O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary:
First Reading and Psalm: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Alternate Reading and Psalm: Psalm 45:10-17 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Second Readings: Romans 7:15-25a
Gospel: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Jesus said to the crowd, "To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
`We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.'
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon'; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, `Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."
At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."Lectionary Reflections for the Season after Pentecost:
Brian Zahnd: My 4th of July Prayer. A simply fabulous prayer for the kingdom of the Liberating King!
Kurt Willems: A Liturgy of Confession and Allegiance for July 4th. (Orginal Source from Empire Remixed: A Litany of Resistance)
Ekklesia Project: (Mis)Remembered Words.
The Brazos Blog: Lectionary Reflection for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost from Stanley Hauerwas.
Jesus adds insult to injury by thanking the Father for hiding the secrets of the kingdom from the wise and intelligent but revealing them to infants. Jesus will later use children to answer the disciples’ question concerning who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1–5).
Only by becoming like children, only by being humbled like a child, will we recognize those greatest in heaven. Intelligence and wisdom are often names for the power and violence employed to sustain our illusions of superiority.
In 1 Cor. 1:18–31 Paul tells us that God choose the cross to “destroy the wisdom of the wise.” Paul directs the Corinthians’ attention to their own selves, pointing out that most of them are not wise by human standards or of noble birth. They were chosen not because they are strong, but because they were, in the world’s eyes, weak and foolish.
Paul is not suggesting that Christians ought to try to be weak or foolish in order to show that they are Christian, but rather that their weakness or their foolishness is only fruitful as a witness to the cross. The cross, moreover, is the deepest wisdom of God.
Jesus, like Paul, is not suggesting that we try to be infants, but rather as those engrafted into the kingdom, we in fact are infants. We are just beginners, dependent on Jesus and one another for our very survival; we become a “new creation,” in Paul’s language.