Bearing fruit in every good work

Proper 10 (July 11, 2010)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Deut. 30:9-14; Ps. 25:1-10; Col. 1:1-14; Lk. 10:25-37

This week Cindy accompanied four EFL teachers from Canada and the United States to northern Iraq, where they will teach a six-week intensive English class at St. Peter’s Seminary — before the regular semester begins in September. Temperatures in Iraq during the summer can soar well above 122 F (50 C). Air conditioning is a welcomed gift for those who have regular electricity. Seven years after the war, parts of Iraq still suffer from power outages on a routine basis.

St. Peter's Seminary in Ankawa, northern Iraq

We are making preparations for the arrival of five new MCC service workers next weekend. Three will live in and around Jerusalem and two will study in Tehran. Four new SALT (Serving and Learning Together) workers will arrive in August – two for Palestine, one for Jordan and one for Iraq.

Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus convent, where MCC SALTer will assist with kindergarten program

In the region this week police clashed with Israeli activists who joined Palestinians in protesting settlement expansion in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah – the area where MCC had its offices for many years.

Six female Israeli soldiers created quite a buzz when they were shown on a YouTube video doing a choreographed dance routine while on patrol in the West Bank city of Hebron. Initial reports said the six would be disciplined, but according to BBC, the army later announced that the soldiers “were just fooling around and no harm was done.”

After an international outcry, authorities in Iran announced that a 43-year-old woman who was convicted of adultery will not be stoned to death as originally planned.

The Common Lectionary readings this week are about loving God fully, and living a fruitful life.

In the Old Testament reading, Moses says that God will prosper and make fruitful those who “turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 30:10)

The Psalmist pleads: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth … for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.” (Ps. 25:4-5)

In the Epistle reading Paul prays that the faithful brothers and sisters will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will . . . so that they may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work. . .” (Col. 1:9b-10a)

In the Gospel reading a lawyer correctly answers Jesus that the core of the law is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Lk. 10:27). But he wants to know, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus tells him a story that answers a different question. We are a good neighbor when we show mercy to those in need.

These texts remind us that loving God and loving neighbor must go hand in hand. We love neighbors when we lift our voices in solidarity with those who suffer injustice and when we use our gifts to serve and show compassion to others. May our lives daily bear such fruit.

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