How shall we live as disciples of Jesus the Christ? The readings for these winding-down weeks of the year all address that question. These scriptures raise painful inner and outer questions of nonviolence. Many of them deal with gospel economics, the economics of the heart and the economics of the purse. The gospel is neither solely personal nor solely political. It embraces and transforms both—at the cross.
This is our sixth and final "Living the Word." We again alternate Sundays, this time with Jim doing the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth, and Shelley the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth.
September 1: Exodus From Violence
Exodus 3:1-15, Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c, Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 16:21-28
Does God free one people by enabling them to conquer another? The question arises from our first reading, taken from the Exodus story on which our whole Bible is based.
From the burning bush God tells Moses, "I have come down to deliver [the Israelites] from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites."
This is good news for the Israelites who will be divinely liberated from their oppressors in Egypt. But what about the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites who already live in that promised "land flowing with milk and honey"?
Is a vision of genocide implicit in the story on which our Bible is founded?