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

Fifth Sunday in Lent, Cycle C

The marvelous, amazing grace of God is the most significant unifying factor within this series of texts selected for us for next Sunday.

Psalm 126

In this community lament during a time of depression, suffering, and weeping, there is no reference to the causes of the suffering of the people. All of the emphasis is on release from suffering and on restoration of the harvest by the grace of God. Release from suffering and the restoration of the harvest are attributed to the good favor of the Lord. Since during the distant past and during the recent past the Lord has done great things to relieve suffering, it is the fervent prayer of the community of faith that the Lord will again graciously relieve suffering and provide a bountiful harvest in the near future. An elaborate healing service or at least a specific prayer for healing would be very appropriate for this occasion next Sunday.

Isaiah 43:16-21

The grace of God shown in the parting of the waters to make a path through the sea for the slaves being freed from bondage will be repeated as God does a new thing for the Israelites who have been exiles in Babylon. The Lord, the Creator and Redeemer of Israel, will make a path through the wilderness, will provide rivers of water for the people to drink as they pass through the desert on their way back to Jerusalem. Even the wild beasts will honor the Lord and will not harm the people. In their gratitude, the people will praise the Lord, the king of Israel.

Philippians 3:4b-14

In this very personal section of his letter to the Philippians that is most likely the last letter written by Paul himself that is included within our Newer Testament canon, Paul wrote that he had gladly given up all of his own previously attained egoistic claims in order to receive a mystical relationship with God in Jesus the Risen Christ. Therefore, for Paul the most important prize accessible was the prize of the upward call of God in Christ, the righteousness of God accepted by faith. This righteousness for which Paul was striving through faith in Christ is a gift, given by the amazing grace of God to those whom God in Christ has made God’s own.

John 12:1-8

Within the unifying theme of God’s grace, John 12:1-8 can be seen to be a testimony that Jesus was with us for a brief time in physical form in order to help, to heal, and to raise Lazarus and us from the dead as an undeserved act of the grace of God. Mary responds to Jesus and to this grace of God as we also should respond to Jesus and to the grace of God, by loving actions of appreciation and devotion. Judas Iscariot, on the other hand, is resentful of Mary and complains that Mary’s action is a waste of valuable physical resources. The Johannine tradition interprets Judas Iscariot’s action as evidence that Judas was a thief and that he was periodically using the resources of the group around Jesus for his own purposes.

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