Archive for the ‘James D. G. Dunn’ Tag

Devotion for the Twenty-Eighth Day of Lent, Year A (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   4 comments

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Above:  The Ascension of Christ, Circa 1873

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-01968

Patience and the Kingdom of God

SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2020

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The Collect:

Almighty God, your Son came into the world to free us

from all sin and death.  Breathe upon us the power

of your Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ

and serve you in righteousness all our days,  through Jesus Christ,

our Savior and Lord, who lives  and reigns with you and the

Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 28

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The Assigned Readings:

Ezekiel 36:8-15

Psalm 130

Luke 24:44-53

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My soul waits for the Lord,

more than the night watch for the morning,

more than the night watch for the morning.

–Psalm 130:5, Common Worship (2000)

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The kingdom of God has arrived,

the canonical Gospels proclaim,

yet it has not arrived completely.

That is my paraphrase of one Gospel theme.  Some of my recent reading for the Historical Jesus group to which I belong proves helpful here.  James D. G. Dunn, in Jesus Remembered (2003), considers Mark 1:15a:

…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand….

Revised Standard Version—Second Edition (1971),

words of St. John the Baptist.  That “time,” or kairos in Greek,

…can be readily understood to indicate not simply one event, a date in time, but a period of time.

–page 438

I like this understanding of the Kingdom of God as an age.  Too much of Protestantism overemphasizes events and minimizes ages and processes in personal life and the Bible.  The comprehension of the Kingdom of God as an age and as a promise fulfilled partially, with more to come reconciles several seeming contradictions in biblical texts.  Ezekiel’s vision, yet unfulfilled, will become reality.  The Kingdom of God, evident since Jesus walked the face of the planet, will become more pronounced.

Frustration over the partial fulfillment of the promise is understandable and predictable.  In fact, so is the perception that the Kingdom of God is a promise we will never see made real.  Alfred Firmin Loisy (1857-1940), a French Roman Catholic theologian, said that Jesus promised us the Kingdom of God and all we got was the Church, which Christ founded, but not in the form it took in time.  For these and other opinions the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated him.  Loisy’s disappointment did contain some legitimate points yet missed a crucial truth:  we have received a down payment on the Kingdom of God, which is evident in the Church.  It has been evident in the Church for nearly two thousand years.  But there is more to come.

Patience can be a difficult spiritual lesson to learn.  I am still working on it, in fact.  And even more patience will be necessary for growth in God, whose timeframe is not ours.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/patience-and-the-kingdom-of-god/

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Devotion for the Twenty-Fifth Day of Lent, Year A (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   2 comments

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Above:  Mosaic of Jesus Healing the Two Blind Men, Mosquee Karie, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire, 1892

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-03713

Lashing Out in Desperation and Fear

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2020

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The Collect:

Bend your ear to our prayers, Lord Christ, and come among us.

By your gracious life and death for us, bring light into the darkness

of our hearts, and anoint us with your Spirit, for you live and reign

with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 28

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The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 60:17-22

Psalm 146

Matthew 9:27-34

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The Lord shall reign for ever,

your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.  Alleluia.

–Psalm 146:10, Common Worship (2000)

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James D. G. Dunn wrote in Jesus Remembered (2003):

The point is this:  within Jewish prophetic/apocalyptic tradition there was some sort of recognition that the partial fulfillment of a hope did not nullify or falsify that hope.  Instead the earlier hope became the basis and springboard for a fresh articulation of the same hope.

–Page 481

Neither immediately Post-Exilic Judea nor the Hasmonean kingdom nor Roman-occupied Palestine resembled the positive future promised in Isaiah 60.  Yet, in Matthew 9, there were powerful works of God via Jesus, who healed two blind men and a mute man, the latter of which spoke afterward.

…and the people were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

–Verse 33b, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

The cultural assumption regarding the causation of many conditions held that evil spirits were responsible.  Thus the Gospels assign blame for muteness, epilepsy, and metal illness to demonic possession and describe many healings as exorcisms.  This is not my understanding of reality, for modern science informs my thinking.  Yet my worldview is not a major issue here; that of the characters Matthew 9:32-34 is.  Within that context some Pharisees accused our Lord and Savior of exorcising demons by means of an alliance with Satan.  That alleged logic makes no sense even with a certain cultural milieu.  No, that that allegation was an example of striking out in desperation and fear.

As we wait for a complete fulfillment of the hope of Isaiah 60, what do we fear wrongly?  May we refrain from calling that which is of God evil, no matter how much it threatens our status and ego.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/lashing-out-in-desperation-and-fear/

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