Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Jeremiah’s Zen 011111

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Jeremiah’s Zen

 

This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net (under construction)

 

Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.

 

Psalm 89:5-37

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
7 a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome* above all that are around him?
8 O Lord God of hosts,
who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
12 The north and the south*—you created them;
Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
13 You have a mighty arm;
strong is your hand, high your right hand.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
16 they exult in your name all day long,
and extol* your righteousness.
17 For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favour our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the Lord,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said:
‘I have set the crown* on one who is mighty,
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20 I have found my servant David;
with my holy oil I have anointed him;
21 my hand shall always remain with him;
my arm also shall strengthen him.
22 The enemy shall not outwit him,
the wicked shall not humble him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.
24 My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;
and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
25 I will set his hand on the sea
and his right hand on the rivers.
26 He shall cry to me, “You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation!”
27 I will make him the firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.
28 For-ever I will keep my steadfast love for him,
and my covenant with him will stand firm.
29 I will establish his line for ever,
and his throne as long as the heavens endure.
30 If his children forsake my law
and do not walk according to my ordinances,
31 if they violate my statutes
and do not keep my commandments,
32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod
and their iniquity with scourges;
33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,
or be false to my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant,
or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
35 Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;
I will not lie to David.
36 His line shall continue for ever,
and his throne endure before me like the sun.
37 It shall be established for ever like the moon,
an enduring witness in the skies.’
Selah

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

4 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
5 ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’
6Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.’ 7But the Lord said to me,
‘Do not say, “I am only a boy”;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,

says the Lord.’
9Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
‘Now I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.’

Acts 8:4-13

Philip Preaches in Samaria

4 Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. 5Philip went down to the city* of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah* to them. 6The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, 7for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralysed or lame were cured. 8So there was great joy in that city.

9 Now a certain man named Simon had previously practised magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he was someone great. 10All of them, from the least to the greatest, listened to him eagerly, saying, ‘This man is the power of God that is called Great.’ 11And they listened eagerly to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Even Simon himself believed. After being baptized, he stayed constantly with Philip and was amazed when he saw the signs and great miracles that took place.

The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Jeremiah’s Zen

 

I recall from reading and trying to practice Zen Buddhism years ago the koan, the mystery question ‘What was your face like before your parents were born?’. As a Zen koan the question does not have a reasonable answer and is meant to drive one beyond the rational mind to a superlative meditative state (I think). The story of why and how I was meditating as a Zen monk is a long story. Perhaps someday sitting around the wood heater I can tell the whole story.

 

But for today, when I read Jeremiah I am reminded of the feeling I had when trying to answer the koan. God says to Jeremiah ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you’.

 

When I read Jeremiah, and realize that God is beyond all my expectations, all my thoughts and concepts, beyond all my poetry and songs; beyond my rational mind’s ability to comprehend.

 

I will probably walk through this day in awe. I need to go out and walk around the farm in the deep new snow. I will do so in complete awe of a God who covers the woods with billions and trillions of unique snowflakes.

 

The blog today and hereafter comes to you from Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO. ….a simple church….

Go in peace, brothers and sisters.

(brother) Bill

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