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Proper 23 | Ordinary Time 28, Cycle A

The message conveyed in the Matthew 22:1-14 parable is that “When God invites, if you are wise you will put on the appropriate garment and come!” All of the other texts selected for use on this occasion can be related to Matthew 22:1-14 through that theme statement. The theme statement provides ample resources for the proclamation of the good news and of judgment and for parenesis (how we should live).

Read More About - Proper 23 | Ordinary Time 28, Cycle A »

Proper 22 | Ordinary Time 27, Cycle A

“God Will Prevail!” is the basic message of the parable about the renters in the vineyard of Matthew 21:33-43 and in one way or another it can be seen to be the basic message of each of the other texts selected for this week as well. Therefore, we can build an excellent worship service around this theme. That “God Will Prevail!” is good news for those who are poor and oppressed, for those who are ill or worried. It is bad news for those who are wicked, who are oppressors of the poor, who think that their own evil will can prevail. We are called through the Word of God in these texts to proclaim this week that God will prevail, a message of judgment and a message of hope.

Read More About - Proper 22 | Ordinary Time 27, Cycle A »

Proper 21 | Ordinary Time 26, Cycle A

Every adequate message based on the texts selected for this coming weekend will address in some way the question of individual accountability to God for our sins and for all our actions and attitudes, as well as the issue of the damage caused by our sins that may harm and hinder our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Such a message will give ample evidence of our struggles with these issues. Such a message will recognize that changes in human perspectives of God and of human conditions occurred among the People of God during and within the biblical period and changes in human perspectives of God and of human conditions occur today within the living, dynamic Word of God, both written and oral.

Read More About - Proper 21 | Ordinary Time 26, Cycle A »

Proper 20 | Ordinary Time 25, Cycle A

The goodness of God is the dominant theme in these texts. Because of the goodness of God, the Apostle Paul was able to write that it would actually be better for him personally to die and to be with Christ, although he was willing to continue to endure the trials and tribulations of his present existence for the sake of his fellow believers in Philippi. We can effectively utilize the Philippians text, therefore, as an expression of our confident response to the amazing goodness of God. Because God is so good (particularly from the Christian perspective of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the Christ), we can be free and confident either to live or to die, free and confident both to live and to die. Therefore, all of these texts are gospel for us — God’s grace to be accepted by faith.

Read More About - Proper 20 | Ordinary Time 25, Cycle A »

Proper 19 | Ordinary Time 24, Cycle A

With their celebration of rejoicing over the mighty acts of the Lord in drowning the men in the armies of the Egyptian Pharaoh in the waters of the sea while parting the waters in Egypt and of the River Jordan to make it possible for the Israelites to pass over easily and safely on dry land, the Exodus 14:19-31, Psalm 114, and the Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21 texts stand widely apart from the other texts selected for our use this coming weekend. All of the other texts selected are dominated by thoughts about God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others. In Romans 14:1-12, the emphasis is on ways in which we try to honor God whether we continue to live here for a long period of time or whether we die soon. We shall consider the Romans 14 text last, therefore, since it can be seen as a response to the other texts about forgiveness.

Read More About - Proper 19 | Ordinary Time 24, 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