Isaiah 58:6 (NIV): 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
A prayer offered by Walter Brueggeman:
Save us, Lord, from a religion that ignores the cries of the exploited and oppressed. Lead us into a deeper faith that challenges injustice and makes the sacrifices that must be made to build a society that is ever more truly human. Amen.
Mark 3:20–22 (NIV): 20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “[He is out of his mind].”
22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
When the religious leaders realize they can’t control or stop Jesus, and he has the true authority, all they have left is manipulation.
Those who are in power but without authority can only control by manipulation, fear, or false narratives. Be aware.
Mark 2:22 (NIV): And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
What Jesus is doing can’t be fitted in to the existing ways of thinking and living. If people try to do that they’ll have the worst of both worlds. At the time, this meant that Jesus’ powerful kingdom-ministry couldn’t be fitted into the ways of thinking that his fellow first-century Galileans already had. They needed to think differently, to think bigger, to get new wineskins for the new wine he had to offer. Most people are threatened by that kind of challenge. (NT Wright, Mark for Everyone)
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities that may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Quite probably an apocryphal story, but one I still find relevant in our time:
According to Cornelius a Lapide, Thomas
Aquinas once called on Pope Innocent II when the latter was counting out
a large sum of money. “You see, Thomas,” said the Pope, “the church can
no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’” “True, holy father,” was
the reply; “neither can she now say, ‘Rise and walk.’”
Cited by F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, Revised Edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 77–78. (Found HERE in my meager search)
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. — Matt. 15:28
Continue reading “Push us, Lord, past our cramped definitions of compassion”
You have ordained a new order in which the first are last and the last are first. Turn us away from the false values of the world, that we may pursue your priorities, that which makes you happy: steadfast love, justice, and righteousness. Amen. (Walter Brueggemann, A Way Other Than Our Own)