It’s still Christmas! Mid-Christmas we have the most Christmasy of feasts, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on 1 January. Today’s readings feature a most beloved and most often misinterpreted text, “a young woman is (already) pregnant,” Isaiah 7:14. Our spiritual ancestors looked back to the Greek version of this text in which the young woman was a virgin (as opposed to the Hebrew version) and, read the text so retroactively that the Hebrew adjective, pregnant, and Greek description, “in womb” would be interpreted as and in some cases replaced in Bible translations with the future form of the verb to be, giving us the romantic completely contrived “prophecy”: a virgin shall conceive…” If we stop trying to make that passage say what it clearly does not and, look to see what it does say, we will find a God who comes to her people’s rescue to save, deliver and redeem when they need her most. As always, context is key and this passage should be read in it wider literary and cultural context. The psalm accompanies this reading, proclaiming the faithfulness of God across the ages in all circumstances. In the epistle, Jesus, in the very form of God, demonstrates what this faithfulness looks like by becoming flesh among us. The Gospel tells the story of that Incarnation, the Christmas story.
Holy Name of Jesus
- by Wil
- December 15, 2021
- Liturgy, Womens Lectionary
WilBiblical scholar in Hebrew and Hebrew Bible: special interest in translation textual plurality, (Septuagint, Dead Seas Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Aleppo Codex, Leningrad Codex); feminist, womanist and post-colonial biblical interpretation; prophets and prophecy in the Ancient Near East and ancient Israel Episcopal priest, product of the Black Church, author, blogger, preacher, teacher, lecturer, public speaker
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