Reflecting on the Fourteenth
Sunday after Pentecost
Year B

Daily Readings for Wednesday
September 1, 2021

Prayer

Blessed are you, O Lord and Lover, 

source of beauty and depth of passion. 

Strengthen and inspire us to do the word we hear 

and live the faith we confess. Amen.

 

Psalm 144:9-15

The blessing of sons and daughters

 

I will sing a new song to you, O God;

upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,

the one who gives victory to kings,

who rescues his servant David.

Rescue me from the cruel sword,

and deliver me from the hand of aliens,

whose mouths speak lies,

and whose right hands are false.

May our sons in their youth

be like plants full grown,

our daughters like corner pillars,

cut for the building of a palace.

May our barns be filled,

with produce of every kind;

may our sheep increase by thousands,

by tens of thousands in our fields,

and may our cattle be heavy with young.

May there be no breach in the walls, no exile,

and no cry of distress in our streets.

Happy are the people to whom such blessings fall;

happy are the people whose God is the Lord.

 

Song of Solomon 8:5-7

Love cannot be quenched

 

Who is that coming up from the wilderness,

leaning upon her beloved?

Under the apple tree I awakened you.

There your mother was in labor with you;

there she who bore you was in labor.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,

as a seal upon your arm;

for love is strong as death,

passion fierce as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire,

a raging flame.

Many waters cannot quench love,

neither can floods drown it.

If one offered for love

all the wealth of one’s house,

it would be utterly scorned.

 

Mark 7:9-23

Jesus teaches about tradition

 

Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God)—then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”

 

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”

 

When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

 

 

Prayer

O Father of lights, 

from whose word of truth 

we have been born as firstfruits of your creatures: 

make us quick to listen and slow to speak, 

that the word implanted in us 

may take root to nourish all our living, 

and that we may be blessed in our doing 

and fruitful in action. Amen.

 

Psalm 106:1-6, 13-23, 47-48

God will remember the people

 

Praise the Lord!

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord,

or declare all his praise?

Happy are those who observe justice,

who do righteousness at all times.

Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;

help me when you deliver them;

that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,

that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,

that I may glory in your heritage.

Both we and our ancestors have sinned;

we have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.

But they soon forgot his works;

they did not wait for his counsel.

But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,

and put God to the test in the desert;

he gave them what they asked,

but sent a wasting disease among them.

They were jealous of Moses in the camp,

and of Aaron, the holy one of the Lord.

The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,

and covered the faction of Abiram.

Fire also broke out in their company;

the flame burned up the wicked.

They made a calf at Horeb

and worshiped a cast image.

They exchanged the glory of God

for the image of an ox that eats grass.

They forgot God, their Savior,

who had done great things in Egypt,

wondrous works in the land of Ham,

and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.

Therefore he said he would destroy them—

had not Moses, his chosen one,

stood in the breach before him,

to turn away his wrath from destroying them.

Save us, O Lord our God,

and gather us from among the nations,

that we may give thanks to your holy name

and glory in your praise.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,

from everlasting to everlasting.

And let all the people say, “Amen.”

Praise the Lord!

 

Deuteronomy 4:21-40

Moses urges faithfulness

 

The Lord was angry with me because of you, and he vowed that I should not cross the Jordan and that I should not enter the good land that the Lord your God is giving for your possession. For I am going to die in this land without crossing over the Jordan, but you are going to cross over to take possession of that good land. So be careful not to forget the covenant that the Lord your God made with you, and not to make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God.

 

When you have had children and children’s children, and become complacent in the land, if you act corruptly by making an idol in the form of anything, thus doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, and provoking him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to occupy; you will not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed. The Lord will scatter you among the peoples; only a few of you will be left among the nations where the Lord will lead you. There you will serve other gods made by human hands, objects of wood and stone that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul. In your distress, when all these things have happened to you in time to come, you will return to the Lord your God and heed him. Because the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon you nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them.

 

For ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of? Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, while you heard his words coming out of the fire. And because he loved your ancestors, he chose their descendants after them. He brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, giving you their land for a possession, as it is still today. So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.

 

Mark 7:9-23

Jesus teaches about tradition

 

Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God)—then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”

 

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”

 

When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

 

 

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Prayer reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts. Reproduced by permission.

Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission. No further reproduction allowed without the written permission of Augsburg Fortress.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.