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Taking Interest In The Book 070912
Part of the tradition that Christians share with the Jewish religion is that we could be called ‘people of the Book’, although the exact content of the Book differs considerably.
It is a Jewish tradition to be well versed in the literature, thought and culture of the Bible, and the many intellectual and spiritual thoughts that come from the Bible or are related to the Bible. This tradition continues in Western Christianity and churches include Sunday School, Bible Study groups, etc and almost every sermon includes an educational component.
The past few days I happened upon a series of short essays by author Jane Williams, accessed online at guardian.co.uk The series, about the book of Acts of the Apostles notes in the particular section of Acts we’re reading today, that Luke (who is presumed to have written it) has become a participant in the action of the story. Earlier, when Luke described what happened to Jesus and the apostles he always says ‘they’ or lists who is present, but now Luke says ‘we’. In the Book of Luke, and earlier in the Book of Acts, Luke is relating what he was told from other witnesses including perhaps the remaining apostles and early disciples still alive who had witnessed Jesus, or had been converted by someone who had witnessed Jesus in his ministry.
What is clear throughout Acts however, is that God is directing what happens. A more unlikable, disagreeable and at odds group of disciples couldn’t be found perhaps. It is as if the early church was guided in a direction that the apostles could not devise on their own; the Holy Spirit was guiding them. The early church was able to reach from the horrible and common death of a criminal in Jerusalem, and from a group of peasants in a small, backwater colony, to Rome itself and beyond in 30 years. The apostles alone couldn’t do this.
Encourage one another in your Bible reading and study, and 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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1Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed,
2O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come.
3When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us, you forgive our transgressions.
4Happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.
5By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.
6By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might.
7You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.
8Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
9You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it.
10You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth.
11You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy,
13the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.
14Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. 15Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water; stand by at the river bank to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was turned into a snake. 16Say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you to say, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness.” But until now you have not listened.’ 17Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord.” See, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall be turned to blood. 18The fish in the river shall die, the river itself shall stink, and the Egyptians shall be unable to drink water from the Nile.’“ 19The Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over its rivers, its canals, and its ponds, and all its pools of water—so that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’“ 20Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and of his officials he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the river, and all the water in the river was turned into blood, 21and the fish in the river died. The river stank so that the Egyptians could not drink its water, and there was blood throughout the whole land of Egypt. 22But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts; so Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them; as the Lord had said. 23Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24And all the Egyptians had to dig along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the river.
13When a moderate south wind began to blow, they thought they could achieve their purpose; so they weighed anchor and began to sail past Crete, close to the shore. 14But soon a violent wind, called the northeaster, rushed down from Crete. 15Since the ship was caught and could not be turned head-on into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven. 16By running under the lee of a small island called Cauda we were scarcely able to get the ship’s boat under control. 17After hoisting it up they took measures to undergird the ship; then, fearing that they would run on the Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and so were driven. 18We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard, 19and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard. 20When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.
21Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss. 22I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23For last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.’ 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26But we will have to run aground on some island.” 27When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. 28So they took soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they took soundings again and found fifteen fathoms. 29Fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. 30But when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of putting out anchors from the bow, 31Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and set it adrift. 33Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing. 34Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads.” 35After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. 36Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves. 37(We were in all two hundred seventy-six persons in the ship.) 38After they had satisfied their hunger, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.
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.