Human Potential in God, Part II   Leave a comment

Above:  The Calling of St. Matthew, by Vittore Carpaccio

Image in the Public Domain

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For the Third Sunday Before Lent, Year 1

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Lectionary from A Book of Worship for Free Churches (The General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches in the United States, 1948)

Collect from The Book of Worship (Evangelical and Reformed Church, 1947)

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O Lord, we beseech thee favorably to hear the prayers of thy people;

that we, who are justly punished for our offenses,

may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name;

though Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord,

who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit,

ever one God, world without end.  Amen.

The Book of Worship (1947), 136

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Isaiah 5:1-17

Psalm 86:1, 3-13, 16, 17

1 Timothy 6:11-19

Mark 2:1-17

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For the vineyard of the LORD of Hosts

Is the House of Israel,

And the seedlings he lovingly tended

Are the men of Judah.

And he hoped for justice,

But behold, injustice!

For equity,

But behold, iniquity!

–Isaiah 5:7, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

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Instruct those who are rich in this world’s goods not to be proud,, and to fix their hopes not on so uncertain a thing as money, but on God, who richly provides all things for us to enjoy.

–1 Timothy 6:17, The Revised English Bible (1989)

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Trust in God.  Obey commandments.  Do not love that which is temporary more than one should.  Take care of each other.  Do not think more highly of oneself than one should.  These are timeless, related principles present in today’s readings.  These principles apply to us as individuals and as a community.  God calls us to be covenant community, a covenant people.  When we fail, we must face negative consequences.

Standing at a temporal distance and judging ancient sinners and exploitative societies is easy.  But how different are we, both individually and collectively, from the wicked society of Isaiah 5, the idolatrous wealthy of 1 Timothy 6, and the self-righteous scoffers of Mark 2?  Do we really want to learn Yahweh’s ways and be compassionate and merciful?  How compassionate and merciful are we toward disreputable members of society?  If we cannot recognize members of society?  If we cannot recognize their potential in God and their inherent human dignity, we have a spiritual problem.

I write these words to myself as much as others, my society, and other societies.  I have many faults, but the delusion of spiritual perfection is not one of them.

May God have mercy on us and guide us, individually and collectively, in justice and equity.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SEBASTIAN CASTELLIO, PROPHET OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, HYMN WRITER AND ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF ELLEN GATES STARR, U.S. EPISCOPALIAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTIVIST AND REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA JOSEFA SANCHO DE GUERRA, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SERVANTS OF JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL RODIGAST, GERMAN LUTHERAN ACADEMIC AND HYMN WRITER

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