Today’s Scriptures: From the Book of Common Prayer
Psalm 148, 149, 150, 114, 115
1 John 2:7-17
How does God work in the salvation of humankind?
Today’s Psalms are among the ones repeated several times during this season, but they offer insight into the theme of the week each time and this week they provide an insight beyond that connected to the them as many people celebrate today as Earth Day, drawing attention to the natural resources and humanity’s stewardship of them. We sometimes forget that while God created the earth as our home, he also charged us with being wise stewards, caretakers, of his creation. Our stewardship extends beyond the church doors into all the earthly creation.
The Psalms also work in God’s direct involvement in his creation, our world and the ways he influences events in the world around us. God’s working with humankind on behalf of his people, and then his directions on how we should do the same provide a central theme for today’s scriptures in the Old and New Testaments.
The passage from Exodus has Moses, talking to his father-in-law, relating just how God’s works have affected the Israelites in their last days in Egypt and adventures since leaving Egypt. He recounts the plagues against the Egyptian and miracles saving the Israelites. God worked both for and against peoples – for the Israelites and against the Egyptians – to bring about good for his chosen people.
The 1 John passage continues the juxtaposition of ideas related to who we are. The initial verses describe “no new” commandment, but indeed a “new commandment.” To understand he passage, one must understand the “new commandment” to which the author is referring. The commandment is not new in the Christian church as it has been around since Christ spoke it (John 13:34), but it is new compared to the commandments given in the books of law.
“Love one another.”
Nevertheless, something is clearly happening in the church to which John is writing as he discusses the challenges of love and hate as they relate to a person truly living the way Christ taught and being separated from it. The passage illustrates that love and hate are more than emotions, they are actions. As emotions they are too powerful to remain something internalized, but they burst forth, guiding our behavior. While we may seek to conceal them, they are revealed as the darkness within us.
The gospel passage in Mark continues the idea of an imperfect us. There is no doubting Thomas in today’s passage – there are the doubting eleven. Jesus’s response to them provides guidance for us today. Though they doubted and were unfaithful and were imperfect, Jesus gave them both the power and authority to continue his ministry on earth.
We continue to control love and hate as we battle faith and doubt. We are imperfect people who can, with God’s blessing, continue his ministry on the earth as he commands us to. God works on our salvation through our imperfection relying on his perfection. He worked with/through Moses to save his people from the Egyptians as he continues to work through others and us for the salvation of people in this day. His actions are both for and against some, but ultimately for the growth of his kingdom.
Let us accept our own imperfection, but not be comfortable with it. Help us to know that we must rely on you, and your perfection, to see good things through to the end.