are mourning the loss of one son, but we are mourning the loss of our mother Zion."

After detailing more of the losses, Ezra exhorted her, "Shake off your great sadness and lay aside your many sorrows, so that the Mighty One may be merciful to you again, and the Most High may give you rest, a respite from your troubles."

Excerpts: Gifts bring responsibilities; blessings may follow losses.

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