Sunday, December 07, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday of Advent, Year B

Readings for Third Sunday of Advent, 12/14/14:
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11, Psalm 126, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, John 1:6-8, 19-28

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11:

  • "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me" - make sure to read this alongside Luke 4, where Jesus reads these words in the synagogue. Jesus does not read exactly what we read here. I like Jesus' spin better ;)
  • "bind up the brokenhearted" - I love this phrase. This whole passage is how I would prefer to describe evangelism, instead of describing it as trying to get people to "accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior." I think this passage gets at the heart of why we want to share Jesus - he's good news for those who've heard none.
  • "I the Lord love justice." Do you love justice? What does it mean to love justice for those who are oppressed?

  • Psalm 126:
  • "we were like those who dream." I like this verse - sounds like it should be from some Shakespeare play, some poetry. The psalmist talks about how surreal/unreal/dreamlike it felt to be restored, to be made whole again by God, to be returned to Zion. What, in your dreams, could God make of your life?
  • What great things has God done for you? For others?
  • "May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy." A good benediction!

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24:
  • "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances." A tall order, isn't it? Always? Without ceasing? In all circumstances? Can you do this? Always remember how blessed you are? Paul encourages us to always maintain our connection with God that reminds us who we are.
  • "the one who calls you is faithful" - Jesus is faithful, even when we are not. Sometimes I think we expect God to let us down because we let God down. We're setting our standard the wrong way. We should take our standard from God, who is always faithful to us.

  • John 1:6-8, 19-28
  • Compare John's poetic introduction of John the Baptist to that found in the Synoptic gospels. John's writing is almost poetry, like he's setting a stage of characters, all of them getting ready for the appearance of Jesus.
  • John's gospel is the only one where John the Baptist self-identifies as speaking from Isaiah. John portrays a very self-aware John the Baptist, who knows who he is. What do you think? How do you think John the Baptist saw himself?
  • John describes Jesus as the light, and John the Baptist, not the light, testifying to the light. In Matthew, we read of Jesus saying that we are the light of the world. Do you think Matthew and John disagree, or show us different perspectives? Are you the light of the world? Do you testify to the light? Do you, like John the Baptist, know your role in this story?
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