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Showing posts from September, 2014

Lectionary Notes for Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 21, Ordinary 26)

Readings for 15th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/28/14:
Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16, Philippians 2:1-13, Matthew 21:23-32

Exodus 17:1-7:
"wilderness of Sin" - great image.Human nature is so perfectly exhibited by the Israelites, isn't it? We tend to find things to gripe about no matter what is going on in our lives. "They are almost ready to stone me," Moses admits. Perhaps pastors sometimes feel that way when trying to lead congregations out of the wilderness and into the vision which God has laid before the people. How can we get over our griping, count our blessings, and forge ahead?The name, Massah and Meribah, is summed up as indicating the question of the people, "Is the Lord among us or not?" Hopefully, that should be a rhetorical question: the answer is yes. And if God is among the people, then the people should respond, live, with faith.Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16:
"I will open my mouth in a parable" - I hadn't realized that the word '…

Lectionary Notes for Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 20, Ordinary 25)

Readings for 15th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/21/14:
Exodus 16:2-15, Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45, Philippians 1:21-30, Matthew 20:1-16

Exodus 16:2-15:
"rain bread from heaven for you" I'm mindful of the famine in Africa. If we can't take care of each other by feeding our neighbors, perhaps God could rain down some more manna. Sadly, we seem to need that help.the people must learn to depend on God day by day, trusting for each moment in God's guidance. They aren't great at it, but they learn that God can be trusted, their faith put in God. Could you live in such a day-to-day way? We like to have our plans all laid out.Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45:
Here we go - this Psalm showing up for the 4th time this summer. Of course, parts of this Psalm have been following along with our Exodus story. But still...Verses 1-5 are right on target for me: Remember to praise God all the time, because God has done some pretty amazing things for you. It is amazing how easily we forget God's role…

Sermon for Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "Out of Egypt: Surrounded, " Exodus 14:19-31

Sermon 9/14/14 Exodus 14:19-31
Out of Egypt: Surrounded
            Last week, we learned about the first Passover, as God instructed the Israelites how to prepare to leave Egypt, and not only that, instructed them in how to prepare to remember, every year, how God had rescued them. Today, in our text, we skip ahead a little bit, and find the Israelites preparing to cross the Red Sea, with the Egyptians chasing after them. The threat of being caught is imminent, and the Israelites are in a panic. As I mentioned last week, God knew the Israelites would need to be reminded of why they were leaving Egypt, and indeed, already, just before our text begins, they are complaining bitterly to Moses. They say, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serv…

Lectionary Notes for Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 19, Ordinary 24)

Readings for 14th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/14/14:
Exodus 14:19-31, Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21, Romans 14:1-12, Matthew 18:21-35

Exodus 14:19-31:
OK, I'll admit, I feel for all the Egyptians here who were just doing there job. At the camp I've attended growing up and as an adult, one of the favorite songs is "Pharaoh, Pharaoh," which includes the line "and all of Pharaoh's army did the dead-man float."  I just can't get into the spirit of it...Also, I'm afraid this passage also now brings to mind images of Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty, parting his bowl of tomato soup.Well, I guess what that says is that this "parting of the Red Sea" is perhaps the 'classic' example we think of when we're talking about God's power. God's ability to protect God's people in God's plan at all costs? Hm. Still can't warm up to it!Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21:
This passage takes the typical place of the Psalm in the lectionary, as here we g…

Sermon for Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "Out of Egypt: First Annual Exodus," Exodus 12:1-14

Sermon 9/7/14 Exodus 12:1-8
Out of Egypt: First Annual Exodus
I went to seminary at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. Drew is a University, so aside from the theological school, there was also a graduate school and an undergraduate school. My first year on campus, I saw signs for an undergraduate event called “The First Annual Picnic.” I didn’t think much of it, until I heard people talking about how much they always looked forward to “The First Annual Picnic.” What? Turns out, the event was always called The First Annual Picnic, even though it had been happening for many years. I don’t know if it started out that way – if they intended from the start to create a new event, or what. I've certainly known that to happen in church events – you try something one year with an unspoken understanding that if it goes well, you will do it again, year after year. I couldn’t help but think of The First Annual Picnic as I read this week’s scripture text. Today, after spending the s…

Lectionary Notes for Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A (Proper 18, Ordinary 23)

Readings for 13th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/7/14:
Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 149, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20

Exodus 12:1-14:
God describes to Moses and Aaron the Passover, which is the festival that centers Jesus' meal with his disciples - this reading also appropriately shows up for Maundy Thursday."this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly." Ready to go. Ready to move. Prepared. Imagine if this was always the way we were, in terms of readiness to respond to God's call.The Passover is a hard one to stomach (no pun intended). It is hard to imagine a plague of killing firstborns all through the land, isn't it? But it is a festival, a 'remembrance' that becomes so crucial in the identity of Judaism, and even in the events that shape Christ's last days. Death, blood, lamb, sacrifice. The ways the symbolism of the Old Testament and New Testament events overlap and tie …

Sermon for Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A, "From That Time On," Matthew 16:21-28

Sermon 8/31/14 Matthew 16:21-28
From That Time On
            Today, we continue immediately after our text from last week, where Peter proclaimed Jesus as Messiah, in response to Jesus’ question, “And who do you say I am?” Remember, we talked about how Peter claiming that title meant that he understood that Jesus, even though he wasn’t the typical picture of a king like David, an anointed one like the line of kings from the Hebrew scriptures, even still, Jesus was truly the anointed one, the messiah, ruler of the realm of God, this unexpectedly ordered way of God on earth. Jesus entrusts to Peter and the disciples the mission of continuing this reign of God. Today, our passage opens with the words, “From that time on…” These little seemingly throwaway phrases in the scriptures, especially when we’re reading the scripture in little pieces at a time, can feel so unimportant. But this phrase is important because it actually tells us: What happens next is directly related to what just happe…