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Wrestling with the Word, episode 81: Lectionary 15 (7 Pentecost), Year C ( July 11, 2010) June 28, 2010

Posted by fostermccurley in Wrestling With The Word podcast.
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Lectionary 15 (7 Pentecost)

How easy it is for groups of believers to lose the theological foundations that defined them in the first place! Sometimes cultural influences so overwhelm the communities of believers that they have trouble sorting out the foundation from the later construction. Sometimes attempts to control others by appealing to their fears causes the virtual replacement of basic beliefs by new requirements. In face of such human-caused confusion, God nevertheless sends spokespersons in every generation to call us back to basics, no matter how threatened the cultural and religious traditions might become.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 81: Lectionary 15 (7 Pentecost), Year C.

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Psalm 25:1-10
This acrostic psalm is a lament in which a pious worshipper pleads that those who wait for the Lord will not be put to shame. Typical of a lament, the worshipper acknowledges a history of God’s mercy and counts on it in the present situation to forgive sins. Wrapped up in this divine mercy are God’s salvation (v. 5), steadfast love, and faithfulness (vss. 7, 10). Along with the petitions are elements of Wisdom as the psalmist prays for instruction to bear the present time in faithfulness. (The plea for forgiveness in v. 7 is repeated in vv. 11 and 18.)

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Deuteronomy 30:9-14
In response to the curses Israel brought upon herself through infidelity to the Lord, God promises to restore prosperity to the people and makes the word accessible to them so that they might do it.

Context
With the end of the so-called “covenant code” at 28:68, chapters 29-33 represent a collection of various kinds of material before the Book of Deuteronomy comes to a close with the death of Moses and the succession of Joshua. Chapter 29 attempts to link the book to the Sinai covenant by including exhortations to the people within the context of a historical summary. Chapter 30 reiterates the blessing and curse theme of 27:1ff. and looks forward to that distant future when the Lord will bring Israelites back to their land from their dispersion in other lands. This pericope is part of a promise to exiles that God has not and will not forsake them in their despair.

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Parallel Passage:  Jeremiah 32

Key Words
V. 9.  wehôtîre = “and (God) will cause to remain over”: God will prosper the people, i.e., make their lives abundant. For the opposite of the blessings promised here, see the results of the curses at 28:25-35.

V. 9.  kî yāšûb YHWH lāsûs ‘ālekā= “for the Lord will turn to rejoicing over you”:  Compare  Jer. 32:41:  wesastî ‘alêhem = “I will rejoice over you.”

V. 10.  hakketûbâ besēpher hattôrâ hazzeh = “which are written in this instruction”:  The torah mentioned here is the code of chaps. 12-26.

V. 12-13.  “ascend to heaven”:  Recall Ps. 139:8 which speaks of the impossibility of escaping the presence of God.

V. 14.  “the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart”:  To the exiles in Babylon in the 6th century B.C., these words responded to their cry that the Lord had forsaken them (see Isa. 40:27; 49:15; Ezek. 37:11). Note Paul’s use of this verse to speak of the gospel (Rom. 10:8).

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Colossians 1:1-14
The gospel of Jesus Christ fills the community with faith, love, and hope, causing the Apostle to give thanks and to pray that they lead lives worthy of the Lord in spite of the invasion of heresies (2:8).

Context
The congregation at Colossae, a city in Asia Minor, was founded by Epaphras (1:7) who was a native of the city (4:12). The purpose of the letter is to address the influence of heresies and to encourage the church to remain faithful to the traditions that they had learned from the beginning. This pericope includes the author’s salutation (vv. 1-2), the thanksgiving for the community’s faith (vv. 3-8), and the first part of the prayer for the community’s steadfastness (vv. 9-20).  While some scholars defend Pauline authorship, the style and content seem to point to someone else as the author of the epistle.

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Luke 10:25-37
In response to the lawyer’s testing Jesus about eternal life and the identity of one’s neighbor, Jesus responded with a parable about the Good Samaritan indicating how the lawyer can be a neighbor by doing the Torah.

Context
rom some point on the way between Samaria and Jerusalem, Jesus had received the seventy whom he had commissioned to announce the kingdom of God. On that occasion Jesus offered a prayer of thanksgiving that God had hidden “these things” from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes. In vv. 23-24 Jesus seems to identify the “babes” as the disciples who see him and hear his word.

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Parallel Passage:  2 Chronicles 28:1-15

Synoptic Parallels: Matthew 22:34-39; Mark 12:28-31

Key Words

V. 25.  nomikos = “lawyer”:  The man is an expert in the law of Moses.

V. 27.  “You shall love the Lord …”:  The commandment appears at Deut. 6:5 which immediately follows the well-known Shema; cf. also Deut. 10:12; Josh. 22:5.

V. 27.  kai ton plēsion sou hōs seauton = “and your neighbor as yourself”:  The command appears at Lev. 19:18 (part of the Holiness Code) where “neighbor” is “one of your own people.”  Here “neighbor” is defined not according to Jewish law or even as the object of love but as the subject of loving care.

V. 28.  touto poiei kai zēsē = “do this and you shall live”:  Recall Lev. 18:5:  by doing God’s statutes and ordinances “a person shall live”; cf. also Deut. 30:9-14.  The gift of life is connected with a person’s repentance at Ezek. 18:32.  Jesus does not seem to have difficulty relating good works to the promise of life, as was indeed his tradition.

V. 30.  katebainen = “went down”:  The elevation of Jerusalem is above sea level, while Jericho is more than 800 feet below sea level.

Vv. 31-33.  antiparēlthen … antiparēlthen … ēlthen = “passed by … passed by … came”:  The Greek demonstrates the contrast by use of the same root word.  The word antiparēlthen appears only here in the entire NT.

V. 34. epemelēthē autou = “took care of him”:  The words also appear to describe the work assigned to the innkeeper in v. 35.  Apart from here the word occurs only in the LXX at Gen.44:21 (Joseph’s offer for Benjamin) and Sirach 30:25.

V. 37.  ho poiēsas to eleos met’ autou = “the one who did mercy with him”: then poreuou kai su poiei homoiōs = “go and do likewise.”  Note the connection with the command to keep the law in verse 28, indicating that the one who keeps the law about loving God and neighbor acts like the Samaritan in caring for a needy person.

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