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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Lectionary Readings

Jeremiah 1:4-10  •  Psalm 71:1-6, 103:1-8  •  Isaiah 58:9b-14  •  Hebrews 12:18-29  •  Luke 13:10-17

Backstory for Sunday Passages

An Everything You Got Moment (Psalm 103:1-8)

Psalm 103 is an expression of praise for God’s love that has been showered on the psalmist and the nation of Israel.  It is a call to praise.  In our responsive reading this morning, from the first eight verses of Psalm 103, we see the phrase ‘Bless the Lord, O my Soul.”  The word Soul is a reference to everything that we are and have, the phrase is akin to the greatest commandment which says to Love the Lord you God with everything you are and everything you have (heart, soul, and mind).  The word Bless is a metaphor for falling down prostrate before God (kneel), it is an act of submission – giving to God all that you are and have.  This Psalm is an ‘everything you got’ realization and recognition of God – his mercies and love.

A Not Me Moment (Jeremiah 1:4-10)

Jeremiah is often called the reluctant prophet in that he was very hesitant in accepting God’s call to be a prophet.  Today’s passage takes place when Jeremiah is a young man, around 20 years old.  It was in this exchange between God and Jeremiah in which we see God informing Jeremiah that he is to be the mouthpiece of God.  This was the beginning of a forty year career in which Jeremiah was not permitted to marry. This was also the start to a life of presenting truth to a people who, sometimes violently, did not want to hear truth.  As Jeremiah heard God’s plan for him he was quick to argue his own immaturity and inability.  God told Jeremiah, however, that he knew him and that he was the right person for the job.

A Someone Sees Me Moment (Luke 13:10-17)

Jesus was teaching in the Synagogue on the Sabbath.  The Sabbath was the day of the week set aside for rest.  It was a day to focus on the fact that God had given all that was needed, therefore, it was a time to remember and recognize God.  Over the centuries, since the law of the Sabbath was given, the leaders had made many rules to assure that no one took part in anything too physically asserting or activities – busyness that would limit God’s people from remembering him and his provision.  In the midst of all these Sabbath rules, Mercy laws had also been given permitting individuals to act, ‘work’, in situations that required works/acts of mercy.  So, on this particular Sabbath day, when Jesus noticed a woman who had been, up to this point, unnoticed, he acted in a merciful way. Oddly, even with these ‘mercy’ exceptions, the religious official became indignant that Jesus had ‘worked’ on the Sabbath when he could have, instead, done so on any of the other six days of the week.

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