Second Week of the Bible Challenge

Dear friends,

It is the second week of the Bible Challenge. I hope you’re having as much fun as I am reading and reflecting on the inspired word of God and the story of our spiritual ancestors.

This week, as we continue our journey through Genesis, we will come to some of the most complicated stories in the Hebrew Scriptures:
Sodom and Gomorrah, Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob and Esau. As you carefully read and reflect on these texts, ask yourself:

What are the texts really about?
How have they been interpreted and misinterpreted?
How have they informed history?
How do they inform your life?
What is “God’s spirit saying to God’s people?”

In our New Testament lectionary, we will continue through the Gospel of Matthew, including some of Jesus’ teaching about judgment, trust and faith. We will also encounter some accounts of our Lord’s healing those in need: a person with leprosy, a paralyzed man, two demoniacs, Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, a hemorrhaging woman, a little girl, two blind men. Jesus will still a storm at sea, befriend a tax collector, appoint the twelve disciples and send them on their first mission assignment, tell a few parables, preach in a variety of places, and challenge some Sabbath rules. It’s a busy week in our Lord’s ministry. As you read and reflect on these texts, ask yourself:

How do you follow the Golden Rule?
When was the last time you searched for God?
When have you been frightened crossing rough waters?
When was the last time you experienced healing in your life; what was it like?
Have you ever befriended an outcast or experienced God through an unlikely person?
Where is Jesus sending you as a disciple and what are you carrying in your pack?
How do you keep Sabbath?

As you read the psalms appointed for this week, try to hear them as your own prayer. On Tuesday, consider Stephen Mitchell’s adaptation of Psalm 15:

Lord, who can be trusted with power,
and who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have let go of selfish interests
and grown beyond their own lives;
who see the wretched as their family
and the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
and worthy of the people’s trust.
Their compassion lights up the whole earth,
and their kindness endures forever.

I hope you will join me this Wednesday evening at 7:30 for our first official Bible Challenge Check-In. Bring your Bibles, your questions, and your reflections on what we’ve read to date. Finally, at the Bible Challenge portal you can find the daily reading schedule, links to recommended readings as well as the Bible Challenge blog where participants are welcome to post comments and thoughts and continue the conversation.

Many blessings,
The Very Rev. Tracey Lind
Dean, Trinity Cathedral

P.S. Don’t forget to join us for Choral Evensong on Wednesday at 6 p.m., followed by community supper at 7 p.m. It’s good nourishment for the journey.

Comments

  1. So I snuck ahead a little and read the geneaology of Jesus in Luke to compare it to Matthew….. and now I am wondering why the difference. Matthew has Jesus’ paternal grandfather as Jacob In Luke the grandfather is Heli….? Is that the greek for Jacob?
    Not that it really matters but names do tend to be big things often in ancient times.

    • Rebecca –
      There has been much scholarly debate about the two genealogies of Jesus, and nobody is certain or in full agreement. The late Raymond Brown, a prominent biblical scholar of the 20th century and one of my seminary professors, in his Introduction to the New Testament, notes that “while Matthew’s genealogy descended from Abraham to Jesus, Luke’s genealogy mounts to Adam (to prepare the way for all humanity, beyond the physical descent of Israel) and even to God.” (p. 236) There are many differences in the two genealogies (especially from David on)…and there are many theories. Some say that Luke’s represents Mary’s genealogy; others try to reconcile them, and some suggest the inclusion of step-parents due to death and remarriage. Who knows. As Brown says, “Inspiration does not guarantee historicity or reconcilability; otherwise God should have inspired the two evangelists to give us the same record…There is little likelihood that either is strictly historical.” (p. 236, footnote)
      Thanks for the observation and the question.