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, June 1, 2016

Proper 7C / Ordinary 12C / Pentecost +5

Quotes That Make Me Think

"It could also be a time to stress that Christianity is more than just coming to church to receive from Jesus, to praise God in community, but it also involves returning to the world and declaring our experiences with God -- a world that may not always have been kind to us."

Exegetical Notes by Brian Stoffregen at CrossMarks Christian Resources.
"Luke 8:22-25 tells how Jesus stilled the storm. Our passage is equally dramatic: Jesus defeats the powers of the abyss. These are celebrations of power against power."

"First Thoughts on Year C Gospel Passages in the Lectionary: Pentecost5," William Loader, Murdoch University, Uniting Church in Australia.
General Resources for Sunday's Lessons from

Not in power and not in vengeance, O Lord of the prophets, but in weakness and compassion did your Son come among us. Schooled in this unique wisdom, may we be prepared to conquer our fears and temptations, to take up our cross daily and to follow Jesus toward true life. 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 8:26-39

In order to plumb the depths of this weeks gospel passage it is important to understand the narrative context in which it resides. In verse 22 Jesus gets into a boat, a storm arises and Jesus calms the storm as well as the fears of his disciples. The end of this story leaves a question hanging in the air: “Who is this, then, that commands even the winds and the water and they obey him?”

As the question is asked, Jesus steps out of the boat into the land of the Gerasenes, which we are told is opposite of Galilee.

Jesus is met by a man from the city who lives near the tombs and is seen in torn clothes. It is “Legion” then that answers the disciples’ question as he cries out: “Son of the Most High God.”

The name of the demon implies that there are four or six thousand demons inside the man; this is the number in a Roman military legion. While Mark’s Gospel takes on a political tone in the retelling of this story, Luke stays with his thematic proposition that this is a great prophet of God who has tremendous power. So the focus in Luke’s Gospel is on the number of demons and the power given to Jesus by God to heal the world. Who Jesus is and the work he is to do remain the focus in our Lukan version.

The demons beg for mercy. They do not want to return to the abyss, the place of sea monsters. So that is exactly where Jesus sends them.

People gather around to witness the event and then go into the city to retell the story. What the pig keepers saw was the man restored: in his right mind, clothed and sitting at Jesus’ feet. While the people tell the story out of fear leading to Jesus’ dismissal, the man who has been healed is charged to go to the city and make the work of Jesus known.

In this passage a number of themes come together. There is the prophet healer, the revelation of the Son of God. We also see the Gentile mission beginning to take shape. And, last of all, we see one way in which Luke provides us an understanding of discipleship.

The model proposed in this story is the individual healed by Jesus, sent to proclaim the good news into the Gentile world. In this model discipleship is partly a response to the reception of Grace and is aimed at a mission of proclamation to the world, which has not yet heard the Good News of Christ.
The work of the reign of God is the work of salvation. We are healed not only for our sake, we are healed for the greater glory of God, which is manifested in the growing discipleship community. Faith, salvation and mission are united in the work of Jesus and in the work of those whose lives are “closely linked” with him.

Luke Timothy Johnson points this out in the last paragraph (Luke, Sacra Pagina, p 140) of his teaching on this chapter:
“Finally, in Luke’s terse reduction of Mark 5:16, ‘How the man was saved,’ we see his characteristic understanding of what the meaning of the story is: God’s visitation is for salvation. Now, when we see two stories (of the stilling and the demoniac), we perceive not only that they both demonstrate the power of the prophet over winds and spirits, but that they join the elements of ‘faith’ and ‘salvation,’ and thereby provide a link between Luke’s version of the parable of the sower, where hearing the word and doing it is ‘believing that they might be saved’ (8:12), and the story of the two daughters in which saving faith is the entire point.” [8:40-56]
I sometimes wonder how many of us, including myself, ever get past the gratitude for grace and actually venture into the mission field?

Some Thoughts on Galatians 2:15-21

We continue in this section about the work of Jesus and how it is his faithfulness which sets the world aright.

If we follow Jesus we place our trust in him; and in his faith.  And, Jesus' faithfulness with always deliver us.

Paul argues that under the law we were quite simply imprisoned. We were unable to fulfill the law. We could not bridge the gulf between heaven and earth - though it was this law that was to be our guide in making the crossing.  Paul says the law "was our disciplinarian until Christ came."

We might remember last week that Jesus was faithful even under the law.  He was faithful to the end.  It is his faith that justifies us.  And, it is in baptism that we are clothed in Christ.  This is how we come into the loving and saving embrace of Christ.  This completely transforms us.  In baptism we are seen by others, and we see others, as members of the God's beloved family. We see each other through the lens by which God sees us: forgiven, loved, and free.

The conclusion of our reading reminds us of this total freedom and new family.  Paul writes those powerful words which have mended the great schisms and divides:  "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise."

We are heirs to the first promises of God to his people.

Today we live in a world which is predominately made up of many and varied diasporas.  They are mini communities and most have little or nothing to do with either the family of Abraham or the Gentile offspring which Paul is speaking about. 

Is it possible that the same argument that Paul makes to the Galatians might also be turned upon the Christian denominations and non-denominational churches today?  Is it possible that a key to our failure lies in the fact that we have so cut ourselves off from the very people Jesus has come to save? 
What would it be like for the Christian Church to take up the banner of the family of God and welcome all people?  Instead of figuring out how they can't or don't belong...we might be better served if we talked with our neighbors and friends about how God's faithfulness in Christ Jesus has freed us from the law and has broken down the barriers between the "us" and the "them." 
Is it possible that even now the family of God and Abrahams heirs are being added to?

Some Thoughts on 1 Kings 19:1-15

Resources for Sunday's OT Lesson

We continue with our story about Elijah, Ahab and Jezebel. In our text this Sunday we see the response of power to God. Jezebel threatens Elijah's life. He then flees. God waits on him through the work of an angel who comes and encourages him to eat and drink. He is to go to Mount Horeb, one of the great Sinai tradition sites, the mountain of God. It will be a wilderness journey to find the dwelling place of God. 

When he arrives to the mountain, there is a great fire and God's voice speaks to him. We are to be put in the mind of Moses, the Israelites freed from Egypt, and for Christians - Jesus' time in the desert. Elijah is quite literally making a metaphorical journey to restart God's covenant with his people. 

Here then after fasting, desert wandering, and an epiphany of God on Mount Horeb, Elijah is told to go and anoint Hazael as the new king in order to take action on God's behalf against the broken reign in Israel.

On the one hand, the story continues the notion that Elijah is one of the people. He is one of the lost. He is oppressed by the powerful. The reigning kings are pushing more and more people "out of the old protective tribal structures by political centralization and social stratification."(Gottwald, Hebrew Bible, 352) God, who delivered his people out of Egypt, will not stand for more oppression.

Again, the theme of the Sinai tradition continues. The centralization of power, the classification of society along the lines of the centralized power, the reorientation of sites to a centralized faith are all seen as forces that are working against God's desire to be in relationship directly with God's people. The idea of the broken system of intermediaries continues. The price of reform will have to be paid.

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