Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 25, Ordinary 30)

Readings for 20th Sunday after Pentecost, 10/26/14: 
Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, Matthew 22:34-46

Deuteronomy 34:1-12:
  • This is where I feel most sorry for Moses, who, though making many mistakes, has more or less followed God on such an adventure, and yet only gets to see the whole promised land from a mountain top, never actually entering it himself. Could you trust God on such a journey, if you knew that you yourself would not reach the desired end, that you would have to entrust that completion to others?
  • I think this is a good lesson for the church - we have to let go of 'ownership' of our journeys - God 'owns' our journey. If we can let go of possession of where we are leading the church, we can get even closer to the promised land than if we demanded we be able to go the whole way ourselves!
  • "Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated." What a great little obituary! We can pray that our spiritual sight remains unimpaired and our vigor fresh all the days of our life.
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17:
  • "Lord, you have been our dwelling place." We dwell, live, in God. We are home in God, live within God. A comforting image.
  • "from everlasting to everlasting you are God." God is God is God always.
  • "A thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past . . . they are like a dream." Human mortality - we don't like to confront it. But this Psalm reminds us to remember our place, to put things in perspective.
  • "turn back, you mortals." "Turn, O Lord." A conversation going on here, between God and us.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8:
  • Typical Paul, always drawing attention to his own suffering, in a martyr-sort of way! It is bearable since he was such good points to go along with it, I guess.
  • "not to please mortals, but to please God." As pastors, we are sometimes caught up in trying to please people instead of God, aren't we? We can't always - perhaps can rarely - do both. If we need to do only one, we're called to do what pleases God.
  • "to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves." This is my favorite verse in the passage. Sharing the gospel is a good gift. But it is even better, and more authentic, if we are willing to give ourselves - our passions, who we are - along with it.

Matthew 22:34-46:
  • "love the Lord you God . . . love your neighbor" Sometimes this verse seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it? But it is the simplest most straight-forward things that we are  worst at living out. 
  • "and with all your mind." This phrase actually does not appear in the Old Testament, but I like the addition. We are rational thinkers, and I like to think that our whole mind is meant to love God as well.
  • In the second section, Jesus asks a 'trick question' of sorts, in, apparently, an effort to get the Pharisees to quit badgering him with their own lame trick question. Do you think Jesus was invested in the answer to or theology of the question he asks? I doubt it, but he tries to show the Pharisees perhaps that they are missing the point, asking the wrong questions.
  • So, if you had to ask Jesus questions, what would you want to know?
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