Tuesday, 04 October 2005
I have been meaning to publicise Wol's new lectionary commentary blog, Disclosing New Worlds, (also on BlogSpirit) for some time now. Basically, every Tuesday morning Wol offers his own reflection on the Lectionary texts for the coming Sunday and the reflections are among the best you will find online (The other main resources can be accessed through Jeanne Woodward's The Text This Week which you should take a look at, but many of the sites referred to there are Australian / N. American). Basically you should go and take a look for yourself. But as a taster, here is the penultimate paragraph of Wol's reflection on this week's texts: Isaiah 25.1-9; Psalm 23; Matthew 22:1-14, taking the gospel text as a focus.
"The temptation for the good people who receive grace is to lapse into an overemphasis on purity and legal obedience that makes outcasts of those whom God wishes to be part of the kingdom. The temptation for the bad people is to see grace as licence to do as they wish. This is the point of the second half of the parable (or, as is most likely, a separate parable that Matthew has incorporated into the story of the royal wedding feast). Grace is intended for a purpose – the transformation of the recipients and their transformation of the world. It is unconditional in that it is offered regardless of desert – in fact, the more undeserving we are, the more gracious God is to us! But grace is not some consumer product, given for our endless titillation and narcissistic pleasure. It is given in order that we might share in Christ’s relationship to God as Abba, and that, as God’s children, we bear fruit for the kingdom. "
Sounds good stuff to me, and what is more, the reflections are rooted in the exegesis of this passage given by Richard Bauckham in a JBL article - this is enough to warm the heart of any NT teacher who is tempted to think that NT scholarship makes little or no difference to what countless millions of people hear from the pulpit Sunday by Sunday. So keep up the good work Wol (and look forward to working with you in November).
Tuesday, 27 September 2005
For those who haven't already heard about this, the Faith and Unity Department (under the leadership of its Worship Co-ordinator, Simon Perry) are providing a new resource for intercessory prayer. Here is the blurb from the BUGB website:
A vital part of worship is a commitment to pray for our world and for those in need. The ministry of intercession is a calling from God, but one that demands much of us. In order to help resource our churches, the Faith and Unity Department is now seeking to provide a page of prayers of intercession for use each month on our website. There will be a mixture of prayers – some designed for use on special designated Sundays of the year, some fitting in with the liturgical calendar, and others picking up on events in the news. You can find these prayers of intercession by going to the Worship Initiatives section of the Faith and Unity page.
September's .pdf file contains a prayer for refugees and a prayer for Harvest. This has the potential to be a very useful resource so thanks to Simon and his team for all the hard work.