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Speaking to the Soul: Enemies in Our Arms

Speaking to the Soul: Enemies in Our Arms

Week of Proper 23, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 1, 2, 3 (morning) // 4, 7 (evening)

Micah 7:1-7

Acts 26:1-23

Luke 8:26-39

Our prophet this morning describes his people’s experience of betrayal at every level of trust. In the political and criminal justice systems, “the official and the judge ask for a bribe” instead of delivering justice fairly. Instead of following laws that pursue the common good, “the powerful” simply “dictate what they desire.” Even personal relationships are unsafe, and the prophet advises his people to “[p]ut no trust in a friend, have no confidence in a loved one.”

This mistrust extends even to the most intimate of relationships. The prophet warns, “your enemies are members of your own household.” He describes the contempt and rebellion of sons and daughters against their parents. Worse yet, he advises a husband to “guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your embrace.” In this world, the very people we hold in our arms may not be worthy of our trust.

The prophet’s words today may trigger fear, suspicion, and paranoia. But they may also offer us the eye-opening wisdom that allows us to pursue a higher standard of justice and love. Instead of idealizing judges and officials, friends and intimate partners, the prophet speaks to the reality faced by many people: that leaders who “serve” the public and people who “love” us may be far less than what we deserve as God’s children.

What God offers to us is a place to put our trust, especially when other institutions (including the family) prove so deeply unworthy. When our sources of justice and love fail us, may we see them for what they are, and partner with God to do much better by this broken world.

Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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