Week of Proper 10, 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 25 (morning) // 9, 15 (evening)
In today’s first reading, a woman named Rahab sees a war about to erupt, and she negotiates the best possible deal for her family. Hers is not a story of noble self-sacrifice or of national loyalty. Instead, it’s a story about how a mixture of cleverness and kindness can save us.
While some Biblical translations refer to Rahab as a “prostitute,” she could just as easily have been an innkeeper. She lives in the city of Jericho, and the new leader of the Israelites has just sent two spies to check out the city before launching an invasion. The spies happen to stay at Rahab’s inn for the night. When messengers from the king of Jericho pound on Rahab’s door the next morning, she has to think quickly. Instead of turning over the Israelites, she decides to hide them safely and then lie to her countrymen, claiming that the spies left the city the night before.
Once the king’s men are safe distance away, Rahab strikes her deal. She tells the spies that she knows an invasion is imminent, and surely the spies and their people will win. Then she says, “Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” The spies, recognizing that Rahab has just saved their lives, agree to her terms: “Our life for yours!”
What opportunities for renegade kindness might emerge from our circumstances today? Imagine if we all struck a deal like Rahab’s, one by one, family by family: “since I have dealt kindly with you . . . you in turn will deal kindly with my family.” May our powers of quick-thinking and kindness win small but saving victories today.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace 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.