Bible Readings and Devotion for November 17, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible.
Devotion for November 17, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
It is not all about me. It is not all about you. It is about how we love and serve others, and how we connect with the Lord. That is part of the message of today’s reading from Isaiah 22.
One particular note is a quote of sorts by the people who are self-serving in the midst of the impending destruction of Jerusalem. They are quoted as saying, “Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.” In a sense, let’s get all we can of the party and indulgent life before we have to face judgment. They are a bit like an “epicurean.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, that is, “a person devoted to sensual enjoyment, especially that derived from fine food and drink.”
Their sin, their broken and lost reality, was that they were overly self-focused and devoid of hope. The focus of life was self-indulgence until death hit them. This is a hopeless situation, but it may seem fun to some along the way.
This reminds me of two things from the arts.
One is the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, The Masque of the Red Death. Click link for an online version of this story.
This is about people attempting to avoid the plague which was killing so many, and that these same people would be focused on entertainment and pleasure. Read the story to see how that ends up for them.
The second is a Rock song from the early 1980s. The song is, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” by the Irish rock band, U2. (It is my personal favorite rock song.). It picks up on the line from our reading and pushes it a step further. The song notes that those who are self-focused actually know that they are avoiding their suffering neighbors, and they continue to eat and party anyway. It notes how our use of the media and entertainment distract us from loving our neighbors.
U2 Sunday, Bloody Sunday
And it’s true we are immune
When fact is fiction and TV reality
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die
Here is a video link to play the whole song with lyrics on the screen.
The purpose of the prophetic word in Isaiah is to get people of every time and place to shift away from self-focus toward engaged love for neighbors in need. Yes, in stressful times it is more common to pull back into self. The prophet is God’s messenger to guide us back to faithfulness to God and love for our neighbors in need.
A prayer of Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow human beings throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands this day their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give peace and joy. Amen