Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Readings for Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hello Everyone,

I start with a reminder about upcoming Church Conference for Grey Eagle UMC and Annual Meeting for Peace United Church. These meeting are open to all who are members of their respective church. Grey Eagle UMC will have Church Conference this Sunday, November 22, at 2:00 PM. Peace United Church will have their Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner on Sunday, November 29 at 11:45.

This Sunday is “Reign of Christ Sunday” or “Christ the King Sunday”. It is also the last Sunday of the Church Year and Lectionary Cycle B.

Our Readings Are:

2 Samuel 23:1-7 – “The last words of David” might simply mean they were the last oracle, poem, or psalm of David. His last words are the instructions he gives Solomon in 1 Kings 2:1-9. Here, David speaks of God who has worked through him to lead Israel. David also reaffirms the covenant God made with him in Chapter 7. The final two verses are about how the godless will be consumed by fire.

Psalm 132 – The psalmist sings praises of the Temple and of the Davidic Dynasty that God promised to David. This psalm starts with the words “A Song of Ascents” and may be one of the psalms pilgrims sang as they trudged up the hill into Jerusalem and then trudged up the hill to the temple.

OR Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 – As I mentioned last week, the visions of Daniel are recorded in Chapters 7-12. In this first vision, Daniel sees four “beasts” each more terrifying than the one before. In verses 9-10 Daniel sees the “Ancient of Days” who is dressed in white and with hair like pure wool (white, like mine, I think). Thousands and millions (people, angels, heavenly beings) served this Ancient One who sat in judgment. In verses 13-14 Daniel sees someone “like a human” (the Aramaic says literally “one like a son of man”). To this Human One the Ancient One gave dominion over all the earth, nations, and peoples forever. Who are the “beasts”? And what does the Ancient One (God) and the Human One (Christians would say this is Jesus Christ) have to do with the beasts? Some would say that the beasts were the emperors who ruled over Israel (one guess would be the Antiochus family who ruled Israel after Alexander the Great) and whose rule are short lived because ultimately all nations and empires are ruled by the Ancient and Human Ones. In other words, to a people who are being ruled over by some fairly despicable kings, there is hope that one day all will change.

Psalm 93 – The psalmist affirms that the only true king (of Israel, of the world) is God whose throne has been established from the beginning.

Revelation 1:4b-8 – The Revelation to John. Verse one says this document, this vision, is the Revelation OF Jesus Christ and given TO John. Which John? Hard to say because John was a fairly common name in ancient Roman Empire. Many date this writing to the 90’s AD and if the writer were the disciple John that would put him in his 80’s; vary rare but not unheard of then. John passes on the grace and peace from the “one who is and who was and who is to come” and from Jesus who is the faithful witness, first born from the dead, and ruler of all nations. He closes out the greeting by proclaiming that Jesus is the one coming with the clouds and with God saying, “I am the Alpha and Omega” (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, but I think you knew that.)

John 18:33-37 – We close out the year of Mark with a reading from the Gospel of John. We have spent a lot of time in the Gospel of John this past year due to the brevity of the Gospel of Mark so it is appropriate that we end the year with it. In our passage, Jesus has already been arrested, questioned by both Annas and Caiaphas and is now in Pontius Pilate headquarters. After asking the officials what he should do with Jesus, Pilate enters the room and asks Jesus if he is “The King of the Jews”.

“Who told you to ask?”
“Your people did. What did you do?”
“Well, my kingdom is not earthly otherwise my followers would be fighting.”
“So, you are a king (not truly hearing what Jesus said)!”
“So you say, but I came to speak truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

I wonder why the lectionary committee left off the last statement/question by Pilate? “What is truth?”

This Sunday we celebrate a King who died on the Cross saying “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor

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