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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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    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