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First Sunday after Christmas, Cycle A

Within our Church Year schedule, already within a week after the birth of Jesus, our texts remind us that Jesus was born to suffer and to die. Our theology, if it is to be faithful to the texts, must be a theology of the cross, a theology of God in Christ suffering with us for our redemption.

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Advent 2, Cycle A

All of the four texts selected for us for the Second Sunday of Advent in Series A call for changes to situations in which righteousness, justice, and peace will prevail. They suggest that these life situations will change and improve because people will change, because the leadership of the people will change, and most of all because God will act decisively to bring about change. The vastly improved situations hoped for in these texts will benefit all people who are open to God’s actions and to the presence of God in this world.

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Advent 1, Cycle A

“Come! Let us walk in the light of the Lord!” This call from Isaiah 2:5 incorporates for us the essence of the four texts selected for the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of this new Church Year. We are called by the Spirit of God through these texts to make, to proclaim, and to share on this day our commitment to God to be alert, thoughtful, actively involved People of God during these next twelve months. We are called to walk always in the “light of the Lord,” open to God in whatever ways God will come to us. As we begin a new Church Year, this is the day for us to be critically cleansing our lives and our institutions, both religious and secular.

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All Saints Day, Cycle C

As we pause to remember those loved by us who have died during the past twelve months or within the scope of our memories, we turn to the inspired writers of each of the texts selected for this occasion. Shall we not also on this All Saints’ Day worship God with these writers, along with all whom we remember who have lived among us? Let us boldly worship God as God is perceived within Christianity…

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Thanksgiving Day, Cycle C

National days of thanksgiving within the United States and Canada are by nature primarily expressions of civil religion, not of the ecclesial, individual, family, community, or universal levels of religion, even though every level in which we express our religion may be involved. Because civil religion at its best is inclusive of the religions of all of the people living within a nation, in nations such as the United States and Canada in which there are Native Americans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, and many other groups, observance of National Days of Thanksgiving should include participation by all of the groups represented and use resources drawn from the oral and written traditions of every group represented. Civil religion at its worst, however, excludes minority groups and uses the power of the state to promote the religion of the powerful majority within the nation. Therefore, worship experiences at the national level should be inclusive of all of the people, and the celebration of national days of thanksgiving in local areas should also be inclusive of all of the people in the local area.

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    Chris Keating
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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