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Lectionary Notes for Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 11, Ordinary 16)

Readings for 6th Sunday after Pentecost, 7/20/14:
Genesis 28:10-19a, Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24, Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Genesis 28:10-19a:
  • God continues the promise, the covenant, with Jacob, that has been with his forebears. Do you feel bound into your family's religious heritage? Or your denomination's heritage? How do you feel tied in to God's continuing story?
  • Jacob's ladder - a great Sunday School song, but the vision Jacob has is strange. What do you make of it? I guess I can see it showing how present God is with us today - that God's messengers are constantly showing up on the scene, revealing God and God's work to us.
  • "Surely the Lord is in this place - and I did not know it!" When have you realized God's presence in a place or situation only after-the-fact? 
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
  • I love this Psalm - Ok, all except for the last section before verse 23 and 24 where the psalmist declare to "hate who God hates". I do like verses 13-19 very much, but they appear in our lectionary at a different point. 
  • It is both comforting to know that we can't go where God is not, but it is also a challenge, in a way. We're reminded that God, in a sense, chases us. We are "hem[med] in" behind and before. God is strategically cornering us. An aggressive God, who insists, perhaps, on having a relationship with us.
Romans 8:12-25:
  • "not a spirit of slavery, but a spirit of adoption." I'm always torn by Paul's language of adoption. On the one hand, I'm hesitant to think that we're not born into God's family, God's children. I shudder to think that God only adopts some as children, and not others, which is an unfortunate and often drawn conclusion of such theology. But on the other hand, there is a special-ness about God going the 'extra mile', as it were, to make us God's own. Out of God's deep desire to have us as children. I guess I just want to make sure God has no limits or qualifications for who is adopted! That we can all become heirs with Christ...
  • "for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God." I like this - "creation" waiting with "eager longing" - I envision the whole earth and all the creatures just waiting for God's continued work to be revealed in humankind.
Matthew 13:24-39, 36-43
  • take note - the wheat and the weeds grow so closely together, and are so hard to distinguish from one another, that they can't be separated until they are fully grown. Remember that when you are looking at yourself and your neighbor!
  • take another note - it isn't the wheat that up and decides to pick out and destroy the wheat - that is left to God's realm. We're not assigned the task of labeling each other as weeds.
  • Sometimes we have both wheat and weeds in our own individual lives - we can take care of the garden of our own lives, and try to cultivate more wheat than weed by our choices.
  • notice the blame shifting in this text - blame it on the devil, blame it on the sower (God) for letting weeds show up where 'good seed' was sown. 

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