Sunday, August 29, 2010

repent and invite

Good morning sisters and brothers,
As you go about this coming week, please keep those of us heading to New Orleans in your prayers as well as the Gulf coast as we remember the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Our reading from Jeremiah criticizes Israel for not listening to God's rebuke. Israel's sin would have been a problem on its own, but to that they added the fault of silencing the prophets God sent to warn them. When Jeremiah predicts that Egypt will shame Israel that's a reference to a group of leaders in Israel who sought protection in an alliance with Egypt. Jeremiah warns that this attempt is doomed; protection is found in God, not in Egypt.

Our reading from Luke is an interesting reflection on social custom. In particular the instruction not to invite friends when you give a dinner is challenging. How can we widen our community to include more people and more kinds of people? What blessings will we find when we do?

God bless,

Jeremiah 2:29-37
29Why do you complain against me? You have all rebelled against me, says the Lord. 30In vain I have struck down your children; they accepted no correction. Your own sword devoured your prophets like a ravening lion. 31And you, O generation, behold the word of the Lord! Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of thick darkness? Why then do my people say, “We are free, we will come to you no more”? 32Can a girl forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number. 33How well you direct your course to seek lovers! So that even to wicked women you have taught your ways.

34Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the innocent poor, though you did not catch them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things 35you say, “I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.” Now I am bringing you to judgment for saying, “I have not sinned.” 36How lightly you gad about, changing your ways! You shall be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria. 37From there also you will come away with your hands on your head; for the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust, and you will not prosper through them.

*Sunday Luke 14:1, 7-14
1On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8"When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this person your place', and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

12He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

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