My husband and I spent days arguing about what to name our new puppy. A beautiful fawn-colored American Staffordshire Terrier from a long line of grand champions, our dog needed a name that would properly represent who he would be in our family. My husband wanted to name him Hamlet...
Throughout history, O Lord, your authentic disciples have used your name to set captives free, give the blind sight, and feed the hungry. Your name is excellent, and there is none like it in the world. Remind me each day to keep it holy. Amen.
A common theme this week is the danger of self-absorption. When we are young, we may struggle to understand the importance of rules because we think that our individual freedom is the highest good. God gives the Israelites commandments to guide their relationships with God and others. These laws will help them thrive because God knows what is best for us. The psalmist understands this: The laws of the Lord are good and sweet. Self-absorption might also lead to pride. Paul shows that a true understanding of the gospel means laying aside our rights in the knowledge that God will reward us. In a parable about the rejection of the prophets and Jesus, servants seek to seize a vineyard for themselves, unwisely ignoring that the owner will eventually reclaim what is his.
Read Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20. Recall your earliest experiences with the Ten Commandments. How do they continue to shape your understanding of God’s expectations?Read Psalm 19. How does the natural world call you to follow God?Read Philippians 3:4b-14. Whom do you emulate? What would it mean for you to emulate Christ in life and in death?Read Matthew 21:33-46. When have you participated in or witnessed the rejection of one who could be God in disguise? How might things be different if you had recognized that person as a potential cornerstone of your community?
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