Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Readings for December 11 2011

Hello Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

One announcement for each church before the questions and comments on our texts.

First, Grey Eagle UMC’ers, we will be having our Annual Sunday School Program during the worship service this Sunday. Come to church if you are able and support the Sunday School program.

Second, PUC’ers, this Sunday’s worship service will be the Hanging of the Greens Service (and you won’t have to listen to me preach! Yeah!) Following the service we will be having a potluck dinner and our Annual Church Meeting. Come one, Come All!

As always, to answer my questions, please cheat by using your Bible. Our texts this Sunday are:

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 – The first two verses are famously quoted by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry in Luke 4:18-19 where he leaves off the part about the day of the Lord’s vengeance. What will the prophet do in verses 1-3 and why is he doing it? What will the people become and what will they do in verses 3-4? Who is speaking in verses 8 and 9? What will be done for the people? What will other nations and peoples say? Who is speaking in verses 10 and 11? What has happened to the prophet and why?

Psalm 126 – As usual, the Psalm is chosen by the Lectionary Committee to accompany the Old Testament reading, in this case Isaiah 61. What happens to the people when the Lord restores their fortunes? What happens to those who weep? What happens to those who bear seeds for sowing?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 – This passage come at the end of a section that my Bible labels as “Final Exhortations, Greetings, and Benediction”. You should probably start at verse 12 which is were I would start. Starting at verse 16 and going through verse 22, how many different things should we do and what are they? Why should we do them (verse 18)? What does Paul, the author of the letter, wish God will do for the people? Why does Paul believe that God will do this?

John 1:6-8, 19-28 – The second and third Sunday of Advent are devoted to John the Baptizer (referred to as JB in the rest of these comments). Any ideas as to why this may be so? (This won’t be found in our Bibles.) In the midst of a beautiful opening prologue John the Gospel writer mentions the man sent by God named John (the Baptizer). Who is the light of the world (verses 4 and 5 but not in our reading)? Is JB the light? What is JB in relation to the light? Who, in verses 19-23, is JB not? (I know, this is a awkward construction of the question.) Who does JB say he is? Who is coming after JB? Where did all this take place?

May the One who baptizes with the Spirit, bless you in your encounters with the Bible this week.

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