Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Staying Close to God 092811

Mount Sinai

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Exodus 19:9b-25

Psalm 42

Matthew 9:2-8

 

Staying Close to God 092811

 

The message in this reading is so simple, but it is something that I think is hard for people to do, especially in our world today.  It is so easy for me (and I’m sure others as well) to get caught up in what the dominant culture is doing.  One of the lines that stuck out to me in this reading was that “you shall not allege the example of the many as an excuse for doing wrong.”  What a powerful statement!  I often find it more difficult to stand up for what is right when so many are making choices that I view as wrong.  I am reminded when I read this scripture of how important it is to “be my own person.”

 

I am also reminded when I read this scripture of how difficult it is to truly “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  We live in a society where revenge and “payback” is an accepted practice.  There are many examples of how we allow this to happen, but the easiest to point out is war.  This scripture clearly states that we should treat our enemies with respect, helping them when they are in need.  As I read this scripture, I can’t help but wonder, how awesome would it be if everyone really listened to this message?

 

Claire

 

Exodus 19:9b-25

9Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after.” When Moses had told the words of the people to the Lord, 10the Lord said to Moses: “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11and prepare for the third day, because on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12You shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Be careful not to go up the mountain or to touch the edge of it. Any who touch the mountain shall be put to death. 13No hand shall touch them, but they shall be stoned or shot with arrows; whether animal or human being, they shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they may go up on the mountain.” 14So Moses went down from the mountain to the people. He consecrated the people, and they washed their clothes. 15And he said to the people, “Prepare for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God. They took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended upon it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently. 19As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder. 20When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people not to break through to the Lord to look; otherwise many of them will perish. 22Even the priests who approach the Lord must consecrate themselves or the Lord will break out against them.” 23Moses said to the Lord, “The people are not permitted to come up to Mount Sinai; for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and keep it holy.’“ 24The Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you; but do not let either the priests or the people break through to come up to the Lord; otherwise he will break out against them.” 25So Moses went down to the people and told them.

Psalm 42

1As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.

2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?

3My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

4These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.

5Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help

6and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

7Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts; all your waves and your billows have gone over me.

8By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

9I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?”

10As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

11Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Matthew 9:2-8

2And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he then said to the paralytic—’stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” 7And he stood up and went to his home. 8When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.

 

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.

 

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