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 35:1-10

The context for this announcement is on the one hand the historical circumstances of the Isaiah's eighth (to possibly early seventh) centure BC situation when the Northern Kingdom is annexed to the Assyrian empire with Judah living in its shadow as tributary, and on the other hand is the geographic assumption of arid places compared to fertile regions.

James 5:7-10

This letter is attributed to James the brother of the Lord. It includes seven exhortations contrasting negative with positive. Today's reading follows the sixth negative section: arrogant planning and boasting, and the oppression of labourers and the just by the rich.

Matthew 11:2-11

Arundo donax
The context of today's reading is the far- from-homogeneous messianic expectations of first century Palestine-Israel (there appears little independent evidence of a widespread expectation of a return of Elijah, for example). The text assumes an understanding of first century healing, of the Arundo donax (link off this site), the resilient, flexible, attractive, luxuriant grass that grows along the Jordan.

Image left: Arundo donax
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