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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 »

  • Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!: Cycle A Gospel Sermons for Lent and Easter
     
    SermonSuite
    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

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