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.

Acts 10:34-43

The frame of this speech is the story of Cornelius, a centurion in the Italian Cohort (Acts 10:1ff).

Romans 6:3-11

In Paul's letter to the Romans Chapters 5 to 8 focuses on God's love. This is the frame of this reading. The use of "sin" in the singular derives from an understanding that this is a force that leads us to what we would now refer to as "sins" (in the plural).

Colossians 3:1-4

The letter to the Colossians uses thirty eight words or phrases not found anywhere else in the certain Pauline letters, leading many to suggest this is from someone writing in the Pauline tradition, later in the first century. Colossae is today located in Turkey.

1 Corinthians 5:6b-8

The context of Paul's writing here is an incestuous relationship between a man and his stepmother. Yeast is used as a metaphor of something that spreads and affects the whole.

John 20:1-9

In this cultural context it is not normal that a woman is alone outdoors. Knowing and not knowing has been a constant thread highlighted in this gospel from the biblical tradition. Women, who could not bear witness in court, are in this gospel accorded special status: the Samaritan woman at the well, Martha, a beloved disciple (11:5, 25), and now Mary Magdalene who is raised to be apostle to the apostles.
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