19th Sunday after Pentecost (October 7, 2012)
Common Lectionary Readings:
Gen. 2:18-24; Ps. 8; Heb. 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16
This week we hosted meetings for MCC representatives serving in Europe and the Middle East. While the meeting schedule was full, we also enjoyed lots of time for visiting and encouraging each other.
We met at the Rosary Sisters’ retreat center just outside Amman. On Thursday, we visited several MCC Jordan partners – Holy Land Institute for the Deaf, YWCA Jordan and Caritas Jordan.
In the region this week:
- The Muslim Brotherhood organized a “Save the Homeland” demonstration, Oct. 5, calling for King Abdullah to pick up the pace of constitutional reforms. More than 10,000 participated in the nonviolent march, making it one of the largest demonstrations in Jordan since the beginning of the “Arab Spring.”
- A planned pro-government rally was suspended at the last minute in order to reduce the likelihood of a major confrontation.
- Heavy fighting continued in Syria, including Syrian cross-border fire into Turkey and retaliatory strikes by Turkey into Syria. In spite of the poor conditions in Syria, some refugees in Jordan are choosing to return home, saying they prefer to die as martyrs than to live as refugees.
The Common Lectionary readings this week reflect on God’s intent for humans in the created order.
In the Old Testament reading, God gives Adam the responsibility for naming every living creature and creates male and female as partners (Gen. 2:18-24).
The psalmist writes that God created humans “a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor,” giving them “dominion over the works of God’s hands.” (Ps. 8:5-6).
The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 8, noting the prominent role of humans in God’s creation. In theory, God left nothing outside the control of human beings (Heb. 2:8b). Still, in practice, we do not yet see everything subjected to human control, “but we do see Jesus . . . crowned with glory and honor” because of the suffering he endured (v. 8c-9a).
In the Gospel reading, Jesus responds to the Pharisees’ question about divorce. He reaffirms that, in creating male and female, God’s intention is for them to become one flesh, and not to be separated by the human act of divorce (Mk. 10:2-9).
We live in a violent and broken world. Clearly humans are not living as God intended. Still, by God’s grace, we are being restored into the image of what God created us to be.