Lent Devotion, March 3, 2017

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During her mid-morning break, Jensi texted her pastor: “Any chance we can meet when I get off work? Something’s on my mind.” He responded, “Sure. How about we meet for coffee at the Corner Donut Shoppe?”

So later that afternoon, over coffee and donuts, Jensi and her Pastor talked about the book of Ezra. “So what gives?” Jensi asked. “When you talked with my husband and me about our impending marriage, you didn’t object that we were of different denominations and of different ethnic backgrounds. But wasn’t Ezra against that?”

“Yes, he was. It seems that, in a time of crisis, he was seeking to preserve Jewish tradition by casting off any foreign influence. He felt that only pure-blooded Jews were acceptable in God’s sight.”

Jensi said, “And since that’s in the Bible, must we do the same today?”

“No,” replied the Pastor. “You see, the Bible isn’t a set of rules to follow. The Bible is a record of God’s people striving to live in faithfulness to God. It’s a collection of writings written by many voices over the course of many centuries. I like to think of the Scriptures as a conversation among the people of God about the things of God; a conversation we are invited to join. When we make our ethical and moral decisions, we need to listen to the full scope of the Bible, not only one voice. When doing that, we hear more voices of inclusion than ones like Ezra that exclude.”

Thank you, God, for the many voices that speak to us through the words of Scripture. Amen

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