Readings for Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, 8/19/12:1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14, Psalm 111, Ephesians 5:15-20, John 6:51-58
1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
- Given the chance to ask God for anything (with the understanding that God will give what is asked), Solomon asks for the ability to discern between good and evil. Would that all leaders would ask for that gift! What would you ask for, really, if you could ask God for one gift?
- "it pleased the Lord" - what was the last thing you did that you think specifically "pleased God"?
- "walk in my ways . . . as your father David walked" - whose ways do you walk in? Whose life is an example for you as David's was for Solomon?
- The psalmist is praising God for faithfulness, for being a provider and covenant-keeper, for following through and being with the people. This psalm is all about praising and thanking God for all God has done.
- "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Do you fear God? We're instructed over and over again in the scriptures not to be afraid. What does it mean, then, to fear God or to be God-fearing? I interpret it to mean we're to have an awe of God that is an awe we give only to God. Should/do we fear God anymore, or have we gotten too cozy? It's great to feel close to God, but have we lost our reverence in the process, the believe that God is actually above and beyond us in many respects? Where is a good line between fear/love/respect?
- We're advised to live wisely - a nice tie in on a wisdom theme with our text from 1 Kings.
- "making the most of time, because the days are evil." When we lament the current state of affairs, it is sometimes comforting in a way to know that people always felt they were living in "the worst of times." How, though, do we make the most of our time? Rest, relaxation, Sabbath - important things - but what is the difference between Sabbath and wasting time? We walk a fine line sometimes. Time is short - we should be careful how we choose to use it.
- "sing psalms and hymns" - I am a music lover. Isn't it amazing that we've always used music as part of worship? Something about music and art and theatre that goes so well with worship and theology and God.
- This text continues with week four of a month-long series of texts from John 6 that all talk about Jesus and bread and feeding and bread of life and living water, etc., etc. The imagery is rich and meaningful and can communicate a great deal. On the flip side, I remember preaching on these texts three years ago when I was just starting at my first appointment, and wondering if I would ever get to talk about something other than bread!
- "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Early Christians were sometimes accused of promoting cannibalism for their communion theology. Indeed, to an outsider, it would be hard to explain what our theology and symbolism meant. How would you do it?
- "you have no life in you" - we must be part of the body to have life. Compare this with the body imagery Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 12 to talk about spiritual gifts.
- When Jesus talks about living forever, what do you think he means, exactly? Life in heaven? A right here-right now eternal life?