The Lessons Appointed for Use on the
Sunday closest to October 5
IN THIS MORNING’S FIRST
READING, THE PROPHET (hah – BACK – cook) [HABAKKUK] PRESENTS AN IMPORTANT AND ORIGIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE WAY THOUGHT ABOUT THE NATURE OF JUSTICE, AND THE WAYS OF GOD. HE BEGINS WITH A BOLD AND DARING QUESTION DIRECTED TO GOD, WHICH RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT DIVINE JUSTICE AND GOD’S TREATMENT OF THE WICKED. GOD ANSWERS THAT JUSTICE WILL COME IN TIME; MEANWHILE, THE RIGHTEOUS ARE CALLED TO LIVE THEIR LIVES IN FAITHFULNESS, PATIENCE, LOYALTY AND COURAGE. ISRAEL
FROM THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET HABAKKUK READING
The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.
O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you "Violence!"
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrong-doing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous–
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
I will stand at my watch post,
and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.
Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.
THIS MORNING’S SECOND
IS THE OPENING OF THE LETTER OF PAUL TO HIS FRIEND AND COWORKER TOMOTHY, WHOM HE KEEPS ALWAYS IN HIS PRAYERS. TIMOTHY WAS THE SON OF A JEWISH MOTHER AND A GENTILE FATHER WHO BECAME A COMPANION OF PAUL AT A YOUNG AGE. PAUL IS FILLED WITH GRATITUDE WHEN HE REMEMBERS HOW THE GIFT OF FAITH, GIVEN TO TIMOTHY BY HIS FAMILY, HAS BECOME REKINDLED, AND CONTINUES TO GROW IN THE YOUNG FOLLOWER. READING
READING FROM ’S SECOND LETTER TO TIMOTHY SAINT PAUL
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my beloved child:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God– whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did– when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
- The book starts out with a lamentation (this is what we're reading this Sunday "O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?"
- then comes a series of "woes" (there are five of them), and
- the book ends with a beautiful vision (and hymn) of God's final, future judgment and the ultimate establishment of God's rule over all the earth.