Thirty-Seventh Day of Easter   12 comments

A 1628 Reconstruction of the World Map According to Posidonius (Circa 150-130 B.C.E.)

Serving God

Monday, May 7, 2018

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Acts 16:11-15 (Revised English Bible):

We sailed from Troas and made a straight run to Samothrace, the next day a Neapolis, and there to Philippi, a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.  Here we stayed for some days, and on the sabbath we went outside the city gate by the riverside, where we thought there would be a place of prayer; we sat down and talked to the women who had gathered there.  One of those listening was called Lydia, a dealer in purple fabric, who came from the city of Thyatira; she was a worshipper of God, and the Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul said.  She was baptized, and her household with her, and then she urged us,

Now that you have accepted me as a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.

And she insisted on our going.

Psalm 149 (Revised English Bible):

Sing to the LORD a new song,

his praise in the assembly of his loyal servants!

Let Israel rejoice in their maker;

let the people of Zion exult in their king.

Let them praise his name in the dance,

and sing to him psalms with tambourine and lyre.

For the LORD accepts the service of his people;

he crowns the lowly with victory.

Let his loyal servants exult in triumph;

let them shout for joy as they prostrate themselves.

Let the high praises of God be on their lips

and a two-edged sword in their hand

to wreak vengeance on the nations

and punishment on the heathen,

binding their kings with chains,

putting their nobles in irons,

carrying out the judgement decreed against them–

this is glory for all his loyal servants.

Praise the LORD.

John 15:26-16:4a (Anchor Bible):

[Jesus continued, ]

When the Paraclete comes, the Spirit of truth who comes forth from the Father and whom I shall send to you from the Father, he will bear witness on my behalf.  You should bear witness because you have been with me from the beginning.  I have said this to you to prevent your faith from being shaken.  They are going to put you out of the Synagogue.  In fact, the hour is coming when the man who puts you to death will think that he is serving God!  And they will do such things [to you] because they never knew the Father nor me.  However, I have said this to you so that, when the[ir] hour comes, you may remember that I told you so.

The Collect:

Almighty God, you show the light of your truth to those who are in error, to the intent that they may return to the way of righteousness: Grant that those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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The psalm troubles me.  Although it begins nicely, it concludes in violence.  This is incompatible with the love and service of God, as I understand them.  No, for my cues I turn to the Johannine Gospel lection, which describes accurately what happened to many early Christians and expresses in spirit what numerous followers of Jesus experience today.  “In fact, the hour is coming when the man who puts you to death will think that he is serving God!”  “Sacred” violence is not the answer, yet the pages of the Bible teem with it.

No, the reading from Acts reflects an aspect of service to God.  Hospitality, born of mutual support, can indicate love from God.  Certainly, it does so much more than wreaking vengeance of the nations.

KRT

Posted originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 6, 2010

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Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2018, Easter, Episcopal Church Lectionary, May

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