Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on November 30, 2008

Here are the passages for November 30, 2008, 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 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

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 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. It's also a time to reflect on Jesus' second coming.
  • Or is it? When Jesus says "this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened," 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?


Stushie said...

I think that when Christ says even He doesn't know when the parousia will occur, He's letting us know that anyone who claims this, ia obviously a charlatan.

Mark Baker-Wright said...

I'm sure that much is certainly correct, but just to push back a little bit: Do you think that when Jesus says, essentially, "not even the Son knows when these things will occur", he's NOT using "Son" to talk about Himself (i.e., the use here is emphatic, as one possibility)?

Whatever is true here, I think it's worth acknowledging that many believers consider this an indication of Jesus' state while walking the earth. Many speaking of an "emptying" during this time. I'm not trying to say that THIS is the truth, so much as I'd like to see the idea wrestled with a bit.