Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship.
ABOUT THE WEEK STARTING June 19th: THE 5th Week after Pentecost
Overall Theme: Slave or free. Law: As our creator, God effectively “owns” us. He should be able to tell us what to do and have that be the end of the story. But we rebel against his ownership, especially when we think of ourselves as slaves. Gospel: In Jesus, God does not make us slaves, but rather He makes us heirs – His children. Children are told what to do just as are slaves, but the relationship is different. This is the difference in our relationship with God for the sake of Jesus.
REFLECTING ON THE READINGS
Isaiah 65:1-9– Too holy for God? – The people that God describes in this passage seem ridiculous when they say “Keep to Yourself . . . I am too holy for You.” Of course, we find that we are guilty of the same thoughts as times, thinking that we understand right and wrong better than God Himself does. When have you told God “keep to Yourself”? || Even though God has the right to destroy all of the people, He preserves some for Himself – just as He did in the story of Noah. He makes them holy – not too holy for Him, but holy for His sake and for the reestablishment of His purposes. What has God made you holy for? What are His purposes that you see in your vocations that He has made you holy for?
Psalm 3– Rebels & Imperatives – This Psalm has a superscription above it that reads “A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom”. The story of Absalom is one where David’s own son is the enemy that is raising up against him. Surely this kind of betrayal by one’s own children is psychologically troubling. But in a way, when we rebel against God, we become Absaloms to those around us. Who are the people in your life who have betrayed you? How does this Psalm speak to that occasion? || David writes this psalm in a surprisingly commanding tone. Using the imperatives “Rise up! Deliver me!”, you may wonder who David thinks he is, commanding God. But David’s commands come from his right relationship with God, knowing that God will hear his cries – even his imperatives – as a son, not as a rebel. What imperatives do you dare to use with God?
Galatians 3:23-4:7 – Slave or Free – Paul points out an existential problem with faith. Whether we are a slave to sin or free in Christ – we may not necessarily feel any different. This is surprising to us. We think that if we are free in Christ, we should *feel* free. But Paul points out that the Law still watches over us, and so we feel as if we are slaves. Nevertheless, the reality of our relationship with God is that we are not slaves to him, but children. What disconnection do you feel between how you feel and what you know of God’s relationship with you? How do you manage this? || Paul makes it clear that we are God’s children, and this is found in no other clearer place than in the love of our Father for us. God does not discipline or punish us as a master would do for a slave, but rather He forgives us and reinstates us. When has God reinstated you as His child?
Luke 8:26-39– What is your name? – It is a somewhat obscure fact that when Jesus asks the name of the demons who are possessing the man in this story, that He is asking for a surrender. In the demonology of the time, rabbis believed that if a person knew the the name of a demon, that demon could be controlled. For this reason, demons were not believed to give their names up very easily. What “demons” or sins or tendencies in you do you have a hard time giving a name to because you are afraid of what naming those things might do? || Jesus doesn’t need the names of the many demons, He simply speaks and it is so. Jesus reclaims this man from the demons and gives the man his own name back. He does this for us in baptism as well, giving us our names back as He expels the power of sin, death, and the devil from us. What is your name? How has the knowledge that Jesus has restored your name worked to bring about courage in you?