Lectionary Reading Introduction

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.

Isaiah 64:1-9

Third Isaiah, chapters 56-66 are stylistically similar to Second Isaiah (chapters 40-55) but in a different historical context. The exiles have returned to Judah and appear to be rebuilding the Temple (66:1). The reality, however, has, as is so often the case, not been as exciting as was anticipated. Isaiah 63:7-14 is praise based on historical remembering (anamnesis). This leads into lament (63:8-64:4a) and confession and petition.

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Paul is writing from Ephesus around 54CE. He will stay in Ephesus for a while, and then travel to Macedonia and Corinth. Timothy has been sent before him. Corinth was a significant diverse city. This introduction highlights some of what will follow, including probably ironically verses 5 and 7.

Mark 13:24-37

The destruction of the city will come during the lifetime of those listening. There is little focus on the future in Mediterranean cultures. The NRSV has rightly translated the word "slaves" in verse 34. Slaves are like members of a family. With a strong focus on the present, there is challenge and encouragement to not forget the future.

Today's readings online
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