Lectionary Readings Introductions

This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading – so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different – often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways. This is an experimental venture and I will see how useful it appears.

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67

The frame of this story is the marriage of Isaac which will continue the promised saga on the one side, and Abraham’s marrying Keturah and his death on the other.

Zechariah 9:9-12

Zechariah Chapters 9 to 14 are very difficult to date. Judah is God’s bow and Ephraim God’s arrow (9:13-14) against Pheonicia, Philistia, and Syria in turbulent times. The donkey symbolises peace and humility over against the horse used in war.

Romans 7:15-25a

This difficult passage speaks of someone “of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin.” (v14). Yet vv 22 and 25 speaks of delighting in and serving the law of God. The other side of the frame is Chapter 8 in which believers are promised the possibility of living a victorious life.

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
John the Baptiser sends his last message to Jesus. Jesus, who had joined John’s movement, compares his approach to that of John. The yoke that was placed on people was that which directed and ruled their lives. The Pharisees had 613 rules (mitzvot), positive “do this” (mitzvot aseh) or negative “don’t do that” (mitzvot lo taaseh). This was their yoke. Jesus’ regular metaphor of God as father fits in with the Mediterranean image of the patron – Jesus mediates between the patron and the client. Children were the most vulnerable. 30% died near childbirth. 60% died before age 16.

Today’s readings online (link off this site)