Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Go and do Likewise"

Thursday, October 25, 2012 -- Week of Proper 24, Year 2

[Go to http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
     (Book of Common Prayer, p. 989)
Psalm 37:1-18 (morning)     //     37:19-42 (evening)
Ecclesiasticus 10:1-18  (found in the Apocrypha; also called Sirach)
Revelation 9:1-12
Luke 10:25-37

I've added to my "to do" list -- "Go Vote."  I recalled that bit of anticipated business as I started to read Psalm 37.  This psalm is an invitation to hope during a time of trouble.  The psalm reminds us that God defends the poor and vulnerable from the abuses of the wealthy and powerful.  These are major themes throughout scripture.  To me, this psalm expresses a political agenda as well.

Ben Sira starts the 10th chapter of Ecclesiasticus with a paean of praise for education -- "A wise magistrate educates his people, and the rule of an intelligent person is well ordered."  He speaks of the importance of good leadership.  Then he follows with a meditation on humility, reminding the reader that God replaces the proud ruler with the humble. 

In the book of the Revelation of John we have the fifth and six trumpets, which are pretty incomprehensible to me and to scholars.  But the woes of the apocalypse are reminders to our generation that we have the capacity to wreak unparalleled destruction upon earth through our military and environmental violence, and we also have unparalleled opportunity to abolish poverty, hunger, and much disease through our technology and knowledge.  Will we promote blessing or woe?  Many of those decisions rest among our elected leaders.

The final reading is a paradigm of right action.  The gospel scene is not unlike the setting of a political debate or hearing.  A lawyer asks Jesus a question.  Like many questions, it has a self-serving motivation.  "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus gives him an answer.  His answer describes an agenda -- personal and corporate:  "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."  That is the foundation of all Christ-centered activity -- personal, social, religious, political.

Like a good press conference, the lawyer gets a follow-up question.  "Who is my neighbor?"  (Where do we put boundaries around our responsibility to love?)  Jesus answers with a story about a good Samaritan.

A man is injured and in need.  Officials from both the religious and political/business worlds find excuses to pass him by.  But a Samaritan treats him with generous compassion.  A Samaritan is an outsider -- a foreigner, a heretic, and enemy.  But he is the one "who was a neighbor to the man."  The punch line:  "Go and do likewise."

Today's readings offer a fine context for the exercise of civic duties.  I want to vote for leaders who I believe will defend the poor and needy from the potential for abuse from the wealthy and powerful, who will promote quality education for all, who will lead with humility, who will eschew violence and enable the well-being of the earth and all its inhabitants, and who will be a servant leaders who act with neighborly compassion toward all in need.  That's a good agenda for our corporate life.  Voters and politicians:  "Go and do likewise."


Lowell
_______________



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to: http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id244.html

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 http://www.missionstclare.com/english/index.html

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location

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
 



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