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.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Need for Mercy, a reflection on 2 Esdras 8:1-36

Ezra pleads with God for mercy. "O Lord, we are a work of your hands. You have given us life. You have nurtured us, instructed us in your law, and reproved us in your wisdom. We are your work. If you suddenly and quickly destroy us, what was the purpose of having created us? Israel is your people. Now, I am going to pray for myself and for them."

In his prayer,  Ezra asked, "Don't pay attention to sins some have committed; look at the ones who have kept your commandments amid afflictions. Don't think about the wicked; remember those who have willingly acknowledged you. Don't be angry with those who behave worse than wild animals, but love those who have always put their trust in your glory."

He then presented this argument to God, "It is because we are sinners that you are called merciful. In truth, there is no one among those who have been born who has not acted wicked, no one who has not done wrong. For in this, O Lord, your righteousness and goodness will be declared, when you are merciful to those who have no store of good works."

Is Ezra saying that the ones who have done what God wanted them to do can compensate for those who haven't? Does he see the fate of the people an all-or-nothing decision?

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