OYB & the RCL

OK, 3-1/2 months into the One Year Bible reading, and I’m giving it up. This is a good thing… at least for me. Here’s what I realised over Lent:

I’m a Rhythm guy, (which is odd if you’ve ever seen me play guitar.) This is not the same as Routine, which the OYB does a great job of reinforcing. I’m talking Rhythm, Routine with a sense of ebb and flow. For example, I desperately wanted to connect with the Lenten season, but I found it hard. The OYB isn’t designed to do this. That’s not bad; it’s just not me.

So here’s what I’m doing. First, I’m dusting off my copy of The Divine Hours. I’ve been feeling out of sorts lately, and I attribute some of that to missing these daily touchstones.

Second, I’m wishing the other OYB folks the best. How about a prayer, from the Morning Office:

++ Know this: The LORD himself is God;* he himself has made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;* we bless you from the house of
the LORD. ++

Finally, I’ll be picking up the Lectionary readings. I still want to be reading the Bible, and the Lectionary will fulfill this while reinforcing my desire for Rhythm.

One Year Bible: April 13

(One Year Bible Blog post & readings)

The Parable of the Swindling Shrewd Manager is an odd one, since the cheat comes out smelling like roses. I’m pretty sure we’re not to emulate his deceit and misappropriation of funds. Let me know if you think I’m wrong here…

Funny how it can take a crisis to make us aware of how we allocate our attention. It isn’t until a relationship is on the rocks – or over! – that we realise we’ve been taking someone for granted. It isn’t until we’ve lost something that we really appreciate it.

Why are we always looking beyond the present? Our focus is so often on the next thing, the additional thing. We forget about what we already have. Isn’t there an expression, something about a bird in the hand?

++ Lord, keep us in the present. Keep us from worrying over tomorrow. ++

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One Year Bible: April 11

(One Year Bible Blog post & readings)

I love this story from Torah sorry, forgot we moved past Torah:

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the LORD had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.

On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”

I love the memorial, a physical testimony of what has happened. When we buried Kerri’s father I had her grab a handful of raw dirt from the gravesite. We have it in a small container, as a testimony to that season of life: The struggle, the tears, the sadness, the separation, the presence of God is mourning.

We ought to do more of this. We need reminders – cyclical events and physical testimonies – not because there is something inherently special about those days or places or things. But because we are forgetful. We are creatures in need of rhythm and reminders.

++ Lord be remembered anew this Holy Week and beyond. ++

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One Year Bible: April 9

(One Year Bible Blog post & readings)

I love passages like this:

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

So often we here of Jesus touching people, particularly those we would tend to avoid.

++ Lord, let us touch others as you did. ++

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One Year Bible: April 8

(One Year Bible Blog post & readings)

Our Gospel today has these odd words of Jesus:

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Why does the Prince of Peace, who prayed for unity within his family, say he has come to bring division? I know the common evangelical answer, but I think that might be a bit off target. Though there is a crowd present, Jesus seems to be addressing the disciples. Furthermore, these words come on the heels of (1) and exhortation not to worry; and (2) and exhortation to be prepared like a Boy Scout.

Now I could be wrong. It seems Peter wasn’t sure either. (This uncertainty is a step forward, I think, for Peter who all too often is certain but misguided.) I’ll have to continue chewing on this one.

God’s best to you as we enter Holy Week. May the pain of your cross, be buried in the darkness of the tomb and redeemed by the glory of Easter Dawn.

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One Year Bible: April 6

(One Year Bible Blog post & readings)

Lots of connections  and contrasts between and within our Torah and Gospel readings. Torah tells us that somethings are hidden and secret; Gospel tells us that everything hidden will be revealed. Torah tells us to obey the law completely; Gospel both affirms this and supercedes it. Gospel tells us to fear; and Gospel tells us not to be afraid. I am aware that I am likely jumping contexts, so these contrasts may not have substance. But on the surface they stand out.

Also, the Psalm is a nice – though slightly depressing – recap of the Desert Years.

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