• Education Forums

Bible Study Guide for Sunday, January 23, 2022

January 23, 2022
  • Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
  • Psalm 19
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
  • Luke 4:14-21


Our lectionary this week features two important reading events along with what I call The Big Tease, Paul’s extended analogy relating our human bodies to the Body of Christ. Let’s begin with the readings. The books Ezra and Nehemiah detail the return of the Jewish people to their homeland following exile in Babylon. They have been resettled in their towns and the temple has been rebuilt – it is time for a renewal of their life as God’s Chosen People. Our excerpt today from Nehemiah describes Ezra’s dramatic reading of Moses’ law by the Water Gate in Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders wanted to gather the people and renew their knowledge of the Law so that they will understand what it means to be God’s Chosen. I am struck by the idea of a renewal following an exile. We are not in Babylon, but we are certainly exiled from our normal life as a parish. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a ceremony of renewal once we reach a post-pandemic (or at least an endemic) world?

Luke tells of a similar renewal event several hundred years after Ezra’s exhortation. The Jewish people have survived, but strayed, and are now, although not exiled, again ruled by a foreign power. Following his baptism and temptation in the desert, Jesus returns to Nazareth where he opens a scroll in the synagogue and reads the verses telling of his own mission to turn the world upside down: good news to the poor, release of the captives, and healing of the sick. Jesus fulfilled that scriptural passage then called us to continue his mission now, 2,000 years later.

Then there’s Paul. I get distracted by his extended analogy, but it is critical that I not get lost in all the hand/foot/eye/ear business. The most important point is buried in vs. 22 – 26 which echo the message Jesus read from the scroll in the synagogue: every member of the community is equally important, the weak and the strong, and honoring any one is honoring all. But the Big Tease is at the end. Note that today’s excerpt ends with v. 31a. But v. 31b promises “I will show you a still more excellent way.” All of those gifts we worried about last week and the societal ranking of concern this week are swamped by the gift of love Paul will describe in Chapter 13.

Chuck Medler

What should we have read to us during post-pandemic renewal event for our Trinity community?

Have you had a personal experience of being viewed as being either unimportant or as being overly important by others in your community? How did you react to that experience?






At "Educational Forums," enrich your spiritual journey by exploring our resources including videos of lectures, essays by priests, and other pieces about our faith, our church, and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in the 21st century.