St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
Today’s Scripture Lessons
An In-Depth Discussion Led by the Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, February 6, 2011
FIRST READING: Isaiah (58:1-9a, [9b-12])
Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God. “Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. [If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.]
> Jesus is teaching his disciples what to do and what not to do.
> The script was composed during the time of restoration after Babylonian conquest.
> 3rd part of Isaiah
> The Israelites practice their religion, but their hearts are not in it.
> They show God their observances, but God is not responding to their requests.
> God answers that they aren’t living up to their practices.
> God speaks to the people to say he does not want ceremony but justice and mercy.
> If you do that your light will shine brightly and you will receive abundant rewards.
> After Epiphany, the Old Testament readings correspond with the Gospel readings.
Happy are they who fear the Lord *
and have great delight in his commandments!
2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land; *
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches will be in their house, *
and their righteousness will last for ever.
4 Light shines in the darkness for the upright; *
the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.
5 It is good for them to be generous in lending *
and to manage their affairs with justice.
6 For they will never be shaken; *
the righteous will be kept in everlasting remembrance.
7 They will not be afraid of any evil rumors; *
their heart is right; they put their trust in the Lord.
8 Their heart is established and will not shrink, *
until they see their desire upon their enemies.
9 They have given freely to the poor, *
and their righteousness stands fast for ever;
they will hold up their head with honor.
> This in an achronistic psalm in that each verse starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
> It’s a “hallel” or hallelujah psalm
> The first three verses talk about who are righteous and the rewards they will receive.
> The next verses describe what their lives are like and how they reflect God’s characteristics.
> Eternal remembrance is important for the Israelites as they did not believe in eternal life after death, but they will be remembered on earth after they die.
> Verse 10 (not included in the reading) shows the negative side.
SECOND READING: I Corinthians (2:1-12, [13-16])
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. [And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.]
> Paul was in Athens and made a great speech, but he received little or no response from the crowd there, which greatly deflated his ego.
> He spoke of bodies rising from the dead to the Greeks who believed you should get rid of your body after death.
> Greatly humbled, he spoke to the people of Corinth, where he traveled to after his humiliation in Athens.
> At the time, Corinth was a rough seaport town.
> Paul spoke of a different type of wisdom… the wisdom of the cross is what you should follow.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (5:13-20)
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
> Jesus was still on the mountain.
> “Salt of the earth.” This referred to the the practice of using salt on animal dung to help keep it burning for fuel for small clay ovens, which in Jesus’ time were called “earth.” In other words, act as a catalyst.
> Paul noted that he did not come to abolish the Old Testament law.
> Jesus took things to extremes to make a point.
> The kingdom of heaven refers to the kingdom of God in the here an now and not after death.