Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

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Hardness of Heart 021611

This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.

 

 

Psalm 119:9-16

Proverbs 2:1-15

Matthew 19:1-12

 

Psalm 119:9-16

 

9 How can young people keep their way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
do not let me stray from your commandments.
11 I treasure your word in my heart,
so that I may not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes.
13 With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
14 I delight in the way of your decrees
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts,
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

Proverbs 2:1-15

The Value of Wisdom

2My child, if you accept my words
and treasure up my commandments within you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 if you indeed cry out for insight,
and raise your voice for understanding;
4 if you seek it like silver,
and search for it as for hidden treasures—
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and preserving the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 prudence will watch over you;
and understanding will guard you.
12 It will save you from the way of evil,
from those who speak perversely,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil;
15 those whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.

Matthew 19:1-12

Teaching about Divorce

19When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2Large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.

3 Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?’ 4He answered, ‘Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”, 5and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? 6So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ 7They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?’ 8He said to them, ‘It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.’*

10 His disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’ 11But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. 12For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’

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.

Hardness of Heart 021611

I am not completely certain I know what Matthew means when it quotes Jesus as calling those who divorce their wives as ‘hard-hearted’. I think it means that men become unforgiving and resentful, angry and  lonely, and it leads to divorce.

 

Although I have this simplistic idea of hard-heartedness, I know that I do not understand the laws of divorce in 1st century Galilee. I have read that only men could divorce wives and not the reverse, reflecting the idea that women were property, to be disposed of as desired.

 

I’m also very unsure what Matthew 9:11-12 is discussing when Jesus talks about eunuchs at birth, etc.  There are many, many commentaries on these verses, which seem to think that these verses either approve of or disapprove of various sexual preferences, but I’m also not sure of that.

 

What I do think is that Jesus is right in calling us hard-hearted, in general. And I pray today that we seek and find all our reasons for being hard-hearted and deal with them. We continue to be hard-hearted. We turn a blind eye to the poor, the oppressed and the sick. We dot, I fear, live our lives as oppressed people so we can understand oppression.

 

Peace,

 

(brother) Bill

 

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