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Epiphany 9 | Ordinary Time 9, Cycle A

The importance of having a firm foundation of faith is emphasized in each of these texts selected for use on the rare occasions in which the Lenten and Easter Seasons are very late during the year of our Cycle A texts.

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Epiphany 8 | Ordinary Time 8, Cycle A

If we do the will of God, we will never be forsaken. We are assured of this in each of these texts.

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Epiphany 7 | Ordinary Time 7, Cycle A

In most of the texts appointed for this occasion, the People of God are acclaimed. Through the use of these texts, it will be our pleasure to acclaim the People of God with whom we live as we speak in our own situations what is revealed to us in the Word of God and in our lives.

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Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6, Cycle A

Within the texts designated for this coming weekend, Psalm 119 and Deuteronomy 30:15-20 depict the significant theme of the Israelite Scriptures that happiness, blessings, and security are given by God to those who live their lives in accordance with the commandments and precepts that are so frequently expressed in the Israelite Scriptures themselves. Although the happiness, blessings, and security promised in the Psalm 119 and Deuteronomy 30:15-20 texts are intended primarily for this life and for its continuation here throughout future generations rather than in terms of eternal life with God, these Psalm and Torah readings may be considered to be more specifically liberating “Good News” than are the Matthew 5:21-37 “Gospel” readings selected for this occasion.

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Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5, Cycle A

Within three of the four texts appointed for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany in Series A, the central, unifying theme is “the righteousness of the People of God.” Throughout the acrostic Psalm 112 the righteousness of God’s People is described and defined. In a similar manner, righteousness is the quality that the Lord God desires in the People of God in Isaiah 58. Finally, in the Matthew 5:13-20 account the righteousness of the new community of followers of Jesus is the primary subject for consideration. Only 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 stands outside this theme.

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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