Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The New Community

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 -- Week of 2 Epiphany (Year One)
Richard Meux Benson and Charles Gore,
Religious, 1915; Bishop of Worcester, of Birmingham, and of Oxford, 1912


[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. 942)
Psalms 119:1-24 (morning)    //    12, 13, 14 (evening)
Isaiah 41:1-16
Ephesians 2:1-10
Mark 1:29-45



[Sorry to be late posting.  I was out much of the night with a pastoral emergency.  Slept as late as I could.  Here is something I wrote a few years ago.]

Chapter two of Ephesians opens with words about the deadly life, "following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient."  In the Roman age, like today, the world is characterized by the abuse of power and by greed, punctuated by violence.  The Pax Romana was a peace at the end of the Roman sword, in a world controlled by powerful and wealthy elites.  The civil religion was nationalistic and proud, and it ignored or enforced dramatic inequalities among peoples.  The vast majority of people were peasants and slaves.  The world was ruled by the wealthy and powerful.

In Christ, God creates a new community, a new world.  It is a world that eschews violence, symbolized by the central image of Jesus on the cross.  Jesus soaks up violence and injustice, and returns only love.  He is raised into the resurrection life of God's power exercised through love, to create a new community of generosity and equality.  That is God's gift.  In the church, unlike the world, all are equal -- male and female, Jew and Gentile, slave and free.  We are given the new air of the Spirit that breathes us into being "out of the great love with which he loved us." 

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God...  For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life."

God invites us to accept a new reality -- a new community, a new Spirit -- a heart transplant.  This new reality is God's divine acceptance into a new "way of life."  In this new way of life, there is no more elitism, no more injustice between the haves and the have-nots, no more abuse of power, no more greed and inequality, no more violence.  The Peace of Christ is the opposite of the Pax Romana.

The riches of God is the richness of kindness.  We have been raised into this new way "so that in the ages to come he might show us the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."  


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

1 Comments:

At 3:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hopefully you were able to still spread your wings a bit during your time of weariness yesterday.
your theology a few years ago inspires me today quite nicely.
thanks

 

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