Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Archive for March, 2011

No Religious Content 033111

Jesus with children, early 1900s Bible illustr...

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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/

 

 

Psalm 23

1 Samuel 15:10-21

Ephesians 4:25-32

Psalm 23

1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

2He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;

3he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

1 Samuel 15:10-21

10The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11“I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me, and has not carried out my commands.” Samuel was angry; and he cried out to the Lord all night. 12Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, and Samuel was told, “Saul went to Carmel, where he set up a monument for himself, and on returning he passed on down to Gilgal.” 13When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said to him, “May you be blessed by the Lord; I have carried out the command of the Lord.” 14But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of cattle that I hear?” 15Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the cattle, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” He replied, “Speak.” 17Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18And the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21But from the spoil the people took sheep and cattle, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”

Ephesians 4:25-32

25So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not make room for the devil. 28Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

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.

No Religious Content 033111

I’ve read and re-read the selection from Ephesians for today, and it could be taken and read as if it had no religious content, as only another set of rules, endless rules that we are to follow.

 

Personally, I’ve never been much of a rule follower; I buck and resist the reins of rules like a young, wild horse and I am neither young nor wild, anymore.

 

This is a time on earth, in America, when ‘no religious content’ is heard as a good quality for a work to possess. Very few people want to make a new commitment to church, or to churchiness, and lists of rules, like those from Ephesians, tend to remind many of churchiness, negatively.

 

But the church and Jesus and the Bible are really about spirituality, not religion, and the list of rules from Paul make no sense as rules when you consider them in the context of Jesus. The ‘rules’ are part of the spiritual path of Jesus, who says, through Paul here, that how we live, as the community of Christ _is_ our spiritual path.

 

This turns on its head the spiritual practice of most spiritual traditions of the world. Spirituality, this says, is not about extreme and extended prayer, or extreme fasting or extreme isolation and quietude. Instead, spirituality is about how we live together in our families, our neighborhoods and our nations and our world.

 

We will begin to know Christ, and this spiritual path when we love Jesus and God and seek to live in the Kingdom of God, together.

 

peace

(brother) Bill

 

 

 

 

Knowing God, Not Knowing God 033011

Jesus mosaic, Temple of Hagios Demetrios

Image by jakebouma via Flickr

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/

 

 

Psalm 81

Jeremiah 2:4-13

John 7:14-31, 37-39

 

Psalm 81

1Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

2Raise a song, sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.

3Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our festal day.

4For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

5He made it a decree in Joseph, when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a voice I had not known:

6“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.

7In distress you called, and I rescued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

8Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

9There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.

10I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

11“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.

12So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.

13O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!

14Then I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes.

15Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their doom would last forever.

16I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Jeremiah 2:4-13

4Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5Thus says the Lord: What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves? 6They did not say, “Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that no one passes through, where no one lives?” 7I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. 8The priests did not say, “Where is the Lord?” Those who handle the law did not know me; the rulers transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after things that do not profit.

9Therefore once more I accuse you, says the Lord, and I accuse your children’s children. 10Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has ever been such a thing. 11Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for something that does not profit. 12Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord, 13for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.

John 7:14-31, 37-39

14About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. 15The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?” 16Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. 17Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him. 19“Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?” 20The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?” 21Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. 22Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. 23If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? 24Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” 25Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? 26And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? 27Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” 28Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. 29I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” 30Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, “When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

37On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

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.

Knowing God, Not Knowing God 033011

 

Each of today’s scriptures has something to do with knowing God, then not knowing God. It is something we humans do apparently, and often, and the Bible, being a collection of humankinds relationship(s) to God has many such stories.

 

It seems so difficult to know God, and yet so easy to drift away; we drift away weekly, and hopefully on the Lord’s Day, realize it and try to come back, like the prodigal son, to see if there is still a place for us in our Father’s house.

 

There is.

 

Pray for us, pray for one another this day. Spend the day in prayer, and realize that our real lives begin when we begin to know God. Pray.

 

Peace.

(brother) Bill

Begging for Forgiveness 032911

The wrestle of Jacob, in an original high-reso...

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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/

 

 

Psalm 81

1Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

2Raise a song, sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.

3Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our festal day.

4For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

5He made it a decree in Joseph, when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a voice I had not known:

6“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.

7In distress you called, and I rescued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

8Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

9There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.

10I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

11“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.

12So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.

13O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!

14Then I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes.

15Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their doom would last forever.

16I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Genesis 29:1-14

29Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the people of the east. 2As he looked, he saw a well in the field and three flocks of sheep lying there beside it; for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, 3and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well, and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place on the mouth of the well. 4Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.” 5He said to them, “Do you know Laban son of Nahor?” They said, “We do.” 6He said to them, “Is it well with him?” “Yes,” they replied, “and here is his daughter Rachel, coming with the sheep.” 7He said, “Look, it is still broad daylight; it is not time for the animals to be gathered together. Water the sheep, and go, pasture them.” 8But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

9While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them. 10Now when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, and the sheep of his mother’s brother Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of his mother’s brother Laban. 11Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and wept aloud. 12And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son; and she ran and told her father. 13When Laban heard the news about his sister’s son Jacob, he ran to meet him; he embraced him and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, 14and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him a month.

1 Corinthians 10:1-4

10I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.

 

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.

Begging for Forgiveness 032911

 

As I was praying this morning and then preparing this blog, I heard a news report that a national magazine had apologized to Afghanistan for publishing photos of American soldiers displaying the corpses of Afghanistni civilians they had killed. Displaying them hunting trophies.

 

We need to ask God for forgiveness. We all need to be forgiven for placing young Americans at such stress that an act like this is possible, and apologize for the killing of civilians. We Americans see ourselves as peacemakers and although we may doubt the wisdom of peacemaking with guns in hand, many young people believe they are doing what they can to secure peace. What has gone wrong?

 

Pray we can be forgiven, and find our way back to what we hope we could become, in Christ’s name.

 

Peace,

 

(brother) Bill

 

 

I Owe the Lord a Morning Song 032811

Anglicans Sing Familiar Hymns

Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

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/

 

Psalm 81

Genesis 24:1-27

2 John 1-13

 

 

Psalm 81

1Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

2Raise a song, sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.

3Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our festal day.

4For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

5He made it a decree in Joseph, when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a voice I had not known:

6“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.

7In distress you called, and I rescued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

8Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

9There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.

10I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

11“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.

12So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.

13O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!

14Then I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes.

15Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their doom would last forever.

16I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Genesis 24:1-27

24Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh 3and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, 4but will go to my country and to my kindred and get a wife for my son Isaac.” 5The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land; must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” 6Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. 7The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” 9So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.

10Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, taking all kinds of choice gifts from his master; and he set out and went to Aram-naharaim, to the city of Nahor. 11He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water; it was toward evening, the time when women go out to draw water. 12And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. 13I am standing here by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14Let the girl to whom I shall say, ‘Please offer your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’ —let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.” 15Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, coming out with her water jar on her shoulder. 16The girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. 17Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me sip a little water from your jar.” 18“Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. 19When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” 20So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. 21The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful. 22When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, 23and said, “Tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?” 24She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25She added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder and a place to spend the night.” 26The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord 27and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the way to the house of my master’s kin.”

2 John 1-13

1The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, 2because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 3Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 4I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father.

5But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. 6And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it.

7Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! 8Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. 9Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

10Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; 11for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.

12Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13The children of your elect sister send you their greetings.

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.

 

 

I Owe the Lord a Morning Song 032811

 

A friend once told me that his clearest and warmest memories of his mother was the memory of waking to the sound of her voice singing this old hymn.

 

What is your morning song? What will your children remember as your morning song?

 

What is your favorite hymn? Your mother’s favorite hymn?

 

Pray that we all can start our days by singing a hymn to the Lord. and reading aloud a Psalm or two. People ask why they should do this, and in a quid pro quo world, where everything we do cause us to expect an immediate reward, the result—the payback—is that your love for God, your love for your family and friends will begin with first daylight and continue through the day. A day with God is different than a day alone.

 

Go in peace, brothers and sisters.

 

Peace.

(brother) Bill

Today’s Manna 032611

Moses telling the Israelites to gather the man...

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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/

 

 

Psalm 95

Exodus 16:27-35

John 4:1-6

 

 

Psalm 95

1O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

2Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

3For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

4In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.

5The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

6O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

7For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!

8Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,

9when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.

10For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways.”

11Therefore in my anger I swore, “They shall not enter my rest.”

Exodus 16:27-35

27On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they found none. 28The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions? 29See! The Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you food for two days; each of you stay where you are; do not leave your place on the seventh day.” 30So the people rested on the seventh day. 31The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

32Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, in order that they may see the food with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’“ 33And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord, to be kept throughout your generations.” 34As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the covenant, for safekeeping. 35The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land; they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

John 4:1-6

4Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” 2—although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— 3he left Judea and started back to Galilee.

4But he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

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.

 

Today’s Manna 032611

The story of the manna raining down upon the people of Israel, as they wandered in the desert for 40 years is maybe history and maybe myth. Either way, it is wonderful and true.

 

How many people have wandered for 40 years, or more, yet still received a daily portion of God’s grace, either by food or by spirit.

 

If we establish a relationship with Jesus, then our daily manna is he. Every day our spirit gets what it needs that day to live and flourish. We cannot store this spiritual manna. We need the grace of God day by day for our daily portion.

 

If this is myth, then we are being taught clearly that we have to trust God. A savings account or storehouse of manna is not possible and we have to trsut that God will be with us every new day. Every day, fresh manna!

 

Let us pray for our manna today, both as food and as spiritual food. As the world grows more and more into a violent daily struggle for food and fuel, may we renew our commitment to depend only on God each day anew.

 

(brother) Bill

Simple Living 032411

Amish couple shopping in Aylmer, Ontario, Canada

Image via Wikipedia

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/

 

Psalm 95

Exodus 16:1-8

Colossians 1:15-23

 

 

Psalm 95

1O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

2Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

3For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

4In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.

5The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

6O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

7For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!

8Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,

9when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.

10For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways.”

11Therefore in my anger I swore, “They shall not enter my rest.”

Exodus 16:1-8

16The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 4Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” 6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 8And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but” against the Lord.

Colossians 1:15-23

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. 21And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— 23provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

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.

 

Simple Living 032411

Today begins the 3rd Week of Lent, as far as the lectionary scriptures are scheduled. From Thursday through Saturday the scriptures prepare us for the scripture of the following week, and Monday through Wednesday each week the scriptures expand on the prior Sunday’s theme.

Lent is ‘celebrated’ as a time of repentance, of seeking forgiveness, and re-commitment to Jesus by his disciples. It is completely church-made, and not mentioned in the Bible, but has been used by the church, ‘us’ church, to prepare us all for the renewal of Easter. and the renewal of our faith.

Because our faith and spiritual practice seeks a simple life, and simple living as a spiritual practice, let us ask ourselves again today, what more can we do to simplify our lives and live more simply. Living in yet more and more thrifty ways, and consuming less is always a good start. Eating less food in quantity, and eating less expensive food is often more healthy for us, and we hope leaves us with greater opportunities to help the poor, as Jesus commanded.

Cutting back on consumption and consumption expenses sometimes feels like unjust deprivation. When this happens, recall  Psalm 95 which tells us  ‘8Do not harden your hearts…’ and the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 21: ’ 21And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,…’.

Pray to remain at peace, even in the midst of difficulty, and stay reconciled to God. We all face trouble and trials from time to time, but remember that our biggest trouble is the trouble we bring upon ourselves because of our brokenness with God.

Peace

(brother) Bill

 

Judging the Other 032311

Christ and the Woman taken in adultery

Image via Wikipedia

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/

 

Psalm 128

Ezekiel 36:22-32

John 7:53—8:11

Psalm 128

1Happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways.

2You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

3Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

4Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.

5The Lord bless you from Zion. May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.

6May you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!

Ezekiel 36:22-32

22Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when through you I display my holiness before their eyes. 24I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land.

25I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. 28Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29I will save you from all your uncleannesses, and I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30I will make the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field abundant, so that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31Then you shall remember your evil ways, and your dealings that were not good; and you shall loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominable deeds. 32It is not for your sake that I will act, says the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and dismayed for your ways, O house of Israel.

John 7:53—8:11

53Then each of them went home,

8while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

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.

Judging the Other 032311

 

Really knowing the other is something one suspects many never fully come to in life. Even accepting that the ‘other’ is real on their own terms and in their own self-justified reality, a reality much like our own is something few ever attain.

 

Yet again Jesus calls us to the darn near impossible, by asking that we not throw stones unless we are willing to be hit with stones ourselves (a considerable paraphrase on my part, I fear).

 

Today’s verse also makes me wonder, what did Jesus write on the dust of the ground as he was contemplating the crowd waiting to kill a woman by stoning. We are often told that Jesus probably vould not read or write because he was a peasant of the lowest class, the worker class. Yet he the Bible tells us he wrote on the ground.

 

Perhaps he was writing ‘Don’t throw stones, those who live in glass houses.’

 

Peace,

 

(brother) Bill

 

 

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