Holy lives and earthly justice... for all
Tuesday, October 31, 2006 -- Week of Proper 25
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.
Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at www.missionstclare.com
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html
Discussion Blog: To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to http://lowellsblog.blogspot.com, find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.
Today's Readings for the Daily Office (p. 991
Psalm 45 (morning) // 47, 48 (evening)
Ecclesiasticus 24:1-12 (found in the Apocrypha; also called Sirach)
or for Evening Prayer (Eve of All Saints = All Hallows Eve = Halloween)
Psalm 34 Wisdom 3:1-9 Revelation 19:1,4-10
In Ecclesiasticus we hear the voice of Wisdom herself as the Glory of God filling the whole earth and choosing particularly to dwell in the Jerusalem Temple. In the Revelation we read of John's vision into the heavenly temple, which opens with great drama not unlike the splitting of the Temple curtain on the day of Jesus' crucifixion.
Ben Sira urges us to seek wisdom in the pursuit of honor and the heritage of a good name among people. John hears the trumpet of the seventh angels and the song of the twenty-four elders who rejoice that the reign of God has come.
The reign of God is described as the time of God's justice. This vision defines God's justice in both positive and negative terms. Positive justice is reward for God's servants the prophets and saints and all who reverence God's name. Negative justice await "those who destroy the earth."
The traditional ways of preparing for God's reign have included both a personal and a corporate dimension. Wisdom invites us to prepare our hearts and minds and souls with the light of the Gospel by becoming a holy people. Justice invites us to prepare the earth for God by creating equity among people and by caring for the earth. Inner sanctification and outer blessing.
Jesus makes a comment that might reference these traditions in today's reading from Luke. When a woman in the crowd seeks to personalize his message by praising his heritage, Jesus turns the message upon the hearers. "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!" He urges them to be filled with light.
Jesus also criticizes the faithfulness of the people of Israel who have been entrusted with God's presence and Wisdom. He uses Jonah and the Queen of Sheba as signs of his critique. Jonah preached to the Gentile enemies of Nineveh and they came to bless God. The Queen of Sheba listened the wisdom of Solomon and honored it. Faithful foreigners have become a judgment upon the "this generation," he says.
The blessing of God's reign and the judgment of justice apply equally to insider and outsider, to this faith and that. Holy hearts and lives of blessing are a universal calling.
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