Keeping the faith

Proper 25 (October 24, 2010)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Jer. 14:7-10, 19-22; Ps. 84:1-7; II Tim. 4:6-8, 16-18; Lk. 18:9-14

This week we made final preparations to host a delegation from the Food Resources Bank (FRB) and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). Members of both groups plan to visit projects they are funding in Jordan, Iraq and Palestine. Canadian and U.S. farmers donate grain to these banks, which is then sold and the proceeds used to support food security and water projects around the world.

A young girl harvests vegetables from a CFGB-funded community garden in northern Iraq

We also enjoyed a short visit from John and Chris Lehman, Cindy’s uncle and aunt from Florida.

In the region this week, a humanitarian aide convoy, with activists from some 30 countries, entered Gaza with some $5 million of supplies. The parents of Rachel Corrie, a peace activist who was killed in Gaza in March 2003, began a civil trial against the Israeli government. Corrie was run over by an Israeli bulldozer while protesting a home demolition in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israeli settlement construction has resumed in full force after a partial freeze ended September 26. An U.N. human rights specialist issued a report stating that the continuing growth of the settlements will likely make Israeli occupation of Palestinian land “irreversible.”

Iran announced that it will try three U.S. hikers accused of spying. The trial is set to begin, Nov. 6.

The Common Lectionary readings this week are about human attitudes and the actions that spring from them.

In the Old Testament reading, God says of the people: “Truly they have loved to wander, they have not restrained their feet.” (Jer. 14:10)

The psalmist, on the other hand, writes, “My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (Ps. 84:2)

In a similar vein, at the end of his life, Paul writes, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (II Tim. 4:7)

In the Gospel reading, Jesus compares the attitudes revealed by the prayers of two men (Lk. 18:9-14). A religious leader prays, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people,” then goes on to detail the sins of others and to extol his own virtues. A tax collector, by comparison, prays simply, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

We choose our attitudes and actions – whether to be arrogant or humble; whether to wander or to keep the faith. These choices affect our relationship with God. They also have dramatic impact on whether our lives are invested in serving or exploiting others. Will we keep the faith?

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