Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Readings for July 17 2011

Thanks to all who made Sunday’s Island Service a success. I really enjoyed the day. The “Submarine Band” was also a hit. Thank you everyone.

Our readings this week:

Genesis 28:10-19a – Last week Jacob cheated Esau out of his birthright. Between last week’s reading and this week’s, Jacob cons his father, Isaac, into blessing him and not Esau. Esau is furious and plans to kill Jacob once Isaac dies. Isaac sends Jacob to Rachel’s hometown to marry one of his cousins (next week’s lesson). This week, Jacob is on his way and one night he has a dream of a ladder (or stairway, cue Led Zeppelin music from the 70’s) that reaches from earth to heaven and upon which angels climb. God tells Jacob that his descendants will inherit the land, be numerous, and will bless the world. This is a restatement of the promise that God made to Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham. Jacob then wakes up, builds a pillar, places the rock he was using as a pillow on top, pours oil over it and names it “Beth El” (Bethel) or “House of God”. Verses 20-22 are Jacob’s promise to tithe to this house.

Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 – David acknowledges that God knows him in totality. Where can he hide? Nowhere.

Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 – You will find this book in the Apocrypha or in a Catholic Bible. WoS is similar to Proverbs in that it is a book of wisdom (hence the name). This passage proclaims that God’s mercy is for everyone. Check it out here: Bible Study Tools

Isaiah 44:6-8 – God declares that there are no other gods.

Psalm 86:11-17 – The entire psalm is both a plea for God’s help and an affirmation that God is good. Verse 15 sums up God’s character: “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Romans 8:26-39 – Paul continues his discussion about life in the Spirit and what God’s saving grace is about. I read much of this passage during funeral services. The Spirit lifts up our deepest prayers. We have been called by God to be part of his family. Since God is clearly for us (humanity) who can be against us? The answer is “Nothing”. In absolute terms that may mean that not even sin and death (Paul names death but sin is included in “nothing in all creation”) will separate God’s love from humanity. Rob Bell may be right. “Love Wins”.

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 – The first part is the parable of the weeds among the wheat and the second part is the explanation. Before you read the explanation stop to reflect on what else the parable may be about. The explanation turns the parable into a metaphor about the end time and is a reasonable explanation. However, it need not be the only one. Perhaps the parable is about us and how we are so quick to categorize people into the good and bad, the righteous and the evil, the wheat and the weeds.

May the Word of God bless you and your life this week.

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