2018-19 RCL-C Third Sunday After Epiphany
Additional Resources for Proclamation & Preaching
Epiphany 03: January 27, 2019 • Gospel Text: Luke 4:14-21
The Public Reading of Scripture
Proclamation for Today
by Rev. Dr. Clint Schnekloth
Reading the Bible out loud can cause all kinds of trouble. The Bible Project has this great video history of the Public Reading of Scripture that is totally worth watching, like right now. Once you’re back from that, you might ask yourself: Okay, that video makes the case that reading Scripture out loud in the community helps the community avoid trouble. And you’d be right, if by avoid trouble you mean stay in right relationship with God and one another. Reading Scripture out loud in community does indeed have and serve this function, which is why it was historically adopted as part of synagogue service, and was practiced by Jesus.
On the other hand, when communities forget about God, or are divided from one another, or divided from a proper understanding of Scripture, then even the Scripture itself and the public reading of it can stir up trouble in a community. If we read the Bible out loud in order to combat idolatry, for example, then anyone who is idolater is going to be troubled by simply hearing the Scripture read out loud.
It’s worth noticing how much this passage from Luke, this account of Jesus publicly reading Scripture, matches so much of our lectionary-based Christian worship. Like Jesus, we take and read out loud an assigned text. He was assigned Isaiah. He took it and read it. You are assigned Luke 4 today. You’re going to take it and read it.
And it has become your custom. It’s what you do every Sunday. You likely even have some liturgical practices that open and end the reading of Scripture, some pauses, standing and sitting, procession with a book (because we tend to use codexes rather than scrolls these days).
Returning to the trouble, the trouble comes when you announce, together with Jesus, that this Scripture is fulfilled in everyone’s hearing. This is the point where you, the preacher, filled with the Holy Spirit that also filled Jesus, take authority for preaching the text. Inevitably, once you preach with authority, some are really going to love it. Others are going to experience cognitive dissonance, because the Word they are hearing this time goes against their distorted faith.
Just think of all the moments, like the many clergy, of many faiths, arrested reading Scripture in the Senate Offices. Or the time clergy read the Scripture out loud to Jeff Sessions at a Federalist Society meeting. Or the time you read the Scripture a few weeks ago, and someone said to you after service, “I sure wish so-and-so would have been here to hear that challenge.”
The following links and resources are not produced or maintained by RCL Worship Resources or Clergy Stuff. However, at the time of this posting, the links were active and considered to be good source material for proclamation for the text for this week. Please scroll down or click on the quick jump menu you find below. Click here for more free RCL worship resources & planning materials.
Historical Exegetical Resources
The Five Gospels Parallels, John W. Marshall, University of Toronto.
"Kingdom and Repentance," The Jesus Database, an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus. Dr. Gregory C. Jenks, FaithFutures Foundation.
From The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, 1891.
· Commentary, Luke 4:14-21, Ruth Anne Reese, at WorkingPreacher.org, Luther Seminary, 2016.
· "A Peculiar Power," David Lose, “... in the meantime,” 2016.
· "A Life-Changing Epiphany," Karoline Lewis, Dear Working Preacher, 2016.
· Pulpit Fiction, plus podcast. Reflections of lectionary text, pop culture, current events, etc. Robb McCoy and Eric Fistler, 2016.
· The Truett Pulpit, Jason Edwards, 2016.
· "The Charismatic Messiah," Bob Cornwall, Ponderings on a Faith Journey, 2016.
· Center for Excellence in Preaching, Scott Hoezee, commentary, textual notes, illustrations, 2016.
· "Jesus' Agenda," Nancy Rockwell, The Bite in the Apple, 2016.
Additional Hymns & Praise Music
Free Current RCL Daily Devotional
More Reading For You
Current RCL Worship Trends
Dramatic Reading of the Text
Readers: Narrator, Jesus
Narrator: Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
Jesus: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Narrator: And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them,
Jesus: Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.