This week we finish reading reading Baruch, as well as complete the Letter of Jeremiah (which is closely associated with Baruch – in older Bibles it’s simply presented as the next chapter), Susanna, the Prayer of Azariah, and Bel and the Dragon (which are also known as Additions to Greek Daniel but were composed before the book of Daniel was translated into Greek). deSilva notes, “These stories make the book of Daniel even more relevant for Diaspora Jews than the Hebrew-Aramaic original, dealing with the ever-present issue of Gentile cults and the need to insulate Jews against the power of the religion of the majority, and with the dangers even within the local Jewish community when sin subverts commitment to justice and covenant loyalty.” (p. 28) It’s amazing how much can happen in short periods of text and time, isn’t it?
Also, in the Women’s Bible Commentary, Third Edition observes, “the book of Daniel reminds its readers that it is sometimes necessary to reject the established power structures of society. … On the other hand, Daniel reminds its readers that a minority voice can succeed while operating within the established parameters of society, accommodating to its structure while resisting its abuses.” (p. 427)
What established power structures of society do you need to resist or reject? What has been your experience of accommodating to the established parameters of society while resisting that society’s abuses?
Liturgically speaking we’re at the second Sunday after Epiphany – which is noted in The Revised Common Lectionary as both the Season of Epiphany AND Ordinary Time. I really appreciate this juxtaposition, as it reminds us that epiphanies – moments or experiences of seeing God – can be just as likely to happen in small, everyday moments as they are in the more transcendental moments. What are we looking for or expecting? Are we living in the moment or frantically jumping from one thing to the next? (Personally, I do both at various points; I appreciate things like the lectionary and liturgical year that remind me to slow down, watch, wait, and experience.)
Did you draw a star word from Star Words for Epiphany ? Which one? What insights have you drawn from it?
This week we read Part 2, “Managing Your Time,” Chapter 4, “Another Inimical Lifestyle,” of The Lifelong Activist. In this chapter Rettig – get this! – says that many of us do too much housework! I honestly don’t need any more motivation to clean less, but I appreciate the spirit of what she says: “In general, if the only reason you are doing a household task is because, (a) you think you’re supposed to, or (b) ‘what will people say?’ then get over it and start living your life according to your own values. Live comfortably and guilt-free in your ‘casually maintained’ home.”
How much time per week do you spend cleaning at home? Is it all truly necessary? Are there things you can let go of, or should you clean smarter and not harder? Are there other things in your life you’re doing that you need to let go of to make more room to live out your life mission?
Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.
- “‘Apocrypha’ in the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, Abridged Edition.” Bible Odyssey, 2009. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/HarperCollinsBibleDictionary/a/apocrypha.
- Breed, Brennan. “Bible Basics: How Was the Bible Written and Transmitted?” Bible Odyssey, n.d. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/tools/bible-basics/how-was-the-bible-written-and-transmitted.
- Burnette-Bletsch, Rhonda. “Bible Basics: Why Does the Bible Look the Way It Does?” Bible Odyssey, n.d. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/tools/bible-basics/why-does-the-bible-look-the-way-it-does.
- Crenshaw, James L. “The Book of Sirach” in The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary; Volume VI: Esther; Additions to Esther; Tobit; Judith; 1 & 2 Maccabees; Book of Wisdom; Sirach; Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature; Daniel; Additions to Daniel. Abingdon Press, 2015.
- deSilva, David. The Apocrypha. Core Biblical Studies. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2012.
- Foster, Susan. “Star Gifts: Words to Ponder All Year Long.” Reformed Worship, September 2009. https://www.reformedworship.org/article/september-2009/star-gifts.
- Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.
- Rettig, Hillary. The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006.
- Rettig, Hillary. “Do You Suffer From the AACL?” in The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006. http://lifelongactivist.com/part-ii-managing-your-time/3-do-you-suffer-from-the-aacl/
- RevGalBlogPals. “Star Words for Epiphany PDF,” n.d. https://revgalblogpals.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/star-words-for-epiphany.pdf.
- Tunseth, Scott. “Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach” The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.