Sunday, May 24, 2015: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (6:1-8)


In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”


> [“Ember Days” – in years past this was a low Sunday;  “Ember” = cycle;  Voted in as Trinity Sunday]

> This situation takes place in Isaiah’s mid-career in the temple.

> He is a priest and has a vision of Yahweh on the throne.

> King Uzziah died in 742 BC.

> Mythical beast – seraph; means “burning one;”

> It had six wings:  2 to cover face; 2 to cover “feet” (private parts); 2 to fly.

> “im” is the plural form:  i.e. cherub — cherubim  (modern = cherubs)

> When the Lord refers to “us,” it probably means we, the gods, or it is just an expression.

> It does not refer to the Trinity.



Canticle 13


Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers; *

   you are worthy of praise; glory to you.

Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name; *

   we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you in the splendor of your temple; *

   on the throne of your majesty, glory to you.

Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim; *

   we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you, beholding the depths; *

   in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.

Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *

   we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.


> This is part of the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical Books

> Taken from the Book of Daniel – song sung in the middle of a burning furnace.

> God is envisioned in a “mercy seat” sitting above the Ark of the Covenant.

> There are also two cherubim underneath him.

> There are a number of angel groups that were developed during the Middle Ages.



A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (8:12-17)


So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.


> This is about moving from being slaves of God to the chosen people of God.

> The Father, Son, and Spirit are all mentioned.

> Abba Pater: Aramaic and Greek:  implies that both Jew and Gentile are welcomed by God.

> We are all God’s children.



The Holy Gospel of Our  Lord Jesus Christ according to John (3:1-17)


Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

to you.”


> Typical Johannine drama:  the straight man allows Jesus to get his meaning across to the audience.

> Nicodemus comes by night and he is “in the dark.”

> He begins by “We know…” and at the end he knows  less and less.

> Jesus plays off Nicodemus’ “No one can…” statement.

> Wind / Spirit / Breath:  same word in both Greek and Hebrew.

> Nicodemus starts with assurance and ends with doubt.

> In the end Nicodemus disappears and Jesus just keeps speaking.

> John does not pay attention to chronology and goes back and forth time wise.