Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Vision of Faith

Here's another handout I hadn't yet posted from another time we were in year B, so it had to be 3 or 6 years ago. This was based on a printed published series, but I don't know what or by whom. These are my notes for the class I facilitated.

Bringing the texts together

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Internalized Gospel: now God is so immanent God truly lives in the hearts of humans: as Christians we read this as a Jesus text, we read it as God "pitching a tent" and living and sojourning with God's people! But what could this "new covenant" have meant to God's covenant people before God's incarnation in Jesus? To the people with whom God already had covenanted several times? Implication of "heart" in the ANE?

Contrast the law written on human hearts with the law written on stone tablets? In both cases, what is the content of the law? ""I will be their God" - say more about this!

Hebrews 5:5-12

"...once made perfect..." Kai teleiotheis... like the "perfect" Jesus tells us to be - whole, complete, a finished creation, achieving the humanness in which God created us to live - being ourselves in the same way God cannot be other than God!

God calls, designates Jesus high priest/mediator! God calls us - how? Christians affirm the priesthood of all believers: each of us is baptized priest, prophet and sovereign. But how does each of us discern God's particular call to us at any particular moment? How is God's call to us part of God's covenant with us? God's call to be our whole, true, fulfilled selves in Christ?

John 12:20-33

Jesus dies on the scandal of a tree and the tree of death - the cross - paradoxically becomes the tree of life: Jesus promises to draw all to himself - the cross and empty tomb finish the redemption of all creation. Last week's John pericope was about Jesus lifted up, in a reference back to the healing snake lifted up in the Exodus wilderness.

We see the Glory of God as we "see Jesus," the Human One, lifted up on the cross. We see the fullness of the glory of the Presence of God in the weakness, vulneravility and defenselessness of the human Jesus dying on a cross of shame. Paul determined to preach only Christ crucified, to preach only the crucified Human One lifted up in glory on the cross. Why?

" the prince of this world will be driven out," marking the end of the control and worship and the tyrannical supremacy of the cosmic Powers and Principlaities Deutero-Paul writes about in Colossians and Ephesians.

By destroying the evidence of our sins, God also has "disarmed the principalities and powers" and driven out "the prince of this world," since sin no longer can accuse those who have been forgiven. Since in Christ God "remembers our sin no more," just as God promised through Jeremiah, we can be whole persons, because Christ has provided total redemption and forgiveness. In Christ each of us has been "made perfect!"

Psalm 51:1-13; Psalm 119:9-16