Skip to main content

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C


Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent, 3/25/07:
Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8

Isaiah 43:1-7:
  • "I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" - Such words of hope! I think that verses about things being made new are usually among people's favorites in the Bible. Why? We as humans are so faulty, we need to hold on to the hope that God can do something new out of the messes we're creating.
  • "The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches." Picture Lion King? Seriously, envision a God who is so awesome that even the wildness, the out-of-control, will honor this God.
  • "so that they might declare my praise." I don't know if I like the image of God creating humans simply so there could be someone to praise and worship God. Even for God, that sounds a little cocky, doesn't it? I don't know - I guess I was always more struck by the idea that God created us out of love, and the desire to share love with something. As God says while creating humans, "it is not good for [human] to be alone." Perhaps neither is it good for God!

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?
  • "May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy." A good benediction!

Philippians 3:4b-14:
  • One of my least favorite things about Paul is that I feel he is always boasting about himself while pretending to be humble. But here, he actually is making good, thoughtful points about his identity and his identity in Christ. A faithful Jew all his life, Paul says his faith identity would give him reason to boast except that now, in Christ, these things are "regard[ed] as loss]." Why? These things simply aren't important in Christ: in Christ there is no Greek or Jew.
  • "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead." Like last week's texts, here again is a theme of a clean slate. It isn't easy to forget the past. Indeed, it is not always wise either. But what Paul urges here is to forget the identity that was without Christ, so that we can focus on 'the prize' of living fully in Christ in the present/future.
John 12:1-8:
  • How does that translate in this text? Well, first, I note that John never mentions Judas without also mentioning that Judas would later betray Christ! (This annoys me.) But, it also makes me ask, would react any differently than Judas at this seeming waste? Probably not. I'm not much for extravagance. I don't like spending money on things that seem frivolous, like jewelry, makeup, etc. Perfume would definitely be included for me. How would you react? Honestly!
  • "You always have the poor with you..." How I wish Jesus had never uttered these words! How often they have been taken out of context as an excuse not to do all we can to alleviate the suffering of the oppressed and impoverished. If only he could imagine how wrongly we would use his words!
  • Overall, I think Jesus is speaking about the time of God. As a freshman in my first religion class at OWU, with Dr. Emmanuel Twesigye, I first learned the Greek words chronos and kairos, our regular human time, and "God's right time for action." I think Jesus allows Mary's action here because she is rightly sensing the kairos time they are in. This was precious time with Jesus, preparation time, on the extremely difficult journey to the cross. After Jesus went to the cross, there would be much work, much work to do. And God would/does indeed demand us to do this work of service. But for a moment, these matters of preparation had there place.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

re-post: devotional life for progressive Christians

I posted this a while back before anyone was really reading this blog. Now that more people seem to be stopping by, I thought I'd put it out there again with some edits/additons since it's been on my mind again... Do you find it difficult to have any sort of devotional time? When I was growing up, I was almost compulsive about my personal Bible Study, devotion time, etc. Somewhere along the way, I got more and more sporadic. In part, I found myself frustrated with the devotional books that I considered theologically too conservative. I find it hard to bond with God when you're busy mentally disagreeing with the author of whatever resource you're reading. My habit was broken, and I've never gotten it back for more than a few weeks at a time. So, a disciplined devotional/prayer/bible-reading life - is it something I should be striving to get back, or something that is filled by other ways I am close to God? This is a debate I have with myself all the time. On the

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, "Hope: A Thrill of Hope," Mark 1:1-8

Sermon 11/26/17 Mark 1:1-8 Hope: A Thrill of Hope             Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is the glass of life half empty, or half full? My mom and I have gone back and forth about this a bit over the years. She’s wildly optimistic about most things, and sometimes I would say her optimism, her hopefulness borders on the irrational. If the weather forecast says there’s a 70% chance of a snowstorm coming, my mom will focus very seriously on that 30% chance that it is going to be a nice day after all. I, meanwhile, will begin adjusting my travel plans and making a backup plan for the day. My mom says I’m a pessimist, but I would argue that I’m simply a realist , trying to prepare for the thing that is most likely to happen, whether I like that thing or not. My mom, however, says she doesn’t want to be disappointed twice, both by thinking something bad is going to happen, and then by having the bad thing actually happen. She’d rather be hopeful, and enjoy her state of

Sermon for Second Sunday in Advent, "Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright," Isaiah 11:1-10, Mark 13:24-37

Sermon 12/3/17 Mark 13:24-37, Isaiah 11:1-10 Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright             “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon’ virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.”             This week, I read news stories about North Korea testing a missile that perhaps could reach across the whole of the United States.             This week, I spoke with a colleague in ministry who had, like all churches in our conference, received from our church insurance company information about how to respond in an active shooter situation. She was trying to figure out how to respond to anxious parishioners and yet not get caught up in spending all of their ministry time on creating safety plans.             This week, we’ve continued to hear stories from people who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, as the actions, sometimes over decades, of men in positions of power have been