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)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas 1 B, December 31, 2017

Quotes That Make Me Think


(Simeon nimmt Christus in seine Arme, Quelle: www.heiligenlexikon.de)  
 "Notice, Simeon wasn?t looking 'in the church' for the Savior; he was looking 'on the street.' Where am I looking for the face of my Savior today? Do I look with expectation upon the crowd outside the church; examining every face for the Christ within? Am I poised like Simeon caught up in doing acts of kindness and justice? If I am, the face of Salvation is still among the nameless crowd who shuffles past our churches in every city in the world. He is still there; am I poised to find him?"

"The Consolation of Israel," Jerry Goebel, One Family Outreach. "Focus on scripture from a justice perspective." Exegesis, study, and teen study and activities.

"Jesus will be the cause of many rising and falling in Israel -- he will be both the stone upon which some stumble and the stone of salvation (Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:6-8). In any case, Luke's account certainly gives credence to Paul's claim. The dedication of Jesus to God at the temple sets Jesus on the way to his work of redemption."

Commentary, Luke 2:22-40, Stephen Hultgren, Preaching This Week,WorkingPreacher.org, 2014.

General Resources for Sunday's Lessons from Textweek.com


Prayer


God of the covenant, looking graciously upon their faith, you brought Abraham joy and Sarah laughter int he birth of the their child and in the beginning s of a family countless as the stars of heaven. With Simeon and Anna, with Mary and Joseph, our eyes have seen your salvation, and we hold it in our hands.  Fill us with wisdom to trust your promises, and let your gracious favor rest on this family you have gathered.

From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year B, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.


Some Thoughts on Luke 2:22-40

Oremus Online NRSV Gospel Text

Resources for Sunday's Gospel

This day brings our holiday season to an end. The most brave of all will come out on Sunday, January 1st, to celebrate the new year in church. Perhaps this will be a double low church whammy. It is both the Sunday after Christmas and it is also New Years Day.

In contrast to Mary in the Gospel written by Luke we have Simeon who is a faithful, righteous, and patient man. A pious man he had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah before he died.

Mary and Joseph bring their son to the Temple for circumcision as per their custom.

It is in the midst of this familial tradition that we see another revelation of who Jesus is and is to be.

In this moment Jesus is the Messiah for Simeon. He proclaims him so. Going on to reveal that he is the the one he has been waiting for, but that he is also the savior of Israel and of all the peoples of the earth.

In the back of our minds we must be aware of how Luke tells the story. At once we know he is to be rejected in this first volume; while accepted in Acts. Likewise within the Gospel narrative we see that some people will accept and welcome him others will reject him. (Luke Timothy Johnson, Luke, 57)

Simeon and Anna are people who welcome the savior.

One week has past. A season is over and a new one is beginning. As we make our way through the Christmas lessons and then the Epiphany lessons I believe that we have an opportunity to refocus ourselves on living out the Gospel.

On this day perhaps it would be good for us to consider how we are welcoming God into our midst. How are we welcoming God into the midst of our lives? Are we making room for him? How are we welcoming others into our communities? Are we making room to see the face of Christ in others? Are we doing this in the church and on the streets? I love Goebel's quote above; a very good internalization of this morning's Gospel:
"Notice, Simeon wasn't looking 'in the church' for the Savior; he was looking 'on the street.' Where am I looking for the face of my Savior today? Do I look with expectation upon the crowd outside the church; examining every face for the Christ within? Am I poised like Simeon caught up in doing acts of kindness and justice? If I am, the face of Salvation is still among the nameless crowd who shuffles past our churches in every city in the world. He is still there; am I poised to find him?"
On a day when we begin our New Year's resolution it is a good time for us to rethink our work as individuals who make room for Jesus Christ in our lives and in our communities. What would happen if we as clergy made a resolution for our selves. What would happen if we encouraged others to do so? What if our church's made resolutions? What would they be? To be more like Simeon, Anna, the faithful family? To wirte a rule of life? To launch an intentional ministry of welcoming? To redouble our study and engagement with the bible?

In such rules of life, and resolutions, perhaps we will in the end find some liberation - some freedom. In living a life that proclaims and lives out the promise of Jesus as Messiah perhaps in fact the whole world might experience what it means to come within the reach of his saving embrace. Just maybe if we were to keep our resolutions, just maybe, people around us might have the same expeience as Simeon.

Some Thoughts on Galatians 4:4-7




Resources for Sunday's Epistle

"So insidious is Sin that even the good gifts of God, like the Law (Galations 3:21) or even the gospel, can be easily misused."


Commentary, Galatians 4:4-7, Erik Heen, Preaching This Week,WorkingPreacher.org, 2014.

"The Spirit that God pours into all our hearts is a Spirit of compassion. It is a Spirit that embraces us and makes us a part of a family defined by God's love. It is that compassion that gives us our meaning and purpose in this life."

"Love Came Down," Alan Brehm, The Waking Dreamer.


The theologian Robert Farrar Capon in his book on parables (Kingdom, Grace, Judgement, 2002) offers that God in Christ comes to us in the incarnation as both our savior and judge. But his action of redemption and reconciliation is one of grace, forgiveness, and mercy. He judges with love and so we are presented to God through the eyes of our beloved Jesus. It is the eyes of his heart which redeem us.  

Capon though also says that it is our renunciation and rejection of this coming which judges us guilty. It is our rejection of the spirit of God in our hearts, it is our rejection of our forgiveness, and the rejection of Jesus AND our focus upon the law which in the end finds us guilty. 

Paul in Galatians is offering a vision of God who comes and blesses and redeems us. Jesus undoes the power of the law over us. Jesus enables us to be God's children. We are no longer slaves to the law. This is our new reality.

However, the truth is the longer we live focusing upon the law and our own failure and the failure of others - the longer we struggle outside the family. Our message is clear God loves. God forgives. God invites us. In this season of incarnation may we offer a message that does the same and enables us to live in the grace which has come into the world. 

Our deliverance is real. May we live it.



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