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 1:6-14

Luke in the Gospel locates the ascension on Easter Day. In his second volume (scroll) which we call the Acts of the Apostles, he places it forty days later. This provides a help for how he expects his readers to interpret the literal-historical nature of this event. He uses the term ατενιζοντες (Acts 1:10) "looking intently", exactly paralleling the vision of Stephen (Acts 7:55) as he looked intently up to heaven and "saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." This parallel again underscores how the original author understood the perception he was describing.

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

Many movements have turned pejorative name-calling to honour: Methodists, Jesuits,... "Christians" is a term found three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). It was originally used by Latin-speaking pagans in Syrian Antioch as a strong "four letter word" put down of these strange followers of Jesus.

John 17:1-11

We note Jesus' posture for prayer: standing, eyes raised upwards. The Council of Nicaea concludes its canons, the bishops having been horrified to hear that some kneel during the fifty days of the Easter Season, by instructing all to stand up for their rites during all of the Easter Season, and on Sundays during the year. In highlighting the Mediterranean value of honour, Jesus is not praying in secret (cf. Matthew 6:5-6) but in the presence of his disciples.
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