Tag Archives: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fire on Holy Ground

In the wilderness
far from anywhere,
when
out of the corner of my eye
I catch sight of something.

A bush on fire,
not that unusual
in the blazing desert heat,
but there was something odd about this.
It was well ablaze,
but not actually turning to ash,
it was still intact,
despite the flames.

This needed investigating.

As I turned aside to look,
when God saw
my full attention captured,
God spoke.
My interest had been piqued
and now God could say
what I needed to hear.

God called to me,
by my name.
I was to come no closer,
for this was holy ground,
a special place
where God and I
were going to meet.
I took off my shoes,
for this was an occasion
for standing on solid,
feeling the earth beneath my feet.

And God revealed Godself.
The God of my ancestors,
all those people
so special to me.

I hid my face
for I was afraid
to look God in the eye.

God knew.
God saw
the way we were being treated,
how Egypt has made us suffer.
God has heard our cry
to be rescued.

Now God is going to rescue us,
to bring us to a good place,
somewhere rich,
fertile
and free.

But God is going to do this via me!

Has God gone mad?
Does God think I am someone else?
Is God confused?
I am a nobody,
how can I go
and speak to the king,
never mind
lead a departure
from the land.

Who am I,
that I could do that?

God assured me
there was no mistake,
I was the one,
we would do it together.
God is with me
I am not alone in this.

But when I go to my people
they will want to know
what this is all about,
who has told me,
in whose strength
are we going.
What shall I say?

I am,
it is I,
the God
of all that has gone before.
That is what to call me,
how I shall be known.
I am the God
who has been with generations past
and I am the God who will go forward with you now.

Thank you Lord,
that you call me,
but do not call me to go alone.

Thank you that the God
who has always been with us,
is still with us
in this part of the journey.

Thank you
that as you call me,
you equip me.
I do nothing in my strength,
poor as it is,
but everything in
your power.

I stand
on the Holy Ground
of your presence
as you equip me,
fill me
and guide me,
us on.

God Calls Moses

One day while Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, he led the flock across the desert and came to Sinai, the holy mountain. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a flame coming from the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire but that it was not burning up. “This is strange,” he thought. “Why isn’t the bush burning up? I will go closer and see.”

When the Lord saw that Moses was coming closer, he called to him from the middle of the bush and said, “Moses! Moses!”

He answered, “Yes, here I am.”

God said, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” So Moses covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, “I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings, and so I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them out of Egypt to a spacious land, one which is rich and fertile and in which the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites now live. I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country.”

11 But Moses said to God, “I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 God answered, “I will be with you, and when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship me on this mountain. That will be the proof that I have sent you.”

13 But Moses replied, “When I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ So what can I tell them?”

14 God said, “I am who I am. You must tell them: ‘The one who is called I Am has sent me to you.’ 15 Tell the Israelites that I, the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have sent you to them. This is my name forever; this is what all future generations are to call me.

Exodus 3:1-15

Toxic Words

We all know it is important to wash our hands before eating or handling food.  We don’t want to consume more than we bargain for!  So it seems not unreasonable in this passage for the Teachers to be pulling Jesus’ disciples up on not having washed their hands.  These are men who live an itinerant life, and opportunities to wash must have been haphazard to say the least.  How kind of them to worry about the health of the disciples…

But that is not really what they are quibbling about.  They are not talking about hygiene, but about ritual.  It is not about washing your hands, or fruit, or pots and pans – all of which is necessary, but about washing them a certain way, a ritual way, almost a magic way as if it’s not done ‘that’ way, it doesn’t count.  It is just another way of control and rules and regulations that add nothing.

They want to know why Jesus isn’t doing things ‘their’ way.

Jesus, quite bluntly, tells them that they would be better worrying about what comes out of their mouths than what goes in.  There words and behaviour are far more toxic than any bacteria.

What they do and say to people is harming them, potentially killing them, and it is certainly not pleasing God.

There words and actions are meaningless, because they are about their control not God’s ways.  Where is that love that our readings have spoken of all week?

Forgive me Lord,
when I make up rules
about you;
when I focus
on things that don’t matter,
and not
on what does;
when I point to people’s errors
and don’t consider
what I am really doing.

Lord,
take me from toxicity
to love,
for nit-picking
to freedom,
from control
to hope
in
and through
you

Mark 7:1-8, 14-16, 21-23  (CEV)

The Teaching of the Ancestors

Some Pharisees and several teachers of the Law of Moses from Jerusalem came and gathered around Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples ate without first washing their hands.

The Pharisees and many other Jewish people obey the teachings of their ancestors. They always wash their hands in the proper way before eating. None of them will eat anything they buy in the market until it is washed. They also follow a lot of other teachings, such as washing cups, pitchers, and bowls.

The Pharisees and teachers asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?”

Jesus replied:

You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said,

  “All of you praise me
    with your words,
but you never really
    think about me.
It is useless for you
    to worship me,
when you teach rules
    made up by humans.”

You disobey God’s commands in order to obey what humans have taught.

What Really Makes People Unclean

14 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 15-16 The food that you put into your mouth doesn’t make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”

21 Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, 22 unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. 23 All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.

Living in Love

You want me to be yours,
your special one,
one with your special people.
you invite me to be yours
and shower me with your gifts.

Living with you
means living your way,
living your love,
in love,
with you
and with those
who my life rubs up against.

Lord,
forgive me when I get angry,
when I so quickly flare up
instead of taking the time to listen,
to hear,
to view from a different angle
and understand.

Anger blinds me,
it stops me seeing the good,
the profound,
the holy.
Save me from arrogance
and bring me
to humility.

Help me to listen to you,
because listening
demands a response,
an action,
a purpose
and a call.
My tongue can take me
so far from that.

Lord,
help me to speak,
think,
and do
only what shows love for you,
lived out in love for others,
through your love for me.

As I live in your love for me,
may that love
control and direct
all I do or say,
and stop me
when I am tempted
to step outside
of loves ways.

Wonderful Grace

James 1:17-27 (CEV)

17 Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing. 18 He wanted us to be his own special people, and so he sent the true message to give us new birth.

Hearing and Obeying

19 My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. 20 If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. 21 You must stop doing anything immoral or evil. Instead be humble and accept the message that is planted in you to save you.

22 Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. 23 If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror 24 and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. 25 But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.

26 If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless. 27 Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.