Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 (Psalm 126 or Luke 1:46b-55); 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 (Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26); Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38
Isaiah 40:1-11 (Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13); 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8
Isaiah 64:1-9 (Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19); 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37
Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12
Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:5-10 or Luke 1:46b-55; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11
Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44
I’m not the only preacher who wonders occasionally about the logic of the Sunday lectionary readings. Why is this text included but not that one? I usually conclude that someone wiser than I is choosing these texts and that the logic of it will be revealed to me if I stay with the texts long enough.
The greatest Christmas carol in history was not written by Irving Berlin or Nat King Cole. The greatest carol is not “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or “White Christmas” or even “Silent Night.” The greatest carol was composed 2,000 years ago by a pregnant teenage girl who was visiting her cousin Elizabeth.
Whether Mary was reading or spinning or planning her wedding, the annunciation came as an interruption.
John the Baptist baptized Jesus of Nazareth. The synoptic Gospels all say so, and the kerygma in Acts connects the beginning of Jesus’ ministry with that baptism. But although Mark seems to find it quite right that Jesus should have been among those who heeded John’s preaching, all the other evangelists seem discomfited by the suggestion that Jesus was somehow a disciple of this other preacher.