Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Posts tagged ‘James’

“Mountaintop Experience”

March 2, 2014– Transfiguration Sunday

 

Exodus 24:12-18

12The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.” 15Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. 17Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Psalm 99

The Lord reigns;
Let the peoples tremble!
He dwells between the cherubim;
Let the earth be moved!
The Lord is great in Zion,
And He is high above all the peoples.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name—
He is holy.

The King’s strength also loves justice;
You have established equity;
You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at His footstool—
He is holy.

Moses and Aaron were among His priests,
And Samuel was among those who called upon His name;
They called upon the Lord, and He answered them.
He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar;
They kept His testimonies and the ordinance He gave them.

You answered them, O Lord our God;
You were to them God-Who-Forgives,
Though You took vengeance on their deeds.
Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at His holy hill;
For the Lord our God is holy.

2 Peter 1:16-21

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” 18We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

19So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Matthew 17:1-9

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. 9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

 

 

Comments

Transfiguration Sunday marks the end of the season of Epiphany, the series of weeks after Christmas when the church lingers on the significance of the appearance of Jesus on the stage of human history.  With the Transfiguration story, the church turns toward the season of Lent and Easter, a time of reflecting on the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  The luminosity of the transfiguration story reaches toward the vision of God as transcendent, other worldly, mysterious and dimly apprehended.

The story of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountaintop is found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.  The Matthew and Mark versions are very similar.  Luke’s version varies a bit and has Jesus praying and Moses and Elijah’s words are described as saying something about Jesus’ impending death in Jerusalem.  The transfiguration story is not in the Gospel of John.  The word “transfiguration” is used to translate the Greek word METAMORPHOO in Matthew and Mark.

The setting of the story has Jesus fully aware that his journey is toward suffering and death.  The disciples, initially feeling very good about being with Jesus and having this mountaintop experience, end up being fearful and not sure about the future.  Jesus touches them and tells them not to be afraid.  I think this is the heart of the story.

Through the ages this story has influenced Christian spirituality.  The Eastern Christian Church interpreted the story as representative of the human transformation possible in Christ.  Western Christianity tended to emphasize the cross experience of Jesus.

The appearance of Moses and Elijah with Jesus opens the awareness of God’s presence in the lives of previous heroes of the faith. The mountaintop experience of Moses and the mountaintop experience of Elijah are well known narratives of Israel.

After encountering a burning bush on the mountaintop, Moses leads the transformation of a slave people toward self-determination.  After encountering God on the smoky, fiery mountaintop, Moses helps Israel find its character and vision as a people of law and justice and shalom.  Moses’ final mountaintop experience was overlooking the Promised Land before his death.

Elijah’s mountaintop experience was different.  The sheer sound of silence, or a small inner voice, guided Elijah in speaking God’s word to the powerful and to those in need.

Jesus in conversation with these figures reminds the reader of the long history of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the establishment of a covenant community and the sometimes irksome habit of God calling and raising up prophets to remind everyone of this intersection of divine and human activity and the ongoing dream of humankind’s transformation.

A few years ago a prophet appeared in the life of this nation and offered these words:

I have a dream…

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

Martin Luther King Junior was a modern prophet who helped this nation move toward a more expansive view of humanity.  The “I Have a Dream” speech was a mountaintop experience for many of that generation and continues to inspire.  King was giving a speech to 250,000 people who had marched to WashingtonD.C. to demonstrate for civil rights.  As King was speaking Mahalia Jackson called out, “Tell them about the dream, Martin.”  And he did.

What is the expansive vision we need today?

  • Care of creation?
  • Narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor?
  • Including sexual minorities fully in the church and society?

Some Christian spiritualties, if not all of them, have emphasized the role of prayer in Jesus’ transfiguration.  Jesus and the disciples going to an isolated setting is interpreted to mean they spent time in prayer and meditation.  The disciplines of prayer and meditation as a ways of raising awareness of the divine presence and mystery have motivated many to work at disciplined ways of finding the presence of God.  Controlled breathing, chanting, meditating on words and phrases, observing extended times of silence, fasting, and praying have been pathways to mountaintop experiences for many through the ages.  As we struggle to stay afloat in the deluge of the information age and navigate the complexities of the 21st century, we often long for the focus and simplicity of a quiet place and a method to journey into God’s presence.

The disciples thought they had found that place.  “Wow! This is good, Jesus.  We’ll stay right here.  We will build new institutions to commemorate and perpetuate this mountaintop experience.”  As they are speaking and carrying on and planning, they are interrupted by divine speech.  “This is my beloved with whom I am well-pleased.  Listen to him.”

Almost the same words were heard at Jesus Baptism and the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days of testing.

This time, God’s voice declares, “Listen to him.” Then there is a series of exorcisms, confrontations with the authorities, healings, teachings and parables by Jesus as he continues his ministry among the people and continues the journey toward Jerusalem and his death.  This the Jesus we listen to.

We are not a people called to linger long on mountaintop experiences.  If we listen to Jesus, we will be a people who are transformed as we engage in the work of creating a world as God intended it to be.

 

Maybe the ultimate transformation is the movement from loving our idea and image of God to loving our neighbors in all their variety of colors, social class, physical appearance, gender, sexual orientation and circumstances.

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Is the War Over? 061313

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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 32 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2032%20&version=MSG

 

2 Samuel 13:23-39 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Samuel%2013:23-39&version=MSG

 

James 4:1-7 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%204:1-7&version=MSG

 

Is the War Over? 061313

 

Sadly, we all know the answer is no. In James 4:1, James asks:

 

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen?”

There as many ideas of where wars come from as there are thinkers, but James bring it back to you and me. If we live our lives as a sequence of wants, wants fulfilled, and replaced by new wants, we’ll never recover from war, and there will always be new ideas of war and new samples of its deadly bite.

We’re spoiled, says James. We hope too much, dream too much, covet and desire. And it causes all sorts of conflict including war.

Thankfully, Psalm 32 is our prayer for the day. Count Yourself Lucky.

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.

 

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Psalm 32

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

32 Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
you get a fresh start,
your slate’s wiped clean.

2 Count yourself lucky—
God holds nothing against you
and you’re holding nothing back from him.

3 When I kept it all inside,
my bones turned to powder,
my words became daylong groans.

4 The pressure never let up;
all the juices of my life dried up.

5 Then I let it all out;
I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”

Suddenly the pressure was gone—
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared.

6 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we’ll be on high ground, untouched.

7 God’s my island hideaway,
keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

8 Let me give you some good advice;
I’m looking you in the eye
and giving it to you straight:

9 “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule
that needs bit and bridle
to stay on track.”

10 God-defiers are always in trouble;
God-affirmers find themselves loved
every time they turn around.

11 Celebrate God.
Sing together—everyone!
All you honest hearts, raise the roof!

2 Samuel 13:23-39

The Message (MSG)

23-24 Two years went by. One day Absalom threw a sheep-shearing party in Baal Hazor in the vicinity of Ephraim and invited all the king’s sons. He also went to the king and invited him. “Look, I’m throwing a sheep-shearing party. Come, and bring your servants.”

25 But the king said, “No, son—not this time, and not the whole household. We’d just be a burden to you.” Absalom pushed, but David wouldn’t budge. But he did give him his blessing.

26-27 Then Absalom said, “Well, if you won’t come, at least let my brother Amnon come.”

“And why,” said the king, “should he go with you?” But Absalom was so insistent that he gave in and let Amnon and all the rest of the king’s sons go.

28 Absalom prepared a banquet fit for a king. Then he instructed his servants, “Look sharp, now. When Amnon is well into the sauce and feeling no pain, and I give the order ‘Strike Amnon,’ kill him. And don’t be afraid—I’m the one giving the command. Courage! You can do it!”

29-31 Absalom’s servants did to Amnon exactly what their master ordered. All the king’s sons got out as fast as they could, jumped on their mules, and rode off. While they were still on the road, a rumor came to the king: “Absalom just killed all the king’s sons—not one is left!” The king stood up, ripped his clothes to shreds, and threw himself on the floor. All his servants who were standing around at the time did the same.

32-33 Just then, Jonadab, his brother Shimeah’s son, stepped up. “My master must not think that all the young men, the king’s sons, are dead. Only Amnon is dead. This happened because of Absalom’s outrage since the day that Amnon violated his sister Tamar. So my master, the king, mustn’t make things worse than they are, thinking that all your sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead.”

34 Absalom fled.

Just then the sentry on duty looked up and saw a cloud of dust on the road from Horonaim alongside the mountain. He came and told the king, “I’ve just seen a bunch of men on the Horonaim road, coming around the mountain.”

35-37 Then Jonadab exclaimed to the king, “See! It’s the king’s sons coming, just as I said!” He had no sooner said the words than the king’s sons burst in—loud laments and weeping! The king joined in, along with all the servants—loud weeping, many tears. David mourned the death of his son a long time.

37-39 When Absalom fled, he went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. He was there three years. The king finally gave up trying to get back at Absalom. He had come to terms with Amnon’s death.

James 4:1-10

The Message (MSG)

Get Serious

4 1-2 Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.

2-3 You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.

4-6 You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”

7-10 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.

 

WAR IS OVER by DJFLY Merry Christmas from FLY ...

WAR IS OVER by DJFLY Merry Christmas from FLY RADIO (Photo credit: Milwaukee Rock Music Examiner)

Making the Springtime Decisions 010213

Garden of Prayer

Garden of Prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Seasonal colour at Highfield Garden W...

English: Seasonal colour at Highfield Garden World Primroses are at their peak in March, as evidenced by this display. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Making the Springtime Decisions 010213

 

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 147:12-20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20147:12-20&version=MSG

 

Proverbs 1:1-7 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%201:1-7&version=MSG

 

James 3:13-18http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%203:13-18&version=MSG

 

Making the Springtime Decisions 010213

 

Each year, during the bitter cold of winter, we make decisions that affect us all year. I, for one, think that we are all seasonal creatures, and like the rest of creation mark our living with the time and timing of the seasons.

 

In winter, we make plans. In spring, we ambitiously begin these plans, in summer we persist with our plans and in the fall, we hope to see fruit from all our plans.

 

Of course, many or most of humanity seldom even touches the dirt, or runs their hands into soil, but I think there is still something quite seasonal about us all.

 

So, now is the time of planning, of making decisions, and dreaming of the flowers of spring. For me, with generations of farming in my family, I have a reasonable excuse for farming, despite having just seen a year of drought, which continues in the US, and in China, as well as elsewhere.

 

The US Mail even cooperates with all this. We’re getting a few seed catalogs and fruit tree catalogs each day, and the spring dreams of those catalogs exceed my own. Today’s scriptures fit my dreams; our Psalm speaks of the seasons and how God makes it snow, makes it thaw, and brings forth spring with a breath. God even works with us the same way, bringing light and dark, winter and spring into our lives.

 

Proverbs carries this further. To start all our decision-making with God, and while working with God’s seasons, to remember to also work with God, and begin with God.

 

James talks also of the wisdom that comes from living with God—quietly, humbly, simply.

 

My gardening plans are amended now. They start with a prayer!

Pray for our wisdom with God, and for farming and gardening in a time of climate change.

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 147:12-20

Proverbs 1:1-7

James 3:13-18

Psalm 147:12-20

The Message (MSG)

12-18 Jerusalem, worship God!
Zion, praise your God!
He made your city secure,
he blessed your children among you.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
he puts the best bread on your tables.
He launches his promises earthward—
how swift and sure they come!
He spreads snow like a white fleece,
he scatters frost like ashes,
He broadcasts hail like birdseed—
who can survive his winter?
Then he gives the command and it all melts;
he breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!

19-20 He speaks the same way to Jacob,
speaks words that work to Israel.
He never did this to the other nations;
they never heard such commands.
Hallelujah!

Proverbs 1:1-7

The Message (MSG)

Wise Sayings of Solomon

A Manual for Living

1 1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

Start with God

7 Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning

James 3:13-18

The Message (MSG)

Live Well, Live Wisely

13-16 Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.

17-18 Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.

 

Aside

Hard Times for the Rich 092512

Cover of "Eat the Rich"

Cover of Eat the Rich

Hard Times for the Rich 092512

 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 139:1-18 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20139:1-18&version=MSG

2 Kings 11:21—12:16 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Kings%2011:21%E2%80%9412:16&version=MSG

James 5:1-6 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%205:1-6&version=MSG

Hard Times for the Rich 092512

 In the midst of a presidential campaign season, the rich are suffering. It is not a good time to be rich, one would think. The rich are slammed for paying too little in income tax, and living a life of silly excess, as well as oppressing the poor.

 

But James 5:1-6 is even harder on the rich. “Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within.” James says.

 

Of all the examples Jesus provided to us, and that the New testament provides, why isn’t a life of simplicity and humility and poverty enough for disciples of Christ?

 

Pray for Peace

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 139:1-18

2 Kings 11:21—12:16

James 5:1-6

Psalm 139:1-18

The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

139 1-6 God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!

7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.

17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers—out of here!—
all the men and women who belittle you, God,
infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, God,
see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
Your enemies are my enemies!

2 Kings 11:21-12:16

The Message (MSG)

21 Joash was seven years old when he became king.

Joash of Judah

12 In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash began his kingly rule. He was king for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Gazelle. She was from Beersheba.

2-3 Taught and trained by Jehoiada the priest, Joash did what pleased God for as long as he lived. (Even so, he didn’t get rid of the sacred fertility shrines—people still frequented them, sacrificing and burning incense.)

4-5 Joash instructed the priests: “Take the money that is brought into The Temple of God for holy offerings—both mandatory offerings and freewill offerings—and, keeping a careful accounting, use them to renovate The Temple wherever it has fallen into disrepair.”

But by the twenty-third year of Joash’s rule, the priests hadn’t done one thing—The Temple was as dilapidated as ever.

King Joash called Jehoiada the priest and the company of priests and said, “Why haven’t you renovated this sorry-looking Temple? You are forbidden to take any more money for Temple repairs—from now on, hand over everything you get.”

The priests agreed not to take any more money or to be involved in The Temple renovation.

9-16 Then Jehoiada took a single chest and bored a hole in the lid and placed it to the right of the main entrance into The Temple of God. All the offerings that were brought to The Temple of God were placed in the chest by the priests who guarded the entrance. When they saw that a large sum of money had accumulated in the chest, the king’s secretary and the chief priest would empty the chest and count the offerings. They would give the money accounted for to the managers of The Temple project; they in turn would pay the carpenters, construction workers, masons, stoneworkers, and the buyers of timber and quarried stone for the repair and renovation of The Temple of God—any expenses connected with fixing up The Temple. But none of the money brought into The Temple of God was used for liturgical “extras” (silver chalices, candle snuffers, trumpets, various gold and silver vessels, etc.). It was given to the workmen to pay for their repairing God’s Temple. And no one even had to check on the men who handled the money given for the project—they were honest men. Offerings designated for Compensation Offerings and Absolution Offerings didn’t go into the building project—those went directly to the priests.

James 5:1-6

The Message (MSG)

Destroying Your Life from Within

1-3 And a final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You’ll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you’ve piled up is judgment.

4-6 All the workers you’ve exploited and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger. You’ve looted the earth and lived it up. But all you’ll have to show for it is a fatter than usual corpse. In fact, what you’ve done is condemn and murder perfectly good persons, who stand there and take it.

 

 

Aside

Singing with David, Praying with James 083012

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Singing with David, Praying with James 083012

 

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:

 

Psalm 15

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2015&version=MSG

Exodus 32:1-14

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%2032:1-14&version=MSG

James 1:1-8

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%201:1-8&version=MSG

 

This week’s guest blogger is Jackie Casteel, a member of our congregation and a true friend to all.

 

Again, we read another psalm that has laid out very clearly what is kind of practice is needed to live right. Honesty, compassion for your neighbors, and ah...no collecting interest. I wonder what the world would be like, if every Christian ceased to “put out his money at interest.” If it was an act considered as despicable as murder, lies, and assault, throughout our history, what sort of system would we be living under? Perhaps a caring community where each being involved shares the surplus of their labors with their neighbors, so that all may find what they need to live healthy. Maybe all that interest has lead to the technological advances that have led to all the modern marvels of today, some of which allow us to communicate our beliefs to more than just those in front of us.  

As for James, yet another selection that seems fitting for me and my life right now. I’ve felt the pressure of multiple jobs, roles, and responsibilities over the past several months and in some cases, years.  There have been many times I looked back on a week and wondered how I got through it, feeling exhausted and drained of all enthusiasm, especially when I knew I had to do it all again. Eventually, I learn from others how i’ve helped them, moved them, or did a good job, despite my inability to feel the accomplishment. Like carrying a heavy load up an incline, and standing at the top with loved ones thankful, but never putting down the weight off my back. 
I can remind myself that that it makes me stronger. I can look back at events in my life that shock most(proven during storytelling open mic!) with love and understanding that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without those trials. They were still difficult.

The difference between now and the past, is that I know I will receive the help I ask for. I am thankful for the swiftness at which my prayers are answered, and all those who act as messengers of that love. And right now, today, I have the patience to wait for the next message. I’ve spent enough time at sea.

This week’s guest blogger: : Jackie Casteel considers herself a perpetual student of spirituality on this incredible journey of life. For many years she has been amazed by the ever changing, infinite possibilities in every moment, but has only in recent years started seeking the wisdom held within the bible. She continues to be amazed.

 

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.

Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/

 

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

 

Psalm 15

Exodus 32:1-14

James 1:1-8

Psalm 15

The Message (MSG)

Psalm 15

A David Psalm

1 God, who gets invited to dinner at your place?
How do we get on your guest list?

2 “Walk straight,
act right,
tell the truth.

3-4 “Don’t hurt your friend,
don’t blame your neighbor;
despise the despicable.

5 “Keep your word even when it costs you,
make an honest living,
never take a bribe.

“You’ll never get
blacklisted
if you live like this.”

Exodus 32:1-14

The Message (MSG)

Exodus 32

“Make Gods for Us”

1 When the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, “Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt—who knows what’s happened to him?”

2-4 So Aaron told them, “Take off the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters and bring them to me.” They all did it; they removed the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from their hands and cast it in the form of a calf, shaping it with an engraving tool.

The people responded with enthusiasm: “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from Egypt!”

5 Aaron, taking in the situation, built an altar before the calf.

Aaron then announced, “Tomorrow is a feast day to God!”

6 Early the next morning, the people got up and offered Whole-Burnt-Offerings and brought Peace-Offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink and then began to party. It turned into a wild party!

7-8 God spoke to Moses, “Go! Get down there! Your people whom you brought up from the land of Egypt have fallen to pieces. In no time at all they’ve turned away from the way I commanded them: They made a molten calf and worshiped it. They’ve sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are the gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt!'”

9-10 God said to Moses, “I look at this people—oh! what a stubborn, hard-headed people! Let me alone now, give my anger free reign to burst into flames and incinerate them. But I’ll make a great nation out of you.”

11-13 Moses tried to calm his God down. He said, “Why, God, would you lose your temper with your people? Why, you brought them out of Egypt in a tremendous demonstration of power and strength. Why let the Egyptians say, ‘He had it in for them—he brought them out so he could kill them in the mountains, wipe them right off the face of the Earth.’ Stop your anger. Think twice about bringing evil against your people! Think of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants to whom you gave your word, telling them ‘I will give you many children, as many as the stars in the sky, and I’ll give this land to your children as their land forever.'”

14 And God did think twice. He decided not to do the evil he had threatened against his people.

James 1:1-8

The Message (MSG)

James 1

1I, James, am a slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello! Faith Under Pressure

2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

5-8If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

The Message (MSG)

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

 

Mother Wisdom 020112

Saint James the Great, Russian icon from first...

Image via Wikipedia

This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

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).

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/

 

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

 

Psalm 46

Proverbs 8:1-21

Mark 3:13-19a

 

Mother Wisdom 020112

In Proverbs today, wisdom is personified, made into a person, and the person is a she-person!

I don’t know exactly where this tradition of wisdom came from, but I seem to remember this as a Greek idea maybe. Nevertheless, Christianity, and Judaism before it always have thrived by gathering its arms around every religion or spirituality with which it came into contact. And Christianity and Judaism share a certain difficulty with identifying and naming the female part of God, and the female part of reality.

But Proverbs does today, and we can celebrate that. But does our idea of a god, always have to be that of an old man with a long flowing white beard. Have you ever tried to care for a beard like that? Soup is out of the question for lunch.

So today again, when we find something unusual, or different in Bible reading we are confronted with same old limitation: it is we who are limited.

Maybe today we can leave open our idea of God, and let God fill us with a new idea. Maybe there is a god who is neither male or female, but both.

Pray for peace

(brother) Bill

 

 

Psalm 46

1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;

3though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

5God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.

6The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

7The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.

9He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

10“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”

11The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Proverbs 8:1-21

8Does not wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?
2On the heights, beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
4“To you, O people, I call,
and my cry is to all that live.
5O simple ones, learn prudence;
acquire intelligence, you who lack it.
6Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right;
7for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
9They are all straight to one who understands
and right to those who find knowledge.
10Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold;
11for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
12I, wisdom, live with prudence,
and I attain knowledge and discretion.
13The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
and perverted speech I hate.
14I have good advice and sound wisdom;
I have insight, I have strength.
15By me kings reign,
and rulers decree what is just;
16by me rulers rule,
and nobles, all who govern rightly.
17I love those who love me,
and those who seek me diligently find me.
18Riches and honor are with me,
enduring wealth and prosperity.
19My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold,
and my yield than choice silver.
20I walk in the way of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
21endowing with wealth those who love me,
and filling their treasuries.

Mark 3:13-19a

13He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 14And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, 15and to have authority to cast out demons. 16So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Then he went home;

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.

 

 

A Mist That Appears 010412

James Bond IslandThis blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

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).

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/

 

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

 

Psalm 110

Proverbs 3:1-12

James 4:11-17

 

A Mist That Appears 010412

 

I was going to title this blog entry as ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ or something like that. The scripture selections are from the wisdom tradition, that is, scriptures that are a collection of wisdom sayings that have been memorized and passed down as a collection. James may be the exception to this, as being written by James, the brother of Jesus, but some say each verse of the book of James is traceable to older Jewish texts.

 

Regardless of what these scriptures are, each line or verse could be a New Year’s resolution. But last evening, as I wrote this, the wind settled and it seemed warmer outside, so I went outside and looked up at the clear winter starry sky. This verse from James has since stuck with me, and made any possible resolution I could make as too self-centered and personal to be of any use, especially compared to an infinity of stars.  From James 4 “14Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

NOTE: Our church has started a 3X daily prayer using the Book of Common Prayer—a liturgy for Ordinary Radicals assembled by Shane Claibourne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and others. It is available online and on Facebook also. Pray with us, three times a day.

Pray for peace,

Bill

Psalm 110

1The Lord says to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”

2The Lord sends out from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes.

3Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day you lead your forces on the holy mountains. From the womb of the morning, like dew, your youth will come to you.

4The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

5The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.

6He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter heads over the wide earth.

7He will drink from the stream by the path; therefore he will lift up his head.

Proverbs 3:1-12

3My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments;
2for length of days and years of life
and abundant welfare they will give you. 3Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4So you will find favor and good repute
in the sight of God and of people. 5Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body. 9Honor the Lord with your substance
and with the first fruits of all your produce;
10then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12for the Lord reproves the one he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.

James 4:11-17

11Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor? 13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” 14Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.

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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