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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 »

  • Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!: Cycle A Gospel Sermons for Lent and Easter
    Beth Herrinton-Hodge
    See the Light, Live the Light, Shine the Light

    John 9:1-41; Ephesians 5:8-14
    We are not strangers to dichotomies. The world seems easier to get our head around as we construct dichotomies: male and female; voters and non-voters; old and young; haves and have-nots.
         We can align ourselves with one side or another. We find kinship among those who are on “our” side.
         What implications do these dichotomies have for God’s people, for Christ’s followers, for us?
         The writer of Ephesians has an answer: Live as children of light. Fully embrace it. Let the light that is yours in Christ shine -- try to find what is pleasing to God, what is good and right and true...more
    A Man Born Blind

    This is the story of a miracle that is important mostly as the beginning of the real action of the story. Most often the miracle itself is the centerpiece of the story, but in this instance the focus is on people's reaction to the man who was healed, not the healing itself.
         This can make the lesson easier as a subject for a sermon by providing an alternative to a miraculous healing which can easily be dismissed. A focus on the reactions of the audience can translate quite easily into a contemporary view of modern reactions to Jesus and the stories we hear of his actions....more
    David Kalas
    And there was light
    The significance of light and darkness is evident from the very beginning of scripture. Indeed, from the very beginning, period. “Let there be light” is, famously, the first thing we have a record of God saying. It is the essential first act of creation. And as we continue to read, we discover that it is just the first blow in God’s ongoing combat against darkness.
         Later, the gospel writer picked up on what God did at creation and built upon it. John saw yet another divine victory over darkness in the person and work of Christ. “In him was life,” John wrote, “and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:4 NRSV)....more
    C. David McKirachan
    Your Staff Comforts Me
    Psalm 23
    There were four of us, American teen aged boys, living in an Ethiopian Orthodox monastery near Addis Ababa. We were there for three months helping to build a school for the local children. There were a dozen or so Ethiopian young men, around our age living with us. It was called an ecumenical encounter....more
    Janice Scott
    How to wake up to a life of radiance
    Anyone who lives in the country will know that there's a particular quality to the darkness of night in the country. For those who live in the town, total darkness is rarely if ever experienced, but in the country the quality of blackness during night hours can be almost absolute. Country people who go out during evening hours in the winter soon get into the habit of carrying a torch, for without some source of light they would be utterly blind....more
    Mary Kay Eichelman
    Mean Lies
    Object: small pieces of poster board that say "Stupid," "Ugly," "Can't do anything right!," "Cheater"
    Let's imagine that there is a new student that comes to your school. They don't have any friends so you invite them to play with you at recess.  But when your other friends see you do that they say things like what are on my cards.  Can you read them with me.  (Read off the cards together.)  It could really be painful hearing these words and you may feel like giving up doing the kind deed....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