Acceptable to God


Lent 3 (March 15, 2009)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Ex. 20:1-17; Ps. 19; I Cor. 1:18-25; John 2:13-22

This week we traveled to Jerusalem to meet with a delegation from MCC Alberta. This delightful inter-generational group traveled to Palestine/Israel, Mar. 1-12, to learn about the situation and return home to share reflections with their congregations, families and friends. We were impressed with their insights, questions and commitment to help educate others about the realities on-the-ground.

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem -- as seen from the Mt. of Olives

The MCC Palestine team plans to host a delegation from Canada each spring, and one from the United States each fall.

This coming week we plan to travel to the United States and Canada for a six-week speaking and listening tour in Mennonite communities – primarily in the MCC Great Lakes region and in MCC Ontario. We also plan to visit MCC’s advocacy offices in Washington, New York and Ottawa and meet with policymakers. Additionally, we look forward to connecting with our families on this trip.

The Common Lectionary readings this week are about that which is acceptable to God.

The 10 Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17) primarily describe attitudes and behaviors that are unacceptable to God. The people are to have “no other gods before me” (v.3), or to make or worship idols (vv. 4-5), or to wrongfully use God’s name (v.7), or to harm other humans — especially their neighbors (vv.13-17). On the positive side, they are to remember and keep holy the Sabbath day (vv.8-11) and to honor their parents (v.12).

The psalmist prays, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Ps.19:14). Even creation is acceptable to God, for it proclaims God’s glory (v.1).

In the Epistle reading, Paul writes that it is not human wisdom that is acceptable to God. Indeed, God will “destroy the wisdom of the wise” and thwart the “discernment of the discerning” (I Cor. 1:19). Rather, it is the way of the cross – Christ crucified – that demonstrates the power and wisdom of God (v.24).

In the Gospel reading Jesus is angry when the people turn the temple into a rowdy marketplace rather than remembering it as God’s house (John 2:13-22).

This Lenten season is an opportunity to take stock of our attitudes and actions. With the psalmist, may our words, thoughts and deeds increasingly reflect our reverence for God and our respect for all human life.

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