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 18:1-15, (21:1-7)
The context is the cultural stigma of being childless. Genesis 17 introduces circumcision as one of the identifying marks of identity for the Hebrew people. Sarai and Abram's (the father is exalted) names become Sarah (princess) and Abraham (father of nations). Isaac means "laughter".
This starts a (J) section Chapters 19-24 of law and covenant. Laws here are not independent of narrative. In the narrative God is establishing a relationship with the Hebrew people as distinct from other nations. The law helps and maintains that special relationship.
Paul, having established that we are justified (ie. declared worthy) by faith, now continues into the consequences of being justified.
The frame is Matthew's telling of Jesus' ten miracles and his compassion on the crowds who were “like sheep without a shepherd”. Jesus has declared that God's “harvest” (9:37), is at hand. Now he sends out people with a reliance on no more than Mediterranean hospitality.