Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also:
This week’s guest blogger is Janet Trevino-Elizarraz
I feel conflicted when I consider how God preserves people and animals. It’s really relative in our eyes whom God chooses to keep under God’s care… to some God allows for them to perish and cease to exist and to others God’s witnesses share to us the wonders of God’s faithfulness and provision as if it were normative for all human and animal-kind alike. So when I read, “O Lord, You preserve man and beast,” I read that with skepticism. In what ways can I quantify preservation? Is it simply getting along while still having a pulse, breath, and the occasional fuel-source to survive? Is that enough?
Or how about the story that I can’t avoid and lament while living in San Antonio, TX when I consider the native people that lived here before the Europeans settled whom faced the dreadful decision to choose their existence and culture how they knew it and in effect, die by disease or sword or to choose a way that was foreign to who there were and live divorced of their history and source entirely. To them whom I consider are my ancestors, I would say… God preserved you, but the quality of that preservation feels damning to me at the same time.
I consider what the Egyptians experienced with each year that they lost something that was tangible to their existence. First, their monetary funds… then, their animals… following, their lands – being moved to a new land across Egypt and finally, theirselves. That was all they had, they gave it all & yet the biblical author tells us in no uncertain terms that they rejoiced.
The only explanations that I can come up with when I consider the author’s reflection of their emotions is either the need of the Hebrew audience to hear the positive Egyptian response of Joseph’s actions on their nation or it could be that even though it’s foreign to the story I carry of my ancestral first people, it could simply be because the people were honored to be near and cared for my such an honorable and admirable man, Joseph. They were blessed by this relationship.
I don’t tend to hear the expression of appreciation from the native story-tellers when they speak of the day they surrender to the care of the Spanish priests that converted them and organized them because those voices are no longer present here amidst the landmarks of the San Antonio missions that symbolize the European enculturalization. It’s the mestizos like myself that carry both European and Indian blood that share the story of our unity as well as our struggle to survive.
And yet when we hear the story of the disciples concerned over a meal paired with the desperation of the Egyptians, we can’t help but wrinkle our foreheads a bit. This is not their life nor their livelihood at stake here… with a simple meal, they forget the one who has sustained them within each moment of the day. What is a meal, Jesus says? Why do you go back to being concerned about what means nothing, what I’ve already shown you to be of little consequence?
And us… it’s easy to criticize the disciples and see their short-mindedness in the midst of being with the miracle-worker, Jesus, but how have we completely disconnected ourselves from the struggle to survive. Is it even possible to understand in a developed country where as a community, hunger is foreign to us. What does preservation even look like here? I’m afraid to say that we suffer from a hunger as physically real as the Egyptians, but we equally are as blinded as the disciples were. We hold both of these devastating circumstances, and we don’t even know it. (I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how. 😉
About Our Guest Blogger This Week, Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz
If she’s not mediating the fights of her four children 7 and under or washing dishes constantly most of the day, Janet spends her time envisioning, organizing, and calling her local “tribe” into more deeply connecting themselves to their inward self, to the Earth, and to the invisible, powerful Presence that surrounds us.
Prayer List: 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).
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Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
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1Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in their hearts; there is no fear of God before their eyes.
2For they flatter themselves in their own eyes that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and do good.
4They plot mischief while on their beds; they are set on a way that is not good; they do not reject evil.
5Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
6Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
7How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
10O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart!
11Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me, or the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12There the evildoers lie prostrate; they are thrust down, unable to rise.
13Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14Joseph collected all the money to be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15When the money from the land of Egypt and from the land of Canaan was spent, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, “Give us food! Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” 16And Joseph answered, “Give me your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph; and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. That year he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock. 18When that year was ended, they came to him the following year, and said to him, “We can not hide from my lord that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. 19Shall we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. We with our land will become slaves to Pharaoh; just give us seed, so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.” 20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. All the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe upon them; and the land became Pharaoh’s. 21As for the people, he made slaves of them from one end of Egypt to the other. 22Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh, and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land. 23Then Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you; sow the land. 24And at the harvests you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.” 25They said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be slaves to Pharaoh.” 26So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth. The land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh’s.
14Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” 16They said to one another, “It is because we have no bread.” 17And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20“And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21Then he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
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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