Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Tuesday, October 16, 2007 -- Week of Proper 23
(Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Bishops, 1555; Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1556)

"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

Audio Podcasts of today's "Morning Reflection" and those from the past week are available from http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html (go to St. Paul's Home Page www.stpaulsfay.org and click "Morning Reflection podcast")

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Prayer Book, p. 988)
Psalms 5, 6 (morning) 10, 11 (evening)
Jeremiah 36:27 - 37:2
1 Corinthians 14:1-12
Matthew 10:16-23

There is much today about the prophetic word.

Yesterday we read of how Jeremiah's scribe Baruch came read the scroll of his prophecy publicly. Jeremiah condemned the leadership of Israel and its king, Jehoiakim. Jeremiah prophesies that God would punish Israel for her unfaithfulness to God's will, using the instrument of the Babylonian army to carry out the judgment.

With singular arrogance and disdain, the king burned the scroll of Jeremiah's prophecy as it was read to him. Jeremiah and Baruch went into hiding and Jeremiah dictated another longer scroll. Nothing good can come of this arrogance. The prophet will not be silenced.

Paul commends the ministry of prophecy to the congregation in Corinth. He tells them to speak in a way that allows others to understand what is said and which builds up the community. He contrasts prophetic speech with speaking in tongues, which satisfies the speaker, but fails to edify the listener. Comprehendable speech that builds community is better than "church-speak."

And Matthew's gospel sends the disciples out "like sheep into the midst of wolves." There will be conflict. The values of the church will seem threatening to other powers, both religious and political. Persevere. The Spirit will speak through you. Even though you may experience betrayal and sabotage from within and attack from without, persevere in witness.

I think about today's prophets. Who are they and what are they saying? How are they being received?

We have heard the warnings of judgment for our wastefulness, pollution and exploitation of our environment. Today the message of prophecy is often spoken to us by our scientists and researchers. Humanity is contributing to a climate change that threatens the earth, they tell us. But that is inconvenient to the powerful. A responsible response would be expensive.

Our leaders heard the warnings from the church -- do not initiate a war in Iraq. John Paul II led an international chorus of Christian voices, including our own Presiding Bishop and Executive Council and the leaders of other denominations -- evangelicals, pentecostals, and mainline churches. Every church body who spoke out prior to our invasion (except the Southern Baptists) urged the President not to go to war. He was told that the war did not meet the criteria of a just war. He was warned that it would create problems greater than it would solve. Like many others, I experienced the President's attitude to be one of arrogance, reminiscent of Jehoiakim. Nothing good can come of such.

Other prophets speak to us of the needs of those who lack access to basic health care in our wealthy country. Of the failure of our inner cities and the potential for beginning early education for our children so they don't fall irrevocably behind. Of the massive transfer of wealth into the hands of the few. Of the reality of soaring debt and deficits and the rhetoric of tax cuts. Of the futility of violence and threat. Of the danger of extreme religion and the hope of ecumenism. Of the unique potential our generation has to eliminate extreme poverty in the world.

The prophets today say the same things they always have said. Be faithful to God. Care for the poor, the vulnerable and the alien. Do not be violent or arrogant. Caution to the powerful and wealthy. Care for what God has entrusted to you. Trust God and not your own strength. Live with generous hope.



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The Rev. Lowell Grisham
Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, AR

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

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worship weekly
pray daily
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live generously.


At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lowell, your words of Prophesy about the war, about the arrogance of leaders who ignore the human and environmental needs that we face, are so welcome. Arkansas Women's Action for New Directions AR/WAND works daily to address these issues. Thanks for your voice of Prophecy.....Peace and Hope, Caroline

At 11:18 AM, Blogger The Underground Pewster said...

Watch yourself Lowell; prophets have a tendency to die horrible deaths.
"...the king burned the scroll of Jeremiah's prophecy..."
Also today we remember the burning of Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Bishops, 1555 and the burning of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1556 by the English Monarchs. These Bishops were prophets of the Protestant Church.
To go peacefully to one's death in obedience to God's will is the example of Christ.
Q1. So should I let the terrorists come and martyr me?
Q2. As christians, do you think there is such a thing as a "just" war?
It is always easy to speak out against an unpopular war or one that is not going according to plan.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Thanks for your words and works.

And thank you UP for your good questions.

I will say that I spoke up against going to war when 90% of the American people polled as favoring it.

I disagree with the form of your Q1. Nobody suggests that we should let the terrorists come and martyr us. I've said from the beginning, we know how to deal with terrorists. They are just another form of organized crime -- not unlike the KKK or Mafia. Their only weapon is fear; they only succeed when others behave fearfully or extremely.

We needed good police action -- work intelligence to infiltrate and compromise them. Work the positive side to promote justice (racial justice vs. the KKK, honest safe businesses vs. the Mafia) -- concentrate on solving the Palestinian / Israeli conflict and the desperation that breeds recruits to terrorists. Empower the voices of moderate Islam. Become the opposite of what the terrorists say you are -- become generous lovers of charity and peace.

Q2 -- I do believe in the use of military force in some situations. I think that the "just war theory" is a contribution to that thought. For several years I've been of the opinion that the US should encourage and participate in an international coalition to intimidate the bullies in Darfur who are committing genocide. I thought we waited too long in the Balkans.

Just some thoughts.



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