Category Archives: Lectionary Year B

Between the Lines: Pentecost 23: November 4, 2012

Text: Deuteronomy. 6:1-9

Mezuzah

Mezuzah
(Photo credit:
Jonathan Caves)

Bind [these words] as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Orthodox Jewish tradition takes this admonition seriously; the words of the Shema are written on parchment and placed in the tefillin,the leather boxes that are tied onto one’s forehead and left arm before prayer. A piece of parchment inscribed with the Shema, the mezuzah, is placed inside a small container attached to the doorframe of a house (and sometimes of rooms inside). As a person passes through the doorway, they might touch or kiss the mezuzah.

Have you ever tied a string around your finger or done some other unusual thing to help you remember something you felt was important? That’s what tefillin and mezuzah are about.

During this week, try creating your own reminder. Write down a verse, or poem, or passage you find meaningful, and place it somewhere you will see it and remember what it is. Carry it with you; wear it around your neck; attach it to the bathroom mirror, put it on the dashboard of your car. What changes for you in remembering?

– Andy Kille


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.

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Between the Lines: Pentecost 22: October 28, 2012

Text: Mark 10:46-52

"Lord, that I might see!"

“Lord, that I might see!”
(Photo credit: Squiggle)

Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.”

    Reflect on all the ways there are to be blind.  Look around you at your colleagues, your family, your community.  What do they not see?

Reflect on those times in your own life when you have been blind.  What did you not see?

What might you not be seeing right now?  Look more closely.  How might you go about seeing again?  What mercy might you need in order to see?

Ask the Blind Bartimaeus within yourself “What do you want me to do for you?”  Ask it out loud.  Then listen, perhaps for “Let me see again.”

What is it you most long to see?

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.

Between the Lines: Pentecost 21: October 21, 2012

Text: Isaiah 53:4-12

Portion of a photographic reproduction of the ...

The Great Isaiah Scroll from Qumran, showing all of Isaiah 53.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

I’ve always struggled with the mythology of the suffering servant, the story told here in Isaiah and claimed by the Christian tradition as a foretelling of Jesus’ role in human history.  So I ask, if religious faith serves, at least in part, as an expression of psychological truth, how does this myth of the suffering servant function in the modern world and in our own lives?

What really happens when you or I take on the sins and suffering of others on their behalf? How does such suffering manifest itself in us physically, emotionally, and spiritually? What happens to those we’ve “saved”? Describe the healing that does (or doesn’t) take place? What movement toward wholeness do we initiate—for ourselves, for the other, for the world? What does such vicarious atonement do to our relationships with those we’ve saved? To our relationships with other loved ones? To a relationship with ourselves? To our relationship with God? Does being a servant require suffering? Is suffering a form of serving? And, if so, who does it really serve?

– Kathie Collins


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.

Between the Lines: Pentecost 20: October 14, 2012

Text: Mark 10:17-31

WEALTH IN THE USA

“You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

Reread the first paragraph of today’s text.  Spend a little time thinking of all the ways you are rich. Take some paper, some art supplies, and express all the ways you are rich, blessed, prosperous, having many possessions.  Take perhaps five minutes to do this.

Sit with your “treasures” a bit.  Sense its power in your life.  If possible, put on a recording of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.”  Stand up; pick up your paper and walk away holding it, grieving.  As you walk, consider selling or giving away your “treasure.”  Let it walk with you.

Either do that, or do not do it.  As the music ends, consider what you know now that you didn’t know before – about yourself, about your riches, about your god.

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. BibleWorkbench includes a series of open-ended questions focused on a reading in the Common Lectionary aimed at drawing readers into the story and making connections with the world around them and the world within. Also included are “Between the Lines” reflections, Parallel Readings from literature, poetry, and the news, and Critical Background on the text and its setting. For details and subscription information, go to www.educationalcenter.org.

Between the Lines: Pentecost 18: September 30, 2012

Text: Mark 9:38-50

battle

battle (Photo credit: pshab)

But Jesus said, “So not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me.  Whoever is not against us is for us.

    What strikes me this morning about this passage is the difference between “whoever is not against us is for us…” and the cultural commonplace of its converse—“whoever is not for us is against us.”  What’s the difference between these two attitudes?  What implications lie between them for our personal lives, our political lives, our sense of community?  Who’s “the enemy” here?

Where in the world you live in, at work, in your family, among those who do deeds of power, do you see these attitudes?  What difference might it make personally if we did one rather than the other?

Take a few moments, stand up, and let your body express “Whoever is not for us is against us.”  Shake it loose, then let your body express “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

What might your body have to tell you about this passage?

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. BibleWorkbench includes a series of open-ended questions focused on a reading in the Common Lectionary aimed at drawing readers into the story and making connections with the world around them and the world within. Also included are “Between the Lines” reflections, Parallel Readings from literature, poetry, and the news, and Critical Background on the text and its setting. For details and subscription information, go to www.educationalcenter.org.

Between the Lines: Pentecost 17: September 23, 2012

Text: Mark 9:30-37

Happy Children Playing Kids

Children Playing
(Photo credit: epSos.de)

“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

What does welcoming someone look like? What actions does it involve? What attitudes, feelings, or emotions? Think of a time when you felt welcomed. What was it that gave you that feeling? What did you learn in being welcomed? About yourself? About the one who welcomed you?

What is there within you that you find it difficult to welcome? What might happen if you were to treat that part of yourself like a child, and find your way to welcoming it?

– Andy Kille


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. BibleWorkbench includes a series of open-ended questions focused on a reading in the Common Lectionary aimed at drawing readers into the story and making connections with the world around them and the world within. Also included are “Between the Lines” reflections, Parallel Readings from literature, poetry, and the news, and Critical Background on the text and its setting. For details and subscription information, go to www.educationalcenter.org.

Between the Lines: Pentecost 16: September 16, 2012

Text: Mark 8:27-38

Restored houses at Berneray, Outer Hebrides, S...

Restored houses at Berneray, Outer Hebrides, Scotland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples . . .

I am intrigued that these questions arose in Caesarea Philippi.  Not in home territory.  I ask myself, as I ask you, to think about your travels, particularly to places where you were not “at home.”   Think of your travels, and the questions that have come up in those unfamiliar territories.  What were those questions, for you?

I remember traveling in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland some years back, right after George Bush was elected for the second time.  Neither he nor his policies were popular in Scotland.  My American accent prompted both distrust and disgust on the faces of the people I met then.  Who do people say that I am?  I had no past with them, no knowledge of what I had done or not done, and the question of my political identity was apparently the only issue that mattered.  Who do my friends, my family, my colleagues, my neighbors say that I am?

Who am I, beyond what they say or think?  Who are you?  Beyond what others say?

Remember, or imagine, yourself in strange and unfamiliar territory, and ask these questions.  Get out of your familiar house, town, highway, language, culture and ask it.  Where do you say, “That’s not me,” or even “Get behind me, Satan”…and where do you say “I am…”?

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. BibleWorkbench includes a series of open-ended questions focused on a reading in the Common Lectionary aimed at drawing readers into the story and making connections with the world around them and the world within. Also included are “Between the Lines” reflections, Parallel Readings from literature, poetry, and the news, and Critical Background on the text and its setting. For details and subscription information, go to www.educationalcenter.org.