Friday, November 25, 2011

The Reflectionary: Scripture for Worship on November 27th, 2011

Here are the passages for November 27, 2011, the 1st Sunday in Advent (The first Sunday of the liturgical calendar, so we're now in Year B of the lectionary cycle). All links are to the CEB via BibleGateway.com, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at BibleGateway.com).

Isaiah 64:1-9
  • People often associate the season of Advent with Christmas. And rightly so, given that it's the four Sundays immediately preceding the Christmas holiday, and many verses to be read during this season will involve explicitly Messianic promises or the prelude to the story of Jesus' birth. But there's more to the Advent season than just the story of a baby being born. Why do you think this passage is included during this time of year?
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

1 Corinthians 1:3-9
  • It may not mean anything, but I'm struck by the inclusion of the possessive pronoun "my" in verse 4, in the midst of Paul's standard greeting (he gives thanks to God for his audience in several epistles, often including this pronoun). Why is this possessive pronoun included? Does Paul doubt that his audience also considers God "their" God?
Mark 13:24-37
  • This passage certainly has little to do with the birth of the baby Jesus (which, of course, isn't covered in the gospel according to Mark at all, anyway)! As I said before, Advent isn't just a time for remembering that story. The inclusion of passages like this demonstrate that it also a time to reflect on Jesus' second coming.
  • Or does it? When Jesus says "I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen," can he be talking about his return? Or does he mean something by "this generation" other than the lifetimes of those humans hearing his words?
  • What does it mean about Jesus that he says even "the Son" (presumably referring to himself, although I'm curious to hear if there's another interpretation) doesn't know when these things will take place?
  • Might this passage have any meaningful connection to the parable we read a few weeks ago, or is it talking about something entirely different?

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