Skip to main content

Lectionary Notes for Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B


Readings for 24th Sunday after Pentecost, 11/11/12:
Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17, Psalm 127, Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 12:38-44

Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17:
  • The 'love story' between Ruth and Boaz has always been one I've enjoyed, but it is really quite a practical tale: Naomi wants to make sure Ruth's well-being is secure. Do you think it must have been hard for Naomi to find a husband for Ruth in place of her own dead son?
  • "uncover his feet" - This is a euphemism for sexual relationship. However, though Ruth makes herself available to Boaz, per Naomi's instructions, Boaz does not apparently take advantage of her. (Check out the verses in between today's sections of text for the rest of the story.)
  • The women congratulate Naomi as if the child of Ruth and Boaz is her blood kin, and as if Naomi was the father of Ruth or at least the father of the baby. The role reversals are somewhat strange in this story! Technically, Ruth's child is not Naomi's next-of-kin. But the bond Ruth and Naomi share is deeper than blood perhaps.
  • Chris Haslam says that the point of this text is that it is OK for Jews to marry foreigners - God's love is available to all people. 
Psalm 127:
  • "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." At a clergy event I attended, one of the speakers talked about the futility of trying to pull vision statements for congregations out of thin air. God sends a vision, he said, and we can embrace it or not, but we can't make up our own. The same with building, growing perhaps. God builds. We can get on board. But God leads. We follow.
  • "eating the bread of anxious toil" - what a great and timely phrase. How often do we engage in this behavior? We are anxious people. Is this God's desire for us?
  • Sons, sons, sons! Hard for me not to get riled up about all this talk about the value of sons over daughters! I have three brothers, all of whom I dearly love. But I so wanted a sister...one would have done!
Hebrews 9:24-28:
  • Heaven = the truest sanctuary. Interesting imagery.
  • In Hebrews we find the main argument for Christians not continuing to practice the laws of the Old Testament: Jesus' sacrifice is once and for all. If it were not so, the author argues, we would constantly have to re-sacrifice Jesus.
  • Still, the author argues, we will see Jesus again, but because Jesus will come "to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." What do you think the author means by this? I think people might typically say that those who are eagerly waiting for Jesus are already "saved", whatever is meant by that. What do you think?
Mark 12:38-44:
  • Jesus talks about the scribes as people pretty impressed with their own status. As a clergyperson, I can't ignore that Jesus' descriptions strike pretty close to home of clergy behavior sometimes!
  • "they devour widow's houses" Chris Haslam says "Certain scribes, as legal trustees of a widow’s estate, charged exorbitantly for their services. The fee was usually a part of the estate, but some took the “widows’ houses.”"
  • The widow, though giving just a couple of mites, gives the most of what she has. How much of what you have do you give?
  • Do you think Jesus was encouraging us to emulate the widow's behavior, or do you think he was disgusted with a system that had her giving all that she had just to serve puffed-up religious types? 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

re-post: devotional life for progressive Christians

I posted this a while back before anyone was really reading this blog. Now that more people seem to be stopping by, I thought I'd put it out there again with some edits/additons since it's been on my mind again... Do you find it difficult to have any sort of devotional time? When I was growing up, I was almost compulsive about my personal Bible Study, devotion time, etc. Somewhere along the way, I got more and more sporadic. In part, I found myself frustrated with the devotional books that I considered theologically too conservative. I find it hard to bond with God when you're busy mentally disagreeing with the author of whatever resource you're reading. My habit was broken, and I've never gotten it back for more than a few weeks at a time. So, a disciplined devotional/prayer/bible-reading life - is it something I should be striving to get back, or something that is filled by other ways I am close to God? This is a debate I have with myself all the time. On the

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, "Hope: A Thrill of Hope," Mark 1:1-8

Sermon 11/26/17 Mark 1:1-8 Hope: A Thrill of Hope             Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is the glass of life half empty, or half full? My mom and I have gone back and forth about this a bit over the years. She’s wildly optimistic about most things, and sometimes I would say her optimism, her hopefulness borders on the irrational. If the weather forecast says there’s a 70% chance of a snowstorm coming, my mom will focus very seriously on that 30% chance that it is going to be a nice day after all. I, meanwhile, will begin adjusting my travel plans and making a backup plan for the day. My mom says I’m a pessimist, but I would argue that I’m simply a realist , trying to prepare for the thing that is most likely to happen, whether I like that thing or not. My mom, however, says she doesn’t want to be disappointed twice, both by thinking something bad is going to happen, and then by having the bad thing actually happen. She’d rather be hopeful, and enjoy her state of

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