Sunday, May 25, 2014: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (17:22-31)


Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”


> “Unknown god” altars are mentioned in other texts from that time period.

> The people do not want to offend any god… covers all bases.

> Paul used the Adam and Eve story from Genesis.

> Refers to God’s judgment and righteousness.

> The Gospel goes out to all peoples and all nations.

> Ultimately, his great speech is a disaster after he mentions resurrection.

> The Greeks could not accept that concept.
> They believed the body should die to set your spirit free.



Psalm 66:7-18


7   Bless our God, you peoples; *

     make the voice of his praise to be heard;

8   Who holds our souls in life, *

     and will not allow our feet to slip.

9   For you, O God, have proved us; *

     you have tried us just as silver is tried.

10  You brought us into the snare; *

      you laid heavy burdens upon our backs.

11  You let enemies ride over our heads;

       we went through fire and water; *

      but you brought us out into a place of refreshment.

12  I will enter your house with burnt-offerings

      and will pay you my vows, *

      which I promised with my lips

      and spoke with my mouth when I was in trouble.

13  I will offer you sacrifices of fat beasts with the smoke of rams; *

      I will give you oxen and goats.

14  Come and listen, all you who fear God, *

      and I will tell you what he has done for me.

15  I called out to him with my mouth, *

      and his praise was on my tongue.

16  If I had found evil in my heart, *

      the Lord would not have heard me;

17  But in truth God has heard me; *

      he has attended to the voice of my prayer.

18  Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer, *

      nor withheld his love from me.


> Talks about the universality of God with the hymns of praise and sacrifice.

> Transfers from “us” to “me” — a single person giving thanks to God.

> Tells everyone what God has personally done for him.



A Reading from the First Letter of Peter (3:13-22)


Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.  For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.


> Paul tells the crowd to profess the Gospel even with the persecution going on.

> He parallels that this is also what happened to Jesus.

> There is a focus on Jesus descending to the dead.

> Paul then jumps to the subjects of baptism and water.



The Holy Gospel of Our  Lord Jesus Christ according to John (14:15-21)


[Jesus said,] “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”


> This is part of Jesus’ farewell address.

> A “paraclete” is an advocate and someone who will support you (particularly in court).

> Even though Jesus won’t be around, he will ask the Father to find another means of support.

> Jesus asks the Father to send a paraclete or advocate — the Spirit and Truth.

> Jesus is referring to his resurrection.

> Love and commandments are inverted in the first and last verses like the letter “X” … “chiasmus”