Lectionary Commentary

Easter

April 5, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 25:6-9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Reading 3: 
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Reading 4: 
John 20:1-18
By Ron Allen

 

Isaiah 25:6-9

Fifth Sunday in Lent

March 22, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Reading 2: 
Psalm 51:1-13
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 5:5-10
Reading 4: 
John 12:20-33
Alt Reading 1: 
Psalm 119:9-16
By John Cobb

The passage from Jeremiah brings us back explicitly to the sequence of covenants that play such a large role in biblical thinking. We began with the covenant God made with Noah and with all living things never again to flood the whole earth. Indeed, God’s promise went beyond this: the natural cycles needed for agriculture would henceforth be reliable. This assurance is given, not so much despite God’s recognition of human sinfulness, but because God recognizes and accepts that reality and promises never again to respond with just punishment.

Fourth Sunday in Lent

March 15, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Numbers 21:4-9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
Reading 3: 
Ephesians 2:1-10
Reading 4: 
John 3:14-21
By John Cobb

Today’s readings begin with a strange story in Numbers. Anyone trying to build a coherent picture of Moses encounters a particular difficulty. Last Sunday we read in Exodus a strong prohibition against making any graven images. Today we read in Numbers that when the people were dying from snake bites, Moses made an image of a snake and raised it on a pole. When people were bitten by snakes, they could be cured by looking at this image.

Third Sunday in Lent

March 8, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 20:1-17
Reading 2: 
Psalm 19
Reading 3: 
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Reading 4: 
John 2:13-22
By John Cobb

Today’s lectionary readings include the Ten Commandments. Their importance in history can hardly be exaggerated. In this series of lectionary readings, however, it is clear that we are invited to focus on the Mosaic Covenant. In the first Lenten Sunday, we read of the covenant with Noah after the flood. In the second, we learned of the covenant with Abraham. Today we learn of the covenant out of which many Jews today still primarily shape their lives.

Second Sunday in Lent

March 1, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Reading 2: 
Psalm 22:22-30
Reading 3: 
Romans 4:13-25
Reading 4: 
Mark 8:31-38
By John Cobb

The Abrahamic covenant is featured in today’s readings. In Genesis we have the original story. In Paul we find his wrestling with this story for our sake. The issue is whether we who are not Jews can claim the promises God made to Abraham and his descendants. If we detach it from these mythological trappings, the issue is whether Gentile followers of the Jew, Jesus, can have an equal place in the new communities with Jewish followers.

First Sunday in Lent

February 22, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Genesis 9:8-17
Reading 2: 
Psalm 25:1-9
Reading 3: 
1 Peter 3:18-22
Reading 4: 
Mark 1:9-15
By John Cobb

This is the first Sunday in Lent. We think of Lent as a time for self-examination and penitence for our sins. Some form of fasting is common. It is difficult to connect any of the passages assigned for today with these themes.

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 8, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 40:21-21
Reading 2: 
Psalm 147:1-1l, 20c
Reading 3: 
I Corinthians 9:16-23
Reading 4: 
Mark 1:29-39
By

Today’s scriptures join action and contemplation in the quest for a perspective on life that enables us to become God’s companions in creative transformation. Mark 1 catalogues a day in the life of Jesus. The healer from Nazareth is certainly busy that day: he heals the sick, preaches, teaches, and casts out demons. His calendar is full and yet he has time for encounters large and small. As embodiment of the all-present God, Jesus reveals God’s vision and power in every encounter.

The Transfiguration of Jesus

February 15, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
2 Kings 2:1-12
Reading 2: 
Psalm 50:1-6
Reading 3: 
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Reading 4: 
Mark 9:2-9
By Bruce Epperly

This week’s readings open us to the possibility of the mystical and paranormal, themes typically not discussed in “old school” progressive and process theologies. We are about to enter the “twilight zone” once more, and directly encounter the “glory of God.” We are about to be transfigured as we read about the transfiguration of Jesus. The transfiguration of Jesus and the departure of Elijah are irrelevant nonsense in terms of the modern world view.

The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 1, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Reading 2: 
Psalm 111
Reading 3: 
I Corinthians 8:1-13
Reading 4: 
Mark 1:21-28
By Bruce Epperly

What insights can a process preacher bring to reflection on unclean spirits and demonic possession? It is tempting to disregard Mark 1:21-28 altogether as an irrelevant era piece, pertinent only to studies of a bygone era. Progressive Christianity seldom deals with the supernatural or demonic. We have exorcized the devil and Satan from our theologies, and have doubts about angels and demons. Yet, there is a side of life that goes beyond reason and human control.

Third Sunday after the Epiphany

January 25, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 62:5-12
Reading 3: 
Corinthians 7:29-31
Reading 4: 
Mark 1:14-20
By Bruce Epperly

Today’s scriptures invite us to let go of the familiar and live in the ever-flowing stream of life.  We may have to let go of our job security, theological certainty, or way of life, or at least our attachment to these as the final ends of our lives.  But, God’s holy adventure provides us with possibilities and encounters that are more than we can ask or imagine.

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

January 18, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Samuel 3:1-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Reading 3: 
I Corinthians 6:12-20
Reading 4: 
John 1:43-52
By Bruce Epperly

Process theology affirms the ubiquity of divine revelation. In one way or another, each creature and each moment of experience is influenced by God. Philosophically speaking, each emerging moment of experience (actual entity) receives its “initial aim” toward self-creation from God in the context of its environment and past historical context. Beyond these rather sterile words, we can say that God provides each moment of life with a vision and the energy to seek the highest good for itself and its environment.

The Baptism of Jesus

January 11, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Genesis 1:1-5
Reading 2: 
Psalm 29
Reading 3: 
Acts 19:1-7
Reading 4: 
Mark 1:4-11
By Bruce Epperly

Today, we celebrate creation and re-creation as we consider the waters of baptism and the waters of the Spirit that refresh and renew us, body, mind, spirit, and relationships. Process theology has much to say about creation as relational and emerging. God is constantly creating and is bringing forth new life throughout our cells and souls, and every aspect of the universe, human and non-human. Divine creativity encourages creativity and agency, supportive of our own growth and the well-being of our environment.

Second Sunday after Christmas Day

January 4, 2015
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 31.7-14
Reading 2: 
Psalm 147.12-20
Reading 3: 
Ephesians 1.3-14
Reading 4: 
John 1.1-18
By David J. Lull

With today’s readings, we have left behind stories of Jesus’ birth. Instead, the focus is on God’s timeless redemption of all people—indeed, all creation—revealed (and effected) in and through Jesus Christ. Each of our texts has an element of “Advent”—the “not yet” of our future! Each text also has an element of the “Epiphany” to the nations.

 

Jeremiah 31.7-14

First Sunday after Christmas Day

December 28, 2014
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 61.10-62.3
Reading 2: 
Psalm 148
Reading 3: 
Galatians 4.4-7
Reading 4: 
Luke 2.22-40
By David J. Lull

After Christmas Day, the theme still is “what God has done and is doing in the world for all peoples”! Isaiah interpreted the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian conquest and deportation of Israel as a sign of God’s justice and victory for “all the nations” to see. Psalm 148 proclaims God is the God of all creation! Paul wrote to gentile Galatians to explain that God’s promise to save everyone, without exception, through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.

Christmas Day

December 25, 2014
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 52.7-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 98
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 1.1-4
Reading 4: 
John 1.1-14
By David J. Lull

“What God has done and is doing in the world for all peoples” is the theme for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

 

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2014
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 9:2-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 96
Reading 3: 
Titus 2:11-14
Reading 4: 
Luke 2:1-20
By David J. Lull

“What God has done and is doing in the world for all peoples” is the theme for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

 

4th Sunday of Advent

December 21, 2014
Reading 1: 
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Reading 3: 
Romans 16:25-27
Reading 4: 
Luke 1:26-38, 46-55
By Bruce G. Epperly

This lectionary commentary was first published on December 21, 2008.

 

3rd Sunday of Advent

December 14, 2014
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Reading 2: 
Psalm 126
Reading 3: 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Reading 4: 
John 1:6-8, 19-28
By Bruce G. Epperly

This Lectionary Commentary was first published on December 14, 2008.

 

2nd Sunday of Advent

December 7, 2014
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Reading 2: 
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Reading 3: 
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Reading 4: 
Mark 1:1-8
By Bruce G. Epperly

This Lectionary Commentary was first published on December 7, 2008.

 

1st Sunday of Advent

November 30, 2014
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 64:1-9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Reading 3: 
I Corinthians 1:3-9
Reading 4: 
Mark 13:24-37
By Bruce G. Epperly

This lectionary commentary was first published on November 23, 2008.

 

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