Grace and Peace to you through the power of the Holy Spirit.
First, some sad news. I was informed this morning that a long time member of Peace United Church (Long Prairie United Methodist Church before that) Isabelle Clasen has passed away. The funeral is tentatively being planned for Friday, 11:00 AM, at Peace United Church North. If anything changes with that schedule I will let you know. Our prayers go out to the family.
Our readings this week are:
Proverbs 31:10-31 – While many assume that this poem is about a “Great Wife” scholarship has shown that the qualities described in the poem have numerous parallels in the description of Woman Wisdom elsewhere in Proverbs. When you read this poem closely the qualities describe a 21st century woman better then it describes women in the Mideast 3000 years ago. Granted, any woman in any age who does everything described here would drop from exhaustion.
Psalm 1 – What a great opening Psalm. The way of the righteous who delight in the law of the Lord will be blessed. The wicked are like chaff and will simply be scattered by the wind.
Wisdom of Solomon 1:16-2:1, 12-22 – Dig out your Apocrypha like last week to find this reading. If you don’t have a Bible with the Apocrypha here is a link to the passage: Bible Gateway . The author states that the wicked have made a pact with death. Beginning in the last half of 2:1 the words spoken come from the wicked and go through verse 20 (including the skipped verses). The author then says that they have been led astray and did not understand God’s will for them.
OR Jeremiah 11:18-20 – Jeremiah becomes aware of threats against him because of the words he speaks against the religious-political system but he trust in the Lord protection as he renews his commitment to the Lord.
Psalm 54 – This short Psalm run through a cycle: prayer for protection from enemies; assurance that God helps and vindicates; then a prayer of thanksgiving for that protection. What if, during difficult times, we prayed the same way? Petition, Assurance, and Thanksgiving. It doesn’t have to be long and involved. Let’s call it the PAT prayer.
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a – In 3:13-18 James describes two kinds of wisdom: the worldly and God’s. His sentence on the wisdom from above summarizes his entire letter: wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, yielding, merciful, fruitful, and without favoritism or hypocrisy. In 4:1-3, James asks about the conflict within the church which come from desire of worldly things that lead to murder, disputes and conflicts. His answer to this problem comes in verses 7-8a: submit to God and draw near to God. There is a lot to ponder in this passage. Consider reading 4:11-17 also as this passage will be skipped.
Mark 9:30-37 – We skip over the story of Jesus’ transfiguration which we read during Epiphany last February. We also miss the story of boy with a spirit whom the disciples could not cure. The boy’s father has a great line in verse 24, “I believe, help my unbelief”. Now there’s a sermon! In our reading this week Jesus again tells the disciples what will happen when they get to Jerusalem. Like last week, the prediction brings out the human side of the disciples. Instead of Peter trying to prevent Jesus from going, now the disciples argue amongst themselves about who will be the greatest when Jesus’ reign begins. Again, Jesus has to tell them they have got it all wrong. He says, “Those who want to be first shall be last of all and servant of all.” What if our politics were conducted that way? What if Obama and Romney held that attitude?
There is a lot of reading this week. I pray that God will bless you through your study of scripture.