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Proper 28 | Ordinary Time 33

Sunday between November 13 and November 19 inclusive

The emphasis in many of these texts is on living our lives in the full light of the Lord while we wait for the redemption that the Lord has planned for us. There is a sharp contrast between those who live in the darkness and those who live in the light.

Judges 4:1-7
This is one of the many texts in the Judges document in which the recurring pattern is presented of the people of Israel doing evil in the sight of the Lord and then being punished by the Lord who makes it possible for their enemies to gain power over them until the Lord raises up a new judge, in this instance a woman, Deborah, under whose leadership the Lord delivers them from their enemies. Every generation in a sense passes through this pattern from darkness to light. We may wonder why they never seem to learn the consequences of sin until we begin to realize their story is also our story.

Psalm 123
In this poetic prayer, the psalmist personally and in behalf of the psalmist’s community looks up to the Lord and humbly asks for mercy, for relief from having to endure the contempt of those who in their wickedness are proud and insolent.

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
The Day of the Lord here, as in the Amos 5:18-24 text considered last week, is a day of wrath, of darkness and destruction the Lord will bring upon those who walk like those who are blind because they have sinned against the Lord. The implication is clear that this destruction will not come upon those who do no wrong and utter no lies, who live lives that are honest and upright in the sight of the Lord.

Psalm 90:1-8 (9-11) 12
As was noted when this psalm was on the list of texts to be read three weeks ago, the psalmist looks back here as an old person pondering human life and the transience of all life other than the life of God. This psalmist suggests if we are wise we will realize that even the sins we commit in secret are fully exposed to the light of the face of God, and we should love God and only God unconditionally since only God is perfect and immortal. When we love God unconditionally we are linked to God who is perfect and immortal.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
According to the Apostle Paul in this text, we as Christians are not children of the night or of darkness. We are children of the light and of the day. If Paul could advise the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica whose lives were endangered by the zealous advocates of Roman Civil religion to live their lives openly and honestly, alert and sober, how much more ought we to be advised in a similar way!

Matthew 25:14-30
The servant in this parable of the talents who had hidden his one talent in the darkness of the earth was cast into the deepest darkness farthest from the joy of the master. The servants, on the other hand, who had used their talents in the full light of commerce and trade while their master was away on a journey were welcomed into the joy of their master. The message of the parable, therefore, is that while we wait for the return of our Lord we should use our lives and our abilities fully and openly in honest service for others in the name of the Lord. This message is to be given special emphasis as we near the conclusion of another Church Year.

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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