Lessons for Proper 20, September 23, 2018

Proverbs 31:10- 31   

This week’s selection from Proverbs is a poem exclaiming of the valor the strength, the total reliability of a good woman.   Communities are rich when such a woman is present; she is the human manifestation of Lady Wisdom.  In Hebrew scripture this proverb is the most generous portrait of a woman.  Here, at the close of the book, is a clear poem of distinct praise, of central significance of a woman’s skill and devotion.

James 3: 3-4:3, 7-8 a

James continues to teach of individual control of one’s earthly life, now dealing with envy and selfish ambition as the wrong controlling direction of human life.  He goes on to note that such interior focus will cause major trouble to the individual and to the society.  From a concentration of things beyond your reach, on pleasures you have not earned, one will drift into the Devil’s trap.  One must   steadfastly resist reaching for that which you do not need, to draw near to God.

Mark 9: 30 -37

Moving through Galilee, Jesus now tells the disciples for the second time that his hour on earth will come to a sudden end, but he will rise on the third day.  Once again this makes no sense to the disciples; they can see only good times ahead; who is the greatest is the question of the moment.  So Jesus makes clear that their idea of who among them is the greatest is totally wrong.  The quest for rank and status is a characteristic of the world in which they exist; in the world of the kingdom of God, such domination is gone and replaced by the welcoming of a child to the community, and an understanding that seeking the lowest seat at the table is necessary to a life in God.