Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on March 22, 2009

Here are the passages for March 22nd, 2009, the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year B). All links are to the TNIV via, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at

Numbers 21:4-9
  • This is a hard passage. First off all, we see God punishing Israelites (even to the point of death) for complaining. On top of that, God's command to Moses to create a bronze snake (well, God commanded Moses to make a snake. I guess Moses wasn't told what to make it out of...) would seem to be a command to create an idol, which clearly goes against God's commandment against such idols. How are we to deal with such a story in Scripture?
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

Ephesians 2:1-10
  • As I reflect on this passage, I am reminded of the consequences of sin. But as think on the nature of sin itself, I am reminded of how radically differently Christians of different persuasions think of what constitutes sin. What can we learn that is of value from those who think of the nature of sin differently than we do?
  • What kinds of "good works" do you think of when you think of what God has "prepared in advance for us to do"?
John 3:14-21
  • The first couple of verses of this passage reference the passage from Numbers read earlier. Does the analogy to the Son of Man eliminate any of the difficulties in interpreting that passage? Does it create new ones? How does the Moses story help us to understand what Jesus is talking about?
  • Why does John use the language of "light" so much in this passage? Why not something more concrete?
  • To borrow a phrase from Pontius Pilate, used in a rather different context, "what is truth?" How might we live in it?

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