Bible Readings for Monday, April 26th, 2011 – The 1st Week of Easter
*Click on each bible passage to expand the text.1. O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!
2. Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
14. The LORD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.
15. There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly;
16. the right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”
17. I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.
18. The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.
19. Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.
20. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.
21. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
22. The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.1. Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
2. The LORD is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3. The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.
4. “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea; his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
5. The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone.
6. Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power– your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy.
7. In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries; you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.
8. At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up, the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
9. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’
10. You blew with your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11. “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders?
12. You stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them.
13. “In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed; you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
14. The peoples heard, they trembled; pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
15. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; trembling seized the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.
16. Terror and dread fell upon them; by the might of your arm, they became still as a stone until your people, O LORD, passed by, until the people whom you acquired passed by.
17. You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession, the place, O LORD, that you made your abode, the sanctuary, O LORD, that your hands have established.
18. The LORD will reign forever and ever.”12. As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
13. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
14. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
15. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.
17. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
- I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. – Psalm 118:21
- The LORD is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. – Exodus 15:2
- And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15
America is Clothed in the Wrong Garments
The Kingdom of God on Earth as it is in Heaven can be likened to a great wedding feast. When the ways of the world and the will of God become unified in glory. However, we must arrive at the wedding clothed in the right garments, otherwise we will not be able not participate in the Kingdom on Earth.
11. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14. For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The God’s Kingdom on Earth is not like God’s Salvation After Death: there are limits for the Kingdom. And as of now, we Americans apparently haven’t read the wedding invitation carefully, and we are in danger of arriving at the wedding of Christ and the World dressed inappropriately!
Perhaps we still have time to go shopping for the right attire? Well, what is the right attire?
12. As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
14. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Ahhh, yes. Do you see the problem? We Americans have opted for the garments of objectivism, callousness, pride, hubris, and impatience. And above all, we clothe ourselves in greed, which binds the American Way together in a facade of temporary harmony.
We cannot arrive at the wedding banquet, the Kingdom Celebration clothed like this! We will not be allowed to participate!
Objectivism vs. Compassion
Objectivism, especially as popularized by Ayn Rand, states”the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness or rational self-interest”. This is in direct opposition to the ideal of compassion, which is “to suffer with others, or for the sake of others”.
How can we Americans applaud the gross-egocentric nature of our society and still claim to be followers of Christ? It’s one of the most pronounced cases of cognitive dissonance I have seen in human history! In fact, even yesterday I hear Rush Limbaugh exclaim the following absurdity:
Rush Limbaugh, April 25th, 2011
“The question is not, ‘What would Jesus do?”. The question is not , ‘What would Jesus cut?’ The question is, ‘What would Jesus take?’”
The American Way (as defined by the objectivist Right) is becoming a diametrically opposing force to the teachings of Christ. We need to heed this, my fellow Americans! We are becoming Pharaoh!
Callousness vs. Kindness
Kindness is to act in the interest of others when you see they are in need of something, be it advice, companionship, love, food, or money.
Callousness is the lack of empathy, perhaps even to blame for those in need. Callousness is the igniting basis for our modern Tea Party movement, illustrated no more horrifically than in Rick Santelli’s famous rant about the “losers” of America.
Rick Santelli “Losers”, February 19th, 2009
It’s easy to be callous to the need and loss of others when you are “safe”, but if you do not act when others are in need, who will act when you are in need? Are we really that naive to think that we will never need help from others?
Pride vs. Humility
The American Right loves to tout “American Exceptional-ism”, which I have no issue with. Americans should be exceptional. The question is “exceptional at what“?
Should we be exceptional at making weapons, or finding cures for disease? Should we be exceptional at creating new market derivatives for creating cheap wealth, or should we be exceptional at creating opportunities to give to those in need and helping those who do not have?
Should we be so prideful that we cannot see our own problems for what they are, or should we be humble and be willing to admit our faults as a nation in order to improve ourselves and the world?
Ezra Taft Benson
“Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.”
We Americans will be heading in the right direction when we can hear Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s infamous “quote” (he was actually reading from Ambassador Peck’s statement) that on 9/11, “…America’s chickens have come home to roost!” and not fly into a self-righteous rage. We need to be humble enough to actually discuss if there is merit in Peck’s hard to hear, but truth-filled statement.
Reverend Jeremiah Wright
Hubris vs. Meekness
Meekness is not weakness. It is an inherent flexibility of thought, an openness to the ideas and desires of others. To be flexible in spirit allows us to not react instantly and impertinently to outward stimuli, but affords us time to consider the right course of action and morality. Meekness is the ultimate human discipline of character. It denotes at-one-ment with Christ who was the meekest of the meek, and who’s meek nature changed the world.
Hubris is inflexibility and extreme pride to the point of breaking with reality. To denounce the sensible arguments of others as inane or of no value without consideration of them is one of the hallmarks of hubris. To ignore blatant data contrary to your own views is hubris. To give credit where credit is clearly not due… is hubris.
Bill Maher, “American Hubris Rant”, October 26th, 2006
Impatience vs. Patience
“The best things come to those who wait.”
“Gotta have it yesterday.”
Americans instinctively understand the first idiom. We can grasp the virtue of patience and calm. We can see the merit of not rushing towards this moment’s whim. And yet, we cannot stop ourselves from coveting and craving and wanting all of it now. Now. NOW!
This impatience, this idolatry of “stuff” is the darkest symptom of our country’s spiritual rot. We are spending ourselves into oblivion becuase we cannot bring ourselves to look past tomorrow. The “big picture” is lost to us. It has been replaced by a 55″ plasma TV, purchased on credit with an interest rate of 21%.
Our short-sighted impatience as a society cannot be more clearly illustrated than when we consider our attitude about crude oil. Everything about this amazing modern world we live in is defined by oil. The computer you’re reading on, the clothes you’re wearing, the food you ate for breakfast, the electricity powering your local hospital, the car that got you to work… all dependent on oil. Oil: a finite resource that peaked in 2006!
America currently has 2% of the world’s known oil reserves, and yet we consume 1/4 of the world’s oil!
Imagine our oil was like the food supply on a spacecraft bound for Mars. There is a 2 year supply, but one crew member was eating WAY more than their alloted share. The rest of the crew would say, “Hey. Slow down. We’re going to run out.”
What if the glutton answered, “But I want it now!”
They would be deemed insane.
America, welcome to insanity:
A Crude Awakening (2007)
The world as we know it is running out of the very stuff that made it possible. And we have no replacement.
Our use of oil has been the definition of impatience. It is the unraveling of our entire world.
Now we move from the finite resources of the material world to the infinite resource of the divine realm: love.
Love may seem in short supply today, but that is not due to dwindling resources. It is due to a lack of proper appreciation of love’s value to us as a society, as a religion, and as a basis for a spiritual discipline.
Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4th, 1967
“This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing — embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate — ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:
“Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.” “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.”
Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.
We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says:
“Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word (unquote).”“