A Covenant People, Part VII   Leave a comment

Above:  A Cell Block, Wisconsin State Prison, 1893

Image in the Public Domain

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For Monday in Holy Week, Year 2

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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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Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who amid so many adversities do fail through our own infirmities,

may be restored through the passion and intercession of thine only begotten Son,

who liveth and reigneth, with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever One God, world without end.  Amen.

The Book of Worship (1947), 159

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Isaiah 42:1-16

Psalm 27

Colossians 1:19-29

Mark 14:1-72

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The faithfulness of God is the dominant theme in these readings.  Those whom God has called constitute a covenant people, complete with responsibilities to God and to the rest of the world.  People may fail in their duties individually and collectively.  Nevertheless, God remains constant.  God remains faithful.  God continues to love us sacrificially and to call us to return.

Human actions have consequences for those who commit them and for those who do not.  Consequences may be positive, neutral, or negative.  The love of God may not preclude people people suffering because of their sins or the sins of others.  This makes sense to me; I eschew easy proposed answers to difficult questions and problems.  If we are in God, we may suffer in good company, though.  The servant is not greater than the master.  Consider the torture and execution of sinless Jesus, O reader.  That happened because of the sins of people who condemned him to such unjust treatment.

The suffering of the innocent is a grave moral offense–of the guilty, of course.  The Gospel of Luke, in its Passion narrative, hits the reader over the head with the innocence of Jesus.  Individuals, systems, and institutions–especially judicial ones–frequently cause the innocent to suffer.  False and inaccurate testimony leads to the conviction and incarceration of innocent people.  Malicious prosecution and the denial of proper legal defenses are also documented sins.  Some errors are mistakes; others are choices.  The consequences may be the same, though.

May we, the people of God–a covenant people–stand with the innocent, especially the wrongly accused and convicted.  May we, to quote Isaiah 42:7, engage in the sacred work of

Rescuing prisoners from confinement,

From the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 8, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT THORFINN OF HAMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF A. J. MUSTE, DUTCH-AMERICAN MINISTER, LABOR ACTIVIST, AND PACIFIST

THE FEAST OF ARCHANGELO CORELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF NICOLAUS COPERNICUS AND GALILEO GALILEI, SCIENTISTS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET BEDELL, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS AND MISSIONARY

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