Word for the Week – October 7, 2018 Lectionary 27
Today’s gospel combines a saying that makes many of us uncomfortable with a story we find comforting. Jesus’ saying on divorce is another of his rejections of human legislation in favor of the original intent of God’s law. Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples who are fending off the children should challenge us as well. What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God as a child does?
Prayer of the Day
Sovereign God, you have created us to live in loving community with one another. Form us for life that is faithful and steadfast, and teach us to trust like little children, that we may reflect the image of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Genesis 2:18-24
Genesis 2 stresses that people are not meant to live in isolation but in relationship. Out of love for humanity, God creates them male and female, to provide companionship for each other and to become with each other “one flesh.” The Hebrew words used here are ish (man) and ishshah (woman).
18The Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” 24Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Psalm: Psalm 8
You crown us with glory and honor. (Ps. 8:5)
1O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! – 2you whose glory is chanted above the heavens out of the mouths of infants and children; you have set up a fortress against your enemies, to silence the foe and avenger. 3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set | in their courses, 4what are mere mortals that you should be mindful of them, human beings that you should | care for them? 5Yet you have made them little less than divine; with glory and honor you crown them. 6You have made them rule over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet: 7all flocks and cattle, even the wild beasts of the field, 8the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever passes along the paths of the sea. 9O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Second Reading: Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
Quoting from the psalms, this passage from Hebrews emphasizes that Jesus, the one through whom God created everything and who sits at God’s right hand, is also the one who experienced human suffering and death in order to blaze the path of salvation for us.
1Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
2:5Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. 6But someone has testified somewhere, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them? 7You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honor, 8subjecting all things under their feet.” Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them,9but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12saying, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”
Gospel: Mark 10:2-16
Jesus announced and enacted in history the new reality of God’s surprising activity. These two stories demonstrate this new reality: Women and children are accepted and valued, not dismissed as inferior to adult men.
2Some Pharisees came, and to test [Jesus] they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
13People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
Theme for the season of Pentecost (Autumn/November)
During the long season of Pentecost, we are given time to reflect on the creative love of God, Jesus’ ministry and miracles, and the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the one true God incarnate, he has made God visible to us. Throughout this time, we are given reminders of the ways that God calls us to live visible faith.
The demands of our lives take more and more each day. Everywhere we look we are being asked to do more with less. Needs abound, and God is gracious in providing. In moments like these, we are called to visible faith.
Life often hurts. The pain of the past, the concerns of the present, worries about the future all become heavy burdens we bear. When God seems invisible, we are called to visible faith.
God draws near when we gather to worship and praise. In the sacraments, of communion and baptism, God is made visible. We are filled with joy and gratitude through these graces. Through worship, we are called to visible faith.
We are the ones to bear the gospel to the world. Jesus left us with the great commission to share the Good News with all people. We are often one of the “gospels” someone will read. How we live and love shows Jesus to the world, because of this, we are called to visible faith.
Jesus shows us the power of his name through signs and wonders, promising to be living food and water for all those who hunger and thirst. The beauty of creation stands as witness to God’s creative energy. We can see God’s fingerprints on all of creation. We leave our own marks on God’s earth, because of this, we are called to visible faith.
Jesus came to make the invisible God visible. We are called to continue.