The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Readings for Sunday, Jan 20, 2008

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Baptism of Jesus, Russian icon, ca. 1430

Baptism of Jesus Christ, Russian icon, ca. 1430.

Well now, what’s this? We’re plugging along – Mathew, Matthew, Matthew – only to land in John’s gospel. Here’s how the Revised Common Lectionary defends itself:

Although it is not given a year of its own, the gospel of John is used during the major seasons, the so-called “festal” days of the year. . . . it is certainly not a sequential, chronological narration as much as it is a liturgical, theological explanation of the paschal mystery. Others would understand the gospel of John as being catechetical or mystogogical [there’s a word you’ll be needing over lunch this week – M.], since it examines what it means to be the community of Jesus Christ.

So, then: Wishing you the finest of mystogogeries, off we set into preparations for this week’s worship gathering!

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

January 20, 2008; John 1:29-42 • 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 • Isaiah 49:1-7 • Psalm 40:1-11

John 1:29-42
The God-Revealer
29-31The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.”

32-34John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.”
Come, See for Yourself
35-36The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb.”

37-38The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.”

They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened.

40-42Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John’s witness and followed Jesus. The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, “We’ve found the Messiah” (that is, “Christ”). He immediately led him to Jesus.

Jesus took one look up and said, “You’re John’s son, Simon? From now on your name is Cephas” (or Peter, which means “Rock”).

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

1 Corinthians 1:1-9
1-2I, Paul, have been called and sent by Jesus, the Messiah, according to God’s plan, along with my friend Sosthenes. I send this letter to you in God’s church at Corinth, believers cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God-filled life. I include in my greeting all who call out to Jesus, wherever they live. He’s their Master as well as ours!

3May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours.

4-6Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.

7-9Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Isaiah 49:1-7
A Light for the Nations
1-3 Listen, far-flung islands,
pay attention, faraway people:
God put me to work from the day I was born.
The moment I entered the world he named me.
He gave me speech that would cut and penetrate.
He kept his hand on me to protect me.
He made me his straight arrow
and hid me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You’re my dear servant,
Israel, through whom I’ll shine.”

4But I said, “I’ve worked for nothing.
I’ve nothing to show for a life of hard work.
Nevertheless, I’ll let God have the last word.
I’ll let him pronounce his verdict.”

5-6″And now,” God says,
this God who took me in hand
from the moment of birth to be his servant,
To bring Jacob back home to him,
to set a reunion for Israel—
What an honor for me in God’s eyes!
That God should be my strength!
He says, “But that’s not a big enough job for my servant—
just to recover the tribes of Jacob,
merely to round up the strays of Israel.
I’m setting you up as a light for the nations
so that my salvation becomes global!”

7God, Redeemer of Israel, The Holy of Israel,
says to the despised one, kicked around by the nations,
slave labor to the ruling class:
“Kings will see, get to their feet—the princes, too—
and then fall on their faces in homage
Because of God, who has faithfully kept his word,
The Holy of Israel, who has chosen you.”

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Psalm 40:1-11
A David Psalm
1-3 I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.

4-5 Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God,
turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,”
ignore what the world worships;
The world’s a huge stockpile
of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one
comes close to you!
I start talking about you, telling what I know,
and quickly run out of words.
Neither numbers nor words
account for you.

6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you—
that’s not what you’re after.
Being religious, acting pious—
that’s not what you’re asking for.
You’ve opened my ears
so I can listen.

7-8 So I answered, “I’m coming.
I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I’m coming to the party
you’re throwing for me.”
That’s when God’s Word entered my life,
became part of my very being.

9-10 I’ve preached you to the whole congregation,
I’ve kept back nothing, God—you know that.
I didn’t keep the news of your ways
a secret, didn’t keep it to myself.
I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough.
I didn’t hold back pieces of love and truth
For myself alone. I told it all,
let the congregation know the whole story.

11-12 Now God, don’t hold out on me,
don’t hold back your passion.
Your love and truth
are all that keeps me together.
When troubles ganged up on me,
a mob of sins past counting,
I was so swamped by guilt
I couldn’t see my way clear.
More guilt in my heart than hair on my head,
so heavy the guilt that my heart gave out.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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Written by Monte

January 16, 2008 at 6:25 pm

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