Wednesday: Reflection on the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Inclusive Bible, summaries and links for this week's readings, Christ's discussion of humility, and more about the Book of Job.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 1 Samuel 12:1-25

Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to you in all that you have said to me, and have set a king over you. See, it is the king who leads you now; I am old and gray, but my sons are with you. I have led you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from the hand of anyone.” He said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”

Samuel said to the people, “The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of the land of Egypt. Now therefore take your stand, so that I may enter into judgment with you before the Lord, and I will declare to you all the saving deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your ancestors. When Jacob went into Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them, then your ancestors cried to the Lord and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought forth your ancestors out of Egypt, and settled them in this place. But they forgot the Lord their God; and he sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of King Jabin of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. Then they cried to the Lord, and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord, and have served the Baals and the Astartes; but now rescue us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve you.’ And the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Barak, and Jephthah, and Samson, and rescued you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you lived in safety. But when you saw that King Nahash of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ though the Lord your God was your king. See, here is the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; see, the Lord has set a king over you. If you will fear the Lord and serve him and heed his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well; but if you will not heed the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. Now therefore take your stand and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain; and you shall know and see that the wickedness that you have done in the sight of the Lord is great in demanding a king for yourselves.” So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

All the people said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, so that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of demanding a king for ourselves.” And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless. For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.¹ Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

¹This passage is referred to in Romans 11:1-4, where Paul says Israel's rejection is not final.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Job 41:12-34

[Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind {40:6}]

“I will not keep silence concerning its limbs,
 or its mighty strength, or its splendid frame.
Who can strip off its outer garment?
 Who can penetrate its double coat of mail?
Who can open the doors of its face?
 There is terror all around its teeth.
Its back is made of shields in rows,
 shut up closely as with a seal.
One is so near to another
 that no air can come between them.
They are joined one to another;
 they clasp each other and cannot be separated.
Its sneezes flash forth light,
 and its eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.
From its mouth go flaming torches;
 sparks of fire leap out.
Out of its nostrils comes smoke,
 as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
Its breath kindles coals,
 and a flame comes out of its mouth.
In its neck abides strength,
 and terror dances before it.
The folds of its flesh cling together;
 it is firmly cast and immovable.
Its heart is as hard as stone,
 as hard as the lower millstone.
When it raises itself up the gods are afraid;
 at the crashing they are beside themselves.
Though the sword reaches it, it does not avail,
 nor does the spear, the dart, or the javelin.
It counts iron as straw,
 and bronze as rotten wood.
The arrow cannot make it flee;
 slingstones, for it, are turned to chaff.
Clubs are counted as chaff;
 it laughs at the rattle of javelins.
Its underparts are like sharp potsherds;
 it spreads itself like a threshing sledge on the mire.
It makes the deep boil like a pot;
 it makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
It leaves a shining wake behind it;
 one would think the deep to be white-haired.
On earth it has no equal,
 a creature without fear.
It surveys everything that is lofty;
 it is king over all that are proud.”

Complementary Psalm 37:23-40

Our steps are made firm by the Lord,
 when he delights in our way;
though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,
 for the Lord holds us by the hand.

I have been young, and now am old,
 yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
 or their children begging bread.
They are ever giving liberally and lending,
 and their children become a blessing.

Depart from evil, and do good;
 so you shall abide forever.
For the Lord loves justice;
 he will not forsake his faithful ones.

The righteous shall be kept safe forever,
 but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land,
 and live in it forever.

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
 and their tongues speak justice.
The law of their God is in their hearts;
 their steps do not slip.

The wicked watch for the righteous,
 and seek to kill them.
The Lord will not abandon them to their power,
 or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.

Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way,
 and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
 you will look on the destruction of the wicked.

I have seen the wicked oppressing,
 and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.
Again I passed by, and they were no more;
 though I sought them, they could not be found.

Mark the blameless, and behold the upright,
 for there is posterity for the peaceable.
But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
 the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
 he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and rescues them;
 he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them,
 because they take refuge in him.

Semi-continuous Psalm 75

We give thanks to you, O God;
 we give thanks; your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.

At the set time that I appoint
 I will judge with equity.
When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants,
 it is I who keep its pillars steady. Selah
I say to the boastful, “Do not boast,”
 and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
 or speak with insolent neck.”

For not from the east or from the west
 and not from the wilderness comes lifting up;
but it is God who executes judgment,
 putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
 with foaming wine, well mixed;
he will pour a draught from it,
 and all the wicked of the earth
 shall drain it down to the dregs.
But I will rejoice forever;
 I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
 but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 13:1-17

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Year B Ordinary 29 Wednesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: Jesus Washing Peter's Feet by Ford Madox Brown via catholictradition.org. This is a public domain image.

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