Archive for the ‘Psalm 79’ Tag

Eleventh Day of Lent   7 comments

Dana Carvey as “the Church Lady,” from Saturday Night Live in the 1980s:

Image Source = http://thatsagoodblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/church-lady-tingles-for-justin-bieber.html

“Isn’t that special?”

(Have I dated myself with this cultural reference?)

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March 14, 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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Daniel 9:1-10 (Revised English Bible):

In the first year of the reign of Darius son of Ahasuerus (a Mede by birth, who was appointed ruler over the kingdom of the Chaldeans) I, Daniel, was reading the scriptures and reflecting on the seventy years which, according to the word of the LORD to the prophet Jeremiah, were to pass while Jerusalem lay in ruins.  Then I turned to the Lord God in earnest prayer and supplication with fasting and with sackcloth and ashes.  I prayed and made this confession to the LORD my God:

Lord, great and terrible God, keeping covenant and faith with those who love you and observe your commandments, we have sinned, doing what was wrong and wicked; we have rebelled and rejected your commandments and your decrees.   We have turned a deaf ear to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings and princes, to our forefathers, and to all the people of the land.  Lord, the right is on your side; the shame, now as ever, belongs to us, the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem, and to all the Israelites near and far in every land to which you have banished them for their disloyal behaviour towards you.  LORD, the shame falls on us, on our kings, our princes, and our forefathers.  We have sinned against you.  Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God, because we have rebelled against him.  We have not obeyed the LORD our God, in that we have not conformed to the laws which he laid down for our guidance through his servants the prophets….

Psalm 79 (Revised English Bible):

The heathen have invaded your domain, God;

they have defiled your holy temple and laid Jerusalem in ruins.

The dead bodies of your servants they have thrown out as food for the birds;

everyone loyal to you they have made carrion for wild beasts.

All round Jerusalem their blood is spilt like water,

and there is no one to give them burial.

We suffer the taunts of our neighbours, the gibes and mockery of those about us.

How long, LORD, will you be roused to such fury?

How long will you let your indignation blaze like a fire?

Pour out your wrath on nations that do not acknowledge you,

on kingdoms that do not call on you by name,

for they have devoured Jacob and left his homeland a waste.

Do not remember against us the guilt of past generations;

rather let your compassion come swiftly to meet us,

for we have been brought so low.

Help us, God our saviour, for the honour of your name;

for your name’s sake rescue us and wipe out our sins.

Why should the nations ask,

Where is their God?

Before our very eyes may those nations know your vengeance for the slaughter of your servants.

Let the groaning of the captives reach your presence

and in your great might save those under the sentence of death.

Turn back sevenfold on their heads, Lord,

the contempt our neighbours pour on you.

Then we, your people, the flock which you shepherd,

will give you thanks for ever and repeat your praise to all generations.

Luke 6:27-38 (Revised English Bible):

Contextual note: This passage takes place during the Sermon on the Plain and immediately after the Beatitudes and Woes.–KRT

[Jesus said,]

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who treat you spitefully.  If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; if anyone takes what is yours do not demand it back.

Treat others as you would kike them to treat you.  If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners love those who love them?  Again, if you do good only to those who are good to you, what credit is there in that?  Even sinners do as much.  And if you lend only where you expect to be repaid, what credit is there in that?  Even sinners lend to each other to be repaid in full.  But you must love your enemies and do good, and lend without expecting any return; and you will have a rich reward; you will be sons of the Most High, because he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.  Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned; give, and gifts will be given you.  Good measure, pressed and shaken down and running over, will be poured into your lap; for whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you in turn.

The Collect:

Let your Spirit, O Lord, come into the midst of us to wash us with the pure water of repentance, and prepare us to be always a living sacrifice to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever and ever.  Amen.

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I extended the Daniel reading slightly and typed the entire psalm, not just the first nine verses specified in the Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints to establish context.  Sometimes I extend the lections, but never do I omit verses.

One point I get out of the way is to refer you to the post for the Tenth Day of Lent, for my comments there apply to these readings, also.

Sometimes Biblical passages make us uncomfortable.  Today’s psalm numbers among those for me.  The imagery is unpleasant and the cry for vengeance contradicts Jesus from the Sermon on the Plain.  Yet let us not turn away from unpleasant parts of the Scriptures.  The Book of Psalms contains a variety of human emotions, from adoration to vengeance.  At difficult times I have identified with the cries for vindication and vengeance.  And I am not alone in this.

In the excerpt from the Lukan Gospel we read that we should not judge others.  Here is Jesus, again, raising the standard.  I know that I judge others at least once on a good day and many times on a bad day.  Seldom do I give this voice, but I know my thoughts.  And the Gospels remind me that I should not have done what I did.  The truth is that appearances can be deceptive and that we do not know everything.  Yet God knows all, and therefore judgment about others resides there properly.

So, why do more of us not try more assiduously to refrain from such judgmental attitudes?  (I begin with myself.)  We, like the Apostles of Jesus, do not understand as well as well as we think we do.  The first step in correcting this spiritual disorder is recognizing its existence.  The rest is primarily in the hands of God, although our free will is an important factor, too.

Too often the experiences many vulnerable people have of church members is that of judging, as in the attitude of Dana Carvey’s great character, the Church Lady.  An oft-repeated thought follows: the church should be hospital for sinners.  Yet too often it resembles an assembly of the self-righteous.  And our righteousness is worthless and illusory.  And yet we judge.

Lord, have mercy on us.

KRT

Written on February 22, 2010

Edited on October 28, 2010

Posted October 28, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, Episcopal Church Lectionary, March 14

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