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Swine Laine

Swine Laine (Photo credit: AndyWilson)

Swine, and the Fiscal Cliff 010113



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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. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/



Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%203:1-13&version=MSG

Psalm 8 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%208&version=MSG

Revelation 21:1-6ahttp://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2021:1-6a&version=MSG

Matthew 25:31-46 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2025:31-46&version=MSG


Swine, and the Fiscal Cliff 010113


Happy new year to each of you and yours. Our Bible verses for today are perfect verses with which to begin the new year.


But, for a moment I’ll speak of current, petty affairs.


In the New Testament, at Matthew 8:31 the story is told of Jesus driving demons into a herd of swine. The herd of swine then charge over a cliff and die. What I remember is that two witnesses to the place where this occurred in Galiliee either ‘see the cliff’ or ‘don’t see a cliff anywhere’.


My conference minister, Clarence Rempel, told me he had been to this spot and there was a remarkable cliff there, and that swine, hogs that it, would die if they charged over the cliff. But John Dominic Crossnan, a prominent historian and theologian claims there is no cliff there—that the story is a myth or a metaphor.


My point this new year’s morning is that there is sometimes not even a consensus whether there is a cliff, or not.


And in the news this morning is talk, as there has been for months of the United States’ fiscal cliff. Is there really a cliff at all? And do we have swine who may suddenly charge over this cliff to their death?


Many watching the news probably have already decided which politicians are the swine, or if all of them are! and I won’t express an opinion here, but this fiscal cliff is entirely of the making of the swine. The swine created the cliff, and are now toying with the idea of charging over it, to someone’s death but not their own.


The fiscal cliff however, refers to the economic chaos that results when massive amounts of federal spending, revenue, and safety nets all expired last evening at midnight. Rome was burning, one might add, while we reveled in the new year. (One version of a remedy did pass the Senate before midnight).


Indeed, one wonders why a government creates a massive problem, then captures the energy, hopes and fears of the world for three months, while a solution is promised or threatened. Do we have any other national and global problems upon which to focus?


From a Christian believer’s view, what happens if we go over the fiscal cliff? What happens if we don’t?


We have today’s Bible verses to read, and today’s prayers to be said. Ecclesiates says there is a time for everything, and I hear the words of the rock n’ roll song which uses its words in my head. Maybe I’ll hum that tune today, as it is a fit reminder of the timeliness of all that occurs in the Kingdom of Heaven.


Above all, pray for our peace with God this year.




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).

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.


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Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

Psalm 8

Revelation 21:1-6a

Matthew 25:31-46

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

The Message (MSG)

There’s a Right Time for Everything

3 There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

Psalm 8

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

8 God, brilliant Lord,
yours is a household name.

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.

3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?

5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.

God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.

Revelation 21:1-8

The Message (MSG)

Everything New

21 I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea.

I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband.

3-5 I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”

6-8 Then he said, “It’s happened. I’m A to Z. I’m the Beginning, I’m the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I’ll be God to them, they’ll be sons and daughters to me. But for the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—for them it’s Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!”

 Matthew 25:31-46

The Message (MSG)

The Sheep and the Goats

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson



Comments on: "Swine, and the Fiscal Cliff 010113" (3)

  1. Good to have you back, Bill. Hope you are feeling better. Is the “fiscal cliff” are real or manufactured crisis?

    • It seems the ‘normal’ business of government now must rise to a crisis level every few weeks. Today’s Wall St. Journal had an article about the new crisis–the debt limit. Here we go again…it seems like we’re engaged in crisis after crisis, while we fiddle and watch Rome burn. I think we’re missing the real crisis—that God loves us, but we fail to come home and acknowledge that love.

  2. […] Swine, and the Fiscal Cliff 010113 (mennonitepreacher.wordpress.com) […]

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