Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on March 29, 2009

Here are the passages for March 29th, 2009, the Fifth 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

Jeremiah 31:31-34
  • Jeremiah references the covenant made when God rescued the Israelites from Egypt. If the Israelites broke that covenant (indeed, they didn't seem to waste any time doing so), why should God make another? Does God intend that this new covenant be "unbreakable" when Jeremiah writes of the law being "written on their hearts" and how there will no need to teach about God, because they will know God already?
  • Should we understand this new covenant to be fulfilled with the coming, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? If so, do we see evidence of the law being "written on people's hearts" in reality? Or should we understand the fulfillment of this new covenant to come in an eschatological sense? Are these concepts mutually exclusive?
Psalm 51:1-12
  • The Revised Common Lectionary suggests two options for the reading from the Psalms. Most churches will choose to read either Psalm 51:1-12 or Psalm 119:9-16, but likely not both.
Psalm 119:9-16

Hebrews 5:5-10
  • What is the significance of Melchizidek (who is only mentioned twice in the entire Bible, if one doesn't count the multiple mentions of the name in Hebrews, of which this passage contains the first)? Why should the idea of Jesus being a high priest "after the order of Melchizidek" be significant?
  • What should we understand from the idea that Jesus had to be made perfect?
John 12:20-33
  • Why does Jesus reply with all this language about seeds dying in response to a request from some Greeks to see him?
  • When the voice from heaven was heard, why does it seem to be the case that some people heard different things (thunder, angel...)?
  • Does the fact that Jesus spoke the words "Those who love their life will lose it, while those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life" in the context of preparing for his trial and crucifixion, and indeed the fact that he immediately thereafter voices his difficulty with this upcoming ordeal, affect how we should understand these words and their implication for our lives? How should we respond?

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