Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lectionary Notes for Reign of Christ, Year C

Readings for Reign of Christ Sunday, 11/24/13:
Jeremiah 23:1-6, Luke 1:68-79, Colossians 1:11-20, Luke 23:33-43

Jeremiah 23:1-6:
  • Woe to shepherds who lead God's sheep astray! That's a warning to those of us who are clergy, but more generally to any of us who have power to lead and abuse it. Certainly, following November's elections, this can be a word of warning to our leaders, especially those who say they lead out of their religious beliefs.
  • Out of David - a righteous branch is raised up - this is good language we'll see again in Advent.
  • the name: "The Lord is our Righteousness." Our righteousness is not our own doing, our own making - God is our righteousness.
Luke 1:68-79:
  • Instead of the usual Psalm, we have this ‘prophecy’ spoken by Zechariah at the event of John’s circumcision, when his mouth is opened, after his silence for doubting God’s promise of a child.
  • Note again the reference to David - emphasis of the family line, the lineage of Christ's "kingship."
  • Zechariah also talks about the role his own son, John, will play. "You will be called the prophet of the Most High."
  • "to give knowledge of salvation." I like this phrasing - we have to learn how to be saved, how to let God save us, and how? "by the forgiveness of our sins."
Colossians 1:11-20:
  • words of blessing: "may you be made strong..." Do you give others words of blessing?
  • On the day we celebrate Christ's nature as the one who reigns, Colossians gives us a long list of Christ's divine characteristics: first born of all creation, in him all things created, through him and for him, the head of the body, head of the church, first-born of the dead
  • "In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell" - I just love this phrasing - a joy for God's fullness to dwell inside Jesus. And to me, what makes Jesus the Christ - the dwelling of the fullness of God within him. We strive for that. 
Luke 23:33-43:
  • Reign of Christ Sunday throws us into the crucifixion story abruptly. It's a shock to us, as we're about to hit Advent, and as we've been focusing on the teachings of Jesus. Use the abruptness - we're meant to be shocked, shocked out of our comfort zones!
  • Some interesting Greek notes here: the word for soldiers in verse 36 is stratio^tai means literally, "citizen bound to military service." Just thought that was an interesting phrasing. Also, in verse 39, what we read as "kept deriding" in NRSV is eblasphe^mei in Greek, to blaspheme, or literally, "to drop evil words" or "to speak lightly of sacred things," a definition I especially like.
  • Notice the repeated question/command to Jesus to save himself. If we have an ability to save ourselves, why might we choose not to? Who wins and loses when we use our own powers for our own self-interests?
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