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 12:1-4a

Whether one regards Abram/Abraham as a historical figure, or as an eponymous figure (whose name is taken for a people) this story is set in the Early Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC). It commences in Ur, on the Euphrates (contemporary Iraq). It moves to Haran in the North (on the Balikh river, in contemporary Turkey in upper Mesopotamia). This was a significant caravan centre at this time. The story continues following the Fertile Crescent to Shechem, Bethel, and the Negeb.

2 Tim 1:8-10

The majority scholarly position is that this letter is not Pauline, and uses Paul's name to give authority to the author's addressing issues in post-Pauline churches. This pseudonymous authorship was not regarded as dishonest at that time and, hence, needs to be seen within its cultural acceptance of the period. Its dating is probably late first century, early second century, probably from Asia Minor.

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

We do not have lectionary readings for the second Sunday in Lent in our oldest books because the Ember Day Mass was celebrated during the night from Saturday to this Sunday. Paul writes this letter primarily to fellow-Judeans living in Rome (the letter nowhere refers to Romans, however). He is writing around 57-58AD probably from Corinth (or its port, Cenchrae). He is writing to a community he has never visited. We read today from a section where Paul is developing what God's righteousness means.

Matthew 17:1-9

This is a new addition to this Sunday's lectionary tradition. We must take care not to read into Paul's text the later developed Augustinian concept of "original sin". Like last week, there is a focus on a "high mountain". Moses and Elijah represent the law and the prophets.

John 3:1-17

The Revised Common Lectionary optionally moves the Transfiguration story to the Sunday immediately prior to Lent. John 2:23 has just set the frame that this story has a Passover connection.
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