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Fifth Sunday in Lent, Cycle C

The marvelous, amazing grace of God is the most significant unifying factor within this series of texts selected for us for next Sunday. Psalm 126 In this community lament during a time of depression, suffering, and weeping, there is no reference to the causes of the suffering of the people. All of the emphasis is [...]

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Fourth Sunday in Lent, Cycle C

The emphasis within most of the texts appointed for next Sunday (Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32) is on turning to God, acknowledging sin, and receiving forgiveness from God. These are basic motifs within our Christian Lenten season. As we utilize these texts, our proclamation and our parenesis should be focused on these [...]

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Third Sunday in Lent, Cycle C

The profound subject of suffering is a factor in each of the texts selected for next Sunday. Perhaps Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) was on target when he reached the conclusion that “to live is to suffer,” that suffering is universal — the first of his Four Noble Truths. At any rate, there are few subjects about which we proclaim our message that hold the attention of the members of the assembled congregations as well as the subject of suffering. If we dare to consider seriously the profound subject of suffering that is present in each of these four texts, we can be assured that those who hear us will be involved with us as we proclaim the Word of God next Sunday.

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Second Sunday in Lent, Cycle C

Jerusalem and the temple in Jerusalem are prominent in many of these texts selected for Lent 2, Series C. It is in Jerusalem and at its temple that the beauty of the Lord is seen (Psalm 27). Jesus’ death and his departure from the earth will occur in Jerusalem (Luke 13:31-35), and Jesus expresses his love for the city and for its people.

Transformation is another theme present in several of these texts. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul proclaims that the Lord Jesus Christ will transform our lowly body and make it conform to his glorious body. Within the Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 promise and covenant text, Abram was said to have been transformed in a sense as the Lord caused the smoking fire pot and flaming torch to pass between the pieces of Abram’s offering and made the covenant of land and many descendants with him.

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First Sunday in Lent, Cycle C

A unifying factor present in all four of these texts selected for Lent 1 in Series C is the concept of deliverance. According to Psalm 91, the person who trusts in the Lord will be delivered from all danger. In the Deuteronomy 26 confession of faith it is said that the Lord (the God of our Fathers) heard our voice when we were slaves in Egypt and rescued us. The temptation account in Luke 4:1-13 has Jesus demonstrate that if you worship the Lord your God (as perceived by the Israelites, the Jews, and the early followers of Jesus) and serve only the Lord, you will be delivered from the power of the devil. Finally, in Romans 10:8-13 Paul wrote that if you confess with your lips and believe in your heart that Jesus the Risen Christ is Lord, you will be saved.

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    Mary Austin
    Do I Have to Invite Jesus Over for Thanksgiving?
    Matthew 10:24-39; Genesis 21:8-21

    Daytime talk shows, podcasts, and reality TV shows remind us every day that family drama is common, even normal. Advice columns are full of questions about where to place our loyalty. What are our obligations to in-laws, stepchildren, and extended family? What about the troublesome family? The abusive family? None of these questions would have made any sense in Jesus’ day, where loyalty to family was a sacred obligation and duty to family was clear. Family strife may have been normal, but there was no option to check out of the family and find a new one.
         The question of who belongs comes at us constantly, in a world where we can select our own tribe. We can choose to live near people who share our economic status, work with people who share our values, and vacation with people who love the same places. We can eat with people who follow the same eating plan, and shop with people who share our taste. At the ballgame, we sit with people who have the same loyalties. Our news comes slanted to our particular taste.
         But Jesus pokes his way into our cocoon, raising the question of who belongs in a wider family of faith; and Abraham and Sarah, believing they’re following God’s plan, make a choice to exclude rather than include. So who belongs? Who gets to come over for a family dinner?...more
    Proper 7 | OT 12
    The Gospel assigned for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost comes out of the heart of Matthew 10. Last week's text brought us through Chapter 10:23. In the optional verses from 10:9-23 we heard Jesus give additional words of instruction for the disciples as they are set to carry out their mission to Israel. In 10:16-23 there begins a section of Jesus' call and commissioning that portends a mission that will be very difficult....more
    Mark Ellingsen
    Living in Jesus can ease our anxieties
    In accord with the overall theme of the Pentecost season, all the texts for this Sunday pertain to living the Christian life (sanctification), specifically with how Christian life is easy, for it is not our work but the result of God’s grace....more
    C. David McKirachan
    Going Native
    Matthew 10:24-39
    A few years ago, when I’d been in my then church about 10 years, I took a continuing education course called Renewal in the Long Pastorate. Walter Wink and Roy Oswald came at the attendees from both directions, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. To get in you had to be in your present parish at least eight years....more
    Janice Scott
    Steven couldn't believe his luck. He'd been slouching around the shopping centre with his hands in his pockets feeling miserable because he had no money. There was a new computer game he was desperate to buy, because all his friends had it and were raving about it. Steven had been wandering around the shop gazing longingly at the game, but he had no means to buy one....more
    Arley K. Fadness
    No Fear
    Object: Football or bicycle helmet

    Have I got something to show you today! But first I have a question.
    Are there things that make you afraid?  (children answer)
    Are you afraid of the dark? Are you afraid of thunder?
    Are you afraid of getting sick or hurt in sports?...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