Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Narrative Lectionary for April 15, Matthew 28:16-20

For this week, I've edited my previous post.

Here is a little tid-bit to whet your appetite:
μεθ υμων ("with you"; the word μεθ is μετα but the letters change before a vowel, much like "a" becomes "an", vs 20).  It is a good reminder that Jesus offers a plural promise here:  "With all of you."  More importantly though, the words "with you" appear in the middle of the words "I am."  "I am" or εγω ειμι can also signify the name of God (see one of the previous' weeks entries on this).  Here though we find the construction "I with you am."  In the middle of God's name is "with us."  I would argue that God's name has been changed by the death and resurrection of Jesus.  God is forever bound to humanity in a way that God was not before (see tearing of temple curtain).  Even if the whole name of God thing seems like a stretch, Jesus is indicating that after the crucifixion and resurrection he is truly Emmanuel, or God with us, as the angel declared in the beginning of the Gospel. 

RCL for April 12, 2015, John 20:19-29

What a beautiful passage.  I significantly updated my previous blog post.   I am struck this year by a strange wrinkle in John's Greek that leaves Jesus with a new title:  "Jesus of locked doors." 

Here is a tidbit
θυρα ("gate", 20.19)  The word for "door" or "gate" here is θυρα; this word is used in other Gospels to talk about the entrance to Jesus tomb.  It can be hard to make cross-Gospel connections, so a bit simpler:  Jesus calls himself the θυρα, or the Gate (10:1-9).  See also:
κεκλεισμενων ("locked", 20.26) The text literally reads: "The Jesus of locked doors/gates came stood into the middle of them." This is a very odd placement/case of the expression "locked doors/gates."  It may modify the circumstances under which Jesus came, but it might also modify Jesus.  In short, it could read "Jesus came while the doors were locked" or "Jesus of locked gates came." The earlier is the more likely translation, but John seems to suggest the latter through his narrative.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter (RCL and NL)

Here are links for Greek commentary on all four Gospel
Matthew 28:1-10
Mark 16:1-8
Luke 24:1-12
John 20:1-18

A teaser from the posts on Matthew 28:1-10 and Mark 16:1-8:
εσταυρομενον ("crucified"; 6).  This word is also in the perfect, meaning an action happened in the past that still describes the state of affairs.  The angel declares that even though he is risen, Jesus is still in the state of being crucified.  You are seeking the crucified one; he is risen.  Jesus is alive but he still has the wounds in his hands.

My pastoral thought, reflecting on the Greek, is that the women have the courage and compassion to go to the tomb.  It can be easy to make Easter into a day when we criticize those who focus on the grave; who focus on grief.  I think as Christians we have the power to grieve because we have hope.  In short, we can say good-bye and miss them because we will see them again.

A teaser from the post on John 20:1-18:
μνημειον ("tomb", 20:1)  This word comes from the Greek for memory (like English "mneumonic" is something that helps you remember).  The complaint almost reads, "They have taken Jesus out of my memory!"  There is something to play with here, about memory and loved ones.  Jesus isn't just a memory; your loved ones aren't just a memory.  Jesus is alive!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Palm Sunday (RCL and NL)

This upcoming week is Palm Sunday.  Churches do a variety of things.  Here are some links:

Triumphal entry in Matthew's Gospel:
http://lectionarygreek.blogspot.com/2011/04/matthew-211-11.html
εσεισθη  ("shake" in 21:10; aorist form of σειω)  This word comes into English as "seismic."  The events of Holy Week shake the city and their aftershocks still continue to reverberate around the world two millennia later.


Philippians 2 reading:
http://lectionarygreek.blogspot.com/2010/03/philippians-25-11.html
μορφη ("shape" or "form"; 7, 8)  If you look up this word, you will find it appears twice in Philippians, once in verse 7 and once in verse 8.  Jesus had the form/shape of God; took the form/shape of a human.  Sounds good.  However, later on in Philippians, Paul comes back to this word, but using it with the prefix συν (the -n becomes a -m...see note below) .  First, in verse 3:10 where he says that he is being συμμορφιζομαι-ed into Christ's death and later when he is  being συμμορφος with Christ's resurrected body (3:28).  Paul moves from talking about the form of Christ to the co-formation of the believer, both into suffering, death and then resurrection.  I think the word μορφη can be used to guide one's reflections on the whole letter:

Triumphal entry (really aftermath) in John's Gospel
http://lectionarygreek.blogspot.com/2012/03/john-1220-33.html
And from vs 19:
ωσαννα:  From the NET Bible:
"The expression hosanna, (literally in Hebrew, "O Lord, save") in the quotation from Ps 118:25-26 was probably by this time a familiar liturgical expression of praise, on the order of "Hail to the king," although both the underlying Aramaic and Hebrew expressions meant "O Lord, save us." As in Mark 11:9 the introductory hosanna, is followed by the words of Ps 118:25, "blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord."  ... In words familiar to every Jew, the author is indicating that at this point every messianic expectation is now at the point of realization. It is clear from the words of the psalm shouted by the crowd that Jesus is being proclaimed as messianic king. See E. Lohse, TDNT 9:682-84."
 
If there is a particular text for Palm Sunday someone would like me to look at, I would glad review this.  It is just strange because there are so many possibilities for churches this day.

Blessings on your ministry in the next two weeks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Narrative Lectionary for March 22: Matthew 25:31-46

Here is a link to an updated blog post and a little tid-bit

Matthew 25:31-46
κληρονομήσατε (from "κληρονομεω" meaning "inherit"; 25.34)  This word can mean receive, but it really involves inherit.  An inheritance means two things:  First, that someone died.  Second, that there is a gift.  The kingdom given to us is a gift in Jesus Christ and his death.

RCL for March 22: Psalm 51 and John 12:20-33

Here are two links and some tidbits:

Psalm 51
רחמים ("rakamim" meaning "compassion", 51:2) The origin of this word רחם meaning is womb.  In the plural it means compassion; this is clearly feminine way of thinking about God's love; it is like a woman's care born in her womb. 

John 12:20-33
εκλω ("drag"; 12:32) The word for "draw" here means to forcibly draw, as in draw ships out to see; drag in oar in water, drag to court. It can mean draw as in attract, but it seems to have a more forceful image. This word will come back at the end when Peter casts out his nets at Jesus' command and he draws in the fish. Interestingly, Peter will also draw his sword in the Garden. Jesus will drag us up to him.  I guess here is the question:  Is this a word of universal salvation or universal judgment?  If you continue the argument to 12:48, you've got to wonder, does Jesus draw men up to judge them

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

RCL for March 15: John 3:14-21 and Ephesians 2:1-10

I offer three posts for the RCL readings for this Sunday:

John 3:1-21
Little tidbit:
ο διδασκαλος ("the teacher", vs 2)  Nicodemus calls Jesus "a" teacher; Jesus calls Nicodemus "THE teacher."  Obviously Jesus is catching Nicodemus in his words!
A laser focus on John 3:16
A little tidbit
εχη :  STOP.  read carefully: This is a present tense verb.  This means that we HAVE the eternal life, not we will have, but we HAVE the eternal life.  In John's Gospel life begins here and in as we, through faith, live in the son.

For those who want to work with the lovely Ephesians passage:
http://lectionarygreek.blogspot.com/2009/03/ephesians-21-10.html