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.
Genesis 6:9-22; 7:24; 8:14-19
In a culture that feared water, and, though bordering the sea could not protect itself from invaders from the sea - only having a small standing navy under Solomon, a metaphor regularly used of destruction was water and drowning. The Babylonian Exile, the destruction of temple and people and all held dear, and the fresh start made by a faithful remnant, is well re-told in an ancient flood legend.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21, 26-28
This reading is the origin of phylacteries (tefillin) during the Second Temple period. There is a Middle Eastern tendency (as elsewhere) to value words above obedience and action.
Romans 1:16-17; 3:22b-28, (29-31)
The Roman Catholic and the Revised Common Lectionaries today commences sixteen Sundays working systematically through Saint Paul's letter to the Romans. Paul dictated this letter to Tertius (16:22) and probably asked Phoebe to take it with her to Rome (16:1-2). Paul was heading to Jerusalem with his collection with the intention of stopping in Rome on his way to Spain. Little is known about the Christian origins in Rome. Some suggest this may be the last letter we have from Paul. It is the mature distillation of two decades of reflection and teaching. Paul's central point in today's text is the context of extending Israel's God to all - and the reconciliation all have with this God through loyalty to Jesus.
Today concludes Matthew's sermon on the mount. Jesus concludes by challenging his culture not just to be - but to do, and put his teachings into practice.