Above: A Sonoma Valley, California, Vineyard
Image Source = Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USF34-9058-C]
Injustice and Its Consequences
The Sunday Closest to August 17
Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
AUGUST 14, 2016
The Assigned Readings:
Isaiah 5:1-7 and Psalm 80:1-2, 8-18
Jeremiah 23:23-29 and Psalm 82
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Some Related Posts:
Proper 15, Year A:
Proper 15, Year B:
Prayer of Praise and Adoration:
Prayer of Confession:
Prayer of Dedication:
The readings for this Sunday sound a note of judgment.
I begin with Luke 12:49-56. Read it, O reader of this post, in literary context: reed it in the context of precedes and follows it immediately. The context is one of Jesus comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable hypocrites, especially certain Pharisees. As a matter of fact, Jesus was, in the Lukan narrative, en route to Jerusalem to die. Yes, he was a cause of conflict. Yes, he remains one.
Do not test and oppose God, the readings say. Do not follow false gods and prophets–even out of ignorance, they tell us. Repent–straighten up and fly right–or face the consequences, they attest. And Isaiah 5:7 speaks of the need to repent of injustice. The Hebrew prophets decried corruption, idolatry, and economic injustice more than any sexual acts. Yet I detect a preoccupation with sexual acts at the expense of condemnations of corruption and economic injustice–related problems–in many Christian quarters. This reality indicates misplaced priorities on the part of those I criticize.
To commit idolatry is to focus on anything other than God when one should focus on God. Thus idolatry is commonplace and idols are varied and ubiquitous. But one can become mindful of one’s idolatry and seek to reduce one’s instances of committing it. The problems of corruption and economic injustice are systemic. One can act constructively; one should do so. These systems are of human origin, so people can change them. Yet we can do this only by grace. May we do so. May we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And may we therefore avert harm to others and destruction of ourselves.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 9, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF MARTIN CHEMNITZ, GERMAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN
THE FEAST OF BARTON STONE, COFOUNDER OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST)