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, July 4, 2016

Proper 13C / Ordinary 18C / Pentecost +11 July 31, 2016

Quotes That Make Me Think

"So greed seems to be a rather universal concept, from Norse and Saxon to Indian Sanskrit, the word seeks to describe the universal problem. A 'sickness to have something'."

"Lifting our Mater from Materialism," Peter Woods, I Am Listening, 2010.

"We learn the essential lesson: do not attempt to possess things, for things cannot really be possessed. Only make sure you are not possessed by them, lest your god change."

"Possessed by a Thing," Michael Battle, The Witness.

General Resources for Sunday's Lessons from

As we labor to produce a rich harvest, do not let greed or self-importance rule our lives. Let us not store up treasures for ourselves, but grow rich in those things that are pleasing to you.  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 12:13-21

Oremus Online NRSV Gospel Text

Resources for Sunday's Gospel

Jesus is surrounded by people and one is a petitioner. He wants Jesus to make his brother divide the house. Jesus’ response is clear. He is not going to be a judge or mediator. This is an interesting lesson to follow the passage on prayer last week. Jesus uses this as a foil to discuss greed; and we should be aware that it tempers the idea of waking God and beseeching providential care that is simply a
masquerade for our own greed.

Greed is the sin that never rests and always seeks more. But Jesus is clear, “Life is a gift of God. No amount of possessions, however abundant, can make it greater or give it security.” (Luke Timothy Johnson, Luke, Sacra Pagina, 199)

The man in the parable is a symbol of this misguided desire and this sin left to its own desires.

Luke has a very particular understanding of stewardship: “Wealth with respect to God has two levels of meaning for Luke; the first is the response of faith, the second is the disposition of possessions in accordance with faith, which means to share them with others rather than accumulating them for one’s self.” (LTJ, 199)

The man is wealthy because he had a lot of stuff; he is fool because he thought that meant he also had security. It seems to me the parable and the teaching is that people are meant for eternity and that this is not so much about death but about the real living of life in the reign of God today.

We can see clearly the foolishness in this way of living for the individual. But do we see it in terms of the institution? Do we believe that things, wealth, buildings, success, rector-ship, or belonging to the right congregation, or singing the right kind of praise song, or worshiping with the right amount of incense will provide some kind of security? One does not have to read the pages of history or even to travel the ancient highways to see the foolishness of men’s desires and dreams.

Only the institution willing to loose everything for the kingdom will live within the reign of God Jesus is proclaiming. What are we thinking of? Are we hoping to secure our future with a budget that keeps the doors open? Or, are we ready to live the kingdom now?

As a bishop these are hard questions to ask of a congregation. These are hard questions to ask about the church.

John Hines said something about risking it all for the sake of the Gospel. Is the sin of greed and the sin of prosperity and the sin of security upon us?

Forgive us lord our sins, and give us our daily bread, for only in you do we live and move and have our being.

Some Thoughts on Colossians 3:1-11

Resources for Sunday's Epistle

Paul is saying to us who have been baptized and choose to believe in this God and this unique revelation of God in Christ Jesus: seek heavenly things.  "Seek the things that are above."  "Set your minds."  You already are participating in the death and resurrection of Christ.  So the life of Christ is revealed to you and through you.  

Let your old life die away.  Let the notion that you are controlled by other forces, and maligned by others, and that what you do and what you eat are infecting you away.  That is not the way life is when it is lived in Christ and focused on the heavenly things.  

Anything that separates you from God, any idolatry, seek to put away from yourselves.  Any idolatry that seeks to make you the center of the universe and world put away and look beyond these things beyond these behaviors.  This is the key to Paul's moral theology.

Paul is not content though in simply naming the idolatrous behaviors which consume us he is also interested in help us understand that such behaviors motive: "anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth." Telling lies too is included in the behaviors which seek to gratify or protect our idolatrous selves.  

Here is the fascinating part. If we put on Christ, focus on Christ, live Christ then other things fall away too. When we are focused on our spiritual life and our walk with Christ we no longer have time to tell others how they are not doing it right.  In other words Paul's understanding of idolatry includes the notion that when you put down another person, seek to separate them from yourself, you are actually aggrandizing yourself and making yourself Godlike and perhaps legally holy.  

Paul reminds us this just isn't true; its just another lie which makes us and our life the center instead of Christ's.  When we focus upon the life of Christ and heavenly things and our response to freedom and grace there is no time to (as my friends in the program say) take another person's inventory. So then when we are clothed in Christ and the image of the creator there "is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!"

Some Thoughts on Hosea 11:1-11

Our lesson structure does not make room for us to read all of Hosea. What we read instead is the ending. Our last lesson from Hosea promised that God would not desert God's people. This concluding chapter of the prophet's ministry offers a vision of God's love.

Hosea begins by reminding that Israel belongs to God's love. Israel is God's child. Hosea reminds the people that God has been faithful but they have offered sacrifices to local idols in order to gain worldly power and security.

God was the one who delivered them, taught them how to be in the world, how to care for each other, and how to be faithful. God delivered them out of Egypt, healed them, and fed them. Hosea writes:
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.
Hosea then says that the people lack of remembering and faith will inevitably bring them back to Egypt where the king will no know them and will devour them. The earthly kings of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and even Israel are all the same - they devour the people, their labor, their economy, their very beings for their own worldly gain. Like Amos, Hosea draws a clear line between the worship and allegiance to the powers and forces of this world will bring about destruction. People will in the end inevitably, always, sell themselves into slavery for the things of this world.

But God will not and cannot forget them - Hosea says. God's heart breaks for his children. Hosea writes,
My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.
God awaits their return. God will free them once again. God will return them to their home one more time. God will be faithful and God will act for them even though they are unfaithful. God will stand loyal to God's people, even though they continue to worship and follow after the false gods of the world.

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