Faithful living

2nd Sunday after Pentecost (June 26, 2011)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Jer. 28:5-9; Ps. 89:1-4, 15-18; Rom. 6:12-23; Matt. 10:40-42

It feels great to be home in Amman after a month on the road. We spent the week at the MCC Office, catching up on items we neglected during our recent travel.

Summer temperatures are hot in Amman, but because of its high altitude, evenings are quite pleasant. On one evening walk through our Jebal Webdeh neighborhood, we came across two weddings. In one case, wedding guests stood outside the bride’s home and clapped and chanted until the bride and groom emerged and joined the car-honking procession to the church. It was a delightful scene.

A view from Jebal Webdeh in Amman (photo by Holden Byler)

We are preparing for workshops with peace practitioners in Palestine and Jordan. For the past 10 years, MCC has supported young adults from the region to attend the Summer Peacebuilding Institute at Eastern Mennonite University. In July, MCC will bring a professor from EMU to do week-long refresher courses for alumni in Palestine and Jordan.

In the region this week, Syrian tanks entered a northern village, forcing residents to flee across the border to Turkey. According to some sources, since March, more that 1,300 Syrians have been killed by clashes with Syrian security forces, including 15 after Friday prayers this week.

Jordanian protesters on June 24 (Reuters photo)

Small weekly rallies continue in Jordan, with calls for the prime minister’s cabinet to resign. Several weeks ago, King Abdullah announced key changes in how the prime minister and cabinet will be selected in Jordan, but offered no timetable for the changes.

The Common Lectionary readings this week focus on faithful living.

In the Old Testament reading, the false prophet Hananiah promises that the exiles will return from Babylon quickly. The prophet Jeremiah – who knows that the exile will last for 70 years — challenges Hananiah that the test of a true prophet is whether or not their words come true. (Jer. 29:5-8)

The psalmist declares, “Happy are the people . . . who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance.” (Ps. 89:15)

In the Epistle reading, Paul says that we are controlled by that which we offer ourselves to. Therefore, we should present ourselves to God “as instruments of righteousness” (Rom. 6:13c), rather than presenting ourselves to sin as instruments of wickedness.” (v.13a)

In the Gospel reading, Jesus promises rewards to those who welcome prophets and righteous persons, and who give even a cup of cold water to the “little ones” (Matt. 10:40-42).

God calls us to faithful living in our words and actions, in the small things and large. Our prayer is that our lives will reflect such faithfulness.

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