Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blogging toward Sunday

An etching by Jan Luyken from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations housed at Belgrave Hall, Leicester, England; via Wikimedia Commons

The Lectionary readings for September 2nd are Song of Solomon 2:8-13 and Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.

Read the passage from Song of Solomon (Song of Songs). It's important to note that this book of the Bible is quite different from other biblical texts. The traditional Jewish understanding of the Song of Solomon is that it is a religious allegory recounting God's love for Israel. For Christians, it is an allegory of Christ's love for the church. In more recent years, many scholars have come to accept it as actual love poetry about the love between a man and his beloved. How do you interpret the overall purpose of the Song? Why?

Now, let's turn our attention to the New Testament reading. For several weeks we have been reading from the Gospel of John. This Sunday we return to the Gospel of Mark. As a way of getting back into the text, let's examine the happenings in Mark prior to our reading:  Jesus has been teaching through parables, Jesus has been healing the sick and performing miracles like feeding the 5000 and walking on water. It's no wonder that news of Jesus is spreading throughout the land. It's no wonder that some Pharisees and scribes come all the way from Jerusalem to witness Jesus in action.

Since the Lectionary readings leave out several "in between" verses, take time to read Mark 7:1-23. This will give you a better understanding of what is happening. Now consider the following: 
  1. What do the Pharisees note right away?
  2. Why is this important to them?
  3. What prophecy does Jesus quote?
After reflecting on this text, meditate on what you believe Jesus is trying to teach all those who hear his voice. Then rewrite the prophecy in your own words.

I hope the following will bless your journey toward Sunday:

let our hearts not be
far from you.
Help us reach out to our neighbor,
even when we are busy or tired.
Let us tear down walls
when we’d
let them stand.
Stretch us, please.
Whether we are
visiting a prisoner, offering a smile, feeding the hungry,
be within us so that whatever we do,
we do with your love.
Let the world know we are your disciples
not because our hands are clean,
but because they are soiled
with the mark of your

As always, I look forward to seeing you worship. Don't forget that the "Blessing of the Hands" will be part of the service this Sunday. 

[i] Copyright © 2012, Anne M. Osdieck. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce for personal or parish use.

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