The Court Jester Stanczyk Receives News of the Loss of Smolensk (1514)
If a conservative state can't elect a conservative Episcopal bishop, and instead picks a once divorced man, one who practices open communion, one who is on record as supporting same sex blessings once approved by General Convention, the denomination is doomed.
These lectionary readings were from back on 11/23/2009 and I had a feeling that that this was going to be an appropriate time to reflect upon them.
Psalm 106: 6-18
Both we and our ancestors have sinned;
we have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.
Our ancestors, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wonderful works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
but rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
so that he might make known his mighty power.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry;
he led them through the deep as through a desert.
So he saved them from the hand of the foe,
and delivered them from the hand of the enemy.
The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them was left.
Then they believed his words;
they sang his praise.
But they soon forgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel.
But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
and put God to the test in the desert;
he gave them what they asked,
but sent a wasting disease among them.
They were jealous of Moses in the camp,
and of Aaron, the holy one of the Lord.
The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
and covered the faction of Abiram.
Fire also broke out in their company;
the flame burned up the wicked.
For then, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgement with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations. They have divided my land,
Proclaim this among the nations:
stir up the warriors.
Let all the soldiers draw near,
let them come up.
Beat your ploughshares into swords,
and your pruning-hooks into spears;
let the weakling say, ‘I am a warrior.’
all you nations all around,
gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O Lord.
Let the nations rouse themselves,
and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge
all the neighbouring nations.
Put in the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
for the wine press is full.
The vats overflow,
for their wickedness is great.
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the valley of decision.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
The Lord roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth shake.
But the Lord is a refuge for his people,
a stronghold for the people of Israel.
So you shall know that I, the Lord your God,
dwell in Zion, my holy mountain.
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
and strangers shall never again pass through it.
1 Peter 1:1-12
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood:
May grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated, when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look!
In the Psalm, we are reminded that walking away from the way of God is nothing new. At those times when we should be most grateful for our deliverance, we forget His works and take counsel of our own "enlightened" minds. The consequences of believing in ourselves more than in the the Word of the Lord are terrible.
Through Joel, the Lord calls out to those held captive, calls them to arms, and promises His ultimate victory.
Peter also writes to exiles in dispersion. He recognizes the trials they will endure. There will be tests for the exiles which will make them stronger and more brilliant. He reminds them that the salvation we have through Jesus was predicted by those prophets, who also were careful in their study and inquiry.
These readings remind me that mankind is always challenging God, and mankind gets punished each time. Sometimes the earth swallows men up, but there is always a scattered remnant that God will care for and eventually restore. It is important for this remnant to do the hard work of arming themselves with study, prayer, and praise. They are to stand firm in support of the faith of the prophets, the martyrs, the saints, and the apostles.
We have been judged, and we have been punished, and the church remains captive to the spirit of the age.
Now where is that ploughshare I had in the garage?