Monday, January 19, 2015

Lectionary Notes for Third Sunday after Epiphany, Year B (Ordinary 3)

Readings for 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany, 1/25/15:
Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 62:5-12, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20

Jonah 3:1-5, 10:

  • This is the only week Jonah appears in the lectionary, so consider reading other sections, or expanding your focus, so that people get the full story.
  • The interesting thing about this story, not included in today's text, is that Jonah wasn't happy that God was sparing the people. In fact, Jonah knew that God was likely to be merciful and spare the people, and this is what most upsets Jonah. Are you ever upset at the liberal way God shares grace with others? Why do you think this is? Sometimes I think we act as if God's grace will run out for us if God gives too much to others!
  • How would you feel as a resident of Nineveh? Are you open to others telling you that you are not following God? Generally, we don't like people telling us what to do, or telling us what we're doing wrong. But the residents of Ninevah get their acts together, and repent. And God shows mercy. (I think God can show us mercy, obviously, even when we are undeserving. But wouldn't it be nice to do our part for once?)

  • Psalm 
  • "For God alone my soul waits in silence" - silence is such a rare thing these days. As I type, there is the whirr of my laptop, and my TV in the background. This is typical. Silence is rare. Will you find silent time for God?
  • "My hope is from [God.]" What's your hope? Where is it from?
  • The psalmist urges us to put our trust in God - rank in the world is "but a breath" or "a delusion" - only God has real power.

  • 1 Corinthians 7:29-31:
  • Paul clearly is anticipating a swift return of Jesus Christ to earth. But even though things didn't happen the way Paul was expecting, I think his words are still meaningful.
  • We're to live, in a sense, in the moment. I don't think this means to be irresponsible, or to not make plans, or to not take care of others, of obligations. But to live with an understanding that we have a different main purpose - to live as God calls us - and so to not let what is not important tie us down.

  • Mark 1:14-20
  • What's the good news? Sometimes, I think we believe the good news is that "Jesus Christ died for our sins." But according to Mark, Jesus himself was a proclaimer of the good news, and it was this: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe . . . "
  • "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." Are you fishing for people? What do you think Jesus meant by this? Evangelism? How? What kind?
  • Important: Don't forget that before you fish for other people, you should first be following Jesus. Any other way we try it is following only our own agenda.
  • Immediately! This is one of my favorite words in scriptures. We like things to happen in our lives in a convenient and fast way when it is for our own benefit - but how often do we respond to God immediately?
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