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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/
1 Samuel 15:10-21
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.”
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.