A people's identity.
Repeatedly, we hear the one who speaks as the voice of many guiding a chapter in the Bible. Psalm 78:1 says, "Give ear, O my people, to nay teaching." In Psalm 123, the psalmist lifts up "my eyes," but later speaks of "our eyes," even "our soul" (italics added). Deborah judges Israel, a people, in Judges 4. In Ezekiel 34, the Lord judges between one group of "sheep" and another. In Matthew, Jesus delineates between the "sheep" and the "goats" in the gospel's declaration of a final judgment.
Repeating who we are as a community of faith is a necessary redundancy if we have been raised, even spiritually and ethically, as rugged individualists. By the third week's readings, Jesus makes clear the basis on which a people are judged: Whenever you feed the hungry or give water to the thirsty--or ignore the desperate state of the poor, he says, "you did it to me."
The final week offers the reassurance that God continues to reform and create that people anew for just such a calling, even as a potter forms clay. In a beautiful way, form meets function with the many sculpted as one.
Robert Roth is a writer and social activist in East Lansing, Michigan.
Living the Word: Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary, Cycle A & B * by Robert Roth
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|Title Annotation:||BIBLE STUDY|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2005|
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