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Archives of Previous Studies

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December 7, 2017

Sinful Prayer and Spiritual Adultery in James 4:4

In tonight's study we connect James' depiction of praying wrongfully with his condemnation of spiritual adultery and then explore the theme of spiritual idolatry in the prophets.  We also take time to establish the historical context of the prophets by reading the contemporaneous accounts in First and Second Kings.


June 21, 2018

Psalm 18: David's Conquests, God's Humility, Signs of a Living God, and Vengeance on the Wicked

We finish our exploration of Psalm 18 by examining how some of the colorful images of conquest are more than images but reflect events from David's life.  We reflect on God's humility and how He makes us "sound" as He is "sound".  We saw how David perceived the living God by observing God's actions in his life and how we do the same.  We also mused on how Christians understand verses about vengeance upon the wicked.


July 19, 2018

Psalm 48: God Delivers Zion

Tonight's study examined Psalm 48 as a response to God's miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the overwhelmingly superior Assyrian army.  We spent some time addressing how God's perspective on physical life and death may be different from ours as well as the different understandings of love and hate between Hebrew and Christian thought.  We touch briefly upon the geography of Jerusalem and some of the common metaphors used in this psalm.

In the unrecorded second half, we prayed the Thursday Morning Office from the 13th week of Ordinary Time.


August 16, 2018

God Rescues in Ps 30 and God Forgives in Ps 32

We expound Psalm 30 in the first half of tonight's study including its liturgical history, the story of David and the census and the altar in Jerusalem, the influence of Satan and the demons in our lives, and the experience of feeling abandoned by God.

We explore Psalm 32 in the second half.  We discuss the importance of love covering a multitude of sins, the connection between sincerity and forgiveness, and the dangers of ignoring God.


September 6, 2018

Psalm 113: Praise God Who Descends to the Lowly and Psalm 147:12-20: Praise God Who is Doing Something Special

We began tonight's study with an outline of the rankings of liturgical days: Solemnities, Feasts, and Obligatory and Optional Memorials.

We continued with the burst of praise that is Psalm 113.  We explained the meaning of the word Hallelujah and the reasons behind the different spellings and pronunciations.  We looked at its cultural context amidst the return from the Babylonian exile and its praise of a God who is both transcendent and immanent.  Finally, we discussed how a Jewish and Christian understanding of the reference the barren woman bringing forth children might be different.

We conclude with another explosion of praise — Psalm 147:12-20.  We explain why the Divine Office starts in the middle of the psalm and its context around the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem with several references to the Book of Nehemiah.  We end in appreciation of how what God is doing in Christianity is different than any other religion and how that is a source of our praise.


December 6, 2018

Psalm 120: Weary of Wickedness and Psalm 121: God, Our Ever Present Keeper

Tonight's study starts with Psalm 120.  We use it as an opportunity to discuss verbal emphasis which is lost translating from Hebrew to English and ways in which we can try to recover that emphasis.  We examined the psalmist's lament over living among those who are wicked and then explored a Christian approach to the same difficulty.

The second half continued with Psalm 121.  We discussed how the Psalms provide a variety of human perspectives on the same unchanging God, God's persistence providence, and how sometimes it seems that providence is lacking.


December 13, 2018

Psalm 122: Awe In God’s Presence

We try to capture the awe and amazement of a pilgrim coming to Jerusalem to worship as we explore this Psalm.  This leads naturally to a discussion of the awe and amazement in our lives as Christians to have God ever present and the sublime wonder of worship in Holy Eucharist, Holy Thanksgiving.  We discuss the Church as the new Jerusalem and the temple of God, the implications for worship, and the need to build this new Jerusalem in peace and unity.  We digress to discuss the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 to better understand the section of the Letter to the Hebrews that discusses the need to assemble together.  We conclude with a discussion of how it is God who makes the Church special.




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