Good morning. It is post-Monday, December 30, 2014. Only two more days left in this year. 97 days until Opening Day.
Today’s Word of the Day is “nithered.” Nithered means, “Shrivelled or pinched with cold or hunger; wasted, stunted, withered.”
Today is Bacon Day, which also should be called “Ron Swanson Day.” Do I even need to say anything about this? My mouth started watering the moment I saw the title, “Bacon Day.”
The drive to work in the mornings continues to be really great. I pulled into the parking lot about twenty minutes early. Of course, I don’t dare leave later to try to compensate for that, as you never know what might happen along the way. So I sat in the break room for a little while. The day went pretty well, and the work load continues to be much lighter than usual. I’m hoping that will continue on, at least through the rest of this week, and, possibly, into next week.
It’s finally beginning to act like winter around here. The temperatures are dropping, and it is projected to be 26 for tonight’s low. That’s pretty cold for our “neck of the woods.”
(From The Divine Hours)
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.
Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to
be born of a pure virgin: Grant that I, who have been born again and made your child
by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through my Lord Jesus
Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Today’s Gospel Reading
The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”
But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
After the Pharisees had been befuddled, the Saducees took a turn. Just like the others, they are trying to trick him. But, just like before, Jesus turns it around on them. The first part of his answer is probably the worst insult he could give these religious leaders. “You know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” And then he proceeds to quote from the Pentateuch, the portion of Scripture that they regard the most highly. One statement I think that is very important is the part about neither marrying nor being given in marriage, in the resurrection. I find that very interesting. I think there are a lot of aspects about the resurrection and after-life that we have made up, that have no biblical foundation. But, more importantly, Jesus refers to God in the present tense, as being the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is the God of the living, not the dead. This means that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive in some way, just as we will be after the resurrection.
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “No One Greater Than He.”
“The faith that Jesus inspired in his disciples had such a profound impact on them that the disciples found it impossible to believe anyone could be equal or greater to him, not even Moses or Elijah, not even Abraham.” The idea that anyone could come after him, any prophet, judge, or even another messiah, and be greater than Jesus, was inconceivable. There was no one else for whom to wait. “Jesus was everything.” He was all the Jews needed and had hoped for; he would fulfill every promise and every prophecy.
Can we truly call ourselves disciples if we do not feel the same way? Do we believe these things about Jesus?
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written,
King of kings and Lord of lords.
Father, I confess . . . I have not lived as though I believe these things about Jesus. My heart even hurts right now, as I realize that I have not acted as though I believe Jesus Christ is everything. Sure, I have vigorously and enthusiastically lifted my hands in worship as I’ve sung “You Are My All In All,” but have I truly believed it? I’m sure I believe it when I sing it, and when I say it, but my daily life, the thoughts, speech, and actions of the day to day drudgery, do not bear this out. Change me, O God, change me! I want to act like I believe that Jesus is everything. There is no equal to him; there is no one greater, and there never will be. Let this be the cry of my heart; let this boil over “from the inside out,” Lord! Remind me of this throughout this day, Father, especially as I go to work and interact with people there.
I pray for this day. May our trip to work be safe and smooth, and may we continue to enjoy this time of year when many people are taking vacations, making traffic smoother. I pray for our work day, that it will be a good day. May our evening together be restful and pleasant. I pray for Stephanie, that you might show her your unfailing love and grace, and that she might understand as best she can. Teach us all how to love you more, as we strive to love you, follow Christ, and share the kingdom.
What do you believe about Jesus? Do your thoughts, words, and actions bear this out? I have much to meditate on after this reading. My heart is troubled.
Grace and peace, friends.