Archive for the ‘Luke 11’ Tag

Devotion for the Twenty-Ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-First Days of Easter (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   11 comments

Above:  A Long-Playing Record

Image Source = Tomasz Sienicki

Leviticus and Luke, Part V:  Like a Broken Record

MAY 15-17, 2022

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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The Assigned Readings:

Leviticus 20:1-16, 22-27 (29th Day of Easter)

Leviticus 21:1-24 (30th Day of Easter)

Leviticus 23:1-22 (31st Day of Easter)

Psalm 93 (Morning–29th Day of Easter)

Psalm 97 (Morning–30th Day of Easter)

Psalm 98 (Morning–31st Day of Easter)

Psalms 136 and 117 (Evening–29th Day of Easter)

Psalms 124 and 115 (Evening–30th Day of Easter)

Psalms 66 and 116 (Evening–31st Day of Easter)

Luke 11:37-54 (29th Day of Easter)

Luke 12:1-12 (30th Day of Easter)

Luke 12:13-34 (31st Day of Easter)

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Some Related Posts:

Prayer of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/prayer-of-praise-and-adoration-for-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter/

Prayer of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/prayer-of-dedication-for-the-fifth-sunday-of-easter/

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 I admit it; I sound like a broken record:  Loving people and seeking justice for them matters far more than does keeping an obscure element of the Law of Moses.  Speaking of that law code, shall we consider some provisions of it?  We read some sexual laws and an order to execute one for the offense of idolatry.  Then there is this law:

If anyone insults his father or his mother, he shall be put to death; he has insulted his father and his mother–his blood guilt is upon him.

–Leviticus 20:9, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

To insult is also to curse, the sort of activity the Prodigal Son committed in Luke 15.  Yet the father, the God figure in the parable, forgave the son.

We read in Leviticus 21:16 forward that physically handicapped or deformed Levites were forbidden to serve as priests.  It seems that such men were not supposed to serve God in that way because their physical imperfections reflected the divine form inadequately.  I am glad of progressive attitudes regarding physical differences in modern times; may these ideas flourish.

Then we read about what makes a sacrifice acceptable.  I do not care, for none of that has mattered since the first century CE.

Jesus criticized people who were meticulous about legalistic details while they ignored the imperative of social justice.  He advocated humility before God, trust in God, and active concern for the conditions and circumstances of others.  I think that he cared about blind and disabled Levites, who got to eat well yet were still second-class spiritual citizens.

Speaking of Levites, contact with a corpse made one unclean (Leviticus 22).  That concern played a role in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).  And who was the hero in that story?

People matter more than arcane laws.  Here ends the lesson, again.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

THE FEAST OF EVELYN UNDERHILL, ANGLICAN MYSTIC

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/leviticus-and-luke-part-v-like-a-broken-record/

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Twentieth Day of Lent   11 comments

The Prophet Jeremiah, from the Sistine Chapel; Painting by Michelangelo Buonarroti

Thursday, March 24, 2022

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 7:23-28 (TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures):

[Thus said the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel:]

But this is what I commanded them: Do my bidding, that I may be your God and you may be my people; walk only in the way that I enjoin upon you, that it may go well with you.  Yet they did not listen or give ear; they followed their own counsels, the willfulness of their evil hearts.  They have gone backward, not forward, from the day your fathers left the land of Egypt until today.  And though I kept sending all My servants, the prophets, to them daily and persistently, they would not listen to Me or give ear.  They stiffened their necks, they acted worse than their fathers.

You shall say all these things to them, but they will not listen to you; you shall call to them, but they will not respond to you.  Then say to them: This is the nation that would not obey the LORD their God, that would not accept rebuke.  Faithfulness has perished, vanished from their mouths.

Psalm 95:6-11 (TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures):

Come, let us bow down and kneel,

bend the knee before the LORD our maker,

for He is our God,

and we are the people He tends, the flock in His care.

O, if you would but head His charge this day:

Do not be stubborn as at Meribah,

as on the day of Massah, in the wilderness,

when your fathers put Me to the test,

tried Me, though they had seen My deeds.

Forty years I was provoked by that generation;

I thought,

They are a senseless people;

they would not know My ways.

Concerning them I swore in anger,

They shall never come to My resting-place.

Luke 11:14-23 (The New Testament in Modern English–Revised Edition):

Another time, Jesus was expelling an evil spirit which was preventing a man from speaking, and as soon as the evil spirit left him, the dumb man found his speech, to the amazement of the crowds.

But some of them said,

He expels these spirits because he is in league with Beelzebub, the chief of the evil spirits.

Others among them, to test him, tried to get a sign from Heaven out of him.  But he knew what they were thinking and told them,

Any kingdom divided itself is doomed and a disunited household will collapse.  And if Satan disagrees with Satan, how does his kingdom continue?–for I know you are saying that I expel evil spirits because I am in league with Beelzebub.  But if I expel devils because I am an ally of Beelzebub, who is your own sons’ ally when they do the same thing?  They can settle that question for you.  But if it is by the finger of God that I am expelling evil spirits, then the kingdom of God has swept over you here and now.

When a strong man armed to the teeth guards his own house, his property is secure.  But when a stronger man comes and conquers him, he removes all the arms on which he has pinned his faith and divides the spoil among his friends.

Anyone who is not with me is against me, and the man who does not gather with me is really scattering.

The Collect:

Keep watch over your Church, O Lord, with your unfailing love; and, since it is grounded in human weakness and cannot maintain itself without your aid, protect it from danger, and keep it in the way of salvation; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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The law of God is perfect and revives the soul.  And the judgments of God and righteous, even when we mere mortals do not understand them.  The essence of this law is to love God, one’s neighbors, and oneself.  We need (if we have not done so yet) to get outside ourselves and think of others more often that we think of ourselves.  And we need to recognize and embrace basic goodness. Jeremiah, the Psalmist, and Jesus knew well many people around them fell short of this standard.  And they knew the consequences.

As I read church history I encounter a mixed record.  It tells of great acts of love and charity, of rebuilding and maintaining learning and society.  And the annals of church history mention inquisitions, the burning of alleged heretics, the conduct of religious wars and persecutions, the banning of books and silencing of alleged heretics, the use of the Old and New Testaments to defend chattel slavery and racial segregation.  My library contains a 1971 book called Sermons in American History.  This volume arranges sermons in a point-counterpoint format according to topics, dating back to the colonial era.  Among these sermons is a 1954 oration called “God the Original Segregationist,” by Dr. Carey Daniel, Pastor of First Baptist Church, West Dallas, Texas.  As of 1971 Daniel continued to sell copies of the sermon via mail.

One might think that the Golden Rule, being straight-forward, would be easy to understand.  Do to others that which you would have them do to you.  Do not do others what you would not have them do to you.  So, why defend segregation and slavery and burn convicted heretics at the stake?  Can we not distinguish between basic goodness and evil?

There is an old story, which might be apocryphal.  Yet its point is true.  Late in his life the Apostle John visited a Christian congregation.  The gathered people were excited, of course, anticipating the wisdom John would impart.  Some men carried the elderly and frail Apostle (in a chair) into the house where the church met and set him down in front of the group.  John said, “My children, love one another.”  Then he motioned for the men to pick up the chair and carry him out.  One disappointed church member ran after the Apostle, saying, in essence, “That’s it?”  John replied, “When you have done that, I will tell you more.”

Jesus has come.  His Church continues.  The Kingdom of God has swept over us.  Let us show this Kingdom to others by our love for God, our fellow human beings, and ourselves.

KRT

Written on February 28, 2010

Seventh Day of Lent   10 comments

Jonah

Image Source = Cbl62

March 9, 2022

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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Jonah 3:1-10 (New Revised Standard Version):

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying,

Get up; go to Nineveh, the great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.

So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD.  Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across.  And he cried out,

Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!

And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on a sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.  Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh:

By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything.  They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water.  Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God.  All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands.  Who knows?  God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them and he did not do it.

Psalm 51:10-19 (New Revised Standard Version):

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

Do not case 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.

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

Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

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

For you have no delight in sacrifice;

if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit,

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

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

then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;

then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Luke 11:29-32 (New Revised Standard Version):

When the crowds were increasing, he [Jesus] began to say,

This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.  For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation.  The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!

The Collect:

Bless us, O God, in this holy season, in which our hearts seek your help and healing; and so purify us by your discipline that we may grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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This is not sweet Jesus, Mr. Nice Messiah.  Jesus condemned the focus on the spectacular rather than on repentance.  He had come to draw people to God, and people demanded signs.  In Luke 9:51 he had turned his face toward Jerusalem, literally and figuratively.  Jesus was en route to his immediate destiny, was serious about it, and expected others to be serious, too.  He did not deal diplomatically with nonsense or abide fools easily.  If he seems harsh, consider the literary context.  The man had his excellent reasons.

In his rebuke of signs-seekers Jesus referenced the Queen of Sheba, who visited King Solomon, and the Book of Jonah, one of the great works of ancient satire.  The fictitious Jonah was a reluctant prophet who obeyed God only after disobeying him.  Jonah preached repentance to the vast city of Nineveh, to stave off divine judgment.  When he succeeded, Jonah was angry.  He did not understand that God is the lord of both judgment and mercy.

The Queen of Sheba and the residents of Nineveh were gentiles who responded favorably to God and God’s messengers.  In this respect they were unlike many of Jesus’ fellow Jews the third decade of the Common Era in Judea.  Many of the chosen people rejected Jesus, and it caused much frustration.

Unfortunately, much lingering resentment and misunderstanding between Christians and Jews feeds the sin of anti-Semitism.

The Jewish religious authorities of Jesus’ day were guardians of their traditions, which they considered sacred.  Jesus challenged them, and they responded (generally) defensively, as one might expect, given human nature.  Today institutionalized Christianity comes with its schools of traditions of varying ages and degrees of complexity.  And what if we are gravely mistaken, just as those attached to the Second Temple were?  Can we bear the thought?  Will we continue to wed ourselves to outmoded traditions rather than seek to emulate Jesus?

Consider another hypothetical scenario.  What if we Christians, generally speaking, possess an unduly narrow vision of divine mercy?  We benefit from this mercy; do we recognize how far it extends?  Do we condemn other friends of God we do not know are friends of God?  Do we fail to recognize potential friends of God who need merely to repent?  Do we write people off when we should see them as God sees them?  Do we not see what people can become?  My model here is Jesus, who recognized great potential in his Apostles, eleven of whom overcame their weaknesses in time to become great leaders of early Christianity.  In the Gospels the Apostles are mostly obtuse and occasionally petty.  Yet witness what they became.

I offer these thoughts for prayerful reflection.

KRT

Written on February 21, 2010

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/jonah/

Posted October 27, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, Episcopal Church Lectionary, March 9

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