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Lectionary Notes for Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Readings for 19th Sunday after Pentecost, 10/7/12:
Job 1:1, 2:1-10, Psalm 26, Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12, Mark 10:2-16

Job 1:1, 2:1-10:
  • Satan, in the book of Job, isn't a creature of hell, but part of the heavenly council, actually "the devil's advocate" in a way. How does this differ from our typical conception of Satan?
  • "He will curse you to your face." Satan is trying to figure out what will push Job to curse God. What would make you curse God? How mad have you ever gotten at God?
  • "In all this Job did not sin with his lips." Of course, we're only on chapter two. But, still, sometimes people can handle a remarkable amount of pain and still remain hopeful. Can you? How do you think people do this?
     
Psalm 26:
  • "I have trusted in the Lord without wavering . . . test my heart and mind." Are you bold enough in your faith to ask God to test your heart in mind? Ties in well with our Job passage.
  • "I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me." Are you willing to ask for and receive God's grace? In today's world, what does it mean to have integrity? Do you have integrity?
     
Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12:
  • Hebrews talks of Jesus as the reflection of God's glory. I think we are also reflections of God's glory, if we let ourselves be, let God makes us into these reflections. This is what it means to be created in God's image, isn't it?
  • "exact imprint of God's very being" - This makes fingerprints come to mind, or plaster casts of babies' feet.
  • We are brothers and sisters with Christ, children of the same Parent. How intimate is that? With that intimacy comes responsibility - we are part of God's family.

Mark 10:2-16:
  • "Some Pharisees came, and to test [Jesus] they asked" The Pharisees just don't get it. What kind of answer do you think they expected Jesus to give? What answer would they have given to their own question?
  • These teachings from Jesus are hard for modern-day congregations to hear, because so many have experience the pain of divorce themselves, or in their families. I think that, when preaching on these texts, it is important to be clear that Jesus is not saying that people belong in abusive, harmful relationships at all costs. I think Jesus' point is that the Pharisees, as ever, are interested only in the laws and details, not in the heart of God's plan for people. I think that would be a better focus.
  • What does it mean to welcome a child? This is the third week in a row that the gospel lesson mentions children and welcoming them to really understand the kingdom. The repeated emphasis tells us Jesus thinks this is REALLY important.

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