Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 17, Ordinary 22)

Readings for 12th Sunday after Pentecost, 8/31/14:
Exodus 3:1-15, Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c, Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 16:21-28

Exodus 3:1-15:
  • "Here I am." These are three of the bravest words in the Bible, don't you think? And yet, so simple, such easy, uncomplicated words. Will we utter them? Dare to say such simple words to God?
  • "the place on which you are standing is holy ground" - What places in life have you come upon holy ground? What makes it holy? How do you act when you are on Holy Ground?
  • "Who am I that I should go out to Pharaoh?" Moses asks God. So much for his initial brave response ;) - who do you think is better equipped to judge your abilities - you or God? Do you question what God has called you to do? What would it take to convince you?
  • "I AM WHO I AM." Maybe the best name for God - the one God claims for God's self. We like to describe God, paint God into corners, but God into boxes with our theological language - but God says I AM WHO I AM.
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c:
  • This Psalm is appearing for the third time this summer - showing up in some variation three and five weeks ago. It has corresponded to some extent with the Old Testament lesson, though this week, it is less directly related.
  • Verses 1-5 are right on target for me: Remember to praise God all the time, because God has done some pretty amazing things for you. It is amazing how easily we forget God's role in all that we claim as our own goodness.
  • "whose hearts he then turned to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants." I don't warm to the idea that God makes us hate, or hardens our heart, a theme in the Moses story we'll follow in the Old Testament. Why would God do that?
  •  45b makes a nice end, while skipping many verses: "praise God!"
     
Romans 12:9-21:
  • This is a great passage of little bits of advice that work together separately or together
  •  "Outdo one another in showing honor" - Wouldn't it be great if humans' competitive natures worked for good this way?
  • "do not claim to be wiser than you are" - great advice for pastors, theologians, and church-people in general.
  • "so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" - words for today. And it does depend on us.
  • The heart of this passage - the most words are spent on advising us to love our enemies, even at cost to ourselves.
Matthew 16:21-28:
  • Just before this, Peter had named Jesus as the Messiah. Now Jesus names Peter as Satan. What's happened here?
  • I think Peter has said the right words (earlier), but he doesn't yet understand what that means for Jesus, or doesn't want to believe it.
  • Choices. Jesus tells us we have to make some hard choices, big choices, life and death kind of choices. The way he phrases his questions, the answers should be obvious. But our actions suggest otherwise, don't they?
  • "who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man . . . " Lots of people have theories about this verse. I don't have a good theory. I think - it's not the point of the passage, and if we focus on that verse, it means we're not paying attention to all the meaty stuff before it.  
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