Proverbs 1:20-33. Wisdom cries out in public for the crowd to turn away from their foolishness, but, in spite of the invitation, the people have refused to listen. So, they will receive no help when disaster comes, but those who obey will be protected.
Psalm 19. Creation proclaims God’s glory, and the Psalmist celebrates God’s law that brings life, refreshes the soul, gives insight and wisdom, and corrects him when he goes astray.
James 2.18-26. James encourages us to know that faith in Jesus requires an active response. How do we live and reflect our love of God through our words and actions.
Mark 8:27-38. Jesus asks his disciples who the people say he is, and then who they say he is. Peter replies that he is the Christ. Then Jesus predicts his coming death and resurrection, but Peter tries to correct him. Jesus responds by rebuking Peter, and then teaching that all who seek to follow him must take up their crosses, and not be ashamed of him.
The Reverend Tania writes,
Wisdom, the way our faith leads us with integrity in what we say and do and proclamation of God’s glory all come together in the Lectionary this week. The reading from Proverbs, Psalm 19, both speak about the wisdom that comes from obeying God’s instruction, directions, and ways. The Gospel connects with the suffering that comes from following God’s ways, and God’s faithfulness in rescuing those who cry out to God. Finally, James speaks about the importance of putting our faith into actions as we walk the way of Christ.
The theme that brings all of these readings together can be summed up in one word: integrity. We live with integrity when we embrace God’s wisdom and live it out, rather than just speaking words that we do not put into action. We live with integrity when we stay faithful to God’s ways, and speak God’s message, even though it often results in suffering, struggle and sacrifice. We live with integrity when we acknowledge who Jesus is and proclaim him as the Christ, while understanding that he is a crucified God who calls us to take up our own crosses. We live with integrity when our lives reflect the cross and resurrection of Jesus, and when our words are filled with praise, blessing and wisdom, rather than cursing. When our words, our thoughts, our attitudes and our actions all align with one another, and with the ways of God that were taught and lived by Jesus, then our lives are lives of integrity and they are lives that add value and make a life-giving contribution to the world.
These qualities mark a life that is true, just, gracious and compassionate, and it’s a quality that is desperately needed in our world today.
May the words we speak and sing in worship become the actions and attitudes of our lives.
Prayerfully, Rev. Tania.