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Preparing for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Three Days before Sunday (Year A)
Psalter: Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b
Old Testament: Exodus 2:23-24
Epistle: Ephesians 5:1-6
Psalter: Psalm 26:1-8
Old Testament: Jeremiah 14:13-18
Epistle: Ephesians 5:1-6
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)
After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Their cry for help rose up to God from their slavery. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 2:23-24).
The Israelites have prospered in Egypt for many years. Their population has grown. They have flourished living among some of the most fertile lands where they have settled.
But there is an ominous warning in Exodus 1:8. “And now a new king rose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.” This new pharaoh, not schooled in the ways of his own history takes the very people who once assisted in the prospering of the Egyptian nation and now oppresses them.
The slavery of the Israelites is harsh. They go from a prospering people to poor slaves helping others to prosper under the weight of their burdens. Much of human history is the story of the burdens of the many working to give the few their luxuries.
Eventually that Pharaoh who did not know Joseph dies and the cries of the Israelites reach God. God hears their groans and God remembers the covenant made centuries ago with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looks upon the Israelites and notices their suffering.
God remembers when pharaohs forget. God remembers when the people in the wilderness forget. God remembers when faithfulness is absent. God remembers. God can no more forget his people than a mother forget her nursing child.
We live in a world where it seems that people are forgotten; people whom governments and businesses and even churches leave to the margins. But God remembers. God remembers you this day. You are not forgotten.
In a church I served many years ago, there was a poster on a wall of the educational wing that read “If you had been the only one, Jesus would have died for you.” That’s the promise we receive today. In the days when we feel neglected, in the days we might think no one cares, and the days that we think we don't matter, we must remember that God remembers. If we were the only ones, Jesus would have died for us.
PRAYER: Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)
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