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Proper 27 | Ordinary Time 32 | Pentecost 24 (Cycle C)

Sunday between November 6 and November 12 inclusive

Perhaps the theological motif that best unites most of the texts selected for this occasion is the statement in Luke 20:38 that God is not God of the dead, but God of the living, and that all who are alive live because of their relationship with God. Some of the texts also proclaim that all life, therefore, should praise and glorify God.

Psalm 17:1-9

The psalmist claims a close relationship with the Lord, using vivid, personal imagery. Throughout the night and as the psalmist wakens in the morning, the psalmist draws near to the Lord, the God of the living. Although there is no expectation of the resurrection of the individual from the dead here, the concept of awakening to new life was incorporated into the resurrection faith of later Israelites, Jews, and Christians.

Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21

For many Jews, Psalm 145 is the most important psalm in the Psalter. It is used daily by many observant Jews in their private devotions to praise and bless the Lord God. It declares the Lord to be the Savior and Preserver of all who call upon the Lord and love the Lord. Millions of Jews were driven into the gas chambers of the Nazi Holocaust or earlier to their death during the pogroms in Easter Europe with the words of this psalm on their lips. The use of this psalm by Christians is much less, but is significant nevertheless. We can add to its use among us as we worship God this weekend.

Haggai 1:15b–2:9

In this text, salvation is proclaimed in the form of an action by the Lord in which the heavens, the earth, the sea and land, and all nations will be shaken so that the treasures of all nations will be brought to Jerusalem. The hope is expressed that then the temple will be furnished with even more splendor than it had at the time of Solomon. Then the people of Jerusalem will prosper because the Spirit of the Lord will be among them.

Job 19:23-27a

The meanings originally intended by numerous words in this text are not clear and unambiguous. For example, the word that within translations into English by many Christian translators is expressed as “Redeemer” in verse 25 is basically an Avenger or Vindicator. It may be “apart from” my flesh rather than “in” my flesh that the character Job in this drama expects to be in verse 26. Although we as Christians would like to see in this text evidence of an early expectation of the resurrection of the body, this is accomplished for us in part only through interpretative translations from the Hebrew words. Nevertheless, especially within this series of texts selected for us for use this coming weekend, we can see in this texts support for the concept that God is the God of the living and that all life should praise and glorify God.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17

References to “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” and to “eternal comfort and good hope” in these verses connect us to the “being raised from the dead” and to the “God of the living” emphases of Luke 20:27-38, to which we now turn.

Luke 20:27-38

Among the Synoptic texts of this dialogue between Jesus and the Sadducees, this Lukan reading is to be preferred. It would be even better if we were to include Luke 20:39: “After that, even some of the scribes said, ‘Teacher, you have spoken well.’ ” Luke 20:27-38 does not use the provocative retort of Jesus present in Mark 12:24 and Matthew 22:29. Therefore, Luke 20:27-38 probably takes us back closest to the Jesus of history of any of the canonical texts of this conversation.

The references in Luke 20:27-38 and its parallels in Mark and Matthew to “the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” from the burning bush accounts of Exodus 3:6, 15; 4:5; and 6:2 are used to indicate that God is God of the living and that those who are alive live because of their relationship to God. When we concentrate on the sayings of Jesus in this text rather than on the controversy with the Sadducees, we can focus on the resurrection proclamation, especially Luke 20:36 and 38, providing, therefore, an “Easter in November” message.

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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