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Reflecting on the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost: One Day after Sunday (Year A)
Psalter: Psalm 83:1-4, 13-18
Old Testament: Exodus 4:10-31
Epistle: Revelation 3:1-6
Psalter: Psalm 17
Old Testament: 2 Samuel 11:2-26
Epistle: Revelation 3:1-6
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; 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)
O God, do not keep silent;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
Even now your enemies are in tumult;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against those you protect.
They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more.”
O my God, make them like whirling dust,
like chaff before the wind.
As fire consumes the forest,
as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,
so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your hurricane.
Fill their faces with shame,
so that they may seek your name, O Lord.
Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;
let them perish in disgrace.
Let them know that you alone,
whose name is the Lord,
are the Most High over all the earth (Psalm 83:1-4, 13-18).
Israel surrounded by its enemies. The psalmist cries out to God not only to deliver his people, but also to defeat and shame the enemy. The psalmist wants God to drive them out and humiliate them.
The last verses of the Psalm also seem to indicate that the psalmist wants the enemies conversion to the ways of the God of Israel. The psalmist wants the enemies to know who the Lord God truly is. But this doesn’t so much seem to be a prayer for conversion of the enemy, but rather vindication over the enemy. But nevertheless, it is important to note that even though the desire is tepid, the psalmist does seek the opponents good.
Here we see the seeds of Jesus’ ethic in the Sermon on the Mount when he will instruct his followers to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors. The psalmist would never have considered Jesus’ call to non-violence, but here in embryonic form, we see the seeking of the good of the other. It appears that Jesus will draw on these threads in Israel’s scripture for his ethic to his disciples.
PRAYER: God, you are the power of liberation, calling your servant Moses to lead your people into freedom, and giving him the wisdom to proclaim your holy law. Be our Passover from the land of injustice, be the light that leads us to the perfect rule of love, that we may be citizens of your unfettered reign; we ask this through Jesus Christ, the pioneer of our salvation. Amen. (Revised Common Lectionary)
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