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, November 20, 2017

When Things Get Really Bad, a reflection on Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14

A man claiming to be a prophet of God announced that Babylon was soon to be defeated. The Lord informed Jeremiah that not everyone who claims to be speaking the word of God is.

The exiles aren't where they want to be. They have lost their home. They are surrounded by strangers. And they are going to be there a lot longer than they had hoped.

The prophet Jeremiah sent them a message, "Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce." In time of loss and despair, they are told to take care of themselves--to find shelter and food, what's needed for refuge and sustenance.

And, they need to recognize that this isn't going to be like a camping trip or even a long journey. He also tells them to get married, and that they will still be in this foreign land when it's time for the children born from these marriages to get married themselves.

Shelter, food, and family. Not hopeless yearning for what was but isn't. Not exactly acceptance but a way to continue under unwanted circumstances.

Then Jeremiah adds another directive, "Seek the welfare of that foreign city and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare will be your welfare."

We can apply this prophecy to our own lives in different ways depending on whether our current situation is more like that of the exiles or more like that of the Babylonians.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Light Has Shined, a Reflection on Isaiah 9:1-7

Isaiah is speaking of a people who have known anguish, not just disappointment that things didn't turn out as well as might be hoped, but anguish, something different from and more than sorrow. His reference is to physical exile, but we can read his promises to apply to all kinds of distances and separations and losses.

Isaiah says of the people who have lived in deep darkness, on them light has shined.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Asking for Justice or Fearing It, a Reflection on Amos 1:1-2; 5:14-15, 21-24

Amos is preaching about what Israel did wrong to deserve the judgment that God had imposed. Scholars disagree on when Amos was doing his prophecy but agree that whether he was writing before or after the monarchy period, this warning of judgment was and is relevant. Amos tells (warns?) them that if they expect to be with God and for God to be gracious to them, then they need to to try to be good, to try to be just. Big well-furnished sanctuaries are not sufficient. God wants more even that big financial outlays and really great music. Rather, what God is looking for is our being just. Which is more difficult--giving more money to the church or being what the church ought to be?