Monday, December 22, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Christmas Day

Readings for Christmas Sunday, 12/25/14: 
Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98, Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12), John 1:1-14

Isaiah 52:7-10:


  • "beautiful feet" - I've known this verse, though not where to find it in the Bible, since I was in a summer-camp production of "Sandi Patti and the Friendship Company" in junior high, where "Beautiful Feet" was one of the songs. I looked all over for lyrics online, but couldn't find them. Beautiful feet - what a great image! Are your feet beautiful? What message do your feet carry from place to place? Do you bring peace with your feet? Salvation?
  • Isaiah speaks of the joy of Israel returning back home after exile to Babylon. When have you experienced your most joyful homecoming? When have you been away from home and not wanted to be away from home? Homesick? Without a home?
  • According to Chris Haslam, the reference to "God's arm" is a reference to God's power. Sort of envisioning a God-flexing-muscles picture.

  • Psalm 98
    :
  • Oof - watch out - there's "God's arm" again, twice on one Sunday!
  • "Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy." Great imagery. How would you create this image?
  • This is a psalm of joy and thankfulness for God's action in someone's life, in the life of a whole people. How do you celebrate as an individual? As a community? Do we celebrate as nations? A world? How do we express our joy in God? Through worship? Action?

  • Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12):
  • Hebrews talks of Jesus as the reflection of God's glory. I think we are also reflections of God's glory, if we let ourselves be, let God makes us into these reflections. This is what it means to be created in God's image, isn't it?
  • "exact imprint of God's very being" - This makes fingerprints come to mind, or plaster casts of babies' feet.
  • The argument here seems to be: Jesus is better than angels. Was this a question in the early church? Chris Haslam says it was (sort of), actually.
  • think this passage from Hebrews may be the only non-gospel place that refers to Jesus' birth in the scriptures. But Hebrews' description sounds more like Revelation and less like Luke 2!

  • John 1:1-14:
  • This is John's take on a birth narrative. No shepherds, no angels, no Mary and Joseph, no manger. This is how John describes Jesus' coming into the world. The language is rich in metaphor, and though it lacks the characters of the traditional nativity, the point is still communicated without a doubt: 'And the word became flesh and lived among us'.
  • This is one of my favorite passages in the Greek New Testament, not only because of the easy, repetitive vocabulary :) but also because it is poetic and lyrical through the simple, repetitive structure. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
  • Passages like this from John provide the strongest basest for our Trinitarian Christian Creeds. Jesus was "in the beginning with God."
  • I think we are all, like John the Baptist, meant to testify, or witness, to the light. How do you do it? Witnessing means telling what you know about something, like at a trial. What do you know about the light that is Christ? 
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