Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 28, Ordinary 33)

Readings for 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, 11/16/14:
Judges 4:1-7, Psalm 123, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Matthew 25:14-30

Judges 4:1-7:
  • "Deborah, a prophetess" I think those words in themselves are pretty powerful. In a set of scriptures that certainly doesn't focus on women, it's great to find and lift out stories of strong women leaders in the Bible, the Old Testament even!
  • Not only is Deborah a prophetess, but she's also a type of military leader here. She may not physically fight in the battles, but she is making decisions about the armies and where they will go.
  • The Israelites cry out because they are oppressed, and God moves to respond, in perhaps unexpected and unusual ways. God responds to our cries for help. We have to look and see who God might use and how God might use them/us to respond to oppression. 
Psalm 123:
  • We look to God like those under another's authority look to their authority (master, mistress.) How do these images translate today? So often, we feel resentful of those in authority over us, don't we? Especially if those in authority are abusive in their power. Who is a positive authority in your life? What kind of authority do they exercise? What kind of authority does God exercise over you?
  • "we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than its fill of the scorn . . ." Sounds like a very frustrated psalmist, eh? When do you reach your boiling point? How do you call to God when you've "had enough?"
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11:
  • "When they say, 'there is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them." Hm. We as a society are working awfully hard, at great expenses, for peace and security, aren't we? Our peace comes from Christ, and our security in our faith. Everything else? Maybe just cheap imitations.
  • children of light/children of darkness - just a 'caution' - be careful when using language of light=good and dark=bad. These images are valuable theologically, but can be harmful if they are communicated in ways that can have racial implications.
  • "encourage one another and build up each other" - do we do this? How often do you encourage others in their faith journeys? How do we, in tangible ways, build each other up?

Matthew 25:14-30:
  • What are the talents that you are afraid to use? Most of us have some talents we don't mind using, but others that we hide away. What are yours?
  • "to all those who have, more will be given, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away." At first, this statement seems like a terrible statement about rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. But that's not at all what Jesus means. Jesus says that God will entrust to us a lot to look over if we use what we've already got. If we pretend God's given us nothing, then God won't entrust to us other things that we'll just ignore. Sort of a "use it or lose it" philosophy.
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