Skip to main content

Lectionary Notes for Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 24, Ordinary 29)

Readings for 19th Sunday after Pentecost, 10/19/14:
Exodus 33:12-23, Psalm 99, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22

Exodus 33:12-23:

  • "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." This is the promise that God makes to Moses. Moses makes God repeat it, because he knows that God's presence means good things for the Israelites. But I wonder if Moses expects a different kind of protection and presence than God has planned? I think Moses sees God's presence as a safety net, instead of a foundation. Do we ever see and treat God's presence that way?
  • "you cannot see my face." Wanting to meet "face to face" usually is something we want so that we can be on equal footing with whoever we meet with. God reminds us that we are not exactly on equal footing with God! But still, that we see God, that Moses can be so close with and to God shows that God has a unique relationship with humanity. We can talk to God! Compared with other characteristics of deities that would have been worshipped in Moses' day, our God, this God of Israel, is a different kind of God . . .
Psalm 99:

  • "lover of justice, you have established equity" - this is definitely my favorite phrase in this Psalm. God loves justice. And we don't need to wonder what is meant by justice in this case. This is not God-lover-of-justice who loves to punish and condemn. The justice that God loves is the justice that brings equity. That's equal-ness. Fairness for everyone. God tells us what justice means. Let's not try to define it on our own when God already does it for us.
  • "you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrong-doings." An interesting verse. God who is both forgiving and avenging. According to dictionary.com, avenge means "to inflict a punishment or penalty in return for" Can God forgive us and punish us? I'm not sure. I always hesitate to think of or speak of God in terms of punishing us, because I think our theologically can get really out of hand when we go there - we like to point out how God is punishing others who are not like us, or we worry that everything that happens to us that we don't like is due to God's punishment. But does God punish? What do you think?
  • "Worship at [God's] holy mountain. For the Lord our God is holy". For the Israelites, the mountain was a holy place to meet God. For us, our sanctuaries are sometimes holy - what other places are those you consider holy places?
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10:

  • Words of greeting open this letter from Paul. I've always liked verse 2: "we always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly" - It is nice to know that someone is constantly praying for you, isn't it? Do we remember to pray for one another in our ministry? To lift each other up before God?
  • "and you became imitators of us and of the Lord." If someone was to imitate you, could they also say they were imitating Christ? What would it look like for someone to imitate you?
  • "in every place you faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it." And this, could someone say this of your faith?


Matthew 22:15-22:
  • Context: like last week's reading, don't forget the time - this reading takes place during what we call 'holy week' after Jesus has come 'triumphantly' into Jerusalem. The Pharisees and others are trying trick after trick to entrap Jesus.
  • The Pharisees and Herodians patronize Jesus in their question, but they've at least noticed correctly: Jesus shows no deference and no partiality to people. Clearly, though, this drives them crazy. They want his deference!
  • This reads as a sort of "church and state" question. What do we make of Jesus' response? That religion and state are separate? That our religious life shouldn't influence the political and vise versa? I don't think that's what Jesus means.
  • Instead, he says, "to God the things that are God's." What is God's? Do we not believe that it all belongs to God? What is ours, or the emperor's? 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Sung Communion Liturgy for Christmas Eve

A Sung Communion Liturgy for Christmas Eve (Tune: GREENSLEEVES)
Lift up your hearts unto the Lord. Sing unto God your praises. We gather on this holy night. We gather at this table.   Lift, lift your hearts up high! Sing praise to God, and glorify! Praise, praise, the Prince of Peace, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
God breathed in us the breath of life. God gave the gift of Eden. We turned away and sin was born; We sought for greener gardens. Lift, lift your hearts up high! Sing praise to God, and glorify! Praise, praise, the Prince of Peace, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
God called to us from age to age through messengers and prophets, When we would not our hearts give way, the Word-made-flesh God sent us. This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing; Haste, haste to bring him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
O Holy God of power and might! Hosanna in excelsis! Blessed be the one who in your name comes! Hosanna in the highest! This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds gu…

Sermon for Second Sunday in Advent, "Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright," Isaiah 11:1-10, Mark 13:24-37

Sermon 12/3/17 Mark 13:24-37, Isaiah 11:1-10

Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright

            “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon’ virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.”             This week, I read news stories about North Korea testing a missile that perhaps could reach across the whole of the United States.             This week, I spoke with a colleague in ministry who had, like all churches in our conference, received from our church insurance company information about how to respond in an active shooter situation. She was trying to figure out how to respond to anxious parishioners and yet not get caught up in spending all of their ministry time on creating safety plans.             This week, we’ve continued to hear stories from people who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, as the actions, sometimes over decades, of men in positions of power have been uncovered.            …