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A Mist That Appears 010412
I was going to title this blog entry as ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ or something like that. The scripture selections are from the wisdom tradition, that is, scriptures that are a collection of wisdom sayings that have been memorized and passed down as a collection. James may be the exception to this, as being written by James, the brother of Jesus, but some say each verse of the book of James is traceable to older Jewish texts.
Regardless of what these scriptures are, each line or verse could be a New Year’s resolution. But last evening, as I wrote this, the wind settled and it seemed warmer outside, so I went outside and looked up at the clear winter starry sky. This verse from James has since stuck with me, and made any possible resolution I could make as too self-centered and personal to be of any use, especially compared to an infinity of stars. From James 4 “14Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
NOTE: Our church has started a 3X daily prayer using the Book of Common Prayer—a liturgy for Ordinary Radicals assembled by Shane Claibourne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and others. It is available online and on Facebook also. Pray with us, three times a day.
Pray for peace,
1The Lord says to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
2The Lord sends out from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes.
3Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day you lead your forces on the holy mountains. From the womb of the morning, like dew, your youth will come to you.
4The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
5The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
6He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter heads over the wide earth.
7He will drink from the stream by the path; therefore he will lift up his head.
3My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments;
2for length of days and years of life
and abundant welfare they will give you. 3Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4So you will find favor and good repute
in the sight of God and of people. 5Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body. 9Honor the Lord with your substance
and with the first fruits of all your produce;
10then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12for the Lord reproves the one he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
11Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor? 13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” 14Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
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.