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)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Proper 5C / Ordinary 10C / Pentecost +3

Quotes That Make Me Think

"And as Luke systematically connects the church's ministry to Jesus' own mission, we have the evangelist's mandate to exhort our churches to embrace compassionate ministry to the poor in Jesus' name."

Commentary, Luke 7:11-17, Jeannine K. Brown, Preaching This Week,, 2013

"Jesus isn't so easily boiled down. You can't take the breadth, length, height, and depth of the power that created the earth and everything in it, and the love that suffered death on the cross, and capture it in a tagline or a bumper sticker."

"No Formulas," Rick Morley, 2013.

General Resources for Sunday's Lessons

Lord God, ever attentive to the cry of the lowly, you sent Jesus among us as the prophet of your compassion, with healing in his touch and power in his word.  Raised up by this Savior from the death of our sins, may we glorify you and share with all your gift of life restored.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 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 C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

Some Thoughts on Luke 7:11-17

Oremus Online NRSV Gospel Text

Resources for Sunday's Gospel

Our passage this Sunday follows the passage of Jesus and the Centurion; and the healing of the Centurion's slave.  Not unlike the the passage last week, this too is focused on the prophetic ministry of Jesus.  In fact in reading them they should most often be taken together.

This week we take the raising of the son of a widow from the dead as proof of Jesus' prophetic powers.  It reminds us of the miracle of Elijah in 1 Kings 17.  Jesus raises this young man right out of the coffin.  And...he begins to speak.  Perhaps a foretaste of the work of proclamation for those who receive the blessings of God and the coming tongues of fire.

Jesus is proclaiming good news and restoration. This story like the one before shows that Jesus is more than a man of words.  He also one of action. Indeed we see this in the words of the people:  "A prophet has been raised up among us!... God has visited his people!"

After a generation of prophecy by the Church I am interested in the fact that the people around us do not respond to our efforts with shouts of acclamation.  "Look the church has been raised up among us!  God has visited his people through the church!"   Instead there is rejection.

I ask are we perhaps missing the work or prophecy?  Prophecy is not an angry voice or a raised fist against the machine.  Prophecy in Luke is about offering in word the Good News of Salvation to the people (spiritual and physical food for the hungry) and by actually giving them something to eat. It is to say that those who mourn will find joy in the morning and then to actually raise a widow's son from the dead.

Prophecy as a gospel act is to raise the dead, spend time with those society sees as of no value, and to feed the hungry with good things. This is a prophecy which does such good works that the society is then judged by the works themselves and not the voice of an angry people who echo the culture's means of toppling power.

Some Thoughts on Galatians 1:11-24

Resources for Sunday's Epistle

As we well know the Galatian communion has some trouble. It has some competition regarding who to believe and what is true.

Paul wants them to believe again as when they first received the Gospel. He wants them to realize that regardless of their divisions there is hope in the Gospel and mission work to do. In order to inspire them he tells his own story of conversion. He tells them of how he was changed and transformed. I cannot believe that he does this for any other reason than to inspire the Galatians to remember when they first heard the Gospel for the first time.

Paul says to them see this God whom I believe in is on the side of Jesus. This God chooses the law condemned Jesus and so he is the Christ of God, the Messiah of the one true God. This is the revelation that has come to him. And, it is a revelation that holds within itself the truth of grace for all those who are condemned by the very same law.

This is not a condemnation of the past or of his inherited faith but rather it is a celebration of the new thing that God is doing through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Paul wants those who call the Galatian church their spiritual home to see that it was this powerful message of Grace that first inspired them. It was this message of God in Christ Jesus that drew them together and drew them into relationship with Paul himself.

Moreover, that as in Judea, the faith of Paul itself is a miraculous sign of the change that even now has hold of creation. Paul a servant of the law is transformed into the servant of grace.

I think what I love the most about this passage is the manner in which Paul is urging faith and belief by sharing his own experience of faith. This is a good model of evangelism. Paul shares his story of faith and transformation as a sign of the Gospel itself. It encourages those who chose to follow this Christ to share not rational arguments, or beat people over the head with the bible, but instead to realize that the most powerful tool of evangelism is simply telling the story of grace and how it has changed our life.

Some Thoughts on 1 Kings 17:8-24

Resources for Sunday's OT Lesson

This is the story of Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath. Elijah comes to the widow to stay there. He is commanded to go by God. While staying in her home there is not enough food. But Elijah tells her to have faith and the food they have is multiplied. While there the widow's son dies. Elijah prays over the son and he lives. 

In both cases the woman is upset because she has not enough. She is upset because having such a great prophet in her house has arisen her understanding of her own low station. This again comes out as the boy dies. She tells him that her sins have brought this upon her. Furthermore, she is a widow. This means she has no station and more than likely she is completely dependent upon the people of the area, the tribal leaders. 

To make this more interesting, the land of Zarephath was north of where the tribe of Asher settled and east of where the tribe of Dan. It was a land predominately made up of Phoenicians and Canaanites. So like Jesus who flees to Egypt, or spends 40 days in the desert, or the mission to the Gentiles our story has a particular flair for taking place in an uncharted territory where the people of Israel are not present. In other words God and God's deliverance and power comes to rest on people who are foreigners to Israel. And, in doing so one of God's own, Elijah, is cared for as well. He must depend upon the kindness of God and of this widow.

This is a gospel story. She, like so many widows in the scripture, is one of the least of God's people. She is considered of no value. Not only because she is widow, but most likely not of Israel. So she is an extreme outsider. Yet it is exactly to them that God comes, in this story in the presence of one of the greatest prophets of Israel. God comes and provides. God comes and raises the dead.

The God of Israel is a God of the widow and the child, of those who have none, and those who are not worthy. It is exactly to the lost and the least (Robert Farrar Capon's term from Kingdom, Grace, and Judgement) that this God comes. 

And, though the least of God's people have nothing, and are lost in suffering and death, this God is present and acts. This is the God who freed the people of Israel out of bondage. In the book of Kings this God continues to act in the affairs of mortals - acting exactly for the those who are imprisoned by loss, hunger, scarcity, brokenness, and are of no value to society.

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