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.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bless the Lord, a Reflection on Psalm 103:1-7

This psalm is a psalm of praise. It calls for praise and gives reasons why this praise is due.

But, who is the psalmist addressing?

The psalm begins "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me." When I pray this psalm, I am calling on myself to pray with my total being--not just part of me but all of me. And I repeat--I am telling me to do that.

John Goldingay in his Old Testament Theology, Volume 3, points out that this psalm assumes we can argue with ourselves and that we may need to stir ourselves up to that praise that is due the Lord.

These verses provide us with a reminder of what God does that makes us so thankful: forgives, heals, rescues, loves,  satisfies, vindicates.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ask, Knock, a Reflection on Luke 11:1-13

One of his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray.

The first request in the prayer is "Your kingdom come." I'm wondering now how much that request centers in my own prayers. Or, am I more likely to skip over to the what I need right now part?

Now I'm wondering what the rest of my prayers would be like if I and all those around me lived in a world run according to what God wanted. Would I need to ask for bread? Would I need to remember to ask for only the bread I really needed? If I in every way and in every day acknowledged God as the one in charge, would I still need forgiveness for sins or would I have been able finally to quit sinning?

After giving them the model prayer, Jesus then describes for them what lives ruled by God's rules could be like. We would want to satisfy friends needs rather than be more concerned with our own comfort. And, our friends would be more concerned with answering our needs.

We may have already begun to learn to live in the way God intends. Jesus reminds them of the care they have for their own children. He then says "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Then, as the community that is the church, the gifts we have already received and continue to receive from the heavenly Father are the means by which we can assure that our neighbors receive whatever they need.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Aftermath, a reflection on Job 42:7-17

After Job says "I relent and find comfort on dust and ashes," the Lord turns to Eliphaz "I'm angry with you and your friends who have not spoken the truth about me as did Job."

The test is over. Job is returned to his life as it had been.

When Job emerges from his tragedy, he able to pray for his friends--I presume this means the ones who had been badgering him and trying to correct him throughout the book.

He died old--at 140, twice the length of what was expected in Psalm 90:10.

Many commentators think that this section was added by a different source from most of the book of Job. These verses seem to be a reaffirmation of the Deuteronomic theory of blessings as rewards for right behavior in contrast to verses 1-6 in this chapter.

Modern commentators try to reconcile both understandings by saying that whichever we hold, that God is present in our bad times and our good. We may make bad choices or bad things may happen despite our good ones, but God is still with us. And, our recognition of God's presence can help us through our difficult times.

And some commentators interpret the book of Job as an allegory on the exile.