Sunday, January 21, 2007

Easter 5 A

Well, yes—we're currently in lectionary year C and not even in Lent yet, but this afternoon I found notes I'd prepared for several Bible studies I facilitated during spring 2005. Whenever time allows, I virtually always have notes for the class and myself to follow. Somehow it proves I've prepared and also gives us something concrete to work through.

Easter 5 A: Rock; The Word in the World!

1 Peter 2:1-10 | Stones, Rocks, Bricks, and Other Substantial Building Material

  • Stones: hard, heavy, smooth, rough, impenetrable, permanent, won't easily decay; there also are many different kinds of stones. Is anyone here a geologist?
  • The solidness, safety and security of rock, brick, concrete or any kind of masonry as walls or building foundations.
  • 1 Peter 2:4 Living Stone, Source of Life.
  • 1 Peter 2:5 "present yourselves" (that's us!) as building stones for a sanctuary [holy place, dwelling for God, community in which the Holy Spirit of God dwells in the world: Shekinah] vibrant with life! What aspect of being "living stones" do we offer this faith community and the greater community?
  • 1 Peter 2:6, 7 Jesus Christ the cornerstone; foundation [Isaiah 28:16] [Matthew 21:44; Psalm 118:22]
  • 1 Peter 2:8 Stumbling block, stone to trip over, boulder in The Message version - the stumbling block, "scandal" of the cross! Paul says preaching "Christ crucified," is a stumbling block, scandal, to Jews and foolishness to the gentiles [1 Corinthians 1:23]
  • 1 Peter 2:9 Our royal, prophetic priesthood [Revelation 1:6]; different versions or translations of this text?
  • Jesus assertion he'd build the Church on the rock of Peter/Rocky's confession of faith!

John 14:1-14 | Jesus Christ and the Church: the Word in the World

John's "many mansions—many rooms" text often is considered a parallel to Matthew's Sermon on the Mount and Luke's Sermon on the Plain; just as in those homilies, this text is not about a future eventual location but about a here and now commission to respond in the Spirit to opportunities and situations God keeps offering us along with the relationship we need to remain in to do the Word. How can we live as God's Word in the world? For starters, let's try thinking about contrasting attitudes and behaviors: scripture versus popular culture or scripture versus the media. On the internet I found a few ideas to get us started:

The world encourages: "Seek your place in the world."
Scripture says: "Seek first the kingdom of God."

Popular culture says: "Find yourself."
Scripture says: "Lose yourself, so you can find life!"

The self-improvement industry says: "Be your own self-made person."
Scripture says: "I call you to become members together of one body."

Advertising tells us: "Look to your own needs and interests."
Scripture says: "Take on the attitude of Jesus, who took on the nature of a servant."

The world out there insists: "Be at the top of your game."
Scripture says: "Be crucified with Jesus."

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