Week 11: March 12 – March 18

The Exodus Tabernacle creates a foundational image that weaves its way throughout the rest of Scripture. Here is the meeting place between heaven and earth. Here is where Creator once again “walks in the garden” with the people, leading them on their journey toward their promised inheritance. Here is where the glory of God comes to the mercy seat above the ark of the testimony and the voice of God speaks the divine will.

Consider how the Tabernacle is an icon for the whole world. Here is the model, the image of the Holy One’s desire to be in relationship with this beautiful and ordered creation compressed into this single image of Tabernacle. Consider how the glory of God filling the Tabernacle points to the final reconciliation when “God’s reign comes on earth as it is in heaven.” When Creator’s glory will once again fill all creation.

As you read this week, notice how both Matthew and Paul weave these Old Testament images of dwelling and glory into their New Testament writings. This week’s texts give us excellent examples of how meaning and interpretation evolved over the centuries, but then especially in light of the Christ Event.

Exodus 35-40

Psalm 27

Psalm 84

Matthew 14-20

2 Corinthians 1-5

As You Read resource for Week 11

https://livinginthestory.com/2016/03/as-you-read-week-11-tabernacle/

Charlotte’s Living in The Story blog: When Hearts are Stirred

https://livinginthestory.com/2015/02/when-hearts-are-stirred/

Week 10: March 5 – March 11

“Covenant” is not a word we use much these days. Again this week, we will be reading across the centuries, trying to grasp some of the complexity of meaning from God’s people of ancient Israel to God’s-people-in-Christ within the first century as Matthew and Paul continue telling The Story of God’s unconditional love. The Story of the God who is ever and ever: “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin to the thousandth generation…”

Some fascinating reading this week. Hang in there. You’re doing great.

Exodus 25-34

Psalm 81

Psalm 106

Psalm 114

Matthew 8-13

1 Corinthians 10-16

As You Read resource for Week 10

https://livinginthestory.com/2016/03/as-you-read-week-ten-covenant/

Charlotte’s Living in The Story blog: Covenant

https://livinginthestory.com/2015/02/covenant/

Week 9: February 26 – March 4

The Exodus story follows the people from slavery in Egypt, across the Red Sea then to the holy mountain at Sinai. Moses meets YHWH on the mountain top in fire and cloud, with thunder and lightening. When he returns to the people after forty days and forty nights, he returns with the Law.

The story of Matthew in his Gospel, hundreds of years later, has Jesus on a mountain top delivering to God’s people a re-telling of the Law. As we read Matthew’s gospel, we can see how he understood Jesus as the new Moses, the pinnacle of God’s Word to God’s people.

If you have been reading along all this time, good for you! If you have missed some of the readings, feel free to pick up the schedule and begin again wherever we are. This is not a competition; it’s an opportunity to engage Scripture from a fresh perspective. Wherever you are, however you do Living in The Story – it will be good.

Exodus 16-24

Psalms 19

Psalm 91

Psalm 101

Matthew 1-7

1 Corinthians 1-9

Here is the As You Read resource for Week 9

https://livinginthestory.com/2016/02/as-you-read-week-nine-law/

Here is Charlotte’s blog: The Law of the Lord

https://livinginthestory.com/2015/02/the-law-of-the-lord/

 

Week 8: February 19 – February 25

We begin Exodus. As you read this week, recognize that the story of God’s deliverance from slavery is the primal story of Israel. My friend, Rabbi Jeffrey loved to recite the old Jewish adage:

They tried to kill us.

God saved us.

Let’s eat.

This tri-fold reality has been true of God’s people again and again throughout history. The Jewish community celebrates this in the annual Passover meal, instituted in the ancient Exodus story. The Christian community celebrates this in the weekly Eucharist instituted from within the Passover remembrance. Notice how this week’s Psalms and even the elegant letter to the Ephesians gives thanks and praise for God’s faithful redemption.

Exodus 1-15

Psalm 24

Psalm 90

Psalm 105

Mark 11-16

Ephesians

As You Read resource for Week 8

https://livinginthestory.com/2016/02/as-you-read-week-eight-exodus/

Charlotte’s Living in The Story blog: Passover – What Does This Mean?

https://livinginthestory.com/2015/02/passover-what-does-this-mean/

 

Week 7: February 12 – February 18

We finish up Genesis during this seventh week of Living in The Story. We continue to follow the story of Abraham’s family: Isaac, Jacob and his 12 sons, and now the famous story of Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son. As we’ve been reading, we have noticed the startling humanity and brokenness of our biblical heroes.

There are today and there always have been perverse “gospels” that claim being a Christian, being a follower of God will bring health, wealth and prosperity. Don’t believe it. If anyone ever tries to tell you that sorrows and troubles are your own fault because of your own lack of faith, question this. Of course, sometimes we create our own troubles, but the stories of Joseph and Jesus insist that the very act of faithfulness is often enough to trigger opposition from the world.

Living in God’s Story of wide open welcome, grace and mercy does not sit well with some people who prefer walls and fences and boundaries. God’s story is about breaking down barriers and building bridges. Watch for this theme as you read this week.

Genesis 37-50

Psalms 55

Psalm 75

Psalm 107

Mark 8-10

Galatians

As You Read resource for Week 7

Charlotte’s Living in The Story blog: Forgive and Forget? I Don’t Think So

 

 

Week 6: February 5 – February 11

The story of Jacob provides another important turning point in The Story. His role is so significant that the nation of his descendants derives its national name from Jacob’s new name, divinely given: Israel.

“You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.

God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and he blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall you be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he was called Israel. God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you. The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”

Jacob/Israel inherits the covenant God created with Father Abraham and receives the blessing of land and descendants.

This week also initiates readings in the Gospel of Mark, probably the first gospel written about 40 years after Jesus.

And this week wraps up Romans. Pay attention to Paul’s summary of his arguments offered in chapter 15. As dense as his long convoluted theological presentation is throughout this important work, his conclusion is clear and succinct: Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Genesis 27-36

Psalms 46

Psalms 47

Psalms 117

Mark 1-7

Romans 14-16

As You Read resource for Week 6

https://livinginthestory.com/2016/02/as-you-read-week-six-jacob/

Charlotte’s Living in The Story blog: Wrestling with God

https://livinginthestory.com/2015/01/wrestling-with-god/

Week 5: January 29 – February 4

Abraham and Isaac. Yahweh and Israel. God and Jesus. Father and Son.

As you read this week, be sure to consider the intertwining of the stories and the multiple layers of theological reflection about sin and suffering. About sacrifice and redemption.

This week’s themes are complex and challenging. Keep your heart and your mind open to Spirit’s insights.

Genesis 21-26

Psalms 22

Psalms 34

John 18-21

Romans 9-13

As You Read resource for Week 5

https://livinginthestory.com/2016/02/as-you-read-week-five-isaac/

Charlotte’s blog for Week 5: The Offering

https://livinginthestory.com/2015/01/the-offering/

Week 4: January 22 – January 28

A significant turning point in The Story: Abraham.

The three main Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – are claimed and practiced by over half the world’s population. All honor Father Abraham and tell his story of faith and faithfulness.

This week we will read the original Genesis version of the Abraham story first related within the Hebrew Scriptures, then we will read some of Paul’s theological reflection of Abraham’s significance in light of the Christ event, then we will consider how John (maybe 40 years after Paul) described the relationship of Abraham, Abraham’s descendants and Jesus the Messiah.

Week 4 Scripture readings:

Genesis 12 – 20

Psalm 23

Psalm 25

John 13 – 17

Romans 4 – 8

Week 4 As You Read resource

https://livinginthestory.com/2016/01/as-you-read-week-four-abraham/

Charlotte’s blog: Where is all this going?

https://livinginthestory.com/2015/01/where-is-all-this-going/

 

Week 3: January 15 – January 21

Week 3 Living in The Story readings are uncomfortable. Talking about sin is unpleasant. Unless, of course, it’s someone else’s sin! And isn’t that some sort of default for us humans? Condemning the failings of others while we excuse our own transgressions?

There is a deep brokenness in this world. Even those who don’t like the religious terminology of “sin” must admit that there is a bentness about humanity that just won’t go away.

If God declared creation “good” then why are we humans so broken? Thoughtful people have been pondering this dilemma for all of human history.

Here are some biblical passages penned by people of faith across the ages; some passages that speak to the problem of sin from several different perspectives.

 

Genesis 3-11

Psalm 5

Psalm 10

Psalm 14

Psalm 51

John 9-12

Romans 1-3

 

Here is Week 3 “As You Read” blog:

https://livinginthestory.com/2016/01/as-you-read-week-3-sin/

Here is Charlotte’s blog for Week 3:

https://livinginthestory.com/2015/01/152/

Week 2: January 8 – January 14

Creation.

In the vocabulary of faith, we talk not so much about “nature” or “the environment;” rather we speak of “creation.” The very word reminds us: all that is is created by the creativity and will of the Creator.

The first two chapters of the first book of the Bible gives us two separate creation stories. The ancients purposely arranged these two quite different stories side by side. There is theological purpose in the ways they tell us stories of beginnings. Each story tells us something significant about both the Creator and creation.

But ancient Israel didn’t only tell the story of creation in these opening chapters of Genesis. Look at their hymnal: the Psalms. See how they sing the story again in yet other ways, in praise and poetry. See also how they speak of creation and Creator in powerful metaphor in the Wisdom literature, in the book of Proverbs.

Fast forward and leap across the centuries to the New Testament, especially the Gospel of John. Again it is no coincidence that John begins with the words: “In the beginning…” His pondering of the mystery of creation is profoundly theological and christological. John re-thinks the meaning of Creator and creation in light of the meaning of the Christ. Let John’s opening Prologue startle you as his original readers must have been startled: the Creator became for awhile a flesh and blood part of the creation.

The letter to the Colossians is soaring in its beautiful descriptions of the Cosmic Christ who is Source and Goal of all creation; the Christ who holds all things together.

This week’s readings are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them too.

Genesis 1 and 2

Psalm 33

Psalm 104

Proverbs 8

John 1-8

Colossians

Here is this week’s “As You Read” blog…

https://livinginthestory.com/2016/01/as-you-read-week-two-creation/

Here is Charlotte’s LiTS blog for week 2: The Creating Christ

https://livinginthestory.com/2015/01/158/

 

 

 

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