Jonah 3:1-5,10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
There is a thread running through the assigned readings for this Sunday: it is the shape of God’s Oikonomia (economy or plan) for a world in which all can share in full and flourishing life. This is God’s dream for the world that God loves so much. This shape of God’s economy both highlights that which robs God’s creation of fullness and invites us to step out and embody a different way of living and being. There is a necessary call to repent and to radically turn away from ways, habits, and practices that exclude, extort, rob, create inequalities – in essence denying full living.
The invitation is a call to embody habits that reflect God’s heart (Psalm 62 and Jonah 3). For God’s economy to thrive and take root, what currently chains us (Empire’s economy) must pass away (1 Corinthians). But this will not happen magically. Repenting of our own complicity to the allure of empire’s economy, which largely thrives on the commodification of every aspect of creation for profit, and believing in the illogic that a give-away God of fullness for all is the good news (Mark). This is the way to follow, where to gain is to lose and the first will be the last, which is a massive subversion of empire’s economic logic. There is an urgency in this call so we should not miss the immediacy of responding to it. Mark’s signalling of urgency is pointing to action. Reflect on this: especially how our inclinations to overthink and over-analyse often lead into inaction and the sin gradualism – exactly what empire’s economic grip wishes of us as we genuflect to its ways. The urgency here is not when but what; it is the habits and values we must embody to break, loosen, and transform all that stifles flourishing life for all.
Life-flourishing economy of the way of Jesus is about quality living and must include the redressing of all sorts of deficits in order that all can share fully in society, where harmonious ‘thrive-ability’ is God’s desire for all of creation.
-Michael Jagessar, Council for World Mission
God-always-with-us, we pray your Spirit will bring freshness to our thoughts, words and actions, so we can dream new and creative possibilities, discern the challenges before us, find life-giving ways to care and embrace, and dare to join the adventure of walking your way of flourishing life for all.
Oh creator God, we give you thanks that you call us to name gender-based violence that happens all over the world and especially in India. Today we pray for all the women who continue to care for family, church and society in spite of the violence they face. We pray that you may grant them release from violence of all kinds.
Oh God our creator, women in India are facing horrible violence. We remember rape victims and those who are sexually assaulted, as well as their families. We pray that you may bring justice to our country. We pray for prophets to proclaim God’s judgment upon those who take part in gender-based violence. We pray that women’s voices may be heard in building peace communities through reconciliation. Finally, we pray for the transformation in our church and society so that people may live in peace and harmony.
– Nelavala Gnana Prasuna, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College & Research Institute
To the God who hears,
Just like the daughters of Zelophehad, we raise our voices refusing to submit to the culture of silence around gender-based violence.
Just like the persistent widow of Luke 18, we are relentless in demanding justice for all who have faced gender-based violence.
Holy one, hear us! Hear our lament!
Deliver all from systems of sexual exploitation! Restore the dignity robbed of them!
Dismantle systems of patriarchy that perpetuate and reinforce sexual violence!
Hear this prayer. Amen.
-Lynnette Li, Council for World Mission