Finding the Lessons

I try to post well in advance of the upcoming Sunday.

You will want to scroll down to find the bible study for the lessons closest to the upcoming Sunday.

The blog will be labeled with proper, liturgical date, and calendar date.

You can open the monthly calendar to the left and find the readings in order.

You can also search below by entering the liturgical date, scripture, or proper. This will pull up all previous posts.


Search This Blog by Proper and Year (ie: Proper 8B or Christmas C or Advent 1A)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Proper 9B/Ordinary 14B/Pentecost 6 July 5, 2015

"Would you agree that we are living in a world that is more and more characterized by unbelief? If so, doesn't it feel as if we are living in a Nazareth-world ? a culture that is, at best, disinterested in Jesus?"

Commentary, Mark 6:1-13, Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman, Preaching This Week,, 2009.

"Whether among the travellers or among those who stayed in their community, Jesus called people to be and bear good news for the poor. No wonder the established power structures of family and land and religion saw only madness and did their best to tame him and his followers. The judgement of history is probably that they have at least succeeded with most of his followers to this day."

"First Thoughts on Year B Gospel Passages in the Lectionary," Pentecost 6, William Loader, Murdoch University, Uniting Church in Australia.

"By attempting over and over to make him ‘the Messiah,’ people were missing the point of his message, which was that the Reign of God was present and that they all were invited to participate in it."

"Mission Grounded in Rejection," D Mark Davis, raw translation and exegesis/questions, Left Behind and Loving It, 2012.

"Is there some area – some regret we can't get over, some grudge we can't let go, some hurt that has come to define us, some addiction that imprisons us, some anger that has taken hold of us – that we are having difficulty entrusting to God?"

"Something to Do," David Lose, Dear Working Preacher, 2012.

Remove from before our eyes, O God, the veil that hides your splendor, and flood us with the light of your Holy Spirit, that we may recognize your glory shining inthe humiliation ofyour Christ and experience even in our own human weakness the sufficiency of your grace and the surpassing power of Christ's resurrection.  We ask this through Christ, with whom you have raised us up in baptism, the Lord who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year B, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

Some Thoughts on Mark 6:1-13

Textweek Resources for this week's Gospel

Last week the crowds loved this guy, this week they reject him in his home town.  Those who knew him the best, who saw him growing up, those who he perhaps counted as friends - they reject him. He is not able to do any work there in their midst. He is completely "dumbfounded." (Joel Marcus, Mark, vol 1, 377).

There are several powerful themes. The first is that the gospel is not easily heard by the insiders. This is true in the religious authorities and in his closest relatives.  The second theme is that God is at work here, just like the prophets of old.  The third is Jesus' rejection. He is rejected by the demons. He is rejected by the religious authorities. He is rejected by gentiles. He is rejected now by his own people.

God is patient. God is at work. Even though he is rejected here he is not fully without power to do miraculous things.  God in Jesus continues to make his way to the ultimate rejection and crucifixion. But it will be at the cross that he is victorious. 

The message this week is clear to me. God is at work in the world around us. God is at work wether we see it or do not see it. God is at work outside the walls of our churches and outside of our communities. In point of fact some miraculous things are happening inside, but the great work is being done out in the world.  The whole of creation is marching steadily towards fruition of the kingdom of God and his reign.  It is at work and miracles and works of power are being done by God through the power of the Holy Spirit as we speak.

The question is not unlike the dumbfounded Jesus might have posed to his hometown family: cannot you see what I am doing here? Do you not know me?  Don't you want to come with me?

What would it be like this Sunday to preach the newspaper and illustrate where God is at work in the world? Or in music, art, or film?  Where is the language of grace breaking into the culture?  What would it be like to show and highlight those places where the church is following Jesus and is actually out there and working with his miraculous power to change creation?  Yes, that is the inspiration and call to see again for the first time that we need from the pulpit this week. Inspire us to get out there an stop looking for Jesus to be the tame Jesus of our sanctuary.  Inspire us good lord to follow you out into the world and help us to see you at work and to join your efforts there!

2 Corinthians 12:2-10

"And how long was the whole great circus to last? Paul said, why, until we all become human beings at last, until we all 'come to maturity,' as he put it; and then, since there had been only one really human being since the world began, until we all make it to where we're like him, he said - 'to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' (Ephesians 4:13). Christ's to each other, Christs to God. All of us. Finally. It was just as easy, and just as hard, as that."

"Paul," sermon discussion from Frederick Buechner, Frederick Buechner Blog.

"It may be timely for the preacher to focus less on individual experience and more on a congregation's collective experience."

Commentary, 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Sally A. Brown, Preaching This Week,, 2012.

"Gratitude and generosity - two virtues that acknowledge we are not all strength and independence, but also (and very basically) weakness and dependency - prepare us for better adjustment in situations of loss."

"Declining with Grace," Robert C. and Elizabeth V. Roberts, (other resources at)"Aging," Christian Reflection, The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, 2003.

Buried in the reading for this week is a real gem. Paul writes, "'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong."

As an Episcopalian this passage from Corinthians reminds us that we are broken and fallen creatures. Our reason is deficient to understand the divine intent its fullness and that we are always powerfully controlled by our ego and selfish desires. In this I know I am weak. I do things I do not wish to do - Paul claims. So my weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions (done to me and inflicted by me) and calamities are so very real. So very real are my weakness that I am saved solely by the grace of God. God's grace is sufficient.

We has Christians struggle though because while we understand that God's grace is sufficient for me - it is rarely sufficient for you.

Today, as we think and ponder the culture all around us we might be challenged to truly accept God's sufficient grace for ourselves and for others. 

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