Week of Proper 12: Monday, Year 2   Leave a comment

Above:  Ancient Linen

“But they would not obey.”

JULY 25, 2022

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Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), of The Episcopal Church, contains an adapted two-years weekday lectionary for the Epiphany and Ordinary Time seasons from the Anglican Church of Canada.  I invite you to follow it with me.

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Jeremiah 13:1-11 (TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures):

Thus the LORD said to me:

Go buy yourself a loincloth made of linen, and put it around your loins, but do not dip it into water.

So I bought the loincloth in accordance with the LORD’s command, and put it about my loins.  And the word of the LORD came to me a second time:

Take the loincloth, which you bought, which is about your loins, and go at once to Perath and cover it up there in a cleft of the rock.

I went and buried it at Perath, as the LORD had commanded me.  Then, after a long time, the LORD said to me,

Go at once to Perath and take there the loincloth which I commanded you to bury there.

So I went to Perath and dug up the loincloth from the place where I had buried it; and found the loincloth ruined; it was not good for anything.

The word of the LORD came to me:

Thus said the LORD:  Even so will I ruin the overwheening pride of Judah and Jerusalem.  This wicked people who refuse to heed My bidding, who follow the willfulness of their own hearts, who follow other gods and serve them and worship them, shall become like that loincloth, which is not good for anything.  For as the loincloth clings to the loins of a man, so I brought close to Me the whole House of Israel and the whole House of Judah

–declares the LORD–

that they might be My people, for fame, and praise, and splendor.  But they would not obey.

Psalm 95 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Come, let us sing to the LORD;

let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving

and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.

3 For the LORD is a great God,

and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the caverns of the earth,

and the heights of the hills are his also.

5 The sea is his, for he made it,

and his hands have molded the dry land.

Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee,

and kneel before the LORD our Maker.

7 For he is our God,

and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.

Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

8 Harden not your hearts,

as your forebears did in the wilderness,

at Meribah, and on that day at Massah,

when they tempted me.

They put me to the test,

though they had seen my works.

10 Forty years long I detested that generation and said,

“This people are wayward in their hearts;

they do not know my ways.”

11 So I swore in my wrath,

“They shall not enter into my rest.”

Matthew 13:31-35 (J. B. Phillips, 1972):

Then he put another parable before them,

The kingdom of Heaven is like a tiny grain of mustard-seed which a man took and sowed in his field.   As a seed it is the smallest of them all, but it grows to be the biggest of all plants.  It becomes a tree, big enough for birds to come and nest in its branches.

This is another of the parables he told them:

The kingdom of Heaven is like yeast, taken by a woman and put into three measures of flour until the whole had risen.

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowd in parables, and he did not speak to them at all without using parables–to fulfil the prophecy:

I will open my mouth in parables;

I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.

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The Collect:

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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A Related Post:

Week of Proper 12:  Monday, Year 1:

https://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/week-of-proper-12-monday-year-1/

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Jeremiah was a priest, so he wore a uniform.  His wardrobe consisted entirely of linens, down to his loincloth.  This manner of dress signified his Levitical purity, especially given the fact that these garments had to be clean.  This context is crucial to an accurate understanding of the symbolic act in Jeremiah 13:1-11.  Judah had lost its purity by committing idolatry and practicing and condoning rampant social injustice, especially that of the economic sort.  So the people were like a dirty, worthless loincloth.  This was not not God’s plan, but “they would not obey.”

I am of an age such that I understand an old cliche:  “He sounds like a broken record.”  The Monday-Saturday lectionary I have been following has been taking me on a grand tour through the writings of and attributed to prophets.  Along the way I have read of certain themes again and again.  Among the practices the prophets decried was disobedience to God, usually via idolatry, economic injustice, and judicial corruption.  These are old themes which remain current today; just follow the news closely.

If I write much more, I will sound even more like a broken record than I do already.  So I leave you, O reader, with two thoughts:

  1. The message of the reading from Jeremiah speaks for itself.
  2. God still objects strenuously to idolatry, economic injustice, and judicial corruption.

KRT

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