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Proper 8 / Pentecost 3 / Ordinary Time 13, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY The joyful life of freedom. This is another Sunday when the Pentecost season’s focus on the Christian life (Sanctification) highlights how living as a Christian is not arduous but freeing (Justification by Grace). But linked with this theme of freedom is an appreciation of the prophetic law and its condemning, judgmental [...]

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Proper 7 / Pentecost 2 / Ordinary Time 12, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY Christian life made easy. The texts make clear why Christian life is easy — for it is not our work, but the result of God’s grace (Justification and Sanctification). Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17 A prayer for deliverance from personal enemies attributed to David, a lament. As we have noted previously, many scholars [...]

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Trinity Sunday, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY An eternally loving, life-changing Triune God! The festival invites sermons on the Trinity, the love of God (Justification by Grace), and its implications for Christian life (Sanctification), as well as in the case of several of the texts the doctrine of Creation. Psalm 8 This hymn of praise was traditionally ascribed [...]

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Pentecost Sunday, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY The Holy Spirit, the church, and outreach. Historically the church has also commemorated its origins on this festival. Sermons on the Holy Spirit and the church are especially appropriate for this festival. Psalm 104:24-34, 35b This is a hymn to God the Creator, with praise for his providential interventions. It has [...]

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Easter 7, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY Living by God’s awesome vision. In line with the festival of the Ascension just celebrated, the texts invite reflection on God’s magnificence (God and Trinity) and awesome rule (Providence) as well as the comfort this affords (Justification by Grace) and the humility nurtured (Sanctification). Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 The song is a [...]

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