Saint John the Evangelist (Lockport, IL)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2005, 2 Epiphany

The lectionary readings for 2 Epiphany are:

5 Comments:

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Posting the lectionary (with links) for the next week is a really good idea. Now does anyone dare to comment on the readings before we get a professional's opinion on Sunday?

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger David Baird said...

A common theme I see in the Isaiah and 1 Corinthians passges is that of God's call. Both Isaiah and Paul understood that God had called them to be his messengers. The message was God's; but it was also His choice that they were the heralds of His message. And Paul extends the calling activity of God to all believers, who are equiped by God to live faithful lives (just as Paul and Isaiah were equiped by God to proclaim His message).

The Gospel passage, however, does not have the "God's call" theme. Instead the Evangelist is stressing the Baptist's response to his vision of God's spirit descending as a dove upon Jesus. And as a result of John's affirmation of God's favor to Jesus, several of his disciples begin to investigate Jesus and his message.

So, is there a common theme here, or are the connections between the passages to be found in other ideas?

 
At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things. Here's what another Episcopalian from Balitimore wrote here.

I thought the Psalmist waits and calls out for God. In Isaiah, God calls to his people. This call is fulfilled in the gospel of John, where the Baptist names Jesus as Son of God, Lamb of God, and Messiah. Paul tells us how that call and answer has been fulfilled in Christ.

 
At 9:05 PM, Blogger David Baird said...

The Psalm is becoming more intriguing. Given the emphasis in Isaiah (cf. Jeremiah and other prophets) on God's sovereign call, from which the prophet can not escape, is it possible to see here in the psalm the response of one who understands that help, even salvation (physical as well as spiritual), is graciously given to the one whom God has called?

First we see the psalmist waiting and calling for help. But is this possible unless God has first been made known to the supplicant?

Verses 2-4 provide the psalmist's response to God's salvation: He drew me ... He put a song in my mouth ... happy is the one who trusts in YHWH (not other, false gods).

YHWH's mighty deeds are remembered as graciously given (sacrifice and offerings are not desired) in verse 6.

The the final portion of the psalm is the response of the psalmist to YHWH's grace by proclaiming His love. One of the Hebrew words used by the psalmist in verse 10 (chesed) is translated "steadfast love" (NRSV), "lovingkindness" (KJV), "faithfulness" (Prayer Book). The emphasis of this Hebrew word is on "covenant loyality." YHWH is loyal to his covenant and his covenant people, even when they turn away from Him (as the story of Israel tells us over and over).

So back to the lectionary: I am starting to see a theme developing. In Isaiah God calls and gives the prophet a message of salvation to be delivered to Israel; in 1 Corinthians God calls Paul to proclaim God's salvation through Jesus and God equips the saints (whom He has called) to live out their response to Jesus' work on their behalf. In the Psalm we see the appropriate response of a believer to God's grace. In the Gospel passage we are seeing the beginning (as in the start of the story John will tell) of the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel. God has sent his spirit upon Jesus, and John identifies him as the Son of God (the one who stands in God's place on earth, e.g., the king), the Lamb of God [the phase is used in the NT only in John in these verses] (a sacrifice for sin?) and the messiah (one especially appointed by God to be His representative). God called Jesus to his ministry where these titles become operative. And through Jesus, God's promises are fulfilled.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Mark said...

The "anonymous" poster above was me. I'm not sure why it was listed as anonymous, my mistake. I really like what you wrote above on the readings.

I have one more thing to add to this, last summer I picked up one of Augustine's Expositions of the Psalms and the volume I have covers this Psalm and I looked at what he wrote on this. Augustine's reading of this Psalm is consistently that Christ's message is part of the intended reading of the Psalmist.
For example, where the Psalmist in verse 10 writes about proclaiming the message of the "great Church" as he translates it, this is Christ addressing the members of his church exhorting them to do as he did. He says, He proclaimed, so let us proclaim; he suffered, let us suffer with him; he has been glorified, and in him we shall be glorified too.At any rate, I'll bring it with me Sunday. I have to say, in the past I've tried to read and ponder the reading before Sunday comes around. I think what we are doing here is a very good thing.

 

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