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Advent 1, Cycle B

THEME OF THE DAY Face the future with confidence. The texts for the first Sunday of the new church year testify to the hope that lies ahead with Christ’s coming in the future. Christology, Eschatology, and Justification by Grace receive primary attention. Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 This psalm is a lament and prayer for deliverance or [...]

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Thanksgiving Day, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY What thankfulness does to us. The texts push the issue of thankfulness on us (Sanctification) as we explore the things to be thankful about (Creation, Providence, and Justification by Grace). Psalm 65 The Psalm is a thanksgiving for good harvest. It is traditionally attributed to David and addressed to the leader [...]

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Christ the King (Proper 29) / Pentecost 24 / Ordinary Time 34, Cycle A

The good news of the reign of Christ. This last Sunday of the church year is clearly a day to take stock, to contemplate the power and authority of Christ, not just in our lives but throughout the created order to the end (Creation, Providence, Christology, Eschatology).

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Proper 28 / Pentecost 23 / Ordinary Time 33, Cycle A

Serving God his way. In preparation for the celebration of Christ’s kingship and God’s majesty next week, the lessons proclaim how God sometimes works out of the box (defying the world’s expectations) and that Christians are called to be open to these surprises. The primary themes of the day are Justification by Grace, Providence, Sanctification, and Social Ethics.

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Proper 27 / Pentecost 22 / Ordinary Time 32, Cycle A

THEME OF THE DAY The difference relating to God makes. In keeping with the theme of the Pentecost season, we are led to examine the implications of our relationship with God for living the Christian life (Sanctification and Social Ethics). Psalm 78:1-7 The lesson is part of a long story/song of God’s great deeds (especially [...]

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    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