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Archives of Previous Studies

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January 17, 2019

Rev 4:11, 5:9-10,12: Praise the Lamb Who Makes Us a Kingdom and Priests

In tonight's study, we look at a canticle of praise comprised of several verses in Revelation 4 and 5 used as the last of the psalms in the Evening Office for the Solemnity of All Saints.  We also examine the verses in between to gain context.  This leads us primarily to a discussion of how great Jesus is, how He is the bridge between the Creator and creation, the Mediator, the Way, how He Himself is the Gospel, and why we would burst into such praise of Him.  We explore some of the Old Testament images and themes used by John in Revelation.  We digress a bit about how our prayers and lives can be a pleasing aroma to God as well as on the Millennium and possible answers to the question of over whom the Saints reign in the Kingdom.  We then stopped the cameras and prayed the Evening Office together.

January 10, 2019

Psalm 116:10-19: I Trusted Even When Afflicted

This study spends a lot of time on the Psalmists' statement that he trusted even when afflicted including an example of this from the diary of Saint Faustina.  We spoke of the need to recognize bounty even in the midst of trials and looked at some statements from Saint Paul in this regard.  We examined some of the sacrificial practices mentioned and considered how seriously God takes affliction and even the death of His people.  The connection between love and trust was a persistent theme as well as how far and how deep that love and trust can go.

January 3, 2019

Psalm 110: God Exalts His Christ

We begin our study of this of this historically messianic psalm with thoughts on the love of the Father for the Son.  We explore Christian and Jewish understandings of the "adoni", the lord to whom the LORD speaks.  We explain some of the cultural allusions in the psalm and spend quite some time on Melchizedek, the priesthood of Jesus, and the references to Psalm 110 in the Letter to the Hebrews.  We conclude examining the shift in perspective at the end of the Psalm and the somewhat enigmatic conclusion.

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.

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.

November 29, 2018

Psalm 149: Let the Faithful Rejoice In God

We examine Psalm 149 in this study as the last of the psalms for Morning Prayer for the Solemnity of All Souls.  We discuss the context and dwell chiefly on the points the second exodus, the wonder of God delighting in His people, and the unpleasant need to eventually deal with those who reject God in order to bring about lasting peace.

November 8, 2018

Daniel 3:56-88: Inviting All Creation to Praise the Lord

We cover the topic of deutero-canonical works and a brief history of the Old Testament canon in the first part of the study since this section of scripture is part of the deuterocanon.  We then continue with the context and content of this great invitation to all creation to praise God.

October 25, 2018

Psalm 63: Your Love Is Better Than Life

This study explores Psalm 63 including its possible context of Absalom's rebellion against David.  We considered how we can still see God's power and glory in His sanctuary today.  We dwelt upon what it means to value God's love even more than life itself.  We spoke of spiritual delights and intimacy with God and challenged ourselves to see how close we are to Him gauged against this psalm.

October 18, 2018

Psalm 8: The Wonder of God and Man

We explore Psalm 8 in this study both from the perspective of the psalmist musing on the greatest of God as revealed in His creation and yet having such concern and granting such exaltation to mankind and from the perspective of Christians awestruck at the wonder of what God is doing in Christianity through Jesus and the hypostatic union.  We discussed the danger the power God wishes to give us poses and the need for conversion to be prepared to receive such power.  We also look at some of the ways the New Testament writers used this psalm and saw it as prophetic.

September 27, 2018

Psalm 15 - Who Can Dwell With God?

In this study, we begin by setting the context of Psalm 15 as David bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Zion.  To do so, we spend time exploring the history of the Ark and its journey including the abuse of religion while the Ark is in Shiloh, the capture and return of the Ark, and the disturbing incident of Uzzah being killed for steadying the Ark during transport.  This leads to a discussion on conscience.  We then expound the psalm itself including the issues of "despising the reprobate" and not lending money at interest.

September 20, 2018

Psalm 4: Recovering from Rebellion and Psalm 134: Bless God Through the Night

Tonight's study begins with Psalm 4 as a possible response of David to Absalom's rebellion.  We branched into how we can and must find joy in our afflictions, digressed into one reason for intercessory prayer including prayer to Saints, and concluded with a discussion of complete trust in and surrender to the will of God.

We then continued on to Psalm 134 by first introducing the Songs of Ascents.  We referenced the round the clock praise of God in the temple and its extension into our need and desire as a community to provide for those who today offer their lives in constant prayer and praise.  With finished by dwelling on the deep intimacy we can have with God.

We then turned off the cameras and prayed Night Prayer of the vigil of All Saints which uses Pss 4 and 134 as the psalmody.

September 13, 2018

Rev 19:1-8 - The Bride Has Made Herself Ready

Tonight's study started with the background of the pictured destruction of Rome and the harlot upon the beast that set the stage for Revelation 19.  We briefly discuss the word "Hallelujah" and its evolution into "Alleluia".  We spend some time examining the idea of eternal punishment and what the earliest Church believed about it.  We conclude with an exploration of the bride making herself ready.

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.