Lectionary text for the Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost:
Joel 2:23-32; Psalm 65; Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22; Psalm 84:1-7; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14
23 O children of Zion, be glad
and rejoice in the LORD your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the later rain, as before.
24 The threshing-floors shall be full of grain,
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 I will repay you for the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent against you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again
be put to shame.
28 Then afterwards
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female slaves,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
30 I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth,
blood and fire and columns of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned to darkness,
and the moon to blood,
before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.
32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved;
for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape,
as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.
“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” 13 But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost Comment:
I believe this portion of Joel’s prophesy can be summed up in the word restoration. However, verse 25 has restored my soul more times than I can count. “I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” When I think of the foolish decisions I’ve made in life and the negative repercussions experienced by me and others, some I will never know, I am overwhelmed by God’s loving promise found in these words. I know that the brokenness will not be restored to its original form, but I am also learning that God’s restoration is greater than I can imagine.
I suspect the tax collector might have felt the same way. Let us follow his example and hear the Holy Spirit whisper in our hearts, “You my child are justified... for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Extraordinary Blessings for Ordinary Times,
© October 12, 2010
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