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.

Jeremiah 31:27-34

The discovery of the Book of the Law and its resulting spiritual renewal under King Josiah (2Kings 22) had not been continued by Josiah's successors. Jeremiah prophesied twenty five chapters against Judah and Jerusalem, now, as last week, we are in a section of his prophecies promising a more positive future beyond the foreseen exile.

Genesis 32:22-31

Today's story may have very complex development behind it. Beliefs in a river spirit that cannot stay out after the sun rises. An etiological story to explain the tradition of the sciatic nerve (not mentioned in any regulations in the Bible). "Ishrael" ("corrected by God) not being able to be pronounced by central Palestinian people (who could not pronounce "sh" Judges 12:6) and "Israel" ("strong against God") improving national pride. Penuel (Peniel) of course includes the title "El" for God - a Northwest Semitic word for the supreme God and part of the word Elohim, popular in the priestly material in Genesis.

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

Since the nineteenth century the authorship of this letter has been disputed. Writing in another’s name was an acceptable part of that culture in a way it is not generally today. The verses after last week's section (2:16-3:13) need to be read at least in one's private devotions as it sets the context of coming apostasy and current persecution that leads into the "But" that starts today's section.

Luke 17:11-19 18:1-8

I would be happy to be corrected, but I do not think that the section between last week's Gospel reading and this week's (Luke 17:20-37) is ever read in Sunday's RCL. Nor is there a parallel in another gospel that covers it (the closest is Matthew 24:37-44, read Advent 1 Year A). That section, about the apparent delay of the fulfilment of God's reign, is a helpful threshold for today's reading.

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