Epiphany

Tuesday: Reflection on the Eighth Sunday After Epiphany

Jeremiah 29:10-19

For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon's seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Because you have said, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,”— Thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who live in this city, your kinsfolk who did not go out with you into exile: Thus says the Lord of hosts, I am going to let loose on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like rotten figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be an object of cursing, and horror, and hissing, and a derision among all the nations where I have driven them, because they did not heed my words, says the Lord, when I persistently sent to you my servants the prophets, but they would not listen, says the Lord.

Psalm 1

Like trees planted by streams of water

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
 or take the path that sinners tread,
 or sit in the seat of scoffers;
 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
 and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
 which yield their fruit in its season,
 and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
 but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
 nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
 for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
 but the way of the wicked will perish.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 16:13-24

Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Now, brothers and sisters, you know that members of the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints; I urge you to put yourselves at the service of such people, and of everyone who works and toils with them. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence; for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. So give recognition to such persons.

The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, greet you warmly in the Lord. All the brothers and sisters send greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Let anyone be accursed who has no love for the Lord. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.

Year C Epiphany 8 Tuesday

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 (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.

Image credit: Trees Planted by Streams of Water, via pxhere. This is a public domain image.

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Monday: Reflection on the Eighth Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 24

Behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord. Jeremiah 24:1

The Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. This was after King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the artisans, and the smiths, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. And the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.”

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

But thus says the Lord: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who live in the land of Egypt. I will make them a horror, an evil thing, to all the kingdoms of the earth—a disgrace, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they are utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their ancestors.

Psalm 1

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
 or take the path that sinners tread,
 or sit in the seat of scoffers;
 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
 and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
 which yield their fruit in its season,
 and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
 but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
 nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
 for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
 but the way of the wicked will perish.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 16:1-12

Now concerning the collection for the saints: you should follow the directions I gave to the churches of Galatia. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn, so that collections need not be taken when I come. And when I arrive, I will send any whom you approve with letters to take your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

I will visit you after passing through Macedonia—for I intend to pass through Macedonia—and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way, wherever I go. I do not want to see you now just in passing, for I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

If Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to fear among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord just as I am; therefore let no one despise him. Send him on his way in peace, so that he may come to me; for I am expecting him with the brothers.

Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but he was not at all willing to come now. He will come when he has the opportunity.

Year C Epiphany 8 Monday

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 (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.

Image credit: Behold, Two Baskets of Figs Were Set Before the Temple of The Lord via The Bible Revival, provided by Breadsite.org. This is a public domain image.

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The Eighth Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 55:10-13

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
 and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
 giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
 it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
 and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy,
 and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
 shall burst into song,
 and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
 instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
 for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
 to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
 and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
 to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
 at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
 and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
 they flourish in the courts of our God.
In old age they still produce fruit;
 they are always green and full of sap,
showing that the Lord is upright;
 he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”¹
“Where, O death, is your victory?
 Where, O death, is your sting?”²

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

¹Isaiah 25:8   ²Hosea 13:14

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 6:39-49

There are parallel passages about the blind leading the blind at Matthew 7:3-5, about good and bad fruit at Matthew 7:17-20, and about building on sand or a rock at Matthew 7:24-27.

He also told them a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”

Year C Epiphany 8 Sunday

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 (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.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: House Built on a Rock by Yves Kaiavu via Pixabay. This is a public domain image.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Eighth Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 30:8-17

Go now, write it before them on a tablet,
 and inscribe it in a book,
so that it may be for the time to come
 as a witness forever.
For they are a rebellious people,
 faithless children,
children who will not hear
 the instruction of the Lord;
who say to the seers, “Do not see”;
 and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
 prophesy illusions,
leave the way, turn aside from the path,
 let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:
Because you reject this word,
 and put your trust in oppression and deceit,
 and rely on them;
therefore this iniquity shall become for you
 like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse,
 whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant;
its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel
 that is smashed so ruthlessly
that among its fragments not a sherd is found
 for taking fire from the hearth,
 or dipping water out of the cistern.

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
 in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
But you refused and said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”—
 therefore you shall flee!
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”—
 therefore your pursuers shall be swift!
A thousand shall flee at the threat of one,
 at the threat of five you shall flee,
until you are left
 like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
 like a signal on a hill.

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
 to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
 and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
 to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
 at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
 and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
 they flourish in the courts of our God.
In old age they still produce fruit;
 they are always green and full of sap,
showing that the Lord is upright;
 he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 16:1-4a

 O+ 047, 04-04-2005, 11:03,  8C, 6290x8418 (0+1485), 100%, Default Settin,  1/80 s, R57.6, G31.1, B38.7

[After promising to send the Advocate, Jesus said to the disciples,]

“I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.”

Year C Epiphany 8 Saturday

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 (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.

Image credit: Jesus and His Disciples by Rembrandt via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Friday: Preparation for the Eighth Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Writings: Proverbs 15:1-9

A soft answer turns away wrath,
 but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge,
 but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
 keeping watch on the evil and the good.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
 but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
A fool despises a parent's instruction,
 but the one who heeds admonition is prudent.
In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
 but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
 not so the minds of fools.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
 but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
 but he loves the one who pursues righteousness.

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
 to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
 and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
 to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
 at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
 and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
 they flourish in the courts of our God.
In old age they still produce fruit;
 they are always green and full of sap,
showing that the Lord is upright;
 he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The Rapture

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Year C Epiphany 8 Friday

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 (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.


Image credit: The Rapture: One at the Mill by Jan Luyken from the Bowyer Bible via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image. The Wikimedia file was cropped to delete title and image information.

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Thursday: Preparation for the Eighth Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Writings: Proverbs 13:1-12

A wise child loves discipline,
 but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
From the fruit of their words good persons eat good things,
 but the desire of the treacherous is for wrongdoing.
Those who guard their mouths preserve their lives;
 those who open wide their lips come to ruin.
The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing,
 while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.
The righteous hate falsehood,
 but the wicked act shamefully and disgracefully.
Righteousness guards one whose way is upright,
 but sin overthrows the wicked.
Some pretend to be rich, yet have nothing;
 others pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth.
Wealth is a ransom for a person's life,
 but the poor get no threats.
The light of the righteous rejoices,
 but the lamp of the wicked goes out.
By insolence the heedless make strife,
 but wisdom is with those who take advice.
Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle,
 but those who gather little by little will increase it.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
 but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
 to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
 and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
 to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
 at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
 and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
 they flourish in the courts of our God.
In old age they still produce fruit;
 they are always green and full of sap,
showing that the Lord is upright;
 he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Romans 5:12-6:2

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man's trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man's trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?

Year C Epiphany 8 Thursday

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 (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.

Image credit: courtesy of Founders Ministries

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Wednesday: Reflection on the Seventh Sunday After Epiphany

Wednesday: Reflection on the Seventh Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Leviticus 5:1-13

When any of you sin in that you have heard a public adjuration to testify and—though able to testify as one who has seen or learned of the matter—does not speak up, you are subject to punishment. Or when any of you touch any unclean thing—whether the carcass of an unclean beast or the carcass of unclean livestock or the carcass of an unclean swarming thing—and are unaware of it, you have become unclean, and are guilty. Or when you touch human uncleanness—any uncleanness by which one can become unclean—and are unaware of it, when you come to know it, you shall be guilty. Or when any of you utter aloud a rash oath for a bad or a good purpose, whatever people utter in an oath, and are unaware of it, when you come to know it, you shall in any of these be guilty. When you realize your guilt in any of these, you shall confess the sin that you have committed. And you shall bring to the Lord, as your penalty for the sin that you have committed, a female from the flock, a sheep or a goat, as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for your sin.

But if you cannot afford a sheep, you shall bring to the Lord, as your penalty for the sin that you have committed, two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. You shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first the one for the sin offering, wringing its head at the nape without severing it. He shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar; it is a sin offering. And the second he shall offer for a burnt offering according to the regulation. Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the sin that you have committed, and you shall be forgiven.

But if you cannot afford two turtledoves or two pigeons, you shall bring as your offering for the sin that you have committed one-tenth of an ephah of choice flour for a sin offering; you shall not put oil on it or lay frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. You shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall scoop up a handful of it as its memorial portion, and turn this into smoke on the altar, with the offerings by fire to the Lord; it is a sin offering. Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for whichever of these sins you have committed, and you shall be forgiven. Like the grain offering, the rest shall be for the priest.

Psalm 38

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
 or discipline me in your wrath.
For your arrows have sunk into me,
 and your hand has come down on me.

There is no soundness in my flesh
 because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
 because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
 they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.

My wounds grow foul and fester
 because of my foolishness;
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
 all day long I go around mourning.

For my loins are filled with burning,
 and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am utterly spent and crushed;
 I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

O Lord, all my longing is known to you;
 my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
 as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.

My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,
 and my neighbors stand far off.

Those who seek my life lay their snares;
 those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin,
 and meditate treachery all day long.

But I am like the deaf, I do not hear;
 like the mute, who cannot speak.
Truly, I am like one who does not hear,
 and in whose mouth is no retort.

But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait;
 it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
For I pray, “Only do not let them rejoice over me,
 those who boast against me when my foot slips.”

For I am ready to fall,
 and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
 I am sorry for my sin.

Those who are my foes without cause are mighty,
 and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
Those who render me evil for good
 are my adversaries because I follow after good.

Do not forsake me, O Lord;
 O my God, do not be far from me;
make haste to help me,
 O Lord, my salvation.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 17:1-4

There are parallel passages at Matthew 18:6-7, and Mark 9:42.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.”

Year C Epiphany 7 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 (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.

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version (MEV) , copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: This is a public domain image downloaded from Pixabay.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Seventh Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Former Prophets: 1 Samuel 24

When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to look for David and his men in the direction of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. He came to the sheepfolds beside the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. The men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’” Then David went and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul's cloak. Afterwards David was stricken to the heart because he had cut off a corner of Saul's cloak. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the Lord's anointed.” So David scolded his men severely and did not permit them to attack Saul. Then Saul got up and left the cave, and went on his way.

Afterwards David also rose up and went out of the cave and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance. David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of those who say, ‘David seeks to do you harm’? This very day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you into my hand in the cave; and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed.’ See, my father, see the corner of your cloak in my hand; for by the fact that I cut off the corner of your cloak, and did not kill you, you may know for certain that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you are hunting me to take my life. May the Lord judge between me and you! May the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you. As the ancient proverb says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you. Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A single flea? May the Lord therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and you. May he see to it, and plead my cause, and vindicate me against you.”

When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Saul lifted up his voice and wept. He said to David, “You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. Today you have explained how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. For who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. Now I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not wipe out my name from my father's house.” So David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home; but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

Psalm 38

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
 or discipline me in your wrath.
For your arrows have sunk into me,
 and your hand has come down on me.

There is no soundness in my flesh
 because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
 because of my sin.
For my iniquities have gone over my head;
 they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.

My wounds grow foul and fester
 because of my foolishness;
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
 all day long I go around mourning.

For my loins are filled with burning,
 and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am utterly spent and crushed;
 I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

O Lord, all my longing is known to you;
 my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
 as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.

My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,
 and my neighbors stand far off.

Those who seek my life lay their snares;
 those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin,
 and meditate treachery all day long.

But I am like the deaf, I do not hear;
 like the mute, who cannot speak.
Truly, I am like one who does not hear,
 and in whose mouth is no retort.

But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait;
 it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
For I pray, “Only do not let them rejoice over me,
 those who boast against me when my foot slips.”

For I am ready to fall,
 and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
 I am sorry for my sin.

Those who are my foes without cause are mighty,
 and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
Those who render me evil for good
 are my adversaries because I follow after good.

Do not forsake me, O Lord;
 O my God, do not be far from me;
make haste to help me,
 O Lord, my salvation.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 11:17-22, 27-33

Now in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, to begin with, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and to some extent I believe it. Indeed, there have to be factions among you, for only so will it become clear who among you are genuine. When you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord's supper. For when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk. What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I commend you? In this matter I do not commend you!

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

Year C Epiphany 7 Tuesday

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 (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.

Image credit: Saul and David in the Cave on En-Gedi by Willem de Poorter via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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