Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Posts tagged ‘God’

“No other foundation…”

February 23, 2014 –– Seventh Sunday after Epiphany

Lectionary Scriptures:

Leviticus 19:1-18

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. 3You shall each revere your mother and father, and you shall keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. 4Do not turn to idols or make cast images for yourselves: I am the LORD your God. 5When you offer a sacrifice of well-being to the LORD, offer it in such a way that it is acceptable on your behalf. 6It shall be eaten on the same day you offer it, or on the next day; and anything left over until the third day shall be consumed in fire. 7If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination; it will not be acceptable. 8All who eat it shall be subject to punishment, because they have profaned what is holy to the LORD; and any such person shall be cut off from the people.9When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God.
11You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD. 13You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. 15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD. 17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Psalm 119:33-40

ה He (5th letter of the hebrew alphabet)

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.[a]
38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness.

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. 14If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.
16Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
18Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
21So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours,22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, 23and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Matthew 5:38-48
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Comments
In 1996 the Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church (Old Mennonite) published a commemorative fraktur for the 500th anniversary of the birth of Menno Simons. At the bottom of the fraktur, printed on the sturdy stones, is the Bible verse from First Corinthians 3:11:
11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ

This Bible verse was said to be Menno Simons’ favorite. The Mennonites were named after Menno Simons. He was one of the early Anabaptist leaders in Europe who survived persecution and lived long enough to have his name associated with the Anabaptist movement, sometimes referred to as the radical wing of the Great Reformation. Menno was born in 1496 and died peacefully in 1561. He became a Catholic priest in the Netherlands at the age of 28 and over the next dozen years or so he wrestled with the corruption of the church, the interpretation of the scriptures, and the social and nationalism movements of his day. His commitment to the reforms of the peaceful Anabaptist movement solidified when his brother, Peter Simons, was killed by authorities. Peter was part of a group who took over a monastery and attempted to hold it by force. Menno did not agree with using violence to bring about reform and changes but he sympathized with need to reform the church.
Author Phyllis Tickle believes the church is going through another period of upheaval similar to the Great Reformation of the 1500’s. In her book The Great Emergence (Baker, 2008) she notes that significant changes tend to come every five hundred or so years, including the coming of Christ in the first century, approximately 500 years after the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The temple was replaced by a different form of Judaism more centered in synagogue and scripture. The Jesus movement reinterpreted that understanding and the Christian church emerged. With the decline of the Roman Empire the church consolidated under Gregory the Great in the fifth and sixth centuries. Tickle argues that the pattern continues with the Great Schism of the 11th century which generated the Catholic and Orthodox streams, and the Reformation of the 16th century which generated many tributaries. From this historical trend, Tickle deduces that, here in the 2000s, we’re poised for another such seismic change. She calls it The Great Emergence.
What is at stake in these times of upheaval has been the question of authority. Where does the buck stop? Our denomination, the new Mennonite Church USA is engaged with that question with the latest round of discussions and actions related to how we deal with sexual minorities in the church. Some are convinced that the authority of the scripture says one thing. Some are convinced that the authority of scripture says something else. Some say the authority of the church documents are what we agree to follow. Others say, no, they are not those kind of documents. Where does the buck stop on this topic?
In some ways, the texts for this Sunday are foundational assertions. The Deuteronomy texts invoke the commandments given to Moses as authoritative. Psalm 119 affirms and celebrates the following of the law. The New Testament texts, of course, turn to Jesus the Christ as the foundation of faith.

The Apostle Paul declares to the church that they are the dwelling place of God. We have used this image in a more individualistic way to feel guilty about using our bodies in self-destructive ways – smoking, excessive eating, drinking, sexual excess and the variety of other ways we indulge our bodies in harmful ways. We have this idea that God’s temple should be a place of purity, holiness and moderation. Whether Paul is talking about our individual bodies or about the church, the community of Christ-followers, there is still a sense of intimacy with God’s Spirit that is conveyed. We are in union with God, a central truth of the Christian faith. This union leads to unconditional love and Paul’s words about that kind of love are expressed eloquently a few chapters later in his letter to the Corinthian church – “If I do not have love, I am nothing.”
The text from Matthew’s Gospel offers the teaching of Jesus on the everyday implications of living in union with God and expressing love for all, including enemies.
Walking in the way of Jesus, in union with God, led by God’s Spirit and driven by divine love, is a demanding standard for our individual lives and for the church. Is it the cornerstone of our faith?

Advertisements
Aside

Take In the Frightened Children 110713

The happy children of The Little Field Home

The happy children of The Little Field Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Children Playing Kids

Happy Children Playing Kids (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Galego: , Galicia Publish by= Luis Miguel Buga...

Galego: , Galicia Publish by= Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez. Self made. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

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/

 

Psalm 17:1-9 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2017:1-9%20&version=MSG

 

Genesis 38:1-26 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2038:1-26&version=MSG

 

Acts 24:10-23 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2024:10-23&version=MSG

 

Take In the Frightened Children 110713

 

Psalm 17:7 says it clearly:

 

Paint grace-graffiti on the fences;
take in your frightened children who
Are running from the neighborhood bullies…

 

I’ve thought often about what exactly JesusKingdom of Heaven might look like. I suspect I strongly want the Kingdom of Heaven to come to be here earth between, among and beyond all of Jesus’ disciples, you and I, but also included everyone else.

But I really don’t KNOW what the Kingdom of Heaven will be like. I wish I did, folks, but I don’t. Still, there are a few basic ideas I expect to see in the Kingdom. One is in today’s Psalm, and that is the idea, the concept, the requirement within the Kingdom that puts forth that in the Kingdom there will not be fear. The poor will not fear eviction and foreclosure, the poor will not fear hunger and starvation, the sick will not go on without good medical care, children will not be raised in fear—no matter what. I’m beginning to believe also that even animals should not live in fear, and humans should consider that a good pot of beans is preferable to a hunk of slaughtered fearful animals.

Imagine a world, ruled by the law of Jesus! All of the life in the universe living with peace and justice as the ruling principles rather than greed and control! And what comes with this is a living world functioning without fear, and children living and growing with any fear in their lives.

Pray for peace,

Pastor Bill

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.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 17:1-9

The Message (MSG)

A David Prayer

17 1-2 Listen while I build my case, God,
the most honest prayer you’ll ever hear.
Show the world I’m innocent—
in your heart you know I am.

3 Go ahead, examine me from inside out,
surprise me in the middle of the night—
You’ll find I’m just what I say I am.
My words don’t run loose.

4-5 I’m not trying to get my way
in the world’s way.
I’m trying to get your way,
your Word’s way.
I’m staying on your trail;
I’m putting one foot
In front of the other.
I’m not giving up.

6-7 I call to you, God, because I’m sure of an answer.
So—answer! bend your ear! listen sharp!
Paint grace-graffiti on the fences;
take in your frightened children who
Are running from the neighborhood bullies
straight to you.

8-9 Keep your eye on me;
hide me under your cool wing feathers
From the wicked who are out to get me,
from mortal enemies closing in.

Genesis 38:1-26

The Message (MSG)

38 1-5 About that time, Judah separated from his brothers and hooked up with a man in Adullam named Hirah. While there, Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua. He married her, they went to bed, she became pregnant and had a son named Er. She got pregnant again and had a son named Onan. She had still another son; she named this one Shelah. They were living at Kezib when she had him.

6-7 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn. Her name was Tamar. But Judah’s firstborn, Er, grievously offended God and God took his life.

8-10 So Judah told Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother’s widow; it’s the duty of a brother-in-law to keep your brother’s line alive.” But Onan knew that the child wouldn’t be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s widow he spilled his semen on the ground so he wouldn’t produce a child for his brother. God was much offended by what he did and also took his life.

11 So Judah stepped in and told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow at home with your father until my son Shelah grows up.” He was worried that Shelah would also end up dead, just like his brothers. So Tamar went to live with her father.

12 Time passed. Judah’s wife, Shua’s daughter, died. When the time of mourning was over, Judah with his friend Hirah of Adullam went to Timnah for the sheep shearing.

13-14 Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law has gone to Timnah to shear his sheep.” She took off her widow’s clothes, put on a veil to disguise herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the road to Timnah. She realized by now that even though Shelah was grown up, she wasn’t going to be married to him.

15 Judah saw her and assumed she was a prostitute since she had veiled her face. He left the road and went over to her. He said, “Let me sleep with you.” He had no idea that she was his daughter-in-law.

16 She said, “What will you pay me?”

17 “I’ll send you,” he said, “a kid goat from the flock.”

She said, “Not unless you give me a pledge until you send it.”

18 “So what would you want in the way of a pledge?”

She said, “Your personal seal-and-cord and the staff you carry.”

He handed them over to her and slept with her. And she got pregnant.

19 She then left and went home. She removed her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.

20-21 Judah sent the kid goat by his friend from Adullam to recover the pledge from the woman. But he couldn’t find her. He asked the men of that place, “Where’s the prostitute that used to sit by the road here near Enaim?”

They said, “There’s never been a prostitute here.”

22 He went back to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her. The men there said there never has been a prostitute there.”

23 Judah said, “Let her have it then. If we keep looking, everyone will be poking fun at us. I kept my part of the bargain—I sent the kid goat but you couldn’t find her.”

24 Three months or so later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law has been playing the whore—and now she’s a pregnant whore.”

Judah yelled, “Get her out here. Burn her up!”

25 As they brought her out, she sent a message to her father-in-law, “I’m pregnant by the man who owns these things. Identify them, please. Who’s the owner of the seal-and-cord and the staff?”

26 Judah saw they were his. He said, “She’s in the right; I’m in the wrong—I wouldn’t let her marry my son Shelah.” He never slept with her again.

Acts 24:10-23

The Message (MSG)

10-13 The governor motioned to Paul that it was now his turn. Paul said, “I count myself fortunate to be defending myself before you, Governor, knowing how fair-minded you’ve been in judging us all these years. I’ve been back in the country only twelve days—you can check out these dates easily enough. I came with the express purpose of worshiping in Jerusalem on Pentecost, and I’ve been minding my own business the whole time. Nobody can say they saw me arguing in the Temple or working up a crowd in the streets. Not one of their charges can be backed up with evidence or witnesses.

14-15 “But I do freely admit this: In regard to the Way, which they malign as a dead-end street, I serve and worship the very same God served and worshiped by all our ancestors and embrace everything written in all our Scriptures. And I admit to living in hopeful anticipation that God will raise the dead, both the good and the bad. If that’s my crime, my accusers are just as guilty as I am.

16-19 “Believe me, I do my level best to keep a clear conscience before God and my neighbors in everything I do. I’ve been out of the country for a number of years and now I’m back. While I was away, I took up a collection for the poor and brought that with me, along with offerings for the Temple. It was while making those offerings that they found me quietly at my prayers in the Temple. There was no crowd, there was no disturbance. It was some Jews from around Ephesus who started all this trouble. And you’ll notice they’re not here today. They’re cowards, too cowardly to accuse me in front of you.

20-21 “So ask these others what crime they’ve caught me in. Don’t let them hide behind this smooth-talking Tertullus. The only thing they have on me is that one sentence I shouted out in the council: ‘It’s because I believe in the resurrection that I’ve been hauled into this court!’ Does that sound to you like grounds for a criminal case?”

22-23 Felix shilly-shallied. He knew far more about the Way than he let on, and could have settled the case then and there. But uncertain of his best move politically, he played for time. “When Captain Lysias comes down, I’ll decide your case.” He gave orders to the centurion to keep Paul in custody, but to more or less give him the run of the place and not prevent his friends from helping him.

Aside

Reading the Ancient Texts 103013

English: By Rembrandt.

English: By Rembrandt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

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/

 

Psalm 84:8-12 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2084:8-12&version=MSG

 

Daniel 5:13-31 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel%205:13-31&version=MSG

 

Matthew 21:28-32 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2021:28-32&version=MSG

 

 

Reading the Ancient Texts 103013

 

As disciples of Jesus we often make a commitment to read the Gospels frequently and also to read the Hebrew books, our ‘Old Testament‘.

 

Reading the New Testament, the Gospels, makes instant sense to us; we can read through and pick out the words of Jesus himself, and I must admit I still prefer a Bible that has ‘the words of Jesus in red’. On a page of text, the clear, prominent words in red jump out to me, and speak clearly to me. Even though the words of Jesus are 2,000 years removed from now almost, and Jesus was a Mediterranean Jewish peasant (and most of us are not) the words, the characters, the events speak out loud to me, and have become a foundation of our culture.

 

The Old Testament is more problematic. The morals, the stories, the characters and the teachings sometimes just do not speak to me, or to many disciples. We are not pre-Christian, Jews living in a Roman, a Babylonian, or a Jewish kingdom. I’ve never lived the life of nomadic shepherds or seen what the temple was like. Neither have I lived a life such that family, community and the temple were the key features of my identity, and actually, my identity as a disciple of Jesus does not easily tie into the ancient, Semitic language and culture. Sure, we are all human, but there is much I just don’t understand.

 

But, if I read the Old Testament and make allowances for it—such as, ‘well, it is the honest voice and history of God’s people‘ even if I don’t understand it completely, then what should I say when I read an ancient Buddhist, Taoist or Hindu text? Are those texts also the honest voice and history of God’s people?

 

There’s much to consider here. If an old Buddhist text recommends I wear an orange or ochre robe, pray and burn incense, should I? No, but then neither do I slaughter lambs, and doves and pigeons and make burnt meat offerings to God in the temple.

 

So, I’m left confused. Do my beliefs and faith as a disciple of Christ compel me to behave like an ancient Jew, and does reading an ancient text from any ancient religion or philosophy compel to practice as the ancients practiced? Perhaps, but remember that burning incense is a primary cause of home fires. Be careful.

 

Pray for peace,

Pastor Bill

 

 

 

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.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 84:8-12

The Message (MSG)

8-9 God-of-the-Angel-Armies, listen:
O God of Jacob, open your ears—I’m praying!
Look at our shields, glistening in the sun,
our faces, shining with your gracious anointing.

10-12 One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship,
beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.
I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God
than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin.
All sunshine and sovereign is God,
generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

Daniel 5:13-31

The Message (MSG)

13-16 So Daniel was called in. The king asked him, “Are you the Daniel who was one of the Jewish exiles my father brought here from Judah? I’ve heard about you—that you’re full of the Holy Spirit, that you’ve got a brilliant mind, that you are incredibly wise. The wise men and enchanters were brought in here to read this writing on the wall and interpret it for me. They couldn’t figure it out—not a word, not a syllable. But I’ve heard that you interpret dreams and solve mysteries. So—if you can read the writing and interpret it for me, you’ll be rich and famous—a purple robe, the great gold chain around your neck—and third-in-command in the kingdom.”

17 Daniel answered the king, “You can keep your gifts, or give them to someone else. But I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.

18-21 “Listen, O king! The High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar a great kingdom and a glorious reputation. Because God made him so famous, people from everywhere, whatever their race, color, and creed, were totally intimidated by him. He killed or spared people on whim. He promoted or humiliated people capriciously. He developed a big head and a hard spirit. Then God knocked him off his high horse and stripped him of his fame. He was thrown out of human company, lost his mind, and lived like a wild animal. He ate grass like an ox and was soaked by heaven’s dew until he learned his lesson: that the High God rules human kingdoms and puts anyone he wants in charge.

22-23 “You are his son and have known all this, yet you’re as arrogant as he ever was. Look at you, setting yourself up in competition against the Master of heaven! You had the sacred chalices from his Temple brought into your drunken party so that you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines, could drink from them. You used the sacred chalices to toast your gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone—blind, deaf, and imbecile gods. But you treat with contempt the living God who holds your entire life from birth to death in his hand.

24-26 “God sent the hand that wrote on the wall, and this is what is written: mene, teqel, and peres. This is what the words mean:

Mene: God has numbered the days of your rule and they don’t add up.

27 “Teqel: You have been weighed on the scales and you don’t weigh much.

28 “Peres: Your kingdom has been divided up and handed over to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Belshazzar did what he had promised. He robed Daniel in purple, draped the great gold chain around his neck, and promoted him to third-in-charge in the kingdom.

30-31 That same night the Babylonian king Belshazzar was murdered. Darius the Mede was sixty-two years old when he succeeded him as king.

Matthew 21:28-32

The Message (MSG)

The Story of Two Sons

28 “Tell me what you think of this story: A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.’

29 “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought better of it and went.

30 “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went.

31-32 “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?”

They said, “The first.”

Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’

kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.

War, Insults and Injustice 102113

People protest against racism in the Kensingto...

People protest against racism in the Kensington community of Calgary, Alberta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr. Potter insults George in his moment of nee...

Mr. Potter insults George in his moment of need: “You used to be so cocky…” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

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/

 

Psalm 57 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2057&version=MSG

 

1 Samuel 25:2-22 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel%2025:2-22&version=MSG

 

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%206:1-11&version=MSG

 

War, Insults and Injustice 102113

Today’s Bible and Gospel selections bring to mind and bring to focus some difficult issues.

In 1st Samuel, young King David and a man named Nabal get in a violent situation, and what started it all were insulting behavior and speech between Nabal and David. Nothing physical at first; their conflict was all words, hot air and smoke. But it led to violence and promises of death before the next sunrise.

We tend to believe that mere words are not enough to call a situation violent. But despite all,bloodletting and death happen when people, usually men, insult each other.

And what is an insult? It is an affront to pride. An insult is a challenge to another claims of importance and rank. I’m not the first to notice and proclaim: who care? And what difference does it make?

That a round of insults can lead to murder, assault and even genocide is observed throughout human history. Before the Nazis could kill millions of Jews, they had to depend upon centuries of insults. The insults confirmed to the Nazi Germans and to all of Europe and the United States that a holocaust was acceptable if the insults were accurate. So, words and insults towards Jews are taken seriously as calling Black Americans by words reserved for slaves is not acceptable.

So, when leaders start trading insults, we know they have left the way of Jesus and are walking down a path of injustice, hate and violence.

1 Corinthians continues this thought by telling us of the senselessness of expecting or depending upon the world for justice. Going to court will only provide court-made, man-made justice, when it is only the justice of God that brings reconciliation and resolution.

There is a way to find peace and there is a way to find justice, both Jesus Christ as he leads us back to God.

Pray for peace

Pastor Bill

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.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 57

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm, When He Hid in a Cave from Saul

57 1-3 Be good to me, God—and now!
I’ve run to you for dear life.
I’m hiding out under your wings
until the hurricane blows over.
I call out to High God,
the God who holds me together.
He sends orders from heaven and saves me,
he humiliates those who kick me around.
God delivers generous love,
he makes good on his word.

4 I find myself in a pride of lions
who are wild for a taste of human flesh;
Their teeth are lances and arrows,
their tongues are sharp daggers.

5 Soar high in the skies, O God!
Cover the whole earth with your glory!

6 They booby-trapped my path;
I thought I was dead and done for.
They dug a mantrap to catch me,
and fell in headlong themselves.

7-8 I’m ready, God, so ready,
ready from head to toe,
Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune:
“Wake up, soul!
Wake up, harp! wake up, lute!
Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!”

9-10 I’m thanking you, God, out loud in the streets,
singing your praises in town and country.
The deeper your love, the higher it goes;
every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.

11 Soar high in the skies, O God!
Cover the whole earth with your glory!

1 Samuel 25:2-22

The Message (MSG)

2-3 There was a certain man in Maon who carried on his business in the region of Carmel. He was very prosperous—three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and it was sheep-shearing time in Carmel. The man’s name was Nabal (Fool), a Calebite, and his wife’s name was Abigail. The woman was intelligent and good-looking, the man brutish and mean.

4-8 David, out in the backcountry, heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep and sent ten of his young men off with these instructions: “Go to Carmel and approach Nabal. Greet him in my name, ‘Peace! Life and peace to you. Peace to your household, peace to everyone here! I heard that it’s sheep-shearing time. Here’s the point: When your shepherds were camped near us we didn’t take advantage of them. They didn’t lose a thing all the time they were with us in Carmel. Ask your young men—they’ll tell you. What I’m asking is that you be generous with my men—share the feast! Give whatever your heart tells you to your servants and to me, David your son.’”

9-11 David’s young men went and delivered his message word for word to Nabal. Nabal tore into them, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? The country is full of runaway servants these days. Do you think I’m going to take good bread and wine and meat freshly butchered for my sheepshearers and give it to men I’ve never laid eyes on? Who knows where they’ve come from?”

12-13 David’s men got out of there and went back and told David what he had said. David said, “Strap on your swords!” They all strapped on their swords, David and his men, and set out, four hundred of them. Two hundred stayed behind to guard the camp.

14-17 Meanwhile, one of the young shepherds told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, what had happened: “David sent messengers from the backcountry to salute our master, but he tore into them with insults. Yet these men treated us very well. They took nothing from us and didn’t take advantage of us all the time we were in the fields. They formed a wall around us, protecting us day and night all the time we were out tending the sheep. Do something quickly because big trouble is ahead for our master and all of us. Nobody can talk to him. He’s impossible—a real brute!”

18-19 Abigail flew into action. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep dressed out and ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes, and she had it all loaded on some donkeys. Then she said to her young servants, “Go ahead and pave the way for me. I’m right behind you.” But she said nothing to her husband Nabal.

20-22 As she was riding her donkey, descending into a ravine, David and his men were descending from the other end, so they met there on the road. David had just said, “That sure was a waste, guarding everything this man had out in the wild so that nothing he had was lost—and now he rewards me with insults. A real slap in the face! May God do his worst to me if Nabal and every cur in his misbegotten brood aren’t dead meat by morning!”

1 Corinthians 6:1-11

The Message (MSG)

6 1-4 And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians? The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? Why, we’re even going to judge angels! So why not these everyday affairs? As these disagreements and wrongs surface, why would you ever entrust them to the judgment of people you don’t trust in any other way?

5-6 I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what you’re doing. Is it possible that there isn’t one levelheaded person among you who can make fair decisions when disagreements and disputes come up? I don’t believe it. And here you are taking each other to court before people who don’t even believe in God! How can they render justice if they don’t believe in the God of justice?

7-8 These court cases are an ugly blot on your community. Wouldn’t it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it? All you’re doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.

9-11 Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.

Looking to the Hills—Music and Meaning 101713

Columbia Mountains as seen from the Rocky Moun...

Columbia Mountains as seen from the Rocky Mountain Trench (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Bucegi mountains (on the right is Car...

English: Bucegi mountains (on the right is Caraiman Cross) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

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/

 

Psalm 121 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20121&version=MSG

 

Isaiah 54:11-17 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2054:11-17&version=MSG

 

Acts 17:22-34 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2017:22-34&version=MSG

 

Looking to the Hills—Music and Meaning 101713

Psalm 121 provides the inspiration for today’s blog post. If we read the Psalm from The Message restatement or translation, it sounds like this:

121 1-2 I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from
God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

I do not know if this is the correct translation or whether the King James Version below is better:

Psalm 121

King James Version (KJV)

121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

 

In this version, the King James Version, the hills and God seem to be the same being, a being that provides our strength. But in The Message the hills and God are two distinct beings, and we are mistaken for thinking our strength might come from the hills.

Despite, The Message’s question, I never thought that my strength could come from the hills. As long as I’ve had enough strength to even consider, I knew this all had to come from God.

This meaning, this harmony and resonance as the words of King James bounce through us, says that there also a meaning to the music of the words. And I love to admit it, I believe in part because these words are music, with a meaning heard deep below.

Pray for peace,

Pastor Bill

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.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 121

The Message (MSG)

A Pilgrim Song

121 1-2 I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4 He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
Guardian will never doze or sleep.

5-6 God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.

7-8 God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.

Isaiah 54:11-17

The Message (MSG)

11-17 “Afflicted city, storm-battered, unpitied:
I’m about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
Lay your foundations with sapphires,
construct your towers with rubies,
Your gates with jewels,
and all your walls with precious stones.
All your children will have God for their teacher—
what a mentor for your children!
You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
far from terror—it won’t even come close!
If anyone attacks you,
don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them,
And if any should attack,
nothing will come of it.
I create the blacksmith
who fires up his forge
and makes a weapon designed to kill.
I also create the destroyer—
but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged.
Any accuser who takes you to court
will be dismissed as a liar.
This is what God’s servants can expect.
I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.”
God’s Decree.

Acts 17:22-34

The Message (MSG)

22-23 So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. “It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I’m here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you’re dealing with.

24-29 “The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?

30-31 “God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Taking Me Seriously 101513

Русский: Спас Отпечаток лика Христа на Туринск...

Русский: Спас Отпечаток лика Христа на Туринской плащанице (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

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/

 

Psalm 61 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2061&version=MSG

 

2 Kings 5:19b-27 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%205:19b-27&version=MSG

 

Ephesians 6:10-20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%206:10-20%09&version=MSG

 

Taking Me Seriously 101513

Each time I re-read a Bible selection I notice something new. Even when I think I’ve studies, taken apart and reassembled a verse or a selection, each time I re-read it I notice something new.

Partly this may be because I need to hear something unique, whenever I read it and so my attention is drawn to the new selection I need to hear. But how does one know as one who does not know, search and find anything?

Today the following words from Psalm 61:

You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.

Pray for peace,

Pastor Bill

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.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 61

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

61 1-2 God, listen to me shout,
bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!”

3-5 You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.

6-8 Let the days of the king add up
to years and years of good rule.
Set his throne in the full light of God;
post Steady Love and Good Faith as lookouts,
And I’ll be the poet who sings your glory—
and live what I sing every day.

2 Kings 5:19-27

The Message (MSG)

19-21 Elisha said, “Everything will be all right. Go in peace.”

But he hadn’t gone far when Gehazi, servant to Elisha the Holy Man, said to himself, “My master has let this Aramean Naaman slip through his fingers without so much as a thank-you. By the living God, I’m going after him to get something or other from him!” And Gehazi took off after Naaman.

Naaman saw him running after him and jumped down from his chariot to greet him, “Is something wrong?”

22 “Nothing’s wrong, but something’s come up. My master sent me to tell you: ‘Two young men just showed up from the hill country of Ephraim, brothers from the guild of the prophets. Supply their needs with a gift of 75 pounds of silver and a couple of sets of clothes.’”

23 Naaman said, “Of course, how about a 150 pounds?” Naaman insisted. He tied up the money in two sacks and gave him the two sets of clothes; he even gave him two servants to carry the gifts back with him.

24 When they got to the fort on the hill, Gehazi took the gifts from the servants, stored them inside, then sent the servants back.

25 He returned and stood before his master. Elisha said, “So what have you been up to, Gehazi?”

“Nothing much,” he said.

26-27 Elisha said, “Didn’t you know I was with you in spirit when that man stepped down from his chariot to greet you? Tell me, is this a time to look after yourself, lining your pockets with gifts? Naaman’s skin disease will now infect you and your family, with no relief in sight.”

Gehazi walked away, his skin flaky and white like snow.

Ephesians 6:10-20

The Message (MSG)

A Fight to the Finish

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each others spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

19-20 And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.

A Simple Matter 101413

 

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog comes to you from the people at Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

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/

 

Psalm 61 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2061&version=MSG

 

2 Kings 5:15-19a http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%205:15-19a&version=MSG

 

Acts 26:24-29 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2026:24-29&version=MSG

 

A Simple Matter 101413

 

A few moments ago, as I was riding my bicycle on a bike trail, I began to think of what I’ve been reading lately, and its effect on my belief and life as a disciple of Jesus. I couldn’t come up with an answer!

 

In short, I couldn’t answer the simple question of my belief as a disciple of Jesus, or what effect this or that treatise or article or book would have upon my faith. In fact, I’m believing that my faith and my life as a disciple of Jesus are very, very simple, and I like it that way. For all the learned, educated and intellectual questions I’ve raised in this blog over the years, I’m really learning to simplify, and simplifying my faith is an important part of this. I want to follow Jesus on a daily basis, read the Bible and pray, and I’m tending to believe that beyond that, my ideas are senseless complications that upset me, that confuse me and in the end, do not help me live my life in any way. Being a disciple of Jesus is not an intellectual exercise; it is in me, but like a heartbeat and not like a headache.

 

Have joy this evening. Have joy in your life and heart, and rise to the sun tomorrow with this same joy in Jesus.

 

Pray for peace.

Pastor Bill

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.

 

Subscribe to our blog!Delivery daily by e-mail.Click the button on the right.

Psalm 61

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

61 1-2 God, listen to me shout,
bend an ear to my prayer.
When I’m far from anywhere,
down to my last gasp,
I call out, “Guide me
up High Rock Mountain!”

3-5 You’ve always given me breathing room,
a place to get away from it all,
A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
an open invitation as your guest.
You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
made me welcome among those who know and love you.

6-8 Let the days of the king add up
to years and years of good rule.
Set his throne in the full light of God;
post Steady Love and Good Faith as lookouts,
And I’ll be the poet who sings your glory—
and live what I sing every day.

2 Kings 5:15-21

The Message (MSG)

15 He then went back to the Holy Man, he and his entourage, stood before him, and said, “I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no God anywhere on earth other than the God of Israel. In gratitude let me give you a gift.”

16 “As God lives,” Elisha replied, “the God whom I serve, I’ll take nothing from you.” Naaman tried his best to get him to take something, but he wouldn’t do it.

17-18 “If you won’t take anything,” said Naaman, “let me ask you for something: Give me a load of dirt, as much as a team of donkeys can carry, because I’m never again going to worship any god other than God. But there’s one thing for which I need God’s pardon: When my master, leaning on my arm, enters the shrine of Rimmon and worships there, and I’m with him there, worshiping Rimmon, may you see to it that God forgive me for this.”

19-21 Elisha said, “Everything will be all right. Go in peace.”

But he hadn’t gone far when Gehazi, servant to Elisha the Holy Man, said to himself, “My master has let this Aramean Naaman slip through his fingers without so much as a thank-you. By the living God, I’m going after him to get something or other from him!” And Gehazi took off after Naaman.

Naaman saw him running after him and jumped down from his chariot to greet him, “Is something wrong?”

Acts 26:24-29

The Message (MSG)

24 That was too much for Festus. He interrupted with a shout: “Paul, you’re crazy! You’ve read too many books, spent too much time staring off into space! Get a grip on yourself, get back in the real world!”

25-27 But Paul stood his ground. “With all respect, Festus, Your Honor, I’m not crazy. I’m both accurate and sane in what I’m saying. The king knows what I’m talking about. I’m sure that nothing of what I’ve said sounds crazy to him. He’s known all about it for a long time. You must realize that this wasn’t done behind the scenes. You believe the prophets, don’t you, King Agrippa? Don’t answer that—I know you believe.”

28 But Agrippa did answer: “Keep this up much longer and you’ll make a Christian out of me!”

29 Paul, still in chains, said, “That’s what I’m praying for, whether now or later, and not only you but everyone listening today, to become like me—except, of course, for this prison jewelry!”

 

%d bloggers like this: