Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 18), Year A
PROPER 19 (24) Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost Year A

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 18), Year A

Exodus 12:1-14 and Psalm 149 
Romans 13:8-14 
Matthew 18:15-20 


"I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me 
to see the beauty in the world through my own eyes. 
I thought that you were gone, but now I know you're with me. 
You are the voice that whispers all I need to hear." 
(from CROSSINGS by Y.M. Barnwell (c)1992) Recorded by Sweet Honey in the Rock 

What are the memories and rituals and rules and laws that guide your 
daily actions? We're not talking about the progression through a 
four-way stop here - we're talking about root values (and maybe that 
means we are talking about a four-way stop afterall). What governs the 
way that you understand your relationship with family, with 
co-workers, with neighbors nearby and across the globe? 

Our scriptures for this week include stories and instruction intended 
to guide us in a right way. But they caused us to wonder about 
different types of instruction and how it shapes us not just our 
behavior, but who we are in the deepest parts of our soul from 
generation to generation. 

The book of Exodus is the story of the Israelites flight from Egypt 
and their time in the wilderness under Moses' leadership. (We're 
really fond of this story. We have a dog named Moses and he's 
currently leading us through wilderness. He's not handy with the water 
from a rock trick yet, however.) Anyway... We're reading a dramatic 
moment here. The plagues to this point have had little affect on 
Pharoah, and God has decided that something drastic must be done. He's 
giving instructions for how the Israelites should sacrifice and 
prepare their homes so that they are "passed over" by the final plague 
- the death of the firstborns. By marking their doorposts with blood, 
they can be assured that the Lord will pass over their homes and leave 
their firstborns unharmed. In order to remember all that the Lord has 
done, faithful Jews today observe many of the ritual suggested in this 
passage in their Passover seder. They remember by doing and in doing 
they are shaped. And their shape should affect the way they make daily 
choices about their life. 

The psalms is praising the Lord's action and remembering how the 
people are saved by such actions. The psalms were written as acts of 
worship - praise, petition, lament - so that the community could 
remember and attribute to God the appropriate response at similar 
times. 

In the passage from Matthew's gospel, Jesus has come down from the mountain after 
the transfiguration and has been teaching lessons that clarify or cast 
question on the Law and how it is enacted and what it really means. 
In the verses read this week, Jesus is teaching the proper ways to 
handle conflict among the disciples. He recognizes this is bound to 
happen. We don't know about your life, but there are about 15 
practical applications of this teaching in our life DAILY. Imagine 
reviewing this prior to staff meetings or visiting it at a family 
dinner once a week. These are practical guidelines - especially for 
groups working together in love. If we truly are living out the 
command to love one another, doesn't this set of guidelines help us 
out? 

And finally, in Paul's letter to the church at Rome, Paul has been 
teaching about authority and has turned to Love - not the love of self 
but a guiding love of "other," of the neighbor, that he understands 
should permeate our lives. He's providing guidance - the commandments 
he references all come down specifically to loving with selfless care 
and concern another person. 

We are where we are today because of the places from which we have come and the rituals and practices that have shaped us. 

God, help us as we attempt to 
focus our energies 
on loving 
and respecting 
each other 
while we 
remember 
the ways 
we have been 
loved 
and 
respected. 
Amen. 

© matt & laura norvell 2011 www.settingourstones.org we want to share 
this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that 
you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be 
with you.. 

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