Saturday, March 5, 2016

Daily Readings for March 5, 2016

Genesis 47:27-48:7
Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen; and they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied exceedingly. Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were one hundred forty-seven years. When the time of Israel's death drew near, he called his son Joseph and said to him, "If I have found favor with you, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal loyally and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt. When I lie down with my ancestors, carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place." He answered, "I will do as you have said." And he said, "Swear to me" and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself on the head of his bed. After this Joseph was told, "Your father is ill." So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. When Jacob was told, "Your son Joseph has come to you," he summoned his strength and sat up in bed. And Jacob said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and he blessed me, and said to me, 'I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers; I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for a perpetual holding.' Therefore your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are now mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are. As for the offspring born to you after them, they shall be yours. They shall be recorded under the names of their brothers with regard to their inheritance. For when I came from Paddan, Rachel, alas, died in the land of Canaan on the way, while there was still some distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath" (that is, Bethlehem).


1 Corinthians 10:1-13
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play." We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.


Mark 7:1-23
Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?" He said to them, "Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.' You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition." Then he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother' and, 'Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.' But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, 'Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban' (that is, an offering to God)-- then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this." Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile." When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, "Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, "It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."


Psalm 87 Fundamenta ejus (its foundations)
1   On the holy mountain stands the city he has founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
2   Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of our God.
3   I count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me; behold Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia: in Zion were they born.
4   Of Zion it shall be said, "Everyone was born in her, and the Most High himself shall sustain her."
5   The LORD will record as he enrolls the peoples, "These also were born there."
6   The singers and the dancers will say, "All my fresh springs are in you."


Psalm 90 Domine, refugium (O refuge)
1   Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another.
2   Before the mountains were brought forth, or the land and the earth were born, from age to age you are God.
3   You turn us back to the dust and say, "Go back, O child of earth."
4   For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past and like a watch in the night.
5   You sweep us away like a dream; we fade away suddenly like the grass.
6   In the morning it is green and flourishes; in the evening it is dried up and withered.
7   For we consume away in your displeasure; we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.
8   Our iniquities you have set before you, and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
9   When you are angry, all our days are gone; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10   The span of our life is seventy years, perhaps in strength even eighty; yet the sum of them is but labor and sorrow, for they pass away quickly and we are gone.
11   Who regards the power of your wrath? who rightly fears your indignation?
12   So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
13   Return, O LORD; how long will you tarry? be gracious to your servants.
14   Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
15   Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us and the years in which we suffered adversity.
16   Show your servants your works and your splendor to their children.
17   May the graciousness of the LORD our God be upon us; prosper the work of our hands; prosper our handiwork.


Psalm 136 Confitemini (Confess)
1   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever.
2   Give thanks to the God of gods, for his mercy endures for ever.
3   Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his mercy endures for ever.
4   Who only does great wonders, for his mercy endures for ever;
5   Who by wisdom made the heavens, for his mercy endures for ever;
6   Who spread out the earth upon the waters, for his mercy endures for ever;
7   Who created great lights, for his mercy endures for ever;
8   The sun to rule the day, for his mercy endures for ever;
9   The moon and the stars to govern the night, for his mercy endures for ever.
10   Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for his mercy endures for ever;
11   And brought out Israel from among them, for his mercy endures for ever;
12   With a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm, for his mercy endures for ever;
13   Who divided the Red Sea in two, for his mercy endures for ever;
14   And made Israel to pass through the midst of it, for his mercy endures for ever;
15   But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea, for his mercy endures for ever;
16   Who led his people through the wilderness, for his mercy endures for ever.
17   Who struck down great kings, for his mercy endures for ever;
18   And slew mighty kings, for his mercy endures for ever;
19   Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his mercy endures for ever;
20   And Og, the king of Bashan, for his mercy endures for ever;
21   And gave away their lands for an inheritance, for his mercy endures for ever;
22   An inheritance for Israel his servant, for his mercy endures for ever.
23   Who remembered us in our low estate, for his mercy endures for ever;
24   And delivered us from our enemies, for his mercy endures for ever;
25   Who gives food to all creatures, for his mercy endures for ever.
26   Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his mercy endures for ever.

Daily Meditation for March 5, 2016

From Forward Day by Day

Psalm 90:1 LORD, you have been our refuge from one generation to another.

Several years ago, I had a chance to visit Canterbury Cathedral. It’s a glorious building, home to a vibrant ministry. The cathedral is also a complex layout on many levels with stairs going every which way and chapels sprouting in all directions. As you approach the far east end of the cathedral, where a radiant shrine to Saint Thomas Becket once stood, there is a staircase to ascend. Those steps are worn down. Even hard stone bends under the weight of processions and the knees of pilgrims. Hundreds of years of pilgrimage literally wore down those steps. Almost 500 years ago, that golden shrine was dismantled in the English Reformation. So all that remains now is a simple candle marking the spot. And those worn steps.

As I ponder those steps, I think about how God has been present for generation after generation of Christ’s followers. The grandeur of God and the insignificance of my challenges are revealed in the steps worn down by pilgrims.