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 50:4-9a

This is the third of the four Servant Songs in Second Isaiah. It describes the Hebrew people, particularly in captivity in Babylon. Whilst appearing disgraced, this is not the ultimate truth when God is on one's side.

Philippians 2:5-11

There may be two or three letters conflated into this letter to the Philippians. There are divisions within the Philippian Christian community. Today's hymn originates prior to this letter. The framework is the story of Adam. There is the shocking teaching that shame leads to honour. Philippi was also a Roman colony with much of the letter translating the imperial cult to Jesus. This reading has been read (in Rome) on this Sunday since at least early in the seventh century (Wurzburg Epistolary).

Matthew 26:14-27:66

The passion story was one of the earliest parts of the gospels to develop. In Matthew's version (as in Mark's) there is a strong focus on Psalm 22, 69, Isaiah, and other scriptures being fulfilled. Jesus' only words proclaim the start of Psalm 22. Jesus righteously endures shaming and is honoured by God. This reading has been read (in Rome) on this Sunday since at least early in the seventh century (Wurzburg Evangeliary).
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