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All religions attempt to instill a sense of right and wrong into the hearts and minds of their followers. Although we can think and discuss ethics without considering religion, it is difficult to discuss any religion without, at least partially, recognizing how the followers of that religion live out their...

Lord, help me recognize my own virtues and vices before I label others as “good” or “bad.” Show me how to love all my neighbors as your children. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
September 3–9, 2018
Scripture Overview

It has become an uncomfortable subject for many in our society, but God does have ethical standards. The author of Proverbs declares that those who act unjustly, particularly if they oppress the poor, will provoke God’s judgment. The psalmist repeats the refrain that God blesses the righteous but is not pleased with those who choose a consistent lifestyle of rebellion against God. James challenges us practically on this point. Do we judge people by their wealth or status? This is not from God. Truth faith shows no partiality and prompts action. Jesus models this in Mark when he heals two Gentiles. Jews and Gentiles generally remained separate (an ancient form of racism), but Jesus did not discriminate based on their ethnicity. He cared only about their hearts.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23. How has God shown you that there is no difference between persons who are rich and persons who are poor?
• Read Psalm 125. When have you seen righteousness in someone your church or community has labeled “wicked”?
• Read James 2:1-17. How do your works support your faith in God?
• Read Mark 7:24-37. God calls us to love all our neighbors, no matter their abilities or place of origin. How can you be a good neighbor to those your community has excluded?

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Sharing the heart, mind, and work of Christ . . .

“Prayer, searching the scripture, and service are means of entering into and sharing the heart, mind, and work of Christ. A balanced spiritual practice helps us get in step with the transforming rhythm of Jesus’ life with God: work and worship, engagement and rest, service and Sabbath, contemplation and action.” Read more.