Saturday, August 09, 2014

Highlighting the Bible, Part XX, Reflections on highlighting the revised common lectionary

A. Hanson, Minneapolis 2014
Over the last two and a half months I have been "highlighting the Bible".  I have been looking through the revised common lectionary readings and physically highlighting the passages that appear as assigned readings.  Then I have been making posts with what does not appear in these assigned readings, or if there is very little assigned, just making notes of what actually appears.

The Gospels attempt to tell the story of Jesus' life in a more or less consistent way each year.  The readings selected from the epistles (Letters) tend to support these re-tellings based on the year.  The Hebrew Bible readings are more sporadic.  Readings selected from these books tend to foretell the coming of Jesus or point to God's faithfulness in the midst of suffering.

One thing that has long bothered me is the use of Hebrew scriptures only to prove Christian belief.  In the course of this summer project (and several classes in my theological formation), I have come to believe that this part of the canon is rich and full and has stories to tell on its own.  As Christians, we profess that Jesus is Lord and the salvation of the whole world, and God's son.  So the God of the Hebrew scriptures is also our God, not some outdated figure that belongs to another people of another time and place. The Hebrew scriptures are tough to read at times, but they are definitely worth wrestling with.

As I prepare for my next adventure, a Chaplain residency at a Level I Trauma Center, I will be spending lots of time wondering about the presence and activity of God in the midst of suffering, pain, grief, and death.  So my next blog series will likely explore this, and I believe that the Hebrew scriptures are the place to begin.

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