Finding the Lessons

I try to post well in advance of the upcoming Sunday.

You will want to scroll down to find the bible study for the lessons closest to the upcoming Sunday.

The blog will be labeled with proper, liturgical date, and calendar date.

You can open the monthly calendar to the left and find the readings in order.

You can also search below by entering the liturgical date, scripture, or proper. This will pull up all previous posts.


Search This Blog by Proper and Year (ie: Proper 8B or Christmas C or Advent 1A)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas 1.C

Quotes That Make Me Think

"If we struggle with Jesus? being 'fully human and fully God,' it should not be surprising if the child Jesus wrestled with his identity too."

"Stirrings of Divinity,"Peter Storey, The Christian Century, 2000.Religion Online.

"Children find their true home despite us."

"Learning from Our Children," Peter Woods, I Am Listening, 2009.

General Resources for Sunday's Lessons

What love you have bestowed upon us, O good and gracious God, in letting us be called your children, and in giving us your Son, Jesus, to live as a child among us in the family of Mary and Joseph.  Let all who seek the face of Christ find him, not only here, in this house of prayer, but in the households, large and small, where your love is revealed in our love for each other.  We ask this through Christ, with whom you have raised us up in baptism, the Lord who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

Some Thoughts on Luke  2:41-52
Oremus Online NRSV Gospel Text

Resources for Sunday's Gospel

There are no other stories like this in the Gospels.  This is unique to Luke and it remains one of the only stories of Jesus' young life that we know. 

Certainly scholars will recognize similar stories in the writings of the age.  These are stories of great men who in their youth portray their giftedness; giving a glimpse of their future life and vocation. 
The reader can easily see that without this story there is a 30 year gap in the life of Jesus.  It is perhaps for this reason that people try to mine this for all that can be discovered.

Yet the story is a simple story.  It is a beautiful story about a lost child, parents desperately looking for him, a frantic search,  and a bit of domestic drama between confused parents and an adolescent piety.

What do we know? Jesus grew up in a pious family. They tended to their faithful duties including a Passover pilgrimage. 

There are definitely two tensions in the story.  The first is created by a family who is simply doing the normal though pietistic thing.  They are making their way to Jerusalem. They expect Jesus to be in the group, he is found to be lost.  The second tension is in the reality that Jesus is found in the Temple teaching. This is certainly a nod to future events but it is also a tension between Jesus and his family.  While they had all kinds of signs that their son was Lord and God with us; they seemed surprised to find him.  Indeed, he seems surprised that they are surprised.  For Jesus himself from this point on will begin to distance himself from his family of origin and begin to spend time with the new emerging family of God.

At the end of the story we have a very clear theme emerging in Luke's gospel. Being lost is like being dead and being found is like being alive (Luke Timothy Johnson, Luke, 60).  The theme is a portent where Jesus is lost, he is found, and he is teaching in Jerusalem.  After his death, he will be lost, they will search for him, he will be found in Jerusalem to teach.  Again in the Emmaus story we have a similar theme. 

I think on this the first Sunday after Christmas we must be careful to not move into mere sentimentality.  The text is present to link the Christ of the nativity with the Christ of mission and proclamation.  The text reminds us that the one in the manger is the one who shall teach us our roles as helpers in the kingdom of God.  The story helps us to remember that it is Christ that we look to for wisdom and for direction.  And, perhaps that this God who is unlikely to be found in human form is also unlikely to be found in all kinds of places; and there, when you find him shall you receive revelation.

Some Thoughts on Colossians 3:12-17

This passage from Colossians speaks of the life lived in a community of Christ.  It is about the virtuous characteristics of Christians. 

Not surprisingly the passage follows a teaching on morality.  We are to put to death impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness all of which is about us getting what we want.  All of these things are idolatry. Therefore, if we are not to be idolatrous and we wish to follow Jesus and to serve  him a live of virtue will consist of: "compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience."

We are as a community and as individuals to "bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other."  Wow, what would the church be like if we did this?  Christians are to remember that "just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."

All of this can only be done with love, peace, and gratitude.  We are to dwell on the word of Christ and try to learn from one another.  And in the last part of the reading we are reminded that the essential key is for the individual (regardless of sex or age) to give themselves completely to God and to the other; whether it be family, friend or neighbor.

I wonder after all the time spent with folks over the holidays how well we did on this?  How well do we do it within our church? 

I was recently asked why people love God and are losing their faith in denominations. I believe that people are losing their faith in most kinds of organized religion because we don't do this.  People are genuinely looking for love, peace, and gratitude.  People are looking for compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.  If the church, which the scripture tells us is to look exactly like the virtuous community described in Colossians, doesn't look like it then why bother with it. 

The church should be the one place for Jesus' friends - the sinners.  This is true, but it is not permission to be ugly and tread people with disrespect.  It just isn't.  I want to invest my life in helping our Episcopal church be about these things. I want to work with people who are compassionate, kind, humble, and patient. I want to work with people who support one another and forgive one another. I want to work with people who are invested in love, peace, and gratitude.

I would like nothing more than to spend a lifetime trying to be the church Paul imagines in today's lessons.  Instead of looking back to a community who may or may not have been like what Paul describes, I want to be at work creating the community of the future which reflects the virtues described in today's lesson.


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