Thursday, February 25, 2016

Daily Readings for February 25, 2016

Genesis 42:29-38
When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them, saying, "The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us, and charged us with spying on the land. But we said to him, 'We are honest men, we are not spies. We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in the land of Canaan.' Then the man, the lord of the land, said to us, 'By this I shall know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, take grain for the famine of your households, and go your way. Bring your youngest brother to me, and I shall know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will release your brother to you, and you may trade in the land.'" As they were emptying their sacks, there in each one's sack was his bag of money. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed. And their father Jacob said to them, "I am the one you have bereaved of children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has happened to me!" Then Reuben said to his father, "You may kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you." But he said, "My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should come to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol."

1 Corinthians 6:12-20
"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food," and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, "The two shall be one flesh." But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

Mark 4:21-34
He said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!" And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away." He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

Psalm 70 Deus, in adjutorium (God help)
1   Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me.
2   Let those who seek my life be ashamed and altogether dismayed; let those who take pleasure in my misfortune draw back and be disgraced.
3   Let those who say to me "Aha!" and gloat over me turn back, because they are ashamed.
4   Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let those who love your salvation say for ever, "Great is the LORD!"
5   But as for me, I am poor and needy; come to me speedily, O God.
6   You are my helper and my deliverer; O LORD, do not tarry.

Psalm 71 In te, Domine, speravi (I put my trust in You, Lord)
1   In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge; let me never be ashamed.
2   In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; incline your ear to me and save me.
3   Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; you are my crag and my stronghold.
4   Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.
5   For you are my hope, O LORD God, my confidence since I was young.
6   I have been sustained by you ever since I was born; from my mother's womb you have been my strength; my praise shall be always of you.
7   I have become a portent to many; but you are my refuge and my strength.
8   Let my mouth be full of your praise and your glory all the day long.
9   Do not cast me off in my old age; forsake me not when my strength fails.
10   For my enemies are talking against me, and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together.
11   They say, "God has forsaken him; go after him and seize him; because there is none who will save."
12   O God, be not far from me; come quickly to help me, O my God.
13   Let those who set themselves against me be put to shame and be disgraced; let those who seek to do me evil be covered with scorn and reproach.
14   But I shall always wait in patience, and shall praise you more and more.
15   My mouth shall recount your mighty acts and saving deeds all day long; though I cannot know the number of them.
16   I will begin with the mighty works of the Lord GOD; I will recall your righteousness, yours alone.
17   O God, you have taught me since I was young, and to this day I tell of your wonderful works.
18   And now that I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me, till I make known your strength to this generation and your power to all who are to come.
19   Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens; you have done great things; who is like you, O God?
20   You have showed me great troubles and adversities, but you will restore my life and bring me up again from the deep places of the earth.
21   You strengthen me more and more; you enfold and comfort me,
22   Therefore I will praise you upon the lyre for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing to you with the harp, O Holy One of Israel.
23   My lips will sing with joy when I play to you, and so will my soul, which you have redeemed.
24   My tongue will proclaim your righteousness all day long, for they are ashamed and disgraced who sought to do me harm.

Psalm 74 Ut quid, Deus? (Why, God?)
1   O God, why have you utterly cast us off? why is your wrath so hot against the sheep of your pasture?
2   Remember your congregation that you purchased long ago, the tribe you redeemed to be your inheritance, and Mount Zion where you dwell.
3   Turn your steps toward the endless ruins; the enemy has laid waste everything in your sanctuary.
4   Your adversaries roared in your holy place; they set up their banners as tokens of victory.
5   They were like men coming up with axes to a grove of trees; they broke down all your carved work with hatchets and hammers.
6   They set fire to your holy place; they defiled the dwelling-place of your Name and razed it to the ground.
7   They said to themselves, "Let us destroy them altogether." They burned down all the meeting-places of God in the land.
8   There are no signs for us to see; there is no prophet left; there is not one among us who knows how long.
9   How long, O God, will the adversary scoff? will the enemy blaspheme your Name for ever?
10   Why do you draw back your hand? why is your right hand hidden in your bosom?
11   Yet God is my King from ancient times, victorious in the midst of the earth.
12   You divided the sea by your might and shattered the heads of the dragons upon the waters;

13   You crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him to the people of the desert for food.
14   You split open spring and torrent; you dried up ever-flowing rivers.
15   Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the moon and the sun.
16   You fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.
17   Remember, O LORD, how the enemy scoffed, how a foolish people despised your Name.
18   Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; never forget the lives of your poor.
19   Look upon your covenant; the dark places of the earth are haunts of violence.
20   Let not the oppressed turn away ashamed; let the poor and needy praise your Name.
21   Arise, O God, maintain your cause; remember how fools revile you all day long.
22   Forget not the clamor of your adversaries, the unending tumult of those who rise up against you.

Daily Meditation for February 25, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

1 Corinthians 6:20 Therefore glorify God in your body.

When my father died, the priest who presided at his memorial service reminded me that Christians believe in the resurrection of the body and that God exists outside of time. God could take my father’s body from any time—not the source of endless pain and frustration for him it was at the end of his life, but the one he used to bicycle and run and climb trees when he was younger—and bring it somewhere where it could exist perfectly, as it was meant to be.

I like to think about my dad, young and happy, risen in the body in some alternate space and time. And I like to think about another me out there too, strong and free, experiencing eating as a healthy, uncomplicated celebration, dancing and running and singing to the Lord. The image gives me something to live up to here on earth.