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Ash Wednesday, Cycle C

As we ponder the meaning of the season of Lent and the significance we would like for it to have this year for us and for the people with whom we live, we begin with these Ash Wednesday texts. We see that in Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 and in Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 the emphasis is on [...]

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Transfiguration Sunday, Cycle C

A consideration of these texts is included in the notes on Proper 4, Ordinary Time 9, Second Sunday after Pentecost below. LAST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY (TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY) Transfiguration accounts, whether in the Hebrew Scriptures (Exodus 34:29-35) or in the Newer Testament (Mark 9:2-8; Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 9:28-36) or in the sacred writings of other [...]

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Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6, Cycle C

With Psalm 1, Jeremiah 17:5-10, and Luke 6:17-26 selected as three of the four biblical bases for the service and message next Sunday, we also can hardly use any other mode of expression than the beatitude ourselves as we lead in worship. Perhaps we should even express the 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 text in part, at [...]

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Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5, Cycle C

The calling of Isaiah, the calling of Peter, and (by implication) the calling of each of us dominate the series of texts selected for our use next Sunday. Each is called for a purpose, to carry on a mission, to be commissioned.

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Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4, Cycle C

The connection is rather tenuous. Nevertheless, there is a point of contact in all four of these texts in the concept of prophetic powers. In Psalm 71 an old man in distress relies on the Lord to continue the prophetic powers of inspiration that the Lord has given to him since the time of his birth. In the call story in Jeremiah 1:4-10 prophetic powers are said to have been virtually forced upon the reluctant young man Jeremiah. He is said to have been known, consecrated, and appointed to be a prophet even before he had been born. For the Apostle Paul, prophetic powers, important as they are, are of no avail unless they are accompanied by God’s kind of self-giving love. In the Lukan writer’s story about Jesus in his hometown, prophetic powers are said to have gone unrecognized not only at the time of Elijah and Elisha, but also in Jesus himself. As we read and use these texts, we are called to consider the concept of prophetic powers in our own lives and in our own ministries.

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    Chris Keating
    The Double-Dog Dare Days of August
    August’s lazy, hazy dog days quickly became a deadly double-dog dare contest between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, the supreme leader of North Korea. Both nations have been at odds with each other for nearly 70 years. During his working golf vacation in New Jersey last week, President Trump responded to North Korea’s rhetorical sword-rattling by launching a verbal preemptive strike of his own.
         Call it the Bedminster bombast, or the putt that rocked Pyongyang. But the duel between the two countries is more than fodder for late-night comedians. It’s a deadly standoff with history-changing repercussions.
         There is no vacation from matters of national security, or the orations of war. Indeed, much of the war of words between Washington and North Korea seems to confirm Jesus’ counsel in Matthew: “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” The contrasts between these barbed exchanges and the biblical understanding of peacemaking offers an intriguing opportunity to hear Jesus’ words in a world filled with double-dog (and even triple-dog) dares....more
    Feeding The 5,000
    The assigned Gospel text for this week skips over a couple of sections in Matthew's story. Matthew 14:34-36 cites Jesus' journey to Gennesaret. The crowds of people recognized him immediately and all of the sick came to him for healing. Just a touch of Jesus' garment brought healing to many. The crowd in Gennesaret recognized Jesus. They came to him in their need....more
    Wayne Brouwer
    Religious balkanization
    One dimension of religious life we have in common across faith traditions and denominational lines is the incessant divisiveness that split our seemingly monolithic communities into dozens of similar yet tenaciously varied subgroups. A Jewish professor of psychology said of his tradition, "If there are ten Jewish males in a city we create a synagogue. If there are eleven Jewish males we start thinking about creating a competing synagogue."...more
    C. David McKirachan
    Jesus Is Coming, Look Busy
    Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
    I had a parishioner who would walk out of the sanctuary if he saw a djembe (African drum) out in front to be used in worship.  I asked him about it, in a wonderfully pastoral manner, and he told me that things like that didn’t belong in worship.  I said that it was in the bible to praise God with pipes and drums (I think it is).  He told me he didn’t care what the Bible said, he knew where that thing came from and he wouldn’t have it.  I asked him why things from Africa would bother him.  He told me that he knew I was liberal but that didn’t mean he had to be.  I agreed with him but cautioned him that racism was probably one of the worst examples of evil in our world and I thought he should consider what Christ would think of that.  He asked me who paid my salary, Christ or good Americans....more
    Janice Scott
    No Strings Attached
    In today's gospel reading, Jesus seemed reluctant to heal the Canaanite woman's daughter. He told her that he wasn't sent to help foreigners, but only his own people, the Chosen Race. The words sound unnecessarily harsh, but perhaps this is an interpretation unique to Matthew, for this story only appears in Matthew's gospel, which was written for Jews....more
    Arley K. Fadness
    Great Faith
    Object: Hula Hoop or circle made out of ribbon, twine or rope
    What an amazing morning to come to church today. I am so glad to see you and talk to you about a wonderful story from the bible. Let me begin by showing you this circle. Now let's get into this circle. (Physically, all move into the circle) It's fun for us all to be together in this circle. We don't want anyone to be left out. To be left out is to be sad. To be kept out is even more sad and painful....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