Daily Office Readings for Friday of Proper 24: Year 1
Morning, Psalm 31; Evening, Psalm 35;
Ezra 3:1 to 13; 1st Corinthians, 16:10 to 24; Matthew 12:22 to 32:
“When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments were stationed to praise the Lord with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, according to the directions of King David of Israel; and they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever towards Israel.’ And all the people responded with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” (Ezra 3: 10 and 11)
This brick and mortar foundation reminds me of my spiritual foundation which was laid in me in my early elementary years at Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic School. The Sisters there spoke of the steadfast love of God that endures forever. I remember liking and needing that very much.
The priests and the sisters dressed everyday in their vestments and in fact did station themselves at designated points throughout the school awaiting our arrival every day. This spiritual foundation would not be realized until I reached my late twenties. So while a spiritless edifice was built on top of my spiritual foundation, it crumbled over time because of bad decisions, but the foundation held strong. It is of the upmost importance to have a strong spiritual foundation established as early in life as possible.
It was not my parents that built my spiritual foundation, but rather the priests and sisters of St Vincent. I had some sad moments at this school as well; there was unfair treatment of me first, and then my sister later as she caught up with me during my repeat of second grade. But the love of the sisters and the priests far over shadowed the cruelty of the one lay teacher who I found out later, didn’t care for my mother and made my sister and me her way of revenge.
At a point in my life when my first marriage was failing I asked a friend about seeing a priest. He told me that I could talk to his priest. I informed him that he was not catholic and therefore could not have a priest. He said, “follow me.” He took be to St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where I was eventually baptized. I did not know of priest outside of Roman Catholicism, and now I am one. There is nothing more important than establishing a strong spiritual foundation in our children. Later in life it will save them even if they drift away for a while. Now, let us drift into a Holy Sabbath.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done” (Genesis 2:1 and 2). So, for this evening and tomorrow day my friends, Shabbat Shalom.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John