Genesis 25:19-34, Psalm 119:105-112, Romans 8:1-11, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
- "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger." What a pre-natal message for a mother to receive! Rebekah doesn't ultimately see a problem in having a favorite of these children - she chooses the stronger. But for my own mother, I know there is nothing worse for her than when her children are fighting with each other. She can't choose, she just wants everyone to 'get along.' How would you receive this news, personally, and for the people it will affect?
- I've always thought Jacob and Rebekah were pretty nasty and scheming in this story line - but you have to admit, Esau is not too bright to give up (NRSV reads 'despised') his birthright for some stew. I guess we often are willing to sacrifice something of value for our immediate pleasures, even to our own detriment. It's the American way, no?
- "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet" - this is a great praise chorus/camp song made popular by Amy Grant - it is also, in my mind, a good view to hold of scripture: A lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I think the words put scripture in its appropriate place: illuminating our way by God's word, without becoming idolatrous of God's word.
- "I am severely afflicted. Give me life, O Lord, according to your word." This is a great prayer to bring to God - ask God for life!
- "therefore now no condemnation" - these are such awesome words. We are not condemned, in the midst of a world that is so condemning.
- "Christ Jesus has set you free" - freedom and free are words tossed around a lot today. How are we free in Christ? Is this the same or different from freedom we talk about in political circles today?
- the limits of law are clear when held up next to the amazing-ness of God's grace
- Jesus' parables are amazing things, because they are always more than they seem. We like to decode everything in them, saying, this = this and that = that, knowing what each image corresponds to. But parables don't really work that way, piece by piece. We must take them as a whole.
- Where do you see yourself in this parable? Rocky soil? Parched by the sun? Good soil?
- If God is the sower, why doesn't God only sow seed in the good soil? What can we learn from how God chooses to sow?