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Readings for the Week ~ June 24

Psalm 107Job 38:1-182 Corinthians 5:14-21Mark 4:35-41; 5:1-20

Our lives are lived in the Kingdom of God. God’s rule and reign is loosed upon the earth and my prayer is that we would all have eyes to see where God is at work both within us as individuals and as a congregation but also beyond. We would do well to make Thomas Merton’s words our own:

“We are exiles in the far end of solitude, living as listeners,
With hearts attending to the skies we cannot understand:
Waiting upon the first far drums of Christ the Conqueror,
Planted like sentinels upon the world’s frontier.”

Readings for the Week ~ June 16

Psalm 92Ezekiel 31:1-142 Corinthians 5:1-10Mark 4:26-34

This week’s Gospel reading includes two of Jesus’ many parables. It’s useful to note that he begins his parable with these words of introduction, “This is what the Kingdom of God is like.” Through parables Jesus seeks to give us a picture of God’s Kingdom. These parables are indirect, strange and function much like poetry. They are works of art revealing something at an angle, indirectly, carefully. Emily Dickinson could very well be referring to the parables of Jesus when she wrote:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant ­—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise

 

As Lightening to the Children Eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —


Readings for the Week ~ June 2

Psalm 29Isaiah 6:1-8Romans 8:12-17John 3:1-17

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This week we celebrate the Trinity. This is one of the deepest mysteries of the Christian faith. As you read the Scriptures for this week I encourage you to search for glimpses of the Trinity in each one.

It must be acknowledged that the theology about the Trinity wasn’t fully expressed until after Scripture was written. The doctrine of the Trinity is not some esoteric or merely philosophical theology. The doctrine of the Trinity came to expression as Christians attempted to put into words their experience of God in Scripture, the sacraments and everyday life. The Trinity explains best both what Scripture teaches and the earliest Christians experienced.

The Trinity can be described but not explained. The interrelationship of God the Father, Son and Spirit is beyond our comprehension but not our experience.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Cor 13:14

Readings for the Week ~ May 26

Ps 104 • Gen 11:1-9Ac 2:1-21Rom 8:22-27Jn 15:26-16:15

“O God, who on the day of Pentecost taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Readings for the Week ~ May 12

Psalm 33Acts 11:19-30I Jn 4:7-21Jn 15:9-17

I confess, gladly, that I’ve been reading a lot of N.T. Wright of late. Several years ago Wright wrote what most scholars consider to be the finest study of Christ’s resurrection currently available, The Resurrection of the Son of God. For an academic work it is remarkably readable. It’s pleasant and not filled with unnecessary jargon but concerned with getting the important points across clearly. It’s been praised by everyone from Anne Rice, the vampire author, to John Piper and Tim Keller.

Wright has another somewhat smaller and less technical book called Surprised by Hope where he explores the ramifications of Jesus’ resurrection and the reasons why we should anticipate our own. In Surprised by Hope Wright makes a clear and powerful connection between the resurrection of Jesus and the fulfillment of his Kingdom. Rather than relieving us from responsibility, the resurrection of Christ enjoins us to the good work of participating in God’s creation and taking joy in the presence of his Kingdom. It’s neither legalism nor self-help but an inspiring, joyful call to action, a call to participate in God’s good world.

“… love is not our duty; it is our destiny. It is the language Jesus spoke, and we are called to speak it so that we can converse with him. It is the food they eat in God’s new world, and we must acquire the taste for it here and now. It is the music God has written for all his creatures to sing, and we are called to learn it and practice it now so as to be ready when the conductor brings down his baton. It is the resurrection life, and the resurrected Jesus calls us to begin living it with him and for him right now. Love is at the very heart of the surprise of hope: people who truly hope as the resurrection encourages us to hope will be people enabled to love in a new way. Conversely, people who are living by this rule of love will be people who are learning more deeply how to hope.”    ~  N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, pg. 288

Prayer for the week:

“O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.”