19 January 2017

Today's Readings and Stuff -- Thursday, 19 January 2017

In an odd mood this morning.  An 05:45 alarm going off is a less than great start.  Walking in bare feet across a somewhat cold floor to provide the required breakfast to three cats uttering plaintive wails of imminent starvation doesn't improve one's disposition.  I know that I should be thankful -- and am -- that I had a bed to sleep in and a roof over it, food enough to have some for cats, and clothes to wear -- but at that precise moment, thankfulness is not uppermost in the mind.  Oh, well.
So, I arose,  So, once cats were fed, did Dear Wife.  She trundled off to the shower, the steamy air will do her breathing good.  I dressed, put away the dishes that had rested in the drying rack over night.  Helped her to get dried off and dressed, made her something to eat. She's next door to "watch" the Great-Niece today.  2nd Great-Niece is supposed to show up momentarily as mom and dad head off to court.  Later today, mid-afternoon actually,we're supposed to make a trek to see Wife's physician, a rheumatologist, in what is supposedly a 30-minute drive hence.  Based on past experience, I think we'll plan to leave here 60 minutes or so before the scheduled appointment.

If everything holds, tomorrow some time, an event will be held in the nation's capital, the inauguration of a new President.  An end, perhaps, to a remarkably bitter and rancorous election cycle, some two years' length.  Part of me is glad that it is over, part of me suspects that it really isn't.  I've long believed that the important things in life happen in the hearts of individual people, and from thence into the home, the family, the neighborhood.  And, occasionally, further.  NOT in the nation's capital, nor in the state houses, city halls, or the like.  But there are those who disagree.  Now, there are those who wish to believe that the truly important things are accomplished in these centers of power, political power.  Informed, they believe, by the "cultural leaders", such as the Hollywood movie makers, the academicians in the various universities, by the Transnational Progressivists in the EU, the UN, and the like.  With, occasionally, a cursory nod to the Vatican, etc.  Inasmuch as these 'true believers" assume that they themselves are always on the right side of things, and that their co-religionists are with them, any deviation is regarded as heresy, to be violently put down.  We used to think that the term "thoughtcrime" was simply an interesting term invented to fill a space in George Orwell's book, "1984".  No more.  And, as the very concept of the individual becomes out of favor with the collectivists, the statists if you like, the idea is ever more violently suppressed by agents of the State.  We've seen that in the SovUnion, in the Third Reich, with the ChiComs, among the Khmer Rouge, and, increasingly, in the US Department of Just-Us, the Ivy League colleges, the public schools, and the cultural mavens.  There is push back on this, and that may be largely the root of the great rancor in this election cycle. 
And part of all that has to do with definitions of truth, and where do our allegiances lie.  I am reminded of the experiences of Daniel and his three friends.  They were ordered on pain of death to bow only to the king and to the gods of the nation where they were captives.  They could have pretended to do so, to put on a show of agreement so as to not give offense to the king and the culture.  Probably most people, including the other captives, did one of those "go along to get along" excusese.  We don't know their names, which is just as well.  Daniel, and his three friends did not go along.  We remember their names.  Was it worth it?  Every one of us must answer that question, and it's not an easy one.  I have been in situations where everyone was expected to enthusiastically support the Cause of The Day, whether the matter was "Gay Rights", or the virtues of Islam, or the labor union, or the like.  Failure to be seen as sufficiently supportive could have career-limiting consequences.  Ask me how I know.


The Old Testament reading for this morning is chapters 44 and 45 of the Genesis.
I can remember a once common saying, now rarely heard:  "the Lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform".  Remember that?  Sometimes He arranges things in ways we could never have imagined.  At some point, perhaps, we look back and see what He's done, in the oddest ways, but in such a way that what would have seemed impossible, is not only -- obviously -- possible, but in place.  I've been there.  Perhaps you have as well.
This is part of such an improbable chain of events.  Joseph, rejected by his brothers, captured, sold as a slave, falsely accused of awful things, is now the 2nd most powerful person in Egypt, and therefore uniquely placed to rescue those members of his own family who had hated him and set in motion that chain of events.  And, improbably, he was able to see through those horrid circumstances and see that the Lord had been at work all along, and did not use his temporal power to exact vengeance against those who had done him harm.  A better man than I, certainly.  So now there is a bit of a family reunion, and his aged father learns that his son is alive after all. 

Genesis 44
1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man's money in his sack's mouth. 2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. 3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. 4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? 5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing. 6 And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words. 7 And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: 8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver or gold? 9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen. 10 And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless. 11 Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack. 12 And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13 Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city. 14 And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground. 15 And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine? 16 And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found. 17 And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father. 18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? 20 And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him. 21 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. 22 And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die. 23 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. 24 And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food. 26 And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us. 27 And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons: 28 And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since: 29 And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. 30 Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life; 31 It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. 32 For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. 33 Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. 34 For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.

Genesis 45
1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. 2 And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. 4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. 9 Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: 10 And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: 11 And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. 12 And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. 13 And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither. 14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him. 16 And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. 17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; 18 And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. 19 Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours. 21 And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. 22 To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment. 23 And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way. 24 So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way. 25 And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, 26 And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not. 27 And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: 28 And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.


The New Testament reading is verses 1-21 in the 14th chapter in the Gospel of Matthew.
The earthly cousin of Jesus, the one we call John the Baptist, is executed on a whim.  And Jesus is now at the forefront, and begins by feeding the multitude out of a few meager offerings, but all that someone had to give.  ALL he had to give.  The Lord wants us to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength.  99.9% won't do.

Matthew 14:1-21
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. 4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. 7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. 8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. 9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. 10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. 13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. 15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. 16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You are free to comment.
I am free to moderate, and I do. Profane, lewd, and unlawful comments will be sent to the Great Beyond, never to be seen again. I reserve all rights to do so for any and all reasons and whims.