Sue Whitt

Author's details

Name: Sue Whitt
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 27 — August 27, 2014
  2. Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 26 — August 26, 2014
  3. Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 25 — August 25, 2014
  4. Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 24 — August 24, 2014
  5. Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 23 — August 23, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Sunday's Child: Daily Prayer, Wednesday, May 23, 2012 — 1 comment
  2. Sunday's Child: Health care, When they’re against you, a Reflection on Ephesians 6:10-20 — 1 comment
  3. Sunday's Child: Who Gets In, a Reflection on Psalm 15 — 1 comment
  4. Sunday's Child: Daily Prayer, Sunday, February 24, 2013 — 1 comment
  5. Sunday's Child: Daily Prayer, Sunday, August 4, 2013 — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Aug 27 2014

Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 27

Original post at

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
(Psalm 41:13)

Job 23:1-27:23
Job's friend has accused him of great wickedness--of overextending credit to people beyond what they can pay back and then stripping them of their remaining assets" (22:1-11). The friend then counsels Job to try to get closer to God and to do what God wants, "If you pray, God will listen" (22:21-30).

Job responds "If, only. I've been praying. I've been asking God why that I have been punished this way. but I can't seem to find him. He's not anywhere that I've looked." Job further responds to his friend's attack by asserting, "I've done what God wants. I've never sinned." (10-12).

Job is ready to give up, "I'd just like to vanish."

Yet, even in this, Job says, "Still I’m not annihilated by darkness; he has hidden deep darkness from me."

After reading Job 24, look at your daily newspaper (that is, if you are an old person like me and still read the printed paper; otherwise, read it online or catch the news on TV or radio.) How timely this chapter seems. We still have violence--by other people and by nature. We still have wealthy,  powerful people who are able to protect themselves in ways the rest of us cannot.

Job says to Bildad, and to us, "Well, what are you doing to help?"

2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11
Paul explains that he has delayed returning to Corinth because of an earlier troubled visit. He asks them to forgive the trouble maker that had caused Paul the trouble there.

Boring and Craddock in their People's New Testament Commentary sum it up for us:
Paul regards the church to be in a struggle with hostile demonic powers that resist its mission. Discord within the congregation is more than a problem of interpersonal relationships. Internal conflicts hinder the mission of the church and are thus a strategy of Satan.
Psalm 41:1-13
A prayer for forgiveness. An assertion of God's care.

Proverbs 22:8-9
Whosoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed,
for they share their bread with the poor.

Prayer for Today:  God, we turn to you for healing, both for our bodies but also for our congregations. Amen.

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Aug 26 2014

Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 26

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Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    keep me safe forever.
(Psalm 40:11)

Job 20:1-22:30
Zophar demands that Job pay attention to him. "Wickedness tastes good for a while but turns to vomit." He outlines ways that God will send punishment to sinners.

Job replies that Zophar should listen to what he has to say, "The wicked don't always get punished." then adds, "How often will you comfort me with empty nothings?"

Eliaphaz is not convinced by Job. He reminds him of the greatness of God and asserts that God will save the penitent.

2 Corinthians 1:1-11
[Scholars tell us that 2 Corinthians as we have it in our Bible is a compilation of several letters written by Paul then combined but probably not in chronological order.]

Paul tells the congregation at Corinth: God consoles us in our afflictions so that we may console others. God raised Jesus and will rescue us.

In their Jewish Annotated New Testament, Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler point out that the relationship between affliction and consolation was raised in 1:3-11 and is the backbone of the arguments we will read in 4:7-10; 4:16-5:10; and 12:7-10.

Psalm 40:11-17
These verses sound like ones that Eliaphaz could pray. Yet, they also sound like ones that we could all pray.

Proverbs 22:7
The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Prayer for Today: O Lord, open us to your truth but guide us in our telling others what they ought to be doing. Console us in our pain. Direct us to consoling others. Amen.

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Aug 25 2014

Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 25

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You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted.
(Psalm 40:5)

Job 16:1-19:29
Job responds to those people who have been preaching to him: Have windy words no limit?

He then speaks of his despair but asserts "There is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure."

Job prays for relief, "My spirit is broken, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me, and my eye dwells on their provocation."

Bildad levels accusation at Job, "You think we are stupid. The wicked get what they deserve."

Job responds that his friends' comments have not been helpful and have even made his situation more painful.

Job pours out a lament to God and affirms his allegiance to God.

1 Corinthians 16:1-24
Paul asks them to give financial support to the churches in Jerusalem.

Paul's final message is still timely to our modern congregations: Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

Psalm 40:1-10
Psalm 40 begins "I waited patiently for the Lord...." Believers by being believers are not immune from the pains in life. I'm also admitting that my own waits have not always been very patient. But, the psalmist was patient--and needed to be--note the "waited" part. But, also note what is being waited for--the Lord. Even in times of tribulation, pain, or disappointment, the psalmist recognizes the source of what is going to make things better.

This trust comes, in part, from what has already happened, "He drew me up from a desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure." Rescue plus a new start.

The psalmist doesn't keep this rescue, this improvement in his life a secret. Rather, he tells about it. And the ones he tells listen, and, because of what they hear, their lives are changed, their expectations are changed, even what they consider as powerful enough to help them through their difficulties will shift, "Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods."

This psalm begins with gratitude to the Lord, recognition of what the Lord has done. It continues with affirmation of the benefits of trusting the Lord rather than some other false gods, "You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts; none can compare with you."

How are we to worship? What is it that God expects us to do to show that we do worship? Where does worship happen? What is the necessary cost? Am I doing it right?

The psalm says, "Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required." Focus first on what is not necessary--offerings; then, pay attention to what we have been given--that open ear.

That ear is open to what has been written in the Torah. More than listening, the psalmist attests that what has been written in a scroll has become a law within his heart.

Proverbs 22:1
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.

Prayer for Today: O Lord our God, give us the right words to share when someone around us is in despair. And, O Lord, restrain us from saying the wrong words to them. Amen.

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Aug 24 2014

Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 24

Original post at

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
do not hold your peace at my tears.
For I am your passing guest,
(Psalm 39:12a)

Job 12:1-15:35
Job told his friends "You think you know so much. Well, everybody knows as much as you." He reiterated his argument that despite what they believed that his situation was not punishment for sin.

He then says "Every animal, every bird, every plant, every fish can tell you that every living thing is in God's hand. I want to argue my case with God."

His friend Eliphaz (Ch 4) speaks again. "Why do you think you know more than we do? What you're saying is a diminishment of God." He repeated his assertion that the wicked will be punished.

1 Corinthians 15:29-58
I'm posting from a commentary by Thomas Fischer about wrong reasons to serve God: 1) Guilt; 2) Pressure; 3) To please people; 4) Pride; 5) To earn salvation

Psalm 39:1-13
It is interesting to read this psalm on the same day as the selection from Job. Eliphaz could have prayed these verses.

Proverbs 21:30-31
No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel,
can avail against the Lord.
The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but the victory belongs to the Lord.

Prayer for Today: O Lord, when we despair, encourage us. When we fear, comfort us. When we waiver, strengthen us. Amen.

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Aug 23 2014

Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 23

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Do not forsake me, O Lord;
O my God, do not be far from me;
make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation.
(Psalm 38:21-22)

Job 8:1-11:20
His friend Bildad tells Job, "If God is punishing you, you must have done something to deserve it. God will not reject a blameless person. " Job replies, "How can anyone lead a totally blameless life? God is all-powerful, but he is not listening to me." Job then addresses God directly, "Why are you doing this to me? You made me, you know me, you know I haven't done anything to deserve what is happening to me."

Another friend, Zophar speaks, "You say you are innocent. God knows what you have done. Turn to God now."

1 Corinthians 15:1-28
Paul reminds the Corinthians the message he terms of first importance: Christ died, was buried, was raised, and appeared to witnesses including Paul himself.

Paul has received this gospel and is passing it on to the Corinthians. His knowledge is based on experience and scripture.

And, now, here we are. What we know about Christ is also based on what we are told--both by long-ago witnesses as well as those in our own times. We hear them recount the good news. We read our Bibles. And we hold firmly to the message that is being proclaimed.

Sidelines: Apparently Paul was not aware of the traditions underlying the Gospel reports of the appearances of Christ to the women at the empty tomb. He includes that the death for our sins and the being raised on the third day was in accordance with the scriptures. That is, to Paul, the death and resurrection of Christ are not a repudiation of Judaism.

Corinth was a city that had been destroyed then rebuilt by the Romans. In Paul's time, it was a thriving port city strategically located with ports on the Aegean and on the western gulf leading to the Adriatic. Like other formerly Greek cities, many gods had been worshiped.

The church founded there by Paul, Silas, and Timothy had, at first, been a vital Christian congregation, but, by the time of this letter, the Corinthians had been visited by and impressed with followers of Simon Peter (spiritual phenomena) and Apollos (wisdom).

(The above information is abstracted from the excellent The People's New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring & Fred B. Craddock.)

I'm struck by Paul's rhetorical strategy. He writes to rich people stressing his being least and unfit. His doing what he is capable of doing is due to the grace of God. Yet, Paul did not leave the gift stored on a shelf of some closet. He worked hard--harder than the other apostles (is this a dig at Peter's followers?)

He worked hard, but he attributes God's grace for the ability to do the work--or, should I read this as God's grace for the ability to want to do the work?

Now, back to us. We have had the opportunity of good, faithful teaching by hard-working teachers who were filled with grace and able to demonstrate that grace to us. And we have been faced with not-so-faithful, not-so-grace-filled teachings and examples. Let us hold firm to the good news proclaimed through Paul. Let us come to believe--and act as if we did. Let God's grace to us not be in vain.

Psalm 38:1-22

Proverbs 21:28-29
A false witness will perish,
but a good listener will testify successfully.
The wicked put on a bold face,
but the upright give thought to their ways.

Prayer for Today: Pray Psalm 38:21-22.

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Aug 22 2014

Sunday's Child: Reflection on readings for August 22

Original post at

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord.
You are our refuge in time of trouble.
You help us and rescue us;
you rescue us from the wicked and save us,
because we take refuge in you.
(adapted from Psalm 37:39-40)

Job 4:1-7:21
His friend Eliphaz responds to Job's despair by asserting that sinners deserve punishment. He advises Job to turn to God and pray for deliverance. Job responds that he would agree except that he doesn't know what he has done to warrant the pain he is in. He then does ask for deliverance.

1 Corinthians 14:18-40
More advice on conducting worship service: Make them intelligible to visitors. Suggested pattern: a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Have only two or at most three people speak in tongues and then only if someone can interpret. Women should be silent.

How much of Paul's advice to the Corinthians applies to our worship services? What advice would he give to us today?

Psalm 37:30-40
Reading this passage today I am reminded of Eliphaz' comments.

Proverbs 21:27
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination;
how much more when brought with evil intent.

Prayer for Today: O Lord, open us to share your word. O Lord, somehow restrain us from misusing your word. Amen.

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