Monday, October 27, 2014
for Sunday, November 2nd, 21st Sunday after Pentecost
READ: Matthew 23. 1-12 “tie up”
REFLECT: The first time I read through this passage, the phrase “tie up” stood out to me. At first I thought of the Bill Murray movie “What About Bob?” and the way Bob figures out that he has to untie his own emotional knots.
Thinking about the scribes, Pharisees and “What About Bob?”, I imagine that this burden is of the self-imposed variety. The law — the 10 Commandments — are at the heart of it. How does the law become a burden? The psalmist declares love and delight in God’s law. What happened?
The original purpose of the law was to function as guidelines for righteousness, or right living. They were intended to be signposts, like buoys along a river to keep boats from running aground. And in our lives, a list of “don’ts” can only keep us from getting into trouble, but they cannot set us free to live full, healthy lives. And they certainly can’t make us love God and others or extend grace and compassion.
RESPOND: God, we confess that sometimes we are more concerned with keeping the letter of the law than the spirit of the law. In our desire to please you, we sometimes become legalistic and impose burdens on ourselves and other that you never intended. Forgive us, God, and set us free to love you and to love others more fully.
In what areas of your life are you experiencing unfreedom? Where do you feel yourself being so restricted by “don’ts” that you don’t know what to do? Try making a list of the most common “don’ts” that you find yourself living by. How are they limiting you? Can you think of ways to turn these don’ts into dos? For example, rather than “don’t make Mom mad,” how about “how can I help Mom? How can I show her love and support?”
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
Psalm 107.1-7, 33-37
1 Thessalonians 2.9-13
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide by Audrey Hindes for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.