Daily Office, June 5

June 5, 2007

Daily OfficeThe Old Testament lesson for today is Deut 12:1-12.

The Gospel for today is Luke 17:11-19.

The portion of Deuteronomy that struck me was this: 

You shall not act as we are acting here today, all of us according to our own desires, for you have not yet come into the rest and the possession that the Lord your God is giving you. When you cross over the Jordan and live in the land that the Lord your God is allotting to you, and when he gives you rest from your enemies all around so that you live in safety, then you shall bring everything that I command you to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name: your burnt-offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and your donations, and all your choice votive gifts that you vow to the Lord. And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you together with your sons and your daughters, your male and female slaves, and the Levites who reside in your towns (since they have no allotment or inheritance with you).

If you missed it, I wrote about Deuteronomy the other day. As with that post, this one didn’t really jump out at me until I read a comment in the study notes for my Bible:  “The worship assembly is to be inclusive, including women and marginalized groups.”  (Access Bible, edited by Gail O’Day and David Peterson, Oxford University Press).    That grabbed my attention and woke me up.  Re-reading it, I realized this was a very important passage– just because we, each acting according to our own desires, may not feel comfortable worshipping with those who are not like us, once we get to the Promised Land we must all worship together paying special attention to include the marginalized.  What does that say about our current situation in the Anglican Communion?

The second passage, (not) coincidentally paired with this one today, was the Luke passage:

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’

Remember that Samaritans were foreigners; they were not Judeans; they had different religious practices from those of the temple authorities, and they were, for lack of a better word, heretics.  They were outsiders.  As these lepers approach Jesus, they keep their distance, realizing that Jesus is a Jew and not wanting to defile his ritual purity.  He sends them for a blessing (once they are healed, in order to restore their ritual purity they must receive a priestly blessing to re-enter the community), and when they realize that they are healed only the outsider, the foriegner, the one who shouldn’t have known better, the heretic, came back to thank Jesus.  Once again, the unexpected person shows the most faith of all.  Right now, the world-wide church tells us (the GLBT community) that we are outsiders, heretics, lepers.  From this story we have assurance that God knows that in us, the most unexpected of people (according to ‘official doctrine’) can be found some of the strongest faith.

What a great couple of lessons to start the day.



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