Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; (Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1;) Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-33
Isaiah 35:4-7a (Psalm 146); James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17; Mark 7:24-37 | Semi-continuous first reading: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23 (Psalm 125)
Exodus 12:1-14; Psalm 149; (Ezekiel 33:7-11; Psalm 119:33-40;) Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20
Christ as weapon, Paul?
Blessings and curses? My usual relational language with God does not include curses.
Jesus seems to engage in just the sort of activity that James warns against.
These six verses of Matthew do not mean that if two or three people agree on something, then they can ignore others and do whatever they want.
Paul was in Rome, the epicenter of empire, the magnet for people on the lam such as fugitive slaves. He was a “prisoner of Christ Jesus” not only because the Messiah had captured his heart but also because he had boldly proclaimed the grace and peace he had found. Somehow, through the Christian grapevine, Onesimus found Paul and sought shelter with him. Now Onesimus is going back to his owner.
When I was in first grade, teachers assigned students to reading groups based on how well they could read. They would name all the groups after birds so that everyone would feel equal, but you could always tell how well you were doing by what bird your group was named after. There were the Eagles, the Robins and the Pigeons. The Pigeons were not reading War and Peace .
Jesus knew forgiveness would always need special emphasis.