Proper 28 (November 14, 2010)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Malachi 4:1-21; Ps. 98; II Thess. 3:6-13; Lk. 21:5-19
We are making final preparations for a two-month home leave, Nov. 15 – Jan. 15. We will be swapping houses with a couple from Harrisonburg, Va., who will be based in Amman and traveling throughout the Middle East. We’re excited about spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends in the U.S.
This past week, Cindy visited Jordanian partners and Daryl visited with MCC partners in Gaza. It was the first time we have received permits to enter Gaza since January. While more food and humanitarian supplies are finally entering the Gaza Strip, construction materials are still prohibited.
In the region this week, additional Iraqi Christian families were targeted for violence in Baghdad. Shi’a Muslim groups have also been targeted in recent weeks. Christian-Muslim relations have historically been quite strong – and for the most part continue to be so. But in light of recent attacks by fringe groups and the threat of additional attacks, Christians throughout the region are expressing a growing sense of vulnerability.
The Common Lectionary readings this week focus on God’s ultimate justice in human affairs.
In the Old Testament reading, Malachi prophesies about a coming day when “all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble,” while all who revere God’s name will experience justice and healing (Mal. 4:1-2).
The psalmist declares that God “will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.” (Ps. 98:9)
In the Epistle reading, Paul urges his readers to “not be weary in doing what is right” (II Thess. 3:13) – even of those around them fail to do so.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus describes the hardship and persecution that faithful followers will experience. “By your endurance,” Jesus promises, “you will gain your souls.” (Lk. 21:5-19)
For those who currently suffer at the hands of arrogant and violent people, these texts offer assurance and comfort that God will ultimately hold all persons accountable for their deeds.