Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Posts tagged ‘Psalm 51’

Forgiveness 032312

 

 

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

 

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

 

 

Forgiveness 032312

I recently have been enjoying reading Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch. (It is called ‘three thousand years because it lays a foundation in world history prior to Jesus’ time).

 

An understanding of Christian history enlightens each of us. This week’s revelation for me was the early church practice of selling forgiveness to Christians. For some reason I thought the practice had originated in Rome, where Popes had set a range of money penances, varying for each sin.

Perhaps my old belief was anti-pope, or anti-Rome. The practice originated in Ireland, and became a standard practice because the Christian congregations demanded it. The common people appreciated knowing exactly what it would cost one to be forgiven by the church (as it represents God).

You and I, however, cannot buy our way into forgiveness. The ‘cost’ is much higher and much more valuable than mere money. We have to ask forgiveness, and talk to God about it. This is not at all like talking to one’s father, and admitting to an error. This is talking to GOD. In some ways this is very easy, and in some ways it is the most difficult thing to accomplish. But God is ready, I believe.

Psalm 51 is a guide for us all. One clue,  the herb ‘Hyssop’, was an important herb in Jerusalem and the only herb the tax collector Matthew could not tax. It grows wild in many locations, and is easy to find seed for, and to grow yourself.

But even without hyssop, Psalm 51, leads us each to forgiveness.

And it is good to be forgiven, finally.

Pray for our peace,

Bill

Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).

 

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Psalm 51:1-12

 

Exodus 30:1-10

 

Hebrews 4:14—5:4

 

 

 

Psalm 51

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

 

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

 

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

 

Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.

 

Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.

 

You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

 

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

 

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

 

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

 

Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

 

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

 

Exodus 30:1-10

 

You shall make an altar on which to offer incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. It shall be one cubit long, and one cubit wide; it shall be square, and shall be two cubits high; its horns shall be of one piece with it. You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top, and its sides all around and its horns; and you shall make for it a molding of gold all around. And you shall make two golden rings for it; under its molding on two opposite sides of it you shall make them, and they shall hold the poles with which to carry it. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall place it in front of the curtain that is above the ark of the covenant, in front of the mercy seat that is over the covenant, where I will meet with you. Aaron shall offer fragrant incense on it; every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall offer it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps in the evening, he shall offer it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations. You shall not offer unholy incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering; and you shall not pour a drink offering on it. Once a year Aaron shall perform the rite of atonement on its horns. Throughout your generations he shall perform the atonement for it once a year with the blood of the atoning sin offering. It is most holy to the Lord.

 

Hebrews 4:14—5:4

 

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

 


 

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.

 


 

 

 

 

 

Fasting and Hunger 031211

By Rembrandt.

Image via Wikipedia

This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net

 

Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.

 

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

 

Psalm 51

Isaiah 58:1-12

Matthew 18:1-7

 

Psalm 51

1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

4Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.

5Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.

6You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

9Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

11Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.

12Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

13Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

14Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

15O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

16For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.

17The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,

19then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Isaiah 58:1-12

58Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. 2Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.

3“Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. 4Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high. 5Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? 6Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 10if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. 11The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. 12Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

Matthew 18:1-7

18At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 6“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!

Fasting 031211

 

Fasting was such an important part of religion during Jesus’ ministry and a significant part of Jesus’ own spiritual practice that it needs reexamination. During Lent our church is looking at those spiritual disciplines that we can undertake in our own spiritual formation. Part of this morning’s blog will be included in tomorrow’s sermon, so join us for church, or read the sermon online at opensimplechurch.wordpress.com

 

Please look carefully at the words of Isaiah: Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? 6Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

For the last few months I have been enjoying and learning so much from Isaiah, and this morning is no exception. I have the impression, which I slowly will try to verify over time, that Isaiah was one of Jesus’ favorite scriptures, and a favorite of his disciples. So much of what I read in Isaiah speaks loudly of one who loves Jesus, as does this scripture.

 

Once again, we humble disciples of Jehovah and Jesus read the words of encouragement and community in loving the oppressed, rescuing the oppressed, feeding the oppressed.

 

So, even though this scripture is talking about fasting (which is an important spiritual practice) it also redirects us to think that feeding the oppressed is more important than restricting our own food intake. It is more important to consider who is hungry than to make ourselves hungry.

 

Pray today for those children who are hungry and pray that the resources of this abundant world be shared equally among all people, all races, all classes, all nations. Share.

 

Peace,

(brother) Bill

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