Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Preparing

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 -- Week of 3 Easter
(William Augustus Muhlenberg, Priest, 1877)

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, page 961)
Psalms 26, 28 (morning) 36, 39 (evening)
Exodus 19:1-16
Colossians 1:1-14
Matthew 3:7-12

We are three months into the Exodus from Egypt. No one today knows where the people are. They are in the wilderness of Sinai, camped before a mountain. Israel will remain in this area throughout the book of Exodus through chapter ten of Numbers. God is teaching and training, calling them to be a community, changing their perspectives from the ways of Egypt to the ways of God, telling them, "You shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation." God tells Moses to prepare the people for God's presence and for the covenant God will give this new community in three days. (Prepare yourself. On Thursday we will be given the Ten Commandments which will form the core of Israel's obligations under this new covenant.)

John the Baptist reminded Israel of their responsibility as people of the covenant. Being "a priestly kingdom and a holy nation" is a responsibility and duty, not a mere privilege. "God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham," John tells them, looking around at a landscape of rocks. John recalls them to their origins. You've been living like you were still in Egypt. Turn around. Repent. Prepare yourself. God's rule is near.

A later Christian teacher, speaking in the tradition of Paul, addresses a church about 100 miles southeast of Ephesus, in an unknown location of southwestern Turkey. He speaks to them of faith, love and hope, grounded in Christ Jesus.

The apostle's prayer for them is an eloquent one. It is a good prayer for us as we begin this day. We are getting prepared. We are God's new community, a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. We have the responsibility of living as God's children, turning away from the values of Egypt that infect our environment, and living the ancient calling that is ever renewed, day by day.

The focus of all of these readings today is that God cares. God cares about us; God cares how we live our lives. What happens to us today and what we do today matters to God.

Therefore, let the apostle's prayer be ours today, as we begin our service. Let his words speak directly to us. Let his prayer bless us and orient us as we begin anew.

Listen, as he prays that you may be "filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."

Amen.

Lowell
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Audio podcast: Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week. Click the following link: Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
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


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

Visit our web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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