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.

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Proper 12C / Ordinary 17C / Pentecost +10 July 24, 2016

Quotes That Make Me Think

"First of all, we need to admit that prayer is not "putting coins in a vending machine." It is not putting our prayer in the right slot, pushing the right button, and waiting for the vending machine God to spit out exactly what we want. God is not a vending machine."

Exegetical Notes by Brian Stoffregen at CrossMarks Christian Resources.

"If you're going to preach on the gospel reading from Luke this Sunday, I have some advice for you: clear some time on your schedule for additional pastoral counseling in the coming weeks."

"Shameless," David Lose, Working Preacher, 2010.

General Resources for Sunday's Lessons from

May we who ask you for our daily bread give gladly and generously to those in need. Let us who search for mercy ourselves be quick to let others find mercy with us. May we who knock at the door of your kingdom keep our own hearts and hands open wide in welcome. 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 11:1-13

Oremus Online NRSV Gospel Text

Resources for Sunday's Gospel

This reading is all about prayer. We learn that John taught his disciples to pray and now Jesus is asked to teach us to pray. We certainly have many occasions to reflect throughout scripture on the manner and form of Jesus’ own prayer. Here we see Luke offering us a didactic moment.

We are given the version of the Lord’s prayer without the doxology as in the didache text.

We begin with a simple greeting of God as father. Sometimes we get caught up on, not an unimportant theological point, but whether or not the particular typological reference to God as a male is appropriate. I find that while I love a good theological discussion and argument this is to miss the point. Jesus here is prescribing that the communal work of prayer should be as intimate as is his prayer to God. So it is Jesus who calls God Father, and it is for this reason that we do the same.

We sanctify God’s name as in the ancient tradition of offering God glory through our worship. A key manifestation of the act of returning to God what God intends of all creation: that God be glorified, magnified, reflected back to God’s self.

More than talking about God as male or female this passage makes clear, as does the Lord’s Prayer, that God is absolutely different, wholly and holy different from the created order.

Then we are to pray that God’s kingdom may become reality in this world. Paralleling the Kaddish we understand that our work is to be a part of, a citizen, in the reign of God. This is the theme running throughout chapter 9 through 11 of Luke’s Gospel: the reign of God is here; our work is to open our eyes to see, open our ears to hear it, and open our hands to work within its harvest.

“The bread we need.” This is a very difficult phrase to translate from Greek into English because this is the only place (here and in the Gospel of Matthew) where it is use in all of the Greek language. (LTJ, Luke, Sacra Pagina, 177) Most every scholar agrees it does not mean supernatural bread, though this is exactly what the Patristic writers seemed to think it meant. It is daily bread, future bread, and necessary bread. It is bread that is received as gift and it is bread that is given. While modern scholars disagree with Patristic scholars we who pray it, I find, have reason enough to believe we know how to translate this particular phrase. I have sat down with friends at table, I have sat in Alanon meetings, I have sat at camp, I have sat in bible studies, and I have sat in prayer circles. In each place this particular request for daily bread has been translated in so many ways that are real and present that while I may not know exactly what it means I know it comes down to this. God, you are a God of providence, you give me all that I have and all that I am, do not stop your giving.

And, in receiving your providence in bread and in forgiveness of sins, let me be repentant. Let me turn away, and do not try me for life is hard enough. The work of a disciple who follows Jesus is clearly difficult and it is one that will test and try us. These are themes throughout Luke and Acts.

Petition and regular conversation with God is the way of prayer. We are to be the shameless petitioner. In the middle of the night, throughout the day, at all the most inconvenient times we are to pray to God. There is never at time when prayer should not be appropriately offered. Jesus is teaching them that this is what I call, “in your face prayer.” Knock on that door. Wake God up! Get God out of bed! But Jesus’ message is clear. God will be even more gracious than a friend who has all things in common with you. This is the providence of God.

Some Thoughts on Colossians 2:6-15

Resources for Sunday's Epistle

"It is commonplace that we do not and cannot share the powerful fear of Paul's contemporaries that principalities and powers reign in the upper air, that the stars exercise a malign influence, or that personal demonic forces contaminate food and drink." (Ralph Martin, Interpretation Colossians, page 116)  This is just not what we believe nor how we navigate the world.

However, ever present is the fact that human beings actually do attribute their lot in life to other powers, they do believe other things exercise a malign influence on their life, they do believe that demonic forces are at work. Yep...that is us!

For us Paul has good news.  As believers in Christ Jesus our Lord we have a life that can be lived in him.  We have the potential of a life that is established in faith and gratefulness.  We receive this because the creation and all its powers are God's.  They are birthed through Christ.  Christ is over all things; including those things we fear.  Christ has more power than they do.  In baptism we are yoked with Christ and there is nothing that will over power the God of Love.  In fact we are going to be raised with Christ.  Christ's own public humiliation gives birth to our triumph.

Paul is clear: there is nothing in this world real or unseen that can condemn us.  Food, drink, observing festivals, new moons, sabbaths, or any action - for if we are Christ's we are raised with Christ.

How often are we willing to let someone disqualify us, some power to undermine us.  Paul says, "Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God."  

The message is clear. God loves you. God redeems you in Christ. Live in Christ and upon Christ's faith and work and be free of the possession of things seen and unseen, of powers and principalities.  You don't have to do that stuff it has no power in a world created by God and possessed by Christ.

Some Thoughts on Hosea 1:2-10

Resources for Sunday's Old Testament

We must put into context the prophesy of Hosea. We have just finished reading from Amos. Like Amos, Hosea is prophesying against the northern kingdom. His time of prophesy lies between Elijah, Elisha, Amos and those who come after Hosea - Jonah and Nahum. He prophesies just before the final death blows are given to the northern kingdom and it comes to an end under the invasion of the Assyrians.

Hosea uses his own life story to explain God's faithfulness. Hosea's wife leaves him with children for other men. Hosea though forgives her and takes her back. He is married to a prostitute. There is some argument about if this is a literary ploy or autobiographical. Regardless, Hosea is communicating that God will be forgiving and just if his people will but hear his invitation to repent and return. God will not leave his people but continuously desires that they embody his love by repenting.

Hosea also reminds the people that God intends compassion for his people. God intends to be faithful to the covenant regardless of Israel's lack of faith. Hosea promises a measure of redemption lies before them, even in the midst of this very difficult time of anarchy.
God promises, "I will save them by the Lord their God; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen.” They shall be saved by remembering their dependence upon God and that the powers of this world will not provide or bring about the reign I have promised.

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