Keyword Search

  • Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company
    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

Proper 8 | Ordinary Time 13, Cycle A

We are called in these texts to lives of commitment to God and to service as People of God, to live and to serve in the world as members of a community of faith. There are no unrealistic promises in these texts that life within the community of faith will be easy. Instead, there is the expectation that there will be struggles and strife. The security for the People of God will be in their covenant relationship with God.

Genesis 22:1-14
The primary purpose of this troubling text is to depict in story form the transition for the earliest Israelites from a situation in which in some tragic instances of human sacrifices were made to a much better situation in which animal sacrifices were the norm. The primary purpose was not to indicate that God expected Abraham to be so obedient that he would kill his own, only, and most precious son Isaac in order to please God and to prove his obedience to God. The development of this text may have included factors such as the suggestion that Abraham had been elevating his son Isaac to a position higher than Abraham placed God and when we are totally obedient to the will of God, as Abraham was in this story, “God will provide.”

Although this story and the transition from human sacrifices to animal sacrifices may have been very reassuring to children who were told this story in ancient Israel, unless this story is carefully explained to young children in our culture, it is not appropriate for use today, especially for use as a reading within a public worship service. Children who may not appear to be listening may actually be listening to the story and may have horrible but unexpressible anxieties and even nightmares because of it. The more devout and seemingly obedient to the will of God the father of a child today in our culture may be, the more frightful this story will be to that child. Such a child will not be able to ask the child’s father, “If God tells you to kill me, are you going to kill me?”

Psalm 13
The struggles of the psalmist are intense. It is only within the covenantal relationship the psalmist has with God that the psalmist has hope for deliverance. On the basis of that covenantal relationship the psalmist can argue that the Lord should rescue the psalmist so the enemy of the psalmist may not rejoice.

Jeremiah 28:5-9
This portion of the section of the Jeremiah traditions describes the tension between the prophet Hananiah who predicted peace and restoration of the Southern Kingdom within two years after the surrender of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 597 BCE, and the prophet Jeremiah who could not predict peace and restoration but had to speak about war, famine, and pestilence takes us into a realistic appraisal of the situation in Jerusalem at that time. It takes us into a realistic appraisal of our own time and situation as well. Like the prophet Jeremiah, we cannot predict peace in our time. At the same time, we should work for peace and live in peace, insofar as peace may be possible within our present limitations.

Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18
These selections emphasize the hesed, pronounced as if it were spelled chesed (the steadfast love, mercy, grace, and loving kindness) of the Lord and the everlasting covenant of God with David and with the Davidic line. The intended interpretation for Christian usage is that the Lord, “the Holy One of Israel,” has renewed the Davidic covenant in a new way through Jesus and the Church.

Romans 6:12-23
Paul wanted the followers of Jesus to whom he wrote this document to consider themselves to be dead to sin through their association with Jesus and with Jesus’ death on the cross. Because of their baptism in the name of Jesus, they are in a relationship with their Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and alive to God. In this way Paul was urging them to avoid sin and to be fully committed to God in Christ and influenced in a most positive way by their new relationship with God and with each other in Jesus the Christ. This text, therefore, is a vital reminder to us of the significance of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for us and of the meaning of our own baptism and of the baptism of other people.

Matthew 10:40-42
This text expresses a mystical relationship between God, who has sent Jesus, Jesus as the Christ, followers of Jesus the Risen Christ, and those who will accept the message shared by followers of the Risen Christ. Followers of Jesus are urged to be merciful and helpful to everyone who is in need. Even the giving of a cup of cold water to those who are thirsty will be seen by the Lord and will be given approval by God.

Leave a Reply

  • Get Your FREE 30-day Trial Subscription to SermonSuite NOW!
    Chris Keating
    The Double-Dog Dare Days of August
    August’s lazy, hazy dog days quickly became a deadly double-dog dare contest between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, the supreme leader of North Korea. Both nations have been at odds with each other for nearly 70 years. During his working golf vacation in New Jersey last week, President Trump responded to North Korea’s rhetorical sword-rattling by launching a verbal preemptive strike of his own.
         Call it the Bedminster bombast, or the putt that rocked Pyongyang. But the duel between the two countries is more than fodder for late-night comedians. It’s a deadly standoff with history-changing repercussions.
         There is no vacation from matters of national security, or the orations of war. Indeed, much of the war of words between Washington and North Korea seems to confirm Jesus’ counsel in Matthew: “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” The contrasts between these barbed exchanges and the biblical understanding of peacemaking offers an intriguing opportunity to hear Jesus’ words in a world filled with double-dog (and even triple-dog) dares....more
    Feeding The 5,000
    The assigned Gospel text for this week skips over a couple of sections in Matthew's story. Matthew 14:34-36 cites Jesus' journey to Gennesaret. The crowds of people recognized him immediately and all of the sick came to him for healing. Just a touch of Jesus' garment brought healing to many. The crowd in Gennesaret recognized Jesus. They came to him in their need....more
    Wayne Brouwer
    Religious balkanization
    One dimension of religious life we have in common across faith traditions and denominational lines is the incessant divisiveness that split our seemingly monolithic communities into dozens of similar yet tenaciously varied subgroups. A Jewish professor of psychology said of his tradition, "If there are ten Jewish males in a city we create a synagogue. If there are eleven Jewish males we start thinking about creating a competing synagogue."...more
    C. David McKirachan
    Jesus Is Coming, Look Busy
    Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
    I had a parishioner who would walk out of the sanctuary if he saw a djembe (African drum) out in front to be used in worship.  I asked him about it, in a wonderfully pastoral manner, and he told me that things like that didn’t belong in worship.  I said that it was in the bible to praise God with pipes and drums (I think it is).  He told me he didn’t care what the Bible said, he knew where that thing came from and he wouldn’t have it.  I asked him why things from Africa would bother him.  He told me that he knew I was liberal but that didn’t mean he had to be.  I agreed with him but cautioned him that racism was probably one of the worst examples of evil in our world and I thought he should consider what Christ would think of that.  He asked me who paid my salary, Christ or good Americans....more
    Janice Scott
    No Strings Attached
    In today's gospel reading, Jesus seemed reluctant to heal the Canaanite woman's daughter. He told her that he wasn't sent to help foreigners, but only his own people, the Chosen Race. The words sound unnecessarily harsh, but perhaps this is an interpretation unique to Matthew, for this story only appears in Matthew's gospel, which was written for Jews....more
    Arley K. Fadness
    Great Faith
    Object: Hula Hoop or circle made out of ribbon, twine or rope
    What an amazing morning to come to church today. I am so glad to see you and talk to you about a wonderful story from the bible. Let me begin by showing you this circle. Now let's get into this circle. (Physically, all move into the circle) It's fun for us all to be together in this circle. We don't want anyone to be left out. To be left out is to be sad. To be kept out is even more sad and painful....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