summer solstice!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Easter 6 A

More Bible study notes I prepared for the adult class I facilitated during spring 2005; I'll try to get the rest of the notes, etc., I found this afternoon formatted and blogged in a couple of days.

Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:5-20; John 14:15-21

Earlier in the Acts 17 narrative, Paul and Silas had been released from jail and gone to Berea, where Timothy and Silas remained; all the while they'd been preaching Christ and resurrection; verse 17:6b is the famous "turning the world upside down!" Immediately before this speech to the Areopagites, Paul had been talking with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers—and Paul constantly has been preaching resurrection from the dead! Contrast this with Paul in his epistles determining to "preach only Christ crucified."

Acts 17:23 unknown god by Epimenides, from Crete; 17:24 Lord of sky and land—Lord of all creation!

Acts 17:26b The Message: "Plenty of time and space for living!"

Acts 17:28 We live and move in him; quoted from Aratus of Cilicia, Paul's native province; Aratus was born in 310 b.c.e., and he "said it well: 'We're the God-created.'"

In the John 14 text, the word for love consistently is agape; Jesus calls us to love with the same love with which God loves us!! Here, Jesus says to fully live in God's way of agape love we must know and keep his commandments; in order to make this possible, Jesus promises the Spirit of God. In this text, the you pronouns all are plural! The New Testament always is about the faith of the called-out and gathered-in community; for each of us, our faith is rooted in the community, nourished in the community and lived out in the community.

A paraclete - literally called alongside - stood up with someone who was on trial in a court of law. The paraclete did not speak to the judge at all but spoke only with the person on trial to support and guide them through it. Jesus assured the people when they loved with God's impartial and all-embracing agape love, the Paraclete, this Spirit of Truth about the person and work of Jesus Christ would be with them and in them.

Here are some English-language versions of the Greek parakletos:
  • advisor
  • advocate
  • comforter
  • consoler
  • counselor
  • encourager
  • friend
  • helper

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