The psalms, like the music of our great spiritual songwriters, give poetry and rhythm to the history of God active in the world. The cadence of the psalm serves as the reminder of God’s constant presence and activity to our ears and voices. The psalmist here also points the people of Israel to where ancestors have fallen short, and how, in spite of their persistent straying, God faithfully provides. We consider the history that has gotten us this far, lumps and all, so we can celebrate God’s continued presence and ask for wisdom in the present and future. We work individually to overcome shame and guilt and to practice forgiveness, but we recall that the psalms served as a community choir event, not simply as thoughtful introspection.
Facing a shrinking institutional church, faithful disciples will not sit by and lament about how no one worships God anymore but will instead walk courageously into the neighborhood. It may surprise us to find God even where there are no steeples.
Our monastic mothers and fathers have shown us how to live in community, to follow a rule of life, to balance the inward and the outward, to give sacrificially—yet we keep seeking another way. We participate in systems of inequality and injustice. We know intellectually that financial success, achievement, or being well-liked does not lead the way to wheat and honey, but we keep plodding down that path. Another way calls to us, inviting us to take a bite of fresh-baked bread and a spoonful of honey. Sweet, nourishing, satisfying. If we open our mouths, we may be surprised to see that intentionally remembering God’s story in new spaces will re-create the church.

God, help us to take what you offer, to savor it, to let it feed us and strengthen us for the journey ahead. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 14:1, 7-14

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Lectionary Week
August 22–28, 2016
Scripture Overview

The admonition in Hebrews 13 “to show hospitality to strangers” is vividly illustrated by Jesus’ advice to guests and hosts in Luke 14. In the topsy-turvy world of divine hospitality, everybody is family. Radical hospitality makes sense only in light of the conviction that God rules the world and therefore adequate repayment for our efforts is simply our relatedness to God and our conformity to what God intends. The texts from Jeremiah and the psalm call the people of God back to commitment to God alone, rather than to the gods of the nations and their values. God is no doubt still lamenting our failure to listen but is also, no doubt, still inviting us to take our humble place at a table that promises exaltation on a scale the world cannot even imagine.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Jeremiah 2:4-13. To whom or where do you go to ll your cup with living water?
• Read Psalm 81:1, 10-16. What shape does God’s bread and honey take in your life? Where are you being invited to open your mouth and to name the gift as sacred?
• Read Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16. How do you offer hospitality to those closest to you?
• Read Luke 14:1, 7-14. When have you been blessed by a party of mis ts? How can you extend the table?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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