Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Readings for November 23 2011

Hello Everyone,

I just posted last week's readings below. Sorry for the delay.

This coming Sunday is the last Sunday of the Church year and is called “Christ the King Sunday” or “The Reign of Christ Sunday”. We are concluding Year A and our reading of Matthew. However, what we are reading is not the conclusion of Matthew which is, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” That is our fourfold commission: go, make, baptize, and teach. My question at the end of the year is, “Do we?”

Next week we begin the next year, Year B, and we will be reading The Gospel According to Mark. For the final Sunday of Year A we are reading:

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 – You would be best served in understanding this passage by reading the entire chapter 34. The Lord, through Ezekiel, lambasts the leaders of Israel (the shepherds and I assume that religious and political leaders are included) for not doing what they were supposed to do to care for the welfare of the sheep (verses 1-10). They got fat and rich at the expenses of the people (the sheep). Who then will become the true Shepherd? What will the this shepherd do (verses 11-16)? I count seven things that the new shepherd will do, some of which are repeated several times. In verses 17-19, the Lord shifts his focus to the sheep who also bear responsibility for the welfare of other sheep. Who then will the Lord judge between? Who then will be the new shepherd that the Lord will install? Note: this new shepherd has been dead for several hundred years before Ezekiel was written.

Psalm 100 – In verses 1, 2, and 4, what are we supposed to do? In verse 3, who are we (two answers)? In verse 5, what is the Lord and how is the Lord characterized?

Ephesians 1:15-23 – Who wrote this letter? What does he want the Ephesians to know (three answers)? Where did God put his power and when? What is Jesus the head of?

Matthew 25:31-46 – This story of Jesus comes after three parables that started at 24:45. Everyone recognizes that those are parables. So, what is this passage? Is it a parable, a prophesy, or a future reality? I tend to read it as a parable but I recently saw a reference to this passage as a prophesy and a pastor friend of mine has called it a description of how the final judgment will happen. What defines the difference between the sheep and the goats? What is “the kingdom that was prepared for you at the foundation of the world”? Our first response is “heaven”, but could it be something else especially if we are reading this as a parable? What is the kingdom like in the parable of the 10 Maidens? In the parable of the Talents? What is the “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels? Is is anything like “the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth? One last question: if this passage is read as being literal, what gets someone into the kingdom, faith or works?

Much to chew on this week! May God bless you in your reading and wrestling with these passages.

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