Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Blog entry 121510

Blog entry

Psalm 42

Zechariah 8:1-17

Matthew 8:14-17, 28-34

Psalm 42

Longing for God and His Help in Distress

To the leader. A Maskil of the Korahites.
1 As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me continually,
‘Where is your God?’
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,*
and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help 6and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
have gone over me.
8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock,
‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?’
10 As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
‘Where is your God?’
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

Zechariah 8:1-17

God’s Promises to Zion

8The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: 2Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. 3Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts shall be called the holy mountain. 4Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. 5And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. 6Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts? 7Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country; 8and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.

9 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Let your hands be strong—you that have recently been hearing these words from the mouths of the prophets who were present when the foundation was laid for the rebuilding of the temple, the house of the Lord of hosts. 10For before those days there were no wages for people or for animals, nor was there any safety from the foe for those who went out or came in, and I set them all against one another. 11But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, says the Lord of hosts. 12For there shall be a sowing of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit, the ground shall give its produce, and the skies shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13Just as you have been a cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you and you shall be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.

14 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Just as I purposed to bring disaster upon you, when your ancestors provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the Lord of hosts, 15so again I have purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; do not be afraid. 16These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgements that are true and make for peace, 17do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the Lord.

Matthew 8:14-17, 28-34

Jesus Heals Many at Peter’s House

14 When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; 15he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. 16That evening they brought to him many who were possessed by demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. 17This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.’

Jesus Heals the Gadarene Demoniacs

28 When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes,* two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29Suddenly they shouted, ‘What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?’ 30Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31The demons begged him, ‘If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.’ 32And he said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and perished in the water. 33The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. 34Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighbourhood.

Matthew 4:13: “And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim” (Peter’s house at Capernaum, with the synagogue in the background)

Today’s verses from Matthew are a favorite on mine for a minor reason. For some time I have wanted to visit the Holy Land, and to walk where Jesus and the disciples walked. A problem I have however is that so many of the notable places we might visit are the traditional, oral location of where Jesus was born (the manger), where he died (Calvary) and so on. The actual places may never be known.

But, in today’s verse from Matthew we know where it occurred, exactly, historically. Peter’s house was in Capernaum, a small house near the sea of Galilee. The synagogue is the first place we have record of Jesus sermonizing, and Peter’s house nearby is where Jesus lived apparently for a time with his disciples. Peter’s mother, whom Jesus healed lived in the same house.

In those times a small courtyard was the center of the house, with a single doorway leading to the outside, the street. Jesus and the disciples would have stepped on the very front step, and may have healed people from that step or courtyard.

For one, I would expect to be reminded of the extreme poverty, simplicity and humility of Jesus and his disciples and my thought today will be of renewed humility and a desire for simplicity in a time of American empire, greed and consumption.

One advantage or effect of daily Bible reading is that certain phrases cross my mind daily.

I woke in the night last night, about 2:30 am, and Psalm 42 came to my mind, as I tried to resume sleeping. The Psalm says that the reader’s souls longs for God, like a deer thirsts for water. The thought came to me that for a deer and for humans and other animals, and for all living things water is the main part of the physical makeup. To thirst for God  like this is to thirst with my whole being and I think it means to to desire for my soul to be replenished with God, like water replenishes every cell of a deer, and of me.

When praying or singing this Psalm, try to envision, or to realize, that God is like water to our thirsty, confused souls.

Peace,

Bill

Capernaum

 

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