Third Sunday of Lent (B)
Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up
The Word This Week
This week, in our journey through the Old Testament, we reach Covenant Number Three: and this is the big one - the Covenant with Moses at Sinai. The Ten Commandments are (or should be) familiar to us all: they form our side of the agreement with God - if we stick to these rules and commands, then we are truly Gods people, and he is truly our God. If we ignore them, or break them, then we break the Covenant or relationship. The
Notes for Readers
When reading a list, it is important to pause between individual items so that your listeners can assimilate them one by one. The list of commandments (whether you use the long or the short form - check with your priest) is no less the case: you should not just read this lest, but solemnly proclaim it. These rules and laws, which governed the People of Israel, govern us still today, and it is important that the congregation have an opportunity to reflect on the Law of God. So speak solemnly, and slowly. Pause after each commandment, almost making sure that your listeners have got it before moving on to the next. Be especially careful with the short ones: You shall not kill and so on. These must be read, if anything, more carefully than the others.
There is a sense of topsy-turvy in this reading Paul is not preaching to please people, or telling them want they want to hear, but almost exaggerating the foolishness of his preaching to emphasise that it does not come from him, but from God. For this reason, you must emphasise the word crucified and realise that this is the obstacle or the madness: just preaching Christ would be fine, but a crucified Christ? This is a nice balanced reading, which you should be able to read powerfully without too much effort. Its only two sentences (though the first is a bit long, so would merit some out loud practice). The reading can be neatly chopped up into the shorter phrases just make sure you keep a sense of connection between them. Same something for the lovely paradox of the last sentence its a remarkable statement: imagine for yourself examples of human wisdom and human strength, and think of what Gods foolishness must be like!