Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Enlightenment

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This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.

 

Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

M28    Psalm 104

Deuteronomy 32:1-14

Hebrews 10:32-39

 

Psalm 104

1Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty,

2wrapped in light as with a garment. You stretch out the heavens like a tent,

3you set the beams of your chambers on the waters, you make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind,

4you make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers.

5You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken.

6You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.

7At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.

8They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them.

9You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.

10You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills,

11giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst.

12By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches.

13From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

14You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth,

15and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.

16The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

17In them the birds build their nests; the stork has its home in the fir trees.

18The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.

19You have made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.

20You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.

21The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God.

22When the sun rises, they withdraw and lie down in their dens.

23People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening.

24O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

25Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.

26There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

27These all look to you to give them their food in due season;

28when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

29When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

30When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.

31May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—

32who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.

33I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

34May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.

35Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!

Deuteronomy 32:1-14

32Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; let the earth hear the words of my mouth. 2May my teaching drop like the rain, my speech condense like the dew; like gentle rain on grass, like showers on new growth. 3For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! 4The Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is he; 5yet his degenerate children have dealt falsely with him, a perverse and crooked generation. 6Do you thus repay the Lord, O foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?

7Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you. 8When the Most High apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods; 9the Lord’s own portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share. 10He sustained him in a desert land, in a howling wilderness waste; he shielded him, cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye. 11As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, 12the Lord alone guided him; no foreign god was with him. 13He set him atop the heights of the land, and fed him with produce of the field; he nursed him with honey from the crags, with oil from flinty rock; 14curds from the herd, and milk from the flock, with fat of lambs and rams; Bashan bulls and goats, together with the choicest wheat— you drank fine wine from the blood of grapes.

Hebrews 10:32-39

32But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. 35Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. 36For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 37For yet “in a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay; 38but my righteous one will live by faith. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.” 39But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 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.

 

Enlightenment 022811

 

In today’s scripture, Hebrews uses the word ‘enlightenment’ and it is somewhat unexpected. Enlightenment is not a concept we hear often within the Jued-Christian traditions; it is more likely heard in Buddhism, and it is heard so often that we assumed it was a word reserved by them alone.

 

But here it is! Enlightenment. The scripture verses talk about enlightenment as if it were a given beginning to a disciple’s life, and it might be good to think in those terms. When we become disciples of Christ, it is a sudden enlightenment, a sudden and amazing revelation that the universe comes from God, remains God, and returns to God. Becoming a disciple relies on this enlightenment and upon the disciple’s first step of faith into a new universe.

 

Don’t we as Christians see the world differently than non-Christians? Do we see and work for the Kingdom of God, that began with Jesus Christ?

 

Pray today for the safety of workers, rebels, revolutionaries and Christians as civic affairs in the Middle East, and across America begin to review and re-write their relationship to the state. In the midst of all this chaos may everyone recall their relationship to God, and recall their enlightenment.

 

Peace,

 

(brother) Bill

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