For Nov. 13, 2011: Proper 28, Year A

The Reading     Judges 4:1-16
The word “judge” today evokes images of courtrooms and carefully reasoned judicial opinions. For the ancient Israelites, however, judges were heroes that God sent to free Israel from the oppressor who inevitably came along when Israel had again turned aside from the Lord. The hero of today’s reading, somewhat unusually, was in fact also a judge in the modern sense: it was the wise, brave and right-living Deborah.

The Epistle    1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
To Christians in the decades after Jesus’ death, the end of the world as we know it seemed much more imminent than it has in 2011, when Harold Camping’s two predictions of apocalypse evoked mostly shrugs. Paul’s counsel to the Thessalonians would have been wise advice to the Israelites and is as valid for us: to watch out, to protect ourselves through faith, hope, and love, and to do what it takes to help make each other better.

Further thoughts
The Book of Judges tells the tale of what happens when a splintered people keeps turning away from its covenant with God. Under this covenant, God has promised land and a good life to the Israelites; their part is to worship the LORD and only the LORD. The stories in Judges follow a pattern: In a time of peace the people break the covenant and turn from God; bad times ensue and they are subjugated by an enemy, leading to worse times; they cry out to God; God sends a hero to lead them and save their sorry hides; the next time around, the peace is briefer and the subjugation worse, and somehow Israel still doesn’t get the message about keeping up its side of the contract and trusting God. Even Barak, who at least answers the call, quails in the face of 900 iron chariots and a real king. It would seem that Israel just can’t function as God’s people over time without some big honcho in charge full time to make each of them get up and do what needs to be done.
We snicker a bit at this, we citizens of the proudly kingless United States… until, perhaps, we look through the lens of today’s Gospel at today’s world and witness the finger-pointing, meanness, and downright depravity that ensues when good people forget that the time to do the right thing is right now.

 

Serving this week:

Intercessor: Lillian Edmondson (or Judy Brown, if necessary)
Second Chalice: Steffe Richart
Lector 1: Linnea Lagerquist
Lector 2: Rena Lewis

Nov. 20, Sunday: Christ the King, 9:30 am
Intercessor: Betty Levie
Second Chalice: Larry Burns
Lector 1: Erika Hoagland
Lector 2: Sid Fox
Christ the King:  Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, Psalm 100, Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 25:31-46

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