Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lectionary Notes for Trinity Sunday, Year C

Readings for Trinity, 5/26/13:
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31, Psalm 8, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31:
  • Wisdom, personified as a 'she'. Sophia in the Greek, hence the controversy of the 90s over the ReImagining Conference where some women suggested a feminine imagining of God might be called 'Sophia'. Oh, the uproar it caused! I think that there are so few ways women can find clear cut images of the feminine divine in Christianity, so laden are we with a patriarchal heritage. What is so wrong with identifying with the sophia image? After all, certainly no description of God is all-encompassing, and we have so many names for God. God is Creator, but not Creator only; Physician, but more than that. Parent, but beyond parent only. Is not sophia perhaps another face of God?
  • All that aside: wisdom is created, but with standing, created before other things, standing by the side of God, "daily God's delight, rejoicing before God always."
  • What is wisdom? In my church, we are currently taking part of the Companions in Christ covenant discipleship group. In the student book, it lists 'wisdom' as one of the spiritual gifts and describes it this way: "This is the gift of translating life experience into spiritual truth and of seeing the application of spiritual truth to daily living. The wise in our fellowships offer balance and understanding that transcend reason. Wisdom applies a God-given common sense to our understanding of God's plan for the church. Wisdom helps the community of faith remain focused on the important work of the church, and it enables younger, less mature Christians to benefit from those who have been blessed by God to share deep truths." (pg. 221) Life experience = spiritual truth. Do you like this description of wisdom?
Psalm 8:
  • What a great psalm! Chalk full of good lines. 'How majestic is thy name in all the earth!' The words to one of my favorite praise songs. But beyond this opening line:
  • "What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God . . . " I think this verse is one of life's deepest questions. This is maybe more detailed then 'why are we here?', but it is close. It presumes God, but asks, 'why has God made us?' 'Why does God care about us?' 'What's the point?' I hate not having the answers sometimes, but I think it is part of what makes God God and me not God!
  • "Dominion." This is a loaded word when it comes to our care of the earth and all that is in it. What does dominion mean? Domination? Responsible stewardship? License to do as we will? Care for our human needs above all else? As a vegetarian, and an earth lover, my senses are aware of a word like dominion - just us use with authority from God with great care!
Romans 5:1-5:
  • "Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God." That's in interesting if --> then statement. Both parts on their own are not necessarily surprising, but that the first causes the second is an interesting play on words. What does it mean to have peace with God? Trusting that it is our faith, not our faulty, failing works, that brings us to God, and more than that, God's grace, then we can rest in peace (not just the RIP kind!) with God.
  • Suffering --> produces endurance --> produces character --> produces hope. "and hope does not disappoint us." I like Paul's logic here. It's sort of like those puzzles where you have to make the first word into the last word by changing one letter at a time like this:
  • P A I L
  • M A I L
  • M A L L
  • M I L L
  • M I L K
  • "and hope does not disappoint us." What do you think about that? Has your hope ever disappointed you? If you're like me, you can probably think of times that you would say, 'yes' to this question, so what does Paul mean here? Has your hope in God ever disappointed you?
John 16:12-15:
  • "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." Bear, from the Greek bastazo^, meaning, to lift up, to bear in mind, to consider. Perhaps this statement from Jesus still applies to us today - Jesus is always wanting to fill us in, share more, but we are never able to bear it, it seems.
  • "When the Spirit of truth comes, [it] will guide you into all the truth." What a unique way of phrasing this - "all the truth" (emphasis added). What is all the truth?
  • The Spirit is not speaking things the Spirit comes up with, the Spirit is not originating direction on its own - the Spirit is like a messenger, conveying what is heard, and what is to come. The Spirit is the Vessel for God's communication with us, at least in this interpretation from John. Interesting words for Trinity Sunday . . .
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