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Reflect on readings March 8

2nd Sunday in Lent

Text of the readings
All reflections at Category: Lectionary

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

This is from the P(riestly) version of the covenant with Abraham. The J version is Genesis Chapter 15 [hence the lack of acknowledgement that the covenant has already been established two chapters earlier]. Today’s reading skips the innovation of circumcision as a sign of the covenant. El Shaddai meant “God, the One of the Mountain” (cf. Judges 5:5). In the Priestly tradition YHWH (LORD) was revealed to Moses (Exodus 6:2-3). Changing name (verse 5) changes one’s destiny. J does not stress Sarah’s part – here, her being ninety on top of lifelong inability to bear children, underscores the supernatural quality.

Roman Catholics use Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18

Psalm 22:23-31

Romans 4:13-25

Paul wrote this letter either from Corinth or Cenchrae, the port of Corinth in 57 or 58CE. Translations of verse 13 are regularly incorrect σπερματι is seed (singular). The promise is not to Judean Israelites (regularly mistranslated anachronistically as “jews”) but to Abraham and his seed (singular). “Wrath” refers to God defending His honour. No disobedience – no dishonour. Verse 25 does not have “to death” in the original. “Handed over” and “raised” are in the passive.

Roman Catholics use Romans 8:31b-34

Mark 8:31-38

“This adulterous and sinful generation” is a questioning of the parentage of the listeners who are unprepared to join Jesus’ new “kindom”. Peter is rebuked as “Satan” the tester of loyalty. Jesus realises the consequences of rising above the status of his birth.

Mark 9:2-9

See Transfiguration

Please add your insights, reflections, sermon suggestions, hymn suggestions – anything positive and useful (even layout and web organisational ideas) – in the comments box. I will choose to publish from what is sent here. Do not send anonymous comments. You can follow comments (and posts) by the Entries Feed and Comments Feed at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget: each week I also publish a reflection on the collect/opening prayer.

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5 thoughts on “Reflect on readings March 8”

  1. Cynthia Bronson Sweigert

    Dear Bosco:

    I have only recently happened upon your marvelous website and I look forward to becoming a regular visitor!

    I am the rector of a Episcopal parish in the Diocese of Pittsburgh,PA (we are part of the group that has remained loyal to The Episcopal Church), and during Lent we are using the intercessions, eucharistic prayers, etc. from other parts of the Anglican Communion. Part of my reason for doing this is to not only pray for but also with others we tend not to think too much about until they come in up in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer. We are using yours this coming Sunday. Mrs. Jackie Pearse sent me a lovely reply to my request for more information about the prayer and mission needs of your Church so that we may pray for them during the service.

    Wouldn”t you know, my organist is in Germany until Friday and before he left he did not find any specifically NZ music for Sunday. So — I am writing to see if you would be willing to dash off the titles of any hymns that are commonly used in NZ during Lent (that we might even have in our own Hymnal 1982). I know it is much too late to think about trying to find an actual hymnal…I will be better prepared next time! Any suggestions you may have on this matter would be terrific; and thank you for your time — I realize you may be getting hundreds of emails!

    Keep up your wonderful work.


  2. Thanks for your encouragement, Cynthia,

    Just a quick response to which other Kiwis might like to add.
    In your Lent section of your Hymnal 1982:
    150, Forty days

    Other well-known hymns during Lent would include:
    Lead us heavenly father
    O Jesus I have promised
    God is our strength and refuge
    Guide me
    Your hand O God
    How sweet the name
    Take up your cross
    The church’s one
    Through the night
    Father hear
    My song is love
    Rock of ages
    Crown him
    King of glory
    Praise to the holiest
    We sing the praise
    When I survey

    Well known Kiwi authors would include Marnie Barrell; Colin Gibson; Shirley Murray. You might be able to find some of their material online – often their work can be sung to well-known tunes.

    My prayers are with you and your community.
    I hope the mission and ministry of this website and all who visit here will also be in your prayers. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – when the planet was celebrating Ash Wednesday, about 8,000 people made use of this website!



    ps. You may have noticed that this site regularly provides a commentary on your BCP (TEC/USA) collects [see the home page] This week TEC’s collect commentary is found here.

  3. Here’s what’s struck me as I think about these texts again:

    Most english translations of the “take up your cross” text go something like this (the more recent pluralize to be more inclusive):

    “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Others use “come after me” instead of “become my followers”.

    I found myself wondering what distinction Jesus was drawing between “coming after” or “becoming my followers” and “following” — why does he use a different word in the fist half of the sentence fromt he one in the second? And, of course, it turns out there’s no distinction — it’s the same word both times in the Greek. The english translators presumably just thought that using “follow” twice would sound repetitive.

    But if we translate it that way: “if any want to follow me, let them take up their cross and follow” it forces us to hear a different emphasis in Jesus’ voice in order to avoid the sense of repetition. If you or I were to say those words, I think we’d emphasize the second “follow” — giving the meaning, “just do it.” If anyone wants to follow, just take up your cross and follow.

    We get hung up on the taking up of our cross — what does that mean? — when Jesus may be saying that it’s actually pretty straightforward. If you want to follow, just do it, just get behind me and follow.

  4. Hm. Well, just so I don’t send anyone in the wrong direction, let me say that I’ve discovered that the textual point I made above is true at the online greek bible I use:


    But not in the 1968 edition of The Greek NT (Aland, etc), where the phrase at the beginning of the sentence is “come after me” (elthein). Don’t know why I checked it there (maybe the Holy Spirit’s worried about being misrepresented). I *guess* I’m glad I discovered this before preaching it, but it means some last minute rethinking!

  5. Thank you so much for this list! I’m a church pianist for a Mission Church in South East Georgia. I have a challenge with some of the newcommers to the Episcopalian church with the old hymns. Slowly but surely, though, they’re becoming familiar with them. I have a couple of suggestions to add though…

    what about ‘If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee’ and ‘Humbly I Adore Thee’ both fit the somber mood for Lent very nicely and a couple of my favorites.

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