Friday, December 16, 2011

Listening to the Prophets

Friday, December 16, 2011 -- Week of 3 Advent , Year Two
Ralph Adam Cram, Richard Upjohn, and John LaFarge; 
Architects, 1942, 1879; Artist, 1910

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p 939)
Psalms 40, 54 (morning)        51 (evening)
Zechariah 7:8 - 8:8
Revelation 5:6-14
Matthew 25:14-30

[Note:  I preached recently on this gospel, Matthew 25:14-30]

As I live in my 60th year, I recognize that I have rarely been as troubled by the spirit and direction of my nation as I am now.  We seem mired in conflict and dominated by those who have made a pact with sectarianism and meanness.  I long for a society that shares the vision of the prophets.

"The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying:  Thus says the Lord of hosts:  Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another." (Zech. 7:8-10)  In other words, create a just society. 

Zechariah looks at his people's history and sees that when they "refused to listen,  ...great wrath came from the Lord of hosts, ...and a pleasant land was made desolate."  A decisive portion of our nation today seems to be determined to follow that destructive path.

But Zechariah also has a vision of restoration, when "old men and old women shall again sit in the streets..., each with staff in hand because of their great age.  And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.  Thus says the Lord of hosts:  Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts?"  (8:4-6)

We know our Biblical history.  We know that the rulers and the people failed to listen to the prophets over and over.  There are always consequences to our pride and stubbornness.  But God always follows judgment with redemption.  The final chapter of history is always God's act of restoration and reconciliation.

So in the meantime, the best we can do is side with the prophets.  Work for a just society.  Proclaim in the name of the Lord true judgments; kindness and mercy; compassion toward the vulnerable, alien and poor; and open-heartedness.  If we live in a time like so many others when a nation refuses to listen, we will suffer with our neighbors, working and actively waiting for God's work of restoration.

Lowell

Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
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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 missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
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 --  Click for Divine Hours

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

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

2 Comments:

At 10:22 AM, Blogger jcross said...

Amen, Amen. Fr. Lowell you always say it so well. Scary is the unknown, maybe- I am ready for a new chapter. Just afraid the page turn will bring a greater level of loss and more control, power- money for those who seem blind to the way of any "beneath" them. Maybe further degradation is what is needed before we finally say- "ENOUGH". God show us the path, we pray.

 
At 3:36 PM, Anonymous janet said...

Hi John and Lowell,
We are trying to plant/grow Everywhere Peace Flourishing in Fayetteville. Saying it with wonder does wonders - it all starts right there in the muck of life with you and me and the blessed trinity.

Peace, Janet

 

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