Friday, June 14, 2013

Jesus Speaks Like the Prophets

Friday, June 14, 2013 -- Week of Proper 5, Year One
Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, 379

[Go to 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. 970)
Psalms    69:1-23 (24-30) 31-38 (morning)    //    73 (evening)
Ecclesiasticus 45:6-16 (found in the Apocrypha)
2 Corinthians 12:11-21
Luke 19:41-48

This will be my last Morning Reflection for the time being.  I started posting these in September, 2003, almost ten years ago.  I’ve enjoyed the privilege of having the Speaking to the Soul blog on picking up my posts four days a week for two years now.  Thanks for the great opportunity, Jim.

It all started during a sabbatical when I was reading the Daily Office on my own instead of with others at the church.  I missed those conversations about what we had just read, so I started making up my own conversations with myself by journaling.  Then the Internet opened up that conversation to others.  Posts from 2006 to now will remain available, archived on this blog.

But now, I need to be able to be a granddad in the mornings.  How many days my granddaughter has come in wanting my attention when I’ve been writing or posting.  It’s the best time of the day for a priceless opportunity.  I need to embrace that chance.

I’m so glad that my associate the Rev. Dr. Lora Walsh will be writing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  She’s a wise and gifted priest.

Many thanks to you, my friends, who have shared the Daily Office and these morning thoughts with me.  The gift of your time and attention toward my little thoughts leaves me in wonder.

I am so grateful for the encouragement and challenge I’ve had from so many people who’ve read these posts and offered their comments.  I’ve learned so much, and I feel like I’ve got friends galore.

The prophets speak again through the voice of Jesus today as he enters Jerusalem in tears.  He echoes Jeremiah's words describing the siege which predicted the first destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.  Jesus sees similar judgment facing the contemporary city.  He enacts the hope spoken in the last verse of Zechariah that there be no more traders in the Temple.  And he speaks from the vision of Isaiah that the holy precincts be a house of prayer not a den of robbers.  Jesus challenges the entrenched powers and speaks of the ideals of a just reign of God.  The common people respond from their hearts, but those who are in charge are angry and deaf to his idealism.  They will conspire to silence Jesus and to manipulate the people to their will.

I can imagine Jesus speaking similar words today.  Our is such an abusive time.  Hostility and greed dominate.  Power is abused and abusive.  The two streams meet when money buys power.  Religion is compromised and fails to speak the prophetic call to holiness and justice.

Jesus invites Jerusalem, the seat of political and religious power, to reclaim the vision of the prophets.  The prophets insisted upon justice -- honesty in all things; equality and dignity for people; special compassion for the poor, the widow, and the alien.  The prophets insisted upon holiness -- humble obedience to God and God's ways, right relationships among people, integrity of character.  The prophets insisted upon generosity -- fair distribution of property and wealth, humility from the powerful, compassion from all.

That's what I want -- from Jerusalem and Washington, D.C. and all the other centers of political and religious power.  How different might our nation and world be if we embraced the values of the prophets and the ideals of Jesus.  What would he say as he reads today's newspaper?  What would he say upon entering our Capitol?  Our Temples?


Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to:

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

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site 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

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


At 8:46 AM, Blogger Aletha Lingo said...

thank you for writing these morning devotions, no matter I am in the world I can find encouragement here, glad to hear you are now going to spend time with your grand daughter, blessings to you both

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous gary weidner said...

I'm going to miss these. Thanks for doing all the heavy lifting for me.

At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Morning Lowell,

I had to read through a few tears this morning. I'll miss your thoughts. Maybe I can keep up with the Sunday sermons as you post those.

And a thought as I brushed away the tears. Maybe the Capitol is too much the Temple..

Peace and Grace,

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Susan Gray said...

Thank you, Lowell, for your faithful sharing. It has been part of my daily lectionary study to incorporate "what Lowell had to say."
I am glad you did the work. Now go--enjoy your granddaughter!

Blessings, my friend,


At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Nancy H said...

Lowell, I am going to miss your words of wisdom.
But your granddaughter would miss you more.
Thank you for the time and thought you have given over the years.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Lowell said...

Thank you so much for the kind words. It has been a real privilege to know that friends are reading these little posts. I will miss the discipline and the conversations. I'm looking forward to conversations of a different type with my granddaughter.

Thanks Aletha, Gary, Janet, Susan, Nancy and everyone. Please be sure to connect with Lora Walsh as she'll start "Morning Reflections" on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.


At 1:33 PM, Blogger Ralph Ellis said...


Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with us every day so inspiringly, insightfully.

I know your sharing with your granddaughter will be much the same.

God as far as I can imagine must be very pleased with your work in edifying us daily, faithfully, bravely. Yet I imagine your stopping at this time in this way for this reason must please Him even more.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got a lot of reading and listening to do of your reflections over the past few years. Once again, I like it when we know it's time to make changes and you're mirroring that for us.

Peace and Hope, Caroline

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you, Lowell, for your prayers, that obviously source from a deep faith & a love for your people. As a preacher with a full-time "other job", I sometimes need to borrow from others: you write with an inclusivity & a love for all God's people that shines out of the words you share, & that make my job so much easier. Bless you: your ministry of crafting words is so much appreciated.


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