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.

Enjoy.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Christ the King / Reign of Christ C November 20, 2013

Christ in Majesty or Pantocrator.  The most common translation of Pantocrator is "Almighty" or "All-powerful".   Another, more literal translation is "Ruler of All" or, less literally, "Sustainer of the World". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek for "all" and the verb meaning "To accomplish something" or "to sustain something" (κρατεω). This translation speaks more to God's actual power; i.e., God does everything (as opposed to God can do everything).  The Pantokrator, largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception is less common by that name in Western (Roman) Catholicism and largely unknown to most Protestants. In the West the equivalent image in art is known as Christ in Majesty, which developed a rather different iconography.
Quotes That Make Me Think

"As far as I know, there is only one good reason for believing that he was who he said he was. One of the crooks he was strung up with put it this way: 'If you are the Christ, save yourself and us' (Luke 23:39). Save us from whatever we need most to be saved from. Save us from each other. Save us from ourselves. Save us from death both beyond the grave and before. If he is, he can. If he isn't, he can't. It may be that the only way in the world to find out is to give him the chance, whatever that involves. It may be just as simple and just as complicated as that."

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

"'Christ the King' Sunday concludes the year of Luke with a final luminous testimony to how Jesus is God's way of ruling in this world and in the world to come."

Commentary, Luke 23:33-43, David Tiede, Christ the King, Preaching This Week,WorkingPreacher.org, 2010.

General Resources for Sunday's Lessons from Textweek.com

Prayer
Let this King’s cross become the shape of our lives; let this Lord’s compassion form our hearts; let this Shepherd’s embrace welcome us to Paradise. 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 22:33-43
Oremus Online NRSV Gospel Text

Resources for Sunday's Gospel

And so we come to the end of the season of ordinary time which follows Pentecost Sunday. We come to the end of readings, which have focused our attention on the Gospel of Luke exclusively.
Throughout these readings several powerful themes have been presented for us to consider.

The major theme has been that Jesus had a missionary vision of the reign of God wherein all are gathered. His march to Jerusalem has been an act of prophetic witness, healing and beckoning of those who see and hear to follow. The time is now and the reign of God is breaking into this world.

We have also seen a theme that illustrates not only that Jesus stood in the line of great prophets, but that we as followers, apostles and disciples, now too inherit the gift of prophetic voice for the world around us.

We have also heard a clarion call to affirm the good that is in the world. Luke’s Gospel is incarnational and there is an understanding that we can change the culture in which we live, raising up the best as well as freeing us from the evil which binds us. We are to pay special attention to the good which is displayed in those who are outsiders: women, the lame, those who represent the outlying religious groups, the poor and those in need.

The lost play a special role in the theme of the Gospel and the work of the kingdom and its partners in ministry, their lives and discipleship living in Luke is not given for the destruction of the wicked – but for the saving of the lost. Luke amplifies more than any other gospel the sense that this is Good News. Jesus is philosopher and king, he is savior too, bringing salvation, through signs and saving acts. This theme of salvation, the saving of the lost, is the theme of parables after the teachings on discipleship and daily living. Why do we do these things? The answer is to find the lost.

Lastly, Luke’s Gospel has given us the theme of conversion.

The Word of God is powerful in Luke’s Gospel. It is alive in the people and in their prophetic actions, and in the prophetic actions of Jesus.

Conversion and the disciples’ response are the last two major themes. “God’s restored people answer the challenge of his visitation with fruits worthy of repentance (Luke 3:8, Acts 26:20. People who hear the word are converted, by their turning around, their metanoia, literally their facing a different direction (away from worldly values to kingdom values). The followers of Jesus respond with faith, which for Luke is defined by hearing the word and patient endurance. It is not a momentary decision but a journey, it is a response daily. This is nurtured by faith in Luke’s Gospel. And, this work changes the way we live our lives. Following Jesus means that we change our social behavior to imitate God.

Luke Timothy Johnson writes:


“The opening of home and heart to the stranger is explicitly connected to the theme of accepting or rejecting the prophet. Luke provides concrete examples of the proper response of hospitality in Luke 10:38 and Acts 16. In the same way, as the Messiah showed leadership as a kind of table-service, so is leadership in the messianic community to be one of service spelled out in the simple gestures of practical aid."
As we look back, we also look forward. The Gospel of Luke is clear, it is provided so that we might believe and follow. Today’s Gospel lesson captures a vision of our future and our work should be to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

We are to continue in the prophetic ministry which has been Jesus’ own. We are sent out to exercise the authority that has been given to us.

We are to do this in practical ways. We are not to dominate or be seen as lords. Rather, we are to be like Jesus: teaching, listening, healing and freeing. We are to imitate the work of our master--as good disciples.

We are to be imitators through and through of Jesus.

This challenge is difficult. You and I know it is, we know and experience Jesus’ work and call to us but struggle to do the work ourselves. It is for this reason that we also continue the reading beyond the supper into the prayer of Jesus. Rather than glossing over the ever so human struggle to undertake the will of God, and to allow Jesus to float in some spiritual manner through the suffering that is before him, Luke captures for us a very real human moment of Jesus. Wrestling with God, like Jacob with the Angel, Jesus is seen here struggling with the work that is before him.

It is in this moment that Luke clearly offers his last theme, the one that undergirds the whole text, prayer.

It is through prayer that Jesus is strengthened for the work that is before him. Likewise, in order for the disciple to pick up their own cross, to bear the prophetic witness to the world, to transform and change the lives of people and to help usher in the reign of God, the disciple must pray.

On this Christ the King Sunday we are forced to see, not the resplendent Jesus enthroned in heaven, but securely rooted upon the earth in order that we might, rooted in the ministry on earth, gain the resplendent gifts of the kingdom of our God.


Some Thoughts on Colossians 1:11-20


Resources for Sunday's Epistle


Almost all of the New Testament scholars I have read agree that the first few lines of today's chosen passage are intended by Paul to counteract the false teaching in Colosae. Moreover, to keep the false teaching from infecting the Christian community that is present.

Paul begins with words of encouragement and reminds them that they already share in the inheritance of Christ and his grace.  

Where the false teachers deny that Jesus has rescued us from the power of darkness; Paul proclaims that Christ has in fact done this work and moreover has made us members of the Abrahamic family.

Where as the false teachers believe we can earn our forgiveness, Paul says no...our forgiveness is earned by Christ's work himself.

Where as the false teachers deny Christ, Paul reminds the Colossians that our faith believes the Jesus is the very image of the invisible God through whom all creation was made.

It is here that Paul turns to a Christ Hymn of the early church (Ralph Martin, Colossians, 103):
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Paul uses the hymn both to remind the fellowship of the faith proclaimed by those who follow Jesus and to also remind them of the baptismal faith they inherit.  Moreover, that it is exactly in the work of Christ on the cross that we are redeemed, that we receive grace, that we are members of the family, and that abundant grace is shed upon us.


Some Thoughts on Jeremiah 23:1-16


Resources for Sunday's Old Testament

The reason why this passage is so important is that it helps sets the stage for Jesus' teaching about the shepherd. 

In this passage God and the prophet speak of the religious leaders and especially the reigning monarchs of the religious state as shepherds. In line with the last four prophesies of Jeremiah about the leaders, this passage continues the theme that the shepherds destroy and scatter God's sheep. God is clear the leaders of the religious state are the ones who have driven away the people by not taking care of them. They have abdicated their responsibility of watching, caring, and feeding the sheep of God's fold.

In this same way, within Jeremiah's prophetic tradition, Jesus speaks of the religious leaders of his day with the same disgust. Like the kings and leaders of Jeremiah's day the people have been led away, sent away hungry, they are lost as if they have no shepherd.

Jeremiah then prophesies saying that God will gather the "remnant of my flock". God will bring them from all the lands where they have wandered. God will bring them back into the fold and they will not "fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing." 

Furthermore, the way that God will do this is by raising up from David's own lineage a faithful, caring, and feeding kind of shepherd. It will be a "righteous branch." And, this shepherd will rule wisely, deal justly and bring faith back to the land from which it has departed. God will gather God's people in and save them by the hand of this good shepherd.

We are here meant to hear clearly the prophesy of the particular revelation of the incarnation - Jesus. This is how the first followers of Jesus heard this passage. They said, "Aha! This is Jesus that Jeremiah and God are speaking about. So it is that then the images of the good shepherd become deeply associated with Jesus are intentionally juxtaposed with the notion of the evil or not-so-good shepherds who lead the religious state in that age or any age. 

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