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All Saints Day, Cycle C

As we pause to remember those loved by us who have died during the past twelve months or within the scope of our memories, we turn to the inspired writers of each of the texts selected for this occasion. Shall we not also on this All Saints’ Day worship God with these writers, along with all whom we remember who have lived among us? Let us boldly worship God as God is perceived within Christianity…

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Thanksgiving Day, Cycle C

National days of thanksgiving within the United States and Canada are by nature primarily expressions of civil religion, not of the ecclesial, individual, family, community, or universal levels of religion, even though every level in which we express our religion may be involved. Because civil religion at its best is inclusive of the religions of all of the people living within a nation, in nations such as the United States and Canada in which there are Native Americans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, and many other groups, observance of National Days of Thanksgiving should include participation by all of the groups represented and use resources drawn from the oral and written traditions of every group represented. Civil religion at its worst, however, excludes minority groups and uses the power of the state to promote the religion of the powerful majority within the nation. Therefore, worship experiences at the national level should be inclusive of all of the people, and the celebration of national days of thanksgiving in local areas should also be inclusive of all of the people in the local area.

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Christ the King (Proper 29), Cycle C

With the texts chosen for this occasion, the Church Year ends in a note of triumph. The Lord is King! The Lord rules in these texts in a great variety of ways, but in each in some way the Lord is King. This is the message that we shall proclaim next Sunday. It shall be our task to proclaim with all of the skill given to us by God the many ways in which the Lord is King in these texts and in our lives.

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Proper 27 | Ordinary Time 32 | Pentecost 24 (Cycle C)

Perhaps the theological motif that best unites most of the texts selected for this occasion is the statement in Luke 20:38 that God is not God of the dead, but God of the living, and that all who are alive live because of their relationship with God. Some of the texts also proclaim that all life, therefore, should praise and glorify God.

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Proper 26 | Ordinary Time 31 | Pentecost 23 (Cycle C)

The theme of “salvation” in many of these texts relates our worship services for the coming weekend to our need for the ongoing Reformation of the Church in our time on October 31 and to All Saints’ Day on November 1, as well as being a reminder to us that we are nearing the end of our annual Church Year cycle.

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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