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Epiphany 3, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY God goes before us. Again the lessons testify to the fact that all the good there is in life is a work of God (Justification and Sanctification by Grace). Psalm 27:1, 4-9 The Psalm is an act of devotion, a triumphant song of confidence, and a prayer for deliverance traditionally attributed [...]

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Baptism of Our Lord / Epiphany 1, Cycle A

by Mark Ellingsen THEME OF THE DAY Baptism and new life! This is a Sunday to explore the meaning and significance of baptism, which entails attention to Sanctification and Christian life (a core theme of the Epiphany season) as well as to Justification by Grace Alone. Psalm 29 This is a hymn attributed to David, [...]

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Christmas 2, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY The party continues (with some good conversation). The themes of the texts stress celebration of the love of God in all aspects of life, entailing attention to Christ, Justification, and Sanctification as works of grace, as well as Creation, Church, and even some insights about the Trinity. Psalm 147:12-20 This is [...]

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Epiphany 2, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY God makes it happen! These texts focus our attention on the fact that all we do depends on God doing it first and for us (Justification and Sanctification by Grace). Psalm 40:1-11 This is a composite Psalm, attributed to David, including a thanksgiving (which we consider in vv. 1-11) and a [...]

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Epiphany of Our Lord, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY
The light of grace shows the way. The stress on light is an appropriate theme for this celebration of the wise men guided by the star that led them to the newborn Christ. The light of God reminds us that he seeks us (Justification), but in shining his light we have opportunities to follow (Sanctification and Social Ethics).

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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
    Gotcha!
    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

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