It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fiery Worsip, a reflection on 2 Maccabees 1:1-36

2 Maccabees repeats much of the history presented in 1 Maccabees supplying some additional details. The book begins with two letters sent to Jews in Egypt. The first reminded them to continue recognizing the festival of the booths (see 1 Maccabees 10). The address of the second letter specifically included Aristobulus, the teacher of King Ptolemy. It begins by describing the death of Antiochus IV (in an interesting manner but one that historians don't agree with).

The letter tells that it's time for the religious observance, Chislev, a celebration of the purification of the temple and suggests that the readers may also want to celebrate. After a description of the history of the Jews when captive to the Persians, the letter relates the history of Nehemiah, including a description of the worship service that included sacrifices, including the accompanying miracle and the prayer that followed the service.

As I read this letter, I wondered what I would say about the typical Methodist worship service to someone who had never been to one. What needs to be said? What explanations are helpful?

And what happened to fire in the worship service? Is that great fire they had the origin of our bringing candles into the sanctuary and then at the end of the service transporting the flame out into the world?

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