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Lectionary Notes for Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 20, Ordinary 25)

Readings for 15th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/21/14:
Exodus 16:2-15, Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45, Philippians 1:21-30, Matthew 20:1-16

Exodus 16:2-15:
  • "rain bread from heaven for you" I'm mindful of the famine in Africa. If we can't take care of each other by feeding our neighbors, perhaps God could rain down some more manna. Sadly, we seem to need that help.
  • the people must learn to depend on God day by day, trusting for each moment in God's guidance. They aren't great at it, but they learn that God can be trusted, their faith put in God. Could you live in such a day-to-day way? We like to have our plans all laid out.
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45:
  • Here we go - this Psalm showing up for the 4th time this summer. Of course, parts of this Psalm have been following along with our Exodus story. But still...
  • 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.
  • I do like verses 39-45: the people ask, God responds. God tries to meet every need.
  • 45b makes a nice end, while skipping many verses: "praise God!"
Philippians 1:21-30:
  • the dilemma - living in the world or retreating to a spiritual place where we are 'safe' - this isn't exactly Paul's dilemma - he's talking more literal life and death. but we can related to his dilemma maybe, by thinking of the "in the world" or "of the world" tug of war.
  • "live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ" - yes. The hard thing about sharing the gospel is when the sharers aren't living the things they're sharing! We try, we are imperfect. But we need to try!
Matthew 20:1-16:
  • this is one of the hardest parables for us, I think. It goes against everything about our values - American work ethic and all. You work hard, you get rewarded proportionally. The idea that someone else could do less than us and get the same pay is totally frustrating, isn't it?
  • Fair. This isn't fair, is it? Fairness is something we prize, but not mentioned as something Jesus exactly values!  
  • This is the side of grace we don't like to hear about, I think. We struggle with whether or not we can accept grace for ourselves, but when it comes to who else gets God's grace, and how they get it, it becomes a lot trickier, and we wish there were more rules about it...

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