Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Dr. Martin Luther King giving his "I Have...

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Martin Luther King, Jr

 

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Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net (under construction)

 

Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.

Psalm 40:6-17

Exodus 12:1-13, 21-28

Acts 8:26-40

 

Psalm 40:6-17

Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.*
Burnt-offering and sin-offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.*
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.’
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
11 Do not, O Lord, withhold
your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
keep me safe for ever.
12 For evils have encompassed me
without number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails me.
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
14 Let all those be put to shame and confusion
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonour
who desire my hurt.
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, ‘Aha, Aha!’
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God.

Exodus 12:1-13, 21-28

The First Passover Instituted

12The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbour in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. 12For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord. 13The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go, select lambs for your families, and slaughter the passover lamb. 22Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood in the basin. None of you shall go outside the door of your house until morning. 23For the Lord will pass through to strike down the Egyptians; when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over that door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you down. 24You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children. 25When you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this observance. 26And when your children ask you, “What do you mean by this observance?” 27you shall say, “It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians but spared our houses.” ’ And the people bowed down and worshipped.

28 The Israelites went and did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.

Acts 8:26-40

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south* to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ 31He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.’
34The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’* 38He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip* baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday observance. (Jan. 15 is the actual date)

In the early morning I went outside all bundled up, and fed and watered the livestock. Freezing rain had covered the ground and everything. I was listening to the radio in my pickup as I worked, because a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. was being broadcast.

In that speech, his speech of April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City:

“When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

This speech, one year exactly before his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr was speaking to a meeting of ‘concerned’ laity and clergy. It marked the low point of his popularity, because it spoke against American involvement in Viet Nan.

What would Martin Luther King, Jr say about the first and the second wars in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan? I noticed a news story somewhere that if he were alive, Martin Luther King, Jr would understand and approve the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. http://gawker.com/5734026/pentagon-martin-luther-king-jr-wouldve-supported-our-wars  I don’t understand how this conclusion could be reached, or be more mistaken.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a minister of God and Jesus Christ. To say that he would support one country’s wars against others, or to claim that Jesus would is equally offensive yet many Christians, maybe _most_ Christians support America in recent wars. But I believe that Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr would not support any war by anyone against anyone, or support the ‘racism, extreme materialism, and militarism…’.

Today, Martin Luther King, Jr day reminds me of him, solemnly, but also of Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy. Each of these luminaries have spoken eloquently, with conviction and love of the people we should be. In mid-winter dark read the following for inspiration and go forth:

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/058.html Martin’s speech about Viet Nam

http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil.html Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience

http://zenhabits.net/mahatma-gandhis-5-teachings-to-bring-about-world-peace/

http://quotations.about.com/od/gandhiquotes/tp/10_gandhi_quote.htm

(two URLs about Gandhi)

http://archive.peacemagazine.org/v11n5p24.htm

http://www.cambriapress.com/cambriapress.cfm?template=4&bid=334

(two URLs about Tolstoy—the last one is book review)

Do any of these writings lead you to believe that Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr, Gandhi, Thoreau or Tolstoy would somehow approve of militarism in the world today?

 

I hope they inspire you this dark mid-winter day. I hope they inspire you to pray to God that we can renew our efforts for love to be the guiding principle of life on this earth.

 

Go in Peace, brothers and sisters.

(brother) Bill

 

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