Living Under a King

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 106:1-18 (Morning)
Psalm 106:19-48 (Evening)
2 Kings 21:1-18
1 Cor. 10:14-11:1
Matt. 8:28-34

Living Under a King

More than thirty years ago, an incoming U.S. president removed the solar panels that his predecessor had installed on the White House. This event was painful for those who felt that their nation’s fragile progress in the right direction was being undone. The people in today’s reading from 2 Kings must have felt the same way.

At the beginning of this reading, a twelve-year-old has begun to rule the southern kingdom of Judah. King Manasseh’s father, Hezekiah, had torn down all the “high places” that offended God. (High places were places of sacrifice to other gods.) But Manasseh undid his father’s work: he rebuilt the high places, installed altars and images of other gods in the Lord’s house, adopted “the abominable practices of the nations,” and even “shed very much innocent blood.”

But eventually, at the end of the reading, Manasseh’s reign ends, and his son Amon succeeds him. One lesson to draw from this episode in the history of God’s people is that progress involves major setbacks. But another lesson is that depending on kings is a bad idea. Samuel the prophet warned God’s people about this! Our task is to live as God’s kingdom and to walk in God’s ways, no matter who thinks he’s king.

Written by The Rev. Dr. Lora Walsh, Associate Priest

Lora is passionate about building inclusive communities and nurturing the spirituality of contemplatives-in-action. She holds a PhD in Medieval Christianity and is an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas.

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