Daily Lectionary Readings for Year B
Well, the lectionary readings are heavy this morning. Read them from beginning to end and you might sense some stress. Death. Bodies being torn apart by birds of prey. Imprisonment. Suffering. Groaning. And that's all before we get to the Book of Revelation, where there are plagues, pestilence, mourning, famine, smoke and fire, fear and torment. These are not the best readings to read aloud by yourself or with the family just before dinner.
Yes, God is in there. Striking back against the enemy. Showing compassion for those who have been suffering. Gathering together again the afflicted. Strengthening the weak and tired so they can conquer and plunder. But it's not pretty. It doesn't feel peaceful, or gentle, or light.
What do you think of when you read portions of the Bible that are violent, bloody, and vicious? On the one hand, it takes a broader view to put it all into context. Who is God in the grand scheme of things? What is happening in and around God's people over a larger arc? But on the other hand, it can connect us with the parts of our lives and world that are also messy. It can get us in touch with that visceral feeling of "yuckiness." Like, when we see the world in conflict, or the powerful taking advantage of the powerless. It can name our worries and fears when we think about this pandemic.
We don't need to become violent. We don't need to act with vengeance. But we can think about the complexity of our lives and this world. There is gentleness, and there is violence. How can we remain faithful to the one who sent us Jesus Christ, the Savior? How can we respond to the hurt in the world with love that transforms all things? Can you see his light shining in the darkness of the readings this morning?