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 6:1-7 (RC)

From John Collins, Are All Christians Ministers? (Liturgical Press, 1992): Greek speakers are complaining that widows are neglected in the "daily ministry" of the Aramaic speaking apostles. "It is not right that we [Twelve] should leave aside the public proclamation of the word [in the Temple] to carry out our ministry during mealtimes of the widows."

Acts 7:55-60 (RCL)

Daniel 7:13 is the background (with Psalm 110:1) of the Son of Man (here standing not sitting - cf. Luke 22:69. On stoning outside the city see Leviticus 24:10-23, and Numbers 15:32-36. Stephen's story echoes Jesus'. Saul appears for the first time.

1 Peter 2:2-10

The image of the stone is drawn from Isaiah 8:14; 28:16; Psalm 118:22 etc. The image of God's chosen is drawn from Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 42:6-9; 43:20-21; 63:7-9; Hosea 1:6, 9; 2:1-12.

Verse 18 needs to be included in the frame of this text. Slaves are normally listed last (Col 3:18-4:1; 5:22-6:9; 1 Tim 2:8-6:2). Here, interestingly they are mentioned first. This becomes a model for all followers of Jesus in the readers of this text's context.

John 14:1-14

This farewell address follows as comfort the distressing suggestion that Simon Peter will deny Jesus. There has been a move away from focusing intensely on Jesus imminent return in the earliest communities.
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