Thirteenth Day of Lent   15 comments

Pottery

Image Source = Derek Jensen

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints

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Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Jeremiah 18:1-11, 18-20 (Revised English Bible):

These are the words which came to Jeremiah from the LORD:

Go down now to the potter’s house, and there I shall tell you what to say.  I went down to the potter’s house, where I found him working at the wheel.  Now and then a vessel he was making from the day would be spoilt in his hands, and he would remould it into another vessel to his liking.

Now the word of the LORD came to me.

Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with his clay?

says the LORD.

House of Israel, you are the clay in my hands like the clay in his.  At any moment I may threaten to uproot a nation or a kingdom, to pull it down and destroy it.  But if the nation which I have threatened turns back from its wicked ways, then I shall think again about the disaster I had in mind for it.  At another moment I may announce that I shall build or plant a nation or a kingdom.  But if it does evil in my sight by disobeying me, I shall think about the good I had in mind for it.

Go now and tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem that these are the words of the LORD:

I am framing disaster for you and perfecting designs against you.  Turn back, every one of you, from this evil conduct; mend your ways and your actions.

The cry was raised:

Let us consider how to deal with Jeremiah.  There will still be priests to guide us, still wise men to give counsel, still prophets to proclaim the word.  Let us invent some charges against him; let us pay no heed to anything he says.

But pay heed, LORD, and hear what my opponents are saying against me.

It is good to be repaid with evil, that they have dug a pit for me?

Remember how I stood before you, interceding us on their behalf to avert your wrath from them.

Psalm 31:9-16 (Revised English Bible):

Be gracious to me, LORD, for I am in distress

and my eyes are dimmed with grief.

My life is worn away with sorrow and my years with sighing;

through misery my strength falters and my bones waste away.

I am scorned by all my enemies,

my neighbors find me burdensome,

my friends shudder at me;

when they see me on the street they turn away quickly.

Like the dead I have passed out of mind;

I have become like some article thrown away.

For I hear many whispering threats from every side,

conspiring together against me and scheming to take my life.

But in you, LORD, I put my trust;

I say,

You are my God.

My fortunes are in your hand;

rescue me from the power of my enemies and those who persecute me.

Let your face shine upon your servant;

save me in your unfailing love.

Matthew 20:17-28 (Revised English Bible):

Jesus was journeying towards Jerusalem, and on the way he took the Twelve aside and said to them,

We are now going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes; they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles, to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised to life again.

The mother of Zebedee’s sons then approached him with her sons.  She bowed before him and begged a favour.

What is it you want?

asked Jesus.  She replied,

Give orders that in your kingdom  these two sons of mine may sit next to you, one at your right hand and the other on your left.

Jesus turned to the brothers and said,

You do not understand what you are asking.  Can you drink the cup that I am to drink?

They replied,

We can.

He said,

You shall indeed drink my cup, but to sit on my right or on my left is not for me to grant; that honour is for those to whom it has already been assigned by my Father.

When the other then heard this, they were indignant with the two brothers.  So Jesus called them to him and said,

You know that, among the Gentiles, rulers lord it over their subjects, and the great make their authority felt.  It shall not be so with you; among you, whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

The Collect:

O God, you so loved the world that you gave your only-begotten Son to reconcile earth with heaven: Grant that we, loving you above all things, may love our friends in you, and our enemies for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Following divine instructions can result in pain, suffering, and persecution.  Witness the examples of Jeremiah, Jesus, and eleven Apostles.  Those who inflict the pain, suffering, and persecution are some of those whom the suffering and persecuted are trying to help.  That is ironic.

In the Bible judgment and mercy are never far apart.  Often they coexist on the same page, in fact.  And mercy has no meaning apart from judgment.  If God seems cruel at times, this perception flows from our limited knowledge and the basic problem of monotheism:  How can we explain the existence of both good and evil, of both joy and suffering, if there is only one God, who made everything and loves everyone?  I do not know a satisfactory answer to this question.

Yet I perceive that God woos us repeatedly, attempting to attract us.  How will we answer?  Even if the price we pay for saying “yes” is high, it is preferable to that we will pay for saying “no.”

KRT

Written on February 22, 2010

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Posted October 28, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2020, Episcopal Church Lectionary, March 11

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