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Epiphany of Our Lord (A, B, C)

by Norman Beck We have a responsibility in our ministry to observe and to preserve the festival of the Epiphany in some way each year, not only on the years in which January 6 happens to be a Sunday. The Sundays after the Epiphany will not have much special meaning unless we observe Epiphany itself [...]

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Christmas 2 (C)

Jeremiah 31:7-14 This thoroughly optimistic text is a reminder to us that the concept “salvation” in much of the Older Testament is primarily corporate and this-worldly and in most of the Newer Testament is primarily individualistic and is often other-worldly. By accepting both the Older and the Newer Testaments as its biblical canon, the early [...]

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Christmas — Proper III

All four of the texts chosen for our use on Christmas Day refer to the coming of the Lord God. That coming is perceived in a way that is unique to each text. The most noticeable differences are that in the two texts from the Older Testament the coming of the Lord is expressed by use of a series of anthropomorphisms (depictions of God using various features and characteristics of humans), while in the two texts from the Newer Testament the Lord is depicted as coming incarnate (in the actual form of a human person).

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Christmas — Proper II

After many years during which the grain and the wine from the vineyards of Jerusalem had been given by the Lord God to the enemies of its people, the people of Israel are depicted here as streaming back to the city from the broad highway cleared of all stones and obstructions over which they were returning from their exile in Babylonia. The people who return to the city are called “holy,” because they are the people of the Lord; they are called “redeemed” because the Lord has purchased them from their captors.

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Christmas (The Nativity of Our Lord)

The usage of religious traditions affects the form and even the content of those traditions. For example, usage of evergreen trees that are brought into our homes, stores, and churches during the season of Christmas over periods of time has affected the trees themselves. The use of such trees, especially when they are placed into stores and even into homes and churches many weeks prior to Christmas, has mandated that unless the trees are constructed out of materials that are made to look as if they were live trees cut from a forest or tree farm, even though they were not, they will deteriorate to the point that they are no longer useful objects of beauty.

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  • Everyday
    should be
    Earth Day... Charged with Grandeur: Sermons and Practices for Delighting in God's Creation

    Dean Feldmeyer
    Meeting Jesus Again
    Luke 24:13-35

    Last month the Barna Research Group released some more of their findings about why people, especially those in the millennial generation, aren’t going to church. Basically, it can be boiled down into two assertions:
    1. I’m not meeting God at church; and
    2. The church isn’t making the world a better place.
         In other words, from their perspective the Christian church, in all of its modern
    permutations, is not keeping the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40), nor is it living out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
         Of course, Barna says, this is not news. It has been happening for decades. It’s just being felt more now because the numbers are greater.
         People come to church to meet Jesus, up close and personal, face to face. They want and expect not just to hear about Jesus but to have an encounter with the Living Christ. They are hungry for that encounter; they need it to give their lives meaning, direction, depth, and authenticity. And they want to be part of something that is actually improving their lives and the lives of generations to come.
         Like those two disciples walking to Emmaus on that first Easter afternoon, they are at loose ends and looking for direction -- and they are asking us to help them find it through Jesus Christ....more
    My Laughin' Place
    There's an old Uncle Remus story about Br'er Rabbit. Br'er Fox catches Br'er Rabbit and is fixin' to cook him for supper. Rabbit kinda giggles behind his hand. Fox grabs him by the ear, and says, "Why you laughin'?"
         Rabbit says, "Jus' thinkin' 'bout my Laughin' Place." Fox says, "What Laughin' Place?" Rabbit says, "Oh, I cain't tell you about it. I got to show you!"
         So ol' Br'er Fox fergits about cooking and takes Br'er Rabbit to where he says. Of course, they come to a briar patch and Br'er Rabbit slips away from his captor. A very angry Br'er Fox hollers at Rabbit from across the briar patch: "I ain't laughin'! I thought you said this was a Laughin' Place?"...more
    Sandra Herrmann
    Redemption in Christ
    Many years ago, I was invited to the home of a parish family for Easter dinner. It was a big family, and some of us were standing around the edges of the dining room, waiting for the fragrant aromas to turn into something to eat. It’s always tricky for a woman pastor too. Should I be helping in the kitchen? No. I was the pastor. Still, the offer was greeted with smiles. The grandfather of the clan walked over to me and said, “Pastor, I have a question about your sermon this morning. What’s your definition of a Christian?”....more
    Peter Andrew Smith
    Burning Hearts

    Luke 24:13-35

    Heather lined the basketball up with the net. She took a deep breath and made her shot. The ball was high and missed. She tried again. This time the ball hit the backboard and went toward the corner. Heather sighed and let the ball bounce away. This is useless. I can’t make a basket no matter how much I try. She made her way over to the bench in the empty community center gymnasium and slumped down....more
    Janice Scott
    Strangers or neighbours?
    A week or two ago I received an unexpected registered package through the post. It was a manuscript and turned out to be the memoirs of an elderly relative, Mary, who was a cousin of my mother's, and who had died a couple of years previously. She had lived miles away and I'd never met her, although we had corresponded occasionally and spoken on the phone once or twice. ...more

Authors of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Norman A. Beck is the Poehlmann Professor of Theology and Classical Languages and the Chairman of the Department of Theology, Philosophy, and Classical Languages at Texas Lutheran University
Dr. Norman A. Beck
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen