Russell Trinity UMC
Sharon Springs UMC
Smith Center UMC
Saint Francis UMC
Today's Lectionary Text
Sirach 17: 1-14The Lord created a human being
out of earth,
and he returned that human being
into it again.
God gave human beings a set number
of days and a fixed time,
and he gave them authority
over the things that are upon the earth.
God endowed them with strength like his, and he made them according
to his image.
God made all living beings afraid of them, so that they might exercise dominion over the animals and birds.
God gave them the capacity to plan,
a tongue and eyes,
ears and a mind for thinking.
God filled them with common sense,
and he showed them
good things and bad.
God put awe for him in their hearts,
in order to show them the greatness
of his works.
So that they might tell of the magnificence of his works,
they will praise his holy name.
God placed knowledge before them,
and he gave them a code for living.
God established an eternal covenant
and he showed them his decrees.
They saw the majesty of his glory
with their own eyes,
and they heard his glorious voice
with their own ears.
God said to them,
“Beware of every injustice,”
and he gave each of them commandments concerning
Over the years I find myself turning to the Apocrypha from time to time. The words are rich and always invite me into another level of reasoning and experiencing. This passage I come to many times. Today I am going to share bits of this passage with you and just some random thoughts.
The Lord created a human being out of the earth, and He returned that human being, into it again. (v.1) Simple dirt. We all started out on the small playing field, dirt. Equal rights, no one person better than the other. No title before a name to prove we’ve made it to another level. True equality. And we humans have stirred the dirt and made it muddy for personal benefit.
He gave them authority over the things that are upon the earth. (v.2b) God gave us the authority to care for all of creation. So, we build houses on ground that disturbs the land (dirt). We use products that affect the quality of our air, water, and dirt. Hmm, we sure haven’t used that authority very well.
God endowed them with strength like His, and He made them according to His image. (v.3) It is great to know that we are created in the image of God – and that He does not make mistakes!
God gave them the capacity to plan, a tongue and eyes, ears, and a mind for thinking. God filled them with common sense, and He showed them good things and bad. (vv.6 &7) Plan – we can all do it, it may take some of us longer, and it is ok to use resources to help us along the way. A tongue and eyes – both can cut like a knife and wound the spirit of another individual. Both can also share kindness and compassion for another person. Sometimes I think we don’t think enough! It is difficult to use our mind for thinking while in the noise and chaos. We need time for reasoning, in the stillness and quietness, to hear from God. Time for us to have a good laugh – God filled them with common sense. (v.7). Most days I think common sense has just flown out the window with the Kansas and Nebraska winds! As a child we begin to learn what is good and bad. I remember my mother telling me the iron was hot and not to touch it – well, you can guess what I did.
God placed knowledge before them, and He gave them a code for living. (v.11) God said to them, Beware of every injustice. (v.14a) One look at the Ten Commandments, to love God with all of who we are, and love our neighbor with unconditional, Christ-like love, provides us with a code of living. Oh … if only everyone lived that way! What would happen if we saw each other as a unique individual, created in the image of God? Maybe, just maybe, then we would truly be equal to one another, all people would live a life of justice – maybe we would truly be brothers and sisters in Christ.
May these random thoughts bring us comfort, make us think, and challenge us.
-Rev. Hollie Tapley
Disaster Response Coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
Thank You, Father, for creating and knowing everything about us. Forgive us for when we put self ahead of You. Forgive us for failing to live our life as You desire us to. Thank You for Your patience with us as we miss the mark of our code of living. Renew us, mold us, fill us, and use us. Amen.
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