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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).

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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.

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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