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Proper 27 | Ordinary Time 32, Cycle A

Within the Amos 5:18-24, 1 Thessalonians 5:18-24, and Matthew 25:1-13 texts there is the theme of watching and waiting for the coming of the Lord and living in ways that are appropriate in preparation for that coming. Other situations are addressed within the other texts selected.

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All Saints Day, Cycle A

The relationship between God and the “saints” is the basic theme of these texts and of this occasion. The “saints,” as the term is used here, are the holy People of God. They are “holy” because of their relationship with God, who is ultimately “Holy.” This includes the holy People of God who are still living and are in a covenantal relationship with God here and now, and those who have lived and died with faith in God and are perceived as being with God in a wondrous way now. Some Christians perceive the “saints” in a narrow, limited sense that may even be restricted to their own denomination or local fellowship. Other Christians have a much more open and broad perception of the holy People of God in which God, rather than they, keep the statistical records.

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Proper 26 | Ordinary Time 31, Cycle A

The principal theme in most of the texts selected for our use this week is that the leaders among the People of God should be humble, diligent servants of God. Those leaders who are not humble, diligent servants of God are soundly condemned in these texts. These texts are, therefore, almost entirely parenetic, concerned about lifestyle. The proclamation that is present in most of these texts is proclamation of condemnation.

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Proper 25 | Ordinary Time 30, Cycle A

We see in these texts that we are directed to love God unconditionally, “with our entire heart, with our entire psyche, and with our entire mind.” As we grow in experiences and maturity, we realize that only God is capable of receiving our unconditional love, only God is worthy of it, and only God can handle it. We are to love God in a way that is different from the way in which we love all people and from the way that we love ourselves. We are to give ourselves totally to God, just as the Matthew 22:15-22 text we used this past week puts it with its “But you belong to God.”

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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