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Proper 17 | Ordinary Time 22, Cycle A

In these texts persons who are trying to serve God are depicted as engaging in intense struggles with the world. Within the Jeremiah 15:15-21 and the Psalm 26 texts, the prophet and the psalmist speak boldly to the Lord asking for support in their struggles. In the very important “Burning Bush” theophany in Exodus 3:1-15 we have the “gospel” in these texts, the good news that the Lord God has seen the affliction of God’s people and has come to deliver them from slavery and oppression. The gospel is expressed in the Matthew 16:21-28 text in that the deliverance from affliction that God accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus are already perceived as having occurred as expressed in the passion predictions. The Apostle Paul provides most of the parenesis (guidelines for how we should live in response to the gospel proclaimed) here.

Read More About - Proper 17 | Ordinary Time 22, Cycle A »

Proper 16 | Ordinary Time 21, Cycle A

Perhaps the factor that is most prominent in most of the six texts appointed for our consideration this coming weekend is the self-revelation of God and our human response to that self-revelation. It is in the Matthew 16:13-20 account that God is seen most clearly as revealing God’s self so that followers of Jesus may make the transition from their perception of Jesus as an amazing Jewish prophet and religious reformer to their perception of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God who lives eternally, and they respond to this self-revelation of God with their confession of faith and their praise to God.

Read More About - Proper 16 | Ordinary Time 21, Cycle A »

Proper 15 | Ordinary Time 20, Cycle A

The emphasis in these texts is on reconciliation of those who had been estranged in the Genesis 45:1-15 and Psalm 133 texts and on openness to people of other groups outside one’s own in the other texts. In these texts there is no missionary command to go out and bring outsiders into one’s community of faith. Instead, these texts urge us to be open to outsiders, to receive and to welcome them into our fellowship of faith. We are told they will come and we are expected to accept them into the religious community that we ourselves by the grace of God enjoy. That is all that is asked in these texts, and it is asked of us.

Read More About - Proper 15 | Ordinary Time 20, Cycle A »

Proper 14 | Ordinary Time 19, Cycle A

It is difficult to identify a unifying factor within the six texts selected for this week. Perhaps the best we can do will be to note that in several of these texts the human condition is characterized by anxiety and fear. In these situations of human anxiety and fear God asserts God’s self in a variety of ways, most notably in a still, small voice commanding Elijah to become even more involved than before in the political situation of his time and in God’s marvelous power and peace revealed through Jesus.

Read More About - Proper 14 | Ordinary Time 19, Cycle A »

Proper 13 | Ordinary Time 18, Cycle A

The proclamation of God’s free, abundant, loving grace is the dominant theme in these texts. Without it, life for us cannot exist.

Read More About - Proper 13 | Ordinary Time 18, Cycle A »

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    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