You may have noticed, but I’m not keen on Paul. Yes, he’s in the Bible, while Thomas (whom I appreciate) was omitted, so maybe I’m carrying a grudge.
In our Bible selection from Hebrews 12:7-13. I grew up in a time when discipline was physical, threatening and intimidating and it would take some explaining on my part to explain to people that our God might also disciplining us by force and fear.
This is not the way of American culture right now perhaps, and for fear of offending everyone in some way, we tend to forget to discipline our children, or don’t really know how to do so effectively. Fear doesn’t work, since eventually we hope all will grow to become teenagers, and teenagers are almost never afraid of anything, including their father and mother.
So, it has to be a discipline based on respect. Maybe that’s what Paul is saying; we may have difficulty understanding the culture relating to families and children in 1st Century Mediterranean homes. But respect in children often reblooms when they turn 40 or so and maybe not before, so how are we now able to discipline and be disciplined by God.
Now, many of us expect to be disciplined by being spoken to in a peaceable tone, and allowed to sit down and discuss the situation completely. If we are to be disciplined, and that may be the case often with me, maybe we need to ask God to sit down with us, and share a cup of coffee or iced tea. We can talk this over, God.
But I’m not going to explain Paul away (sometimes his insight is so amazing, I have to keep listening to his words). But what are we to do when a human being, like Paul, speaks to us from a culture we left far behind, or never really understood? What about when Paul seems to talk down to women and to the elderly? Sometimes Paul even talks bad about Jews, and he was one!
Maybe we can pray for understanding, and read again the words of Jesus.
Pray for peace
Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).
Pray with us!
We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.
Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
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1Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
2The Lord protects them and keeps them alive; they are called happy in the land. You do not give them up to the will of their enemies.
3The Lord sustains them on their sickbed; in their illness you heal all their infirmities.
4As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
5My enemies wonder in malice when I will die, and my name perish.
6And when they come to see me, they utter empty words, while their hearts gather mischief; when they go out, they tell it abroad.
7All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
8They think that a deadly thing has fastened on me, that I will not rise again from where I lie.
9Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me.
10But you, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.
11By this I know that you are pleased with me; because my enemy has not triumphed over me.
12But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
13Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.
38In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.” 2Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord: 3“Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5“Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city. 7“This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: 8See, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.” So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.
7Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? 8If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. 9Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. 11Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
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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