Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Lenten Challenge

Lent begins tomorrow. Have you chosen a discipline for this season of spiritual "spring cleaning" and refocusing our lives as we journey with Jesus towards the cross and beyond?

Here's an idea: what if I told you you could read everything Jesus said (at least as we have recorded in the four gospels) over the 40 days of Lent?

You can! All you need is a copy of Phyllis Tickle's book The Words of Jesus (order here paperback or Kindle, or see Abby to order a copy for $12) and this blog!

Each day, a set of sayings from Tickle's book will be listed on the blog for you to read. Reading only 5 or 6 a day, you can cover all of them over the 40 days of Lent. Join us also on Sundays after church in the month of March to discuss the sayings with others over a brown bag lunch.

These readings will be listed each day, but if you want an overview of the whole season (remember: Sundays are not included in the 40 days of Lent!), here is the "syllabus" for this Lenten discipline. Try it with me!

**though it's not in the syllabus, I also HIGHLY recommend reading Phyllis Tickle's introduction about her project and her method in producing this "gospel of the sayings of our Lord"

40 Day Lenten Reading Plan for The Words of Jesus

Day 1: Wednesday, February 18: Words of Public Proclamation 1-5
1 The opening proclamation 2 The opening statement of mission and of His place in Scripture 3 The relationship between Father and Son, and with Their work 4 The Blessings and the Beatitudes 5 The description of those who can follow Him

Day 2 Thursday, February 19: Words of Public Proclamation 6-10
6 The place of the Law in His Kingdom 7 The correct interpretation of the Law and its application 8 New ways of living and being for citizens of His domain 9 First public statement on the place of love in human conduct 10 First instruction specifically on religious practice

Day 3 Friday, February 20: Words of Public Proclamation 11-15
11 Instruction about the role of looking and seeing in the lives of the faithful 12 First instruction on wealth and the spiritual dangers of possessions 13 First recorded parable—a teaching about wealth and possessions 14 Temporal anxiety as a spiritual and religious danger 15 The dangers of judgmentalism in human affairs

Day 4 Saturday, February 21: Words of Public Proclamation 16-20
16 Counterbalancing admonition about discernment 17 The first promise 18 The summary of the Law and the Tradition 19 Concerning the winnowing of the righteous from the unrighteous 20 The proper method for assessing religious leaders

Sunday, February 22: Come to worship and focus on the first of Jesus’ words from the cross.

Day 5 Monday, February 23: Words of Public Proclamation 21-25
21 The primacy of the Father’s will over all religious forms 22 A parable about enacted and embodied faith 23 John the Baptizer as fulfillment of prophecy 24 The call to rest in submission 25 The role of words in the soul’s life and eternity

Day 6 Tuesday, February 24: Words of Public Proclamation 26-30
26 The first prophecy concerning death and Resurrection 27 Concerning occupation by unclean spirits 28 The proper definition of family 29 The parable of the sower and the seed 30 Teaching the crowds at Capernaum

Day 7 Wednesday, February 25: Words of Public Proclamation 31-35
31 On religiosity as a rejection of God 32 The source of personal defilement 33 Assertion of His divine commission 34 On judging the sins of others 35 The assertion of His primal and fundamental nature

Day 8 Thursday, February 26: Words of Public Proclamation 36-40
36 The assertion of “I Am” 37 His role as self-sacrificing shepherd and doorway 38 The importance to Heaven of every repentant convert 39 Second summary of the Law and the Tradition 40 The salvific role of the Law

Day 9 Friday, February 27: Words of Public Proclamation 41-45
41 The parable of the good Gentile 42 On forgiveness 43 On persistence in prayer 44 On the relative importance of blood ties 45 Concerning those who are clergy and professional functionaries of ...

Day 10 Saturday, February 28: Words of Public Proclamation 46-50
46 Concerning discernment instead of signs 47 Human vulnerability and the call to repentance 48 The power of petition 49 The testimony of His objective acts 50 The end of Time

Sunday, March 1: Come to church and reflect on the second of Jesus’ words from the cross; stay after for a brown bag lunch discussion of the things read to this point that Jesus proclaimed publicly.

Day 11 Monday, March 2: Words of Public Proclamation 51-55
51 Prophecy of the Triumphal Entry 52 The place of government in the believer’s life 53 The cost of choosing to join the Kingdom 54 The parable of the prodigal son 55 The story of the rich man in Hell

Day 12 Tuesday, March 3: Words of Public Proclamation 56-60
56 The assertion of Now 57 The definition of prayer that is heard and received 58 On marriage, divorce, and celibacy 59 The cleansing of the Temple 60 The prophecy of the Resurrection

Day 13 Wednesday, March 4: Words of Public Proclamation 61-66
61 A reprimand to the established clergy 62 Exposing the weakness of arguing from doctrine 63 Condemnation of the socially righteous 64 His role as “the stone rejected by the builders” 65 The eternal life of the worthy 66 The great paradox

Day 14 Thursday, March 5:  Words of Private Instruction 1-5
1 Heaven and earth, spirit and flesh 2 The assertion of His messiahship and of a new way of worship 3 An admonition about greed 4 The utter primacy of devotion over any other necessities 5 His description of those for whom He came

Day 15 Friday, March 6: Words of Private Instruction 6-10
6 His assertion of the radical nature of His work 7 The first commissioning, of the twelve 8 The second commissioning, of the larger company of the seventy 9 The first graphic and detailed discussion of the interplay between good and evil 10 The prophecies of persecutions to come and of their proper endurance

Day 16, Saturday March 7: Words of Private Instruction 11-15
11 The cost of membership in His Kingdom 12 The rewards of honoring His Kingdom and its citizens 13 The direct bestowal of personal salvation 14 Mercy as the mediator of all religious law 15 On how understanding increases with understanding

Sunday, March 8: Come to worship to hear the third words Jesus spoke from the cross, and stay after for brown bag lunch to discuss Jesus’ final words of public proclamation and his first words of private instruction.

Day 17, Monday March 9: Words of Private Instruction 16-20
16 Private exegesis on the parable of the sower 17 Similes of the Kingdom 18 Exegesis on the parable of the tares 19 Continuation of similes for comprehending the Kingdom 20 The offense, for His disciples, of the teachings about the Kingdom

Day 18, Tuesday March 10: Words of Private Instruction 21-25
21 The offense, for orthodox Jewish leaders, of the teachings about the Kingdom 22 Exegesis on the defilement teachings 23 The danger of literalness and of religiosity 24 Prophecy of the final judgment 25 The parable of the shrewd overseer

Day 19, Wednesday March 11: Words of Private Instruction 26-30
26 A prophecy of His suffering 27 Faith as a physical agency 28 Of the devil and true freedom from his grip 29 Condemnation of those who are portals for sin 30 Concerning angels and their guardianship of individuals

Day 20, Thursday March 12: Words of Private Instruction 31-35
31 The process of disciplining believers 32 On forgiveness 33 Concerning the proper attitude for anticipating His coming 34 On the divisiveness of Kingdom membership 35 Belief as a divine and protected gift

Day 21, Friday March 13: Words of Private Instruction 36-40
36 About the proper approach to social class and status 37 The parable of the banquet 38 The believer’s role as indentured servant 39 About His second coming and the days preceding it 40 On persistence in prayer and belief in its efficacy

Day 22, Saturday March 14: Words of Private Instruction 41-45
41 The restrictive burden of temporal wealth 42 A parable of final judgments 43 About humility and self-effacement 44 A parable about the final judgment and the time of its coming 45 Concerning true devotion
Sunday, March 15: Come to worship to hear the fourth words Jesus spoke from the cross, and stay after for brown bag lunch to discuss Jesus’ words of private instruction.

Day 23, Monday, March 16: Words of Private Instruction 46-50
46 A prophecy about coming ages and the conclusion of temporal creation 47 Concerning the exact time of the end 48 The parable of holy watchfulness in anticipating the Kingdom 49 The description of the final judgment 50 His farewell before crucifixion

Day 24, Tuesday March 17 Words of Healing Dialogue 1-5
1 The first healing miracle 2 The first healing on a Sabbath and His response to public condemnation by ... 3 The first exorcism 4 First attempt to contain notoriety 5 First healing of a Gentile

Day 25, Wednesday March 18 Words of Healing Dialogue 6-10
6 The casting out of an objectively operative demon 7 A direct absolution certified by a concomitant healing miracle 8 The flow of power by proximity and without intention 9 A resuscitation 10 Belief and faith as a measure of efficacy

Day 26, Thursday March 19 Words of Healing Dialogue 11-15
11 The correct interpretation of the Sabbath 12 The compassionate raising of the widow’s child 13 An extended commentary on principalities and powers in the kingdom of Evil 14 His acknowledgment of a Gentile’s faith 15 The healing of the deaf mute

Day 27, Friday March 20 Words of Healing Dialogue 16-21
16 The healing of the blind man 17 Faith as a linchpin 18 The reason for some instances of human debility 19 His use of two unsolicited healings for Sabbath teaching 20 The role of faith in the healing of the Gentile leper 21 The pivotal efficacy of faith in healing

Day 28, Saturday March 21, Words of Intimate Conversation 1-5
1 The first saying  2 First recorded exchange with His cousin, John the Baptist  3 The desert temptations  4 The calling of Phillip and Nathanael  5 With His mother at a wedding in Cana

Sunday, March 22 Come to worship to hear the fifth words Jesus spoke from the cross, and stay after for brown bag lunch to discuss Jesus’ words of healing dialogue

Day 29, Monday March 22, Words of Intimate Conversation 6-10
6 The calling of James and John 7 About the correct use of present time 8 The beginning of the public ministry 9 About becoming fishers of men 10 Faith as a force in the physical realm

Day 30, Tuesday March 23, Words of Intimate Conversation 11-15
11 His description to the emissaries from John the Baptizer, of His early, ... 12 The importance of rest 13 His engagement of Philip in the feeding of the thousands 14 Another demonstration of faith as a primal force in the physical world 15 His claiming of kingship on earth as well as in Heaven

Day 31, Wednesday March 24, Words of Intimate Conversation 16-20
16 His correcting of Peter 17 His instructions regarding His transfiguration 18 A prophecy of His death and Resurrection 19 The proper conduct of believers in relation to temporal government 20 The definition of greatness in the Kingdom

Day 32, Thursday March 25, Words of Intimate Conversation 21-25
21 The power of His name as nonproprietary 22 The use of holy or divine power 23 On proper timing 24 The chastising of Martha 25 His message to Herod concerning His approaching death

Day 33, Friday March 26, Words of Intimate Conversation 26-30
26 The raising of Lazarus 27 Children as examples of necessary innocence 28 His second specific prophecy to the twelve of His forthcoming death 29 Concerning the Father’s authority over the Son’s followers 30 The redemption of Zacchaeus

Day 34, Saturday March 27, Words of Intimate Conversation 31-35
31 Instructions preparatory to the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem 32 His acknowledgment of His popularity 33 About the Holy City 34 The beginning of the days of final judgment 35 Another conversation about faith as a physical agent

Sunday, March 29 Come to worship to hear the sixth words Jesus spoke from the cross, and stay after for brown bag lunch to discuss Jesus’ words of Intimate Conversation

Day 35 Monday, March 30, Words of Intimate Conversation 36-40
36 A prophecy about the destruction of the Temple  37 Concerning the time of His approaching crucifixion 38 The use of extravagant devotion 39 Instructions about their last meal together 40 Final instruction about servant leadership

Day 36, Tuesday March 31, Words of Intimate Conversation 41-45
41 His direct instructions to them in preparation for His leaving them 42 The poignancy of betrayal and of human endings 43 His words concerning the bread and wine 44 Instructions about the employment of worldly goods in the work of the Kingdom 45 The new commandment

Day 37, Wednesday April 1, Words of Intimate Conversation 46-50
46 The prophecy about their weakness and failure in the face of fear 47 His assertion of His salvific role 48 The promise of the coming of the Comforter and Advocate 49 The benediction 50 His last prayer before them

Day 38, Thursday April 2, Words of Intimate Conversation 51-55; also come to worship to hear the final words Jesus spoke from the cross as we worship on Maundy Thursday
51 In the garden of Gethsemane 52 The arrest and His interpretation of it 53 His claiming, before the High Priest, His divinity 54 Testimony before Pilate 55 His prophecy about the end times

Day 39, Friday April 3, Words of Intimate Conversation 56-60
56 His words of forgiveness 57 His assigning of John as caregiver to Mary 58 His resignation 59 His granting of salvation to one of the robbers 60 His last words before Resurrection

Day 40, Saturday April 4: Today, Holy Saturday, Jesus, in the tomb, does not speak. It seems Jesus has been silenced forever. Observe this day in the quiet.

Easter Sunday, April 5: Come to worship and celebrate the resurrection! Then read Jesus’ words of post-resurrection encounters
1 The first words 2 His revealing of Himself as Messiah on the Emmaus road 3 The infusion of the Spirit in His empowering of those gathered with Him 4 The conversation with Thomas 5 The prophecy to Peter of his martyrdom 6 The words of Ascension

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