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.

Search This Blog by Proper and Year (ie: Proper 8B or Christmas C or Advent 1A)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Proper 27C / Ordinary 32C / Pentecost +25 November 6, 2016

Quotes That Make Me Think

"However I feel about Jesus? reply to the Sadducees concerning the poor woman with seven consecutive husbands, I am glad that Jesus cited Exodus to demonstrate to his opponents why he believed that God 'is God not of the dead, but of the living, for they are all alive to him.' This is certainly my experience."

"Monastic Mentors," Roberta C. Bondi, The Christian Century, 2004.

"'He makes us no promises about death,' Joseph said. 'He makes us promises about life. I do not know what he promises to the dead if he promises them anything'."

"God of the Living," sermon discussion from Frederick Buechner, Frederick Buechner Blog.

"God is the certain detail which hope has. The rest one might add is speculation or the brushstroke of imagination."

"First Thoughts on Year C Gospel Passages in the Lectionary," Pentecost 25, William Loader, Murdoch University, Uniting Church in Australia.

General Resources for Sunday's Lessons from Textweek.com

Prayer
Work in our times the wonders of your grace, so that the whole world may see that those cast down are being raised up, and what has grown old is being fashioned anew, and all creation is moving forward toward fulfillment through the One who is the beginning and end of all, the Christ who was, who is and who is to come. 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 20:27-28

Oremus Online NRSV Gospel Text

Resources for Sunday's Gospel

For those of you who preached and celebrated the Feast of All Saints' and are moving on with Luke I have a few thoughts.


We cannot look at this story and not see the contrast between Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the religious institutions understanding of it. The religious institution of the day sees the reign of God in political terms. Jesus is speaking in a wholly different manner.

You must read Luke Timothy Johnson’s perspective on this. It is too long to quote but he clearly puts forth the religious argument that the kingdom and politics are connected. I will give you only this quote from the end of his insightful paragraph: “Finally, we see the symbolic expression of such a closed-horizon religion: the professional religionists who find their reward in earthly recognition in public acclaim and prestige, but who cannot be content with that, and oppress others even as they parade a public piety.” (LTJ, Luke, 318) Ouch! These are strong words and powerful ones for those of us who sit in the seats of power in our congregations and in diocesan offices.

Jesus instead he argues is “expressing the deepest convictions of the Christian community concerning its understanding of the kingdom of God. God owns ‘all things’ and ‘all things’ must be given back to God, but this allegiance is not spelled out in terms of specific political commitment, rather it transcends every political expression. No king, not even a Jewish king, not even David’s son, can receive the devotion of ‘all the heart and soul and strength and mind’ but only God.” (LTJ, Luke, 318)

The point Jesus is making when he makes the reply is precisely this: our God is a God of the living. We cannot attempt to pin God down through the mechanisms of this world. The world that is being reshaped as the reign of God is a living world entirely new, completely redeemed, transformed, and restored from the life we experience today. Yes, we do experience the first fruits of God’s reign but at the same time we cannot believe for a second that God does not have the power to restore all things to life. We see only dimly then what God sees and offers us in his son Jesus Christ clearly.
You and I get so caught up in the world and our cultural contexts that we at times foolishly believe we perceive as God perceives. Behold though, all things are being made new. It is the living, the Holy Spirit, and the Christ of God that we are to share. 

Can we in the days, months and years to come share the living God more than we protect the church politic? Can we set aside the Constantinian notions of Christendom, which are as carefully guarded as those of Jesus' day sought to protect their own religion? Can we become missionaries once again? Can we dare to share the living Christ with all those who we meet? 

We are given the opportunity to lift our heads from the political infighting of our daily religious life to see that the living Jesus has left the church building and is calling us back out into the world in order to participate with the reign of God unleashed as a living spirit in the world. Can we reclaim the Pentecost moment not as the birth of the Church but rather as the beginning to a new missionary spirit, which is at work in the world around us?
I leave you with these words from Luke Timothy Johnson:

“Finally, this kingdom is symbolized by the widow, who though left all alone in human terms, is not only herself alive but capable of giving life by sharing ‘all her living’ with others.”

Some Thoughts on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17


Resources for Sunday's Epistle

Recently a friend told me that they are not worried about the end of the world because the bible says it won't happen until Damascus falls. (Isaiah 17)  A week later a woman told me her son-in-law believed we were in the midst of the end of the world...so I told her that the bible says that Damascus must fall before that happens.  She was comforted and it enabled us to talk more about what was really troubling her.  I tell you this story only because concern over the end times is not something new by any stretch, and perhaps is only more prominent because of the many start up churches and internet sights willing to talk about it, the successful series of books entitled "Left Behind", and our cultures fascination with post-apocalyptic movies!

One of the key theological issues Paul is dealing with is in the idea that the end is here.  He instead begins:  As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here."

Paul is aware that there are people spreading such news and with it panic.  He offers to them examples of signs that must occur but have not yet occurred.  Paul is clear that the "lawless" one is not yet among us and there fore that we should not be concerned with such things but rather redouble our efforts in other areas.

Paul reminds the people of the Ephesian church that God has already chosen them, that God is even now blessing them and revealing himself to them.  That God calls and invites participation in the good news so that they might in the end participate in the heavenly kingdom.  Their work is to stand firm in their faith and their traditions. They are to remember, concerning these things especially, what Paul and others have taught.  They are to be about the work of spreading the gospel.  

They are to be comforted and strengthened in their work by the very words of God which offer hope for them - even in an age of anxiety.

This passage works well with the Gospel of Luke passage in that both are about living in response to God's good news.  People who follow Christ are to be concerned with life and the living of it as examples of Christ's love. Their actions are to glorify God.  They are not to idle away the days and years concerned about events that they cannot possible know the hour or day upon which the Lord will return.  This is in simple fact not the business of the church; the mission of the church is reconciliation in our time through a ministry which always and everywhere reveals God's mercy, love, and forgiveness.


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