The psalmist continues to express, in the most intimate terms, how totally God knows us and has formed us. These words do not compel us to conclude that God literally made every aspect of our bodies and minds or that God intended, from the beginning of all creation, that we would be exactly who and what we are. That would suggest a kind of determinism that excludes the actions of our parents and their parents (ad infinitum). But it reminds us that the potentiality of all creation stems from God. God has, from the beginning, enabled the emergence of people like us with the capacity to respond to God and to join creatively in God’s purposes.

The psalmist lingers over the wonder of human life. Whether or not God specifically intended each of us to be created as we are, one thing is sure: We had no part in our creation. We had no say in the crucial decision in our life: our conception and birth. For each of us it is a given. Suddenly, here we are. What we do about that may depend upon us in large measure, but our life and the life of all our ancestors comes from God.

That said, how we respond to the incredible gift of life depends on us—at least in large measure. God knows each of us intimately. But God has also gifted us with the freedom to respond to the gift of life given by our Creator.

O God, how can we begin to take hold of the immense gift of life and to respond to your invitation to be a part of your creative purposes? Guide us as we seek to follow you. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 14:25-33

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Lectionary Week
September 2–8, 2019
Scripture Overview

Jeremiah brings another warning of impending judgment. If the people will not turn to the Lord, God will break the nation and reshape it, just as a potter breaks down and reshapes clay on a wheel. The psalmist praises God for God’s intimate knowledge of each one of us. Even from the moment of conception, God knows us and has a plan for our lives. Philemon is often overlooked, but it packs a punch. A text that some used in the past to justify slavery teaches a very different message. Paul warns Philemon not to enslave Onesimus again but to receive him back as a brother. Secular power structures have no place in God’s kingdom. In Luke, Jesus uses striking examples to teach us that the life of faith cannot be lived well with half-hearted commitment.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Jeremiah 18:1-11. As clay, how can you better respond to the Potter’s guiding hand?
Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. God knows you better than you know yourself, yet God has given you the ability to make your own decisions. How do you respond to God?
Read Philemon 1-21. How do you honor the full humanity of those who serve you through their work?
Read Luke 14:25-33. What does it mean for you to take up the cross in your life?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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