Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B

Readings for Fourth Sunday of Advent, 12/21/14: 
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16, Luke 1:47-55, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:26-38

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16:

  • David feels bad that he's living in a nice house while God travels via tent in the ark. So he offers to build God a cedar house. And God says, "who says I need a house? I've been doing just fine without one!"
  • I think David's impulse is ours - wouldn't it be nicer if we could put God somewhere where we would always know where God was? But we get into trouble when our wanting to know where God is turns into wanting just to control God - period.
  • What would it mean if you would just led God travel through your life, and not try to restrict God to only a part of your life?

  • Luke 1:47-55
  • context: This is Mary's song of praise, the magificat, a response to her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, who is also with child. This is a song, and can be set to music in worship, or read responsively like a Psalm.
  • Mary speaks as one who sees God's greatness already complete in the not-yet-complete actions of the birth of her baby, we see by the fact that she speaks about what God has done in the past tense. What trust, and what vision!
  • Mary's images of God are all about God who changes the usual order of things - a God who lifts up the lowly and removes the rich and powerful from their usual places. Obviously, as a young woman going through a strange ordeal, these concepts of God would be extremely meaningful to her, giving her hope.

  • Romans 16:25-27:
  • "the mystery that was kept secret for long ages" - I've never thought of Jesus as a secret that was kept until his coming in human form. Is that what Paul means?
  • Maybe we keep Jesus a secret or mystery today, by not clearly sharing who he is and who he calls us to be. What do you think?
  • "my gospel" Paul says. He boldly claims the gospel as his own. Is the gospel yours too?

  • Luke 1:26-38
  • Gabriel twice names Mary as favored in this passage. Do you think she felt favored? Being favored by God in the Bible usually gets people into trouble!
  • I can't imagine reacting as coolly as Mary does. Could you take it all in like she does? Say, "Sure, ok." I just wouldn't believe it to begin with. And yet...Mary's nobody special before this happens to her. She's from a certain family line, but so are lots of people. She's just a faithful follower of God.
  • "nothing is impossible with God." Do you believe this? We have only 2 options really: we believe that really, things aren't always possible for God. That God's power is limited, because somehow, we are beyond God's power. Or, we believe that anything is possible for God, so God could make anything work through us. Those are really the only two possibilities. Which do you choose?
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