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.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas 1A January 1, 2017

Quotes That Make Me Think

"Typically for such narratives there is more than one stream of allusions. We not only have Israel going down into Egypt and being called up out of Egypt in the Exodus as God's son (hence the quotation of Hosea 11:1 in 2:15), but we also have echoes of the attempt of the Pharaoh to kill Hebrew infants which led to Moses being set among the bulrushes."

"First Thoughts on Year A Gospel Passages in the Lectionary," Christmas 1A, William Loader, Murdoch University, Uniting Church in Australia.

"Clearly then, the "fulfillment" of scripture in Matthew is NOT to be understood as a termination of the ways of the world. The birth of Jesus does not put an end to human tragedy."

Holy Textures, Understanding the Bible in its own time and in ours, Matthew 2:13-23, David Ewart, 2009.

General Resources for Sunday's Lessons from


God ever near to us, you numbered your Son, together with Mary and Joseph, among the homeless of the earth, and counted them among the countless refugees who have fled into hiding out of fear for their lives. Shield our families from the dangers to which this world exposes them. Clothe us with compassion and kindness with gentleness, patience and mutual forgiveness, so that we in turn may provide others with the shelter of a home where everyone is welcomed.  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 A, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

Some Thoughts on Matthew 2:13-23
Oremus Online NRSV Gospel Text

Resources for Sunday's Gospel

This passage from Matthew exists within a wider framework of short stories collected into a narrative. While on the one hand it is tempting to separate them each out and look at the differing pieces something wonderful happens when they are held together. Certainly Matthew intended them to be read in one sweeping episode.

As in Advent, the Gospel continues with a theme of individuals, in this case Joseph, responding to the Word of God proclaimed.

As we look at the text the remarkable presence of the Book of Exodus strikes a note . We cannot read the Matthean text without thinking of the innocents killed by the king of the Egyptians, and hwo Moses was saved by Pharoah’s daughter and how Moses himself flees later.

Moses is considered the greatest prophet of the Hebrew faith and here Matthew makes it clear that the Word is alive and dwelling in our midst. We read clearly that the individuals throughout Matthew’s narrative are hearing and responding to the Word. Moreover, that Christ himself, the living Word, will proclaim and free God’s people once again. However, this time it will not be freedom from an external earthly power (Kings, Romans, etc.) but rather from an internal power which is as deadly – sin.

Yes we must look backward to Moses, at the same time the author is driving the narrative to the cross and resurrection. While this passage does not include the story of the Magi, we must keep in mind the Gospel sequence. This passage looks back to Moses but moves forward to the worshiping kings and eventually the worshipping disciples.

Jesus is in this passage deeply rooted in the story of the people of Israel, changed forever by the presence of the living Word in our midst. Just as Joseph is faithful and responds to the Word brought by a messenger you and I are challenged to worship God in the person of Jesus Christ and to follow him through acts of faith.

Some Thoughts on Hebrews 2:10-18

Resources for Sunday's Epistle

I have been struck by this very real notion that God is more than Emmanuel "God With Us."  God is as one scholar put it God in common with us.  This strikes me as profoundly offered as truth in the first verses of our reading from Hebrews.

God is with us, God experiences life as we experience it, God has suffered as we have suffered, and God is our brother and sister in Christ.  "Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death."  An odd thing to say I know...  But the reality of the Hebrews' text is this...we are heirs of Abraham, we are the family of God, we are children of God. "For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham..."  This would have been a radical notion to gentiles in the day this text was first penned.  It is a radical notion today.

I think we underestimate the power of preaching that God is one with us and we, through Christ, are known to God and we are called God's family.  Like a family, we are all apart regardless of our own journey to this moment.  I believe people do not hear enough that they are loved and that God accepts them into God's then the church accepts them; or is to accept them.  

We are not only to be messengers of Good News of this familial adoption we are ourselves to be the ones who adopt.  

Sometimes I think we listen to the story of the incarnation and we think it is a story about hospitality to God.  We say things like, wouldn't it have been nice if people let the holy family stay with them.  Wouldn't it have been nice if the holy family did not have to flee for its life to Egypt.  But the reality is that the radical hospitality is on God's part...accepting us as members of his family welcoming us into the kingdom of God.  The letter to the Hebrews understands this and talks about the lengths to which God goes to embrace humanity.  

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