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Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO
Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.
Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
Psalm 31:1-5, 19-24
1In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me.
2Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.
3You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
4take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
5Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
19O how abundant is your goodness that you have laid up for those who fear you, and accomplished for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of everyone!
20In the shelter of your presence you hide them from human plots; you hold them safe under your shelter from contentious tongues.
21Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as a city under siege.
22I had said in my alarm, “I am driven far from your sight.” But you heard my supplications when I cried out to you for help.
23Love the Lord, all you his saints. The Lord preserves the faithful, but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily.
24Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.
24Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. 2Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.” 3Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” 4And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. 6Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. 7Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 8Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, “See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
17But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God 18and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, 19and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, 21you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 25Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. 29Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.
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.
The Deal 030311
Each of today’s verses are about the covenant, or the agreement people make with their God.
Often people try to bargain with God for a certain favor or gift, and agree to become loyal Christians (or some other religious tradition) in exchange for something specific from God. I don’t think people try to bargain for more money, or more possessions or for evil to befall some enemy. Maybe I trust too much, but it seems to me people may try to bargain for peace, or health of a loved one, or for life in the face of death.
We believe that God does listen and does respond to each of our pleas, but I tend to doubt if we can sway God with specific offered bargains. Instead it’s an unusual bargaining process—God grants grace, with no expectation of a quid pro quo. What God gives is without an expectation that we will or won’t do something in return. What God gives is the grace of God’s love, the gift of life, and the gift to us of an ability to love others.
Before we ask for anything else, try just living in a state of grace with God, and see what happens next! Your prayers will change and what you request will change.
Pray for the peace and the love of God and Jesus to be shared with the universe.