Skip to main content

Lectionary Notes for Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C

Readings for 4th Sunday of Easter, 4/21/13:
Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30

Acts 9:36-43:
  • note: "a disciple whose name was Tabitha . . . she was devoted to good works and acts of charity." This is a very empowering description of a new testament woman! A disciple: in Greek, a mathetria, the feminine of the same word used to describe the twelve - a pupil/student, just as they were. This is the only place in the bible this word appears.
  • Compare this to Jesus' raising of Jairus' daughter. Yes, different details. But the point of this passage is that the disciples, like Peter, are truly living now as Jesus lived, doing what he did, working in the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had left them with. It is possible for them to imitate and be like Jesus. As it is possible for us.
Psalm 23:
  • Ah, perhaps the one passage of scripture that most people, regardless of their usual preference of translation, prefer to hear in the poetry of the King James version, myself included. Just a part of our identity as people of faith.
  • "I shall not want." Hmm. I think we skip right over this little phrase. We like to hear about our overflowing cup. Less interesting to us, less believable, is that we could be without want.
  • Have you ever tried writing this as a reverse Psalm? Verse by verse, reverse the meaning of the phrases. Not necessarily point for point, but in the sense of it. Instead of "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want," try, "I have no one to lead me, and my need is boundless." I've been led in this process, and led my Bible Study in it. At first you might ask, "Why do it this way?" But, especially when in a group, reading back all the hopeless examples of our life without God, we see the power of this psalm more clearly.
  • Like all well-known texts, there is a danger of it communicating nothing fresh to us. This psalm is often used at funerals - many people know it by heart. Many find it comforting and strengthening. What else can it be? Challenging? Guiding us?
Revelation 7:9-17:
  • "Salvation belongs to our God." Salvation is God's, not ours. Hm. Puts it in to perspective, for us humans who are forever trying to make sure we're saved.
  • "These are the ones who have come out of the great ordeal . . . they will hunger no more, and thirst no more, the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat . . . " Frankly, Revelation is not always high on my "favorite books of the Bible" list. But this is verse is so comforting: those who have been oppressed, who have come out of "the great ordeal" will be clothed in white, be free of hunger and thirst, and have God bring them to the water of life and have God wipe the tears from their eyes. I can see how much hope and anticipation can be found in those verses.
John 10:22-30:
  • This scene takes place just after Jesus teaches about being the Good Shepherd and coming to bring abundant life, one of my favorite Bible passages.
  • "How long will you keep us in suspense?" The Jews gather around Jesus to demand whether or not he is the Messiah. This is such an odd passage - nowhere else does it seem people have a clue of his identity, much less demand a straight answer from him.
  • Note that the festival of Dedication is what we know as Hanukkah.
  • Jesus explains his role, but in metaphorical sheep/my voice language. This is not the kind of Messiah the people would have in mind.
  • "The Father and I are one." That is a huge verse for supporting the divinity of Jesus for early-churchers trying to nail down doctrine and theology. What do you think Jesus means? 
  • "No one will snatch them out of my hand." Protection. Comforting.


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