Proper 29 Year B (11/25/12)

17 Nov

2 Samuel 23:1-7 or Track 2 Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Psalm 93

Revelation 1:4b-8

John 18:33-37

Psalm 132:1-13,(14-19)

I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the Lord,
 a dwelling-place for the Mighty One of Jacob.

Opening Questions

  • A wise man once said, “To lead, one must follow”.  How do you interpret the meaning of this phrase?
  • Why might leaders benefit from a more open exposure of their guiding principles/values than followers? 

Appointed Passages

2 Samuel 23: 1-7

1Now these are the last words of David:

The oracle of David, son of Jesse,
the oracle of the man whom God exalted, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the favourite of the Strong One of Israel:

2The spirit of the Lord speaks through me,
his word is upon my tongue.
3The God of Israel has spoken,
the Rock of Israel has said to me:
One who rules over people justly,
ruling in the fear of God,
4is like the light of morning,
like the sun rising on a cloudless morning,

gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.

5Is not my house like this with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.
Will he not cause to prosper
all my help and my desire?
6But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away;
for they cannot be picked up with the hand;
7to touch them one uses an iron bar or the shaft of a spear. And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.

  • Can the reference to “house” (v.5) include a sense of your character or perhaps your family legacy/dynasty ?
  • How do you interpret the “ruling in the fear of God” (v.3)?  If humility a requirement, how do we teach it?
  • What do you think is contained in the “everlasting covenant” (v.5)?

Revelation 1: 4b-8

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7Look! He is coming with the clouds;
   every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
   and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen.

8 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

  • Does the phrase “firstborn of the dead” (v.5) imply Jesus brings a new spiritual era? If so, how is it different?
  • Assuming you and your community are a spiritual “kingdom” (v.6), what is your responsibility to help it grow?

John 18: 33-37

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’

  • What ideals (principles) are more important to you than life itself – and do you spend enough time thinking about them?
  • While we always need ultimately to hear the truth, how do we ensure our openness to receive it?
  • What does someone have to do or be in order to “belong” (v.37) to the truth?

Comment

The angle that is interesting in the exchange between Pilate and Jesus is one of comparative power.  Pilate was indeed ruler over all local affairs and thus had the power to make and enforce all community decisions – including the ultimate choice to send Jesus to his death.  But Jesus’ response was to reference a higher power – something more important.  Something he knew was significantly better.  The irony is that Jesus was right, but being put to death was the ultimate demonstration of living his convictions – and thus more powerful and profound.

The intriguing thing is that we have the freedom to choose exercising this same power – that of living our convictions of belief in God and the principled examples of humanity provided by Jesus.

In this day and age, we have riches of choice unparalleled in human history.  Creature comforts, global communications,  travel, services to the Nth degree – amazing really.  But what is important – and enduring – is how we use them to grow our knowledge of and commitment to principles of living a meaningful life.  Most importantly, how those principles guide our interactions – and thus the quality of – our relationships with others.

My prayer for each of us is that we embrace the power of living our convictions.  Every day provides an opportunity to improve relationships with God, family, and our community in the choices we make.  I hope we all periodically think deeply about the important consequences of our choices.

 

Quotes for Today:

We know the truth, not only by the reason, but by the heart.

Blaise Pascal

 

There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles. 

Stephen Covey

 

Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future. 

Edwin H. Friedman

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