Lectionary Commentary

Proper 20

September 22, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
Reading 2: 
Psalm 79:1-9
Reading 3: 
1 Timothy 2:1-7
Reading 4: 
Luke 16:1-13
By David Lull

 Jeremiah 8.18–9.1: Speak the truth clearly and boldly!

Proper 23

October 13, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 66:1-12
Reading 3: 
2 Timothy 2:8-15
Reading 4: 
Luke 17:11-19
By David Lull

Our world has too many refugees and exiles, yearning to be free and restored to wholeness. With them, we also yearn for a world without refugees, exiles, and deportees. Today’s lectionary readings invite reflections on hope and faith in the face of suffering.

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7

Proper 19

September 15, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
Reading 2: 
Psalm 14
Reading 3: 
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Reading 4: 
Luke 15:1-10
By David Lull

The lectionary committee seems to want us to read 1 Timothy 1:12-17 and Luke 15:1-10 as the “good news” response to the “bad news” of Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28, and Psalm 14!

Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28

Proper 18

September 8, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 18:1-11
Reading 2: 
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Reading 3: 
Philemon 1:1-1:21
Reading 4: 
Luke 14:25-33
By David Lull

Jeremiah 18:1-11

Proper 17

September 1, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 2:4-13
Reading 2: 
Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Reading 4: 
Luke 14:1, 7-14
By David Lull

My wife and I have just moved from Iowa to California, and we have given first attention to moving in. I am now up against a last minute deadline to post the first commentary for September. Consequently, I can only offer questions and brief comments to think about. For later Sundays, I plan to offer more developed commentaries.

Jeremiah 2:4-13

Proper 16

August 25, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 71:1-6
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 12:18-29
Reading 4: 
Luke 13:10-17
By Bruce G. Epperly

Today’s scriptures embrace the contrast of intimacy and ultimacy in describing God’s nature. God is, as Charles Hartshorne asserted, the most moved mover, involved as receptive and creative in every moment of existence as well as the arc of planetary and cosmic history. God is also the great beyond, indescribable and untamed by human desire or institutional control.

Proper 15

August 18, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 5:1-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 11:19-12:2
Reading 4: 
Luke 12:49-56
By Bruce G. Epperly

Events often conflict with our hopes and dreams. Communities and congregations let us down and may turn away from the divine vision. We may turn away from God’s vision for our own lives. Neither God nor we can avoid the consequences of injustice, racism, and the personal and social sins that harm us and others. Even when we are doing our best to follow God, there are no guarantees that our path will be easy. But, through it all, if we remain awake to this present moment – the sacrament and sin alike of this moment – we discover hope beyond conflict and failure.

Proper 14

August 11, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Reading 2: 
Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Reading 4: 
Luke 12:32-40
By Bruce G. Epperly

This week’s lectionary continues the quest for holistic spiritual practices. Isaiah proclaims the centrality of justice-seeking in worship, Hebrews explores the role of faith as opening up new dimensions of reality, and the Gospel challenges us to be awake and ready for God’s presence in our lives. Holistic spirituality embraces the whole of our lives, joining inner and outer, prayer and action, and personal and global. Well-being involves the interplay of the individual and communal.

Proper 13

August 4, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Hosea 11:1-11
Reading 2: 
Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Reading 3: 
Colossians 3:1-11
Reading 4: 
Luke 12:13-21
By Bruce G. Epperly

Recently in my Process Theology class at Wesley Theological Seminary, one of the class participants raised the issue of whether it is possible to talk about God at all. When the student rightly noted that all of our concepts of God are anthropomorphic, I responded in jest with “What do you expect? Is there anything we do that is not human in perspective and orientation?” All revelation is shaped by the receiver, including biblical revelation and process theology.

Proper 12

July 28, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Hosea 1:2-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 85
Reading 3: 
Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)
Reading 4: 
Luke 11:1-13
By Mary Ricketts

Hosea 1:2-10

When I read a passage like this one from Hosea, I always wonder what people who believe the scriptures are inerrant think. The prophet gives us an amazingly strong and provocative image of experiencing God's disappointment in the chosen people. It speaks to their unfaithfulness to God's covenant in a powerful way. I once heard a psychologist comment that if you want to make a lasting impression about the way you feel about something or someone, tell a symbolic story that conveys the feelings of the event or person.

Proper 11

July 21, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Amos 8:1-12
Reading 2: 
Psalm 52
Reading 3: 
Colossians 1:15-28
Reading 4: 
Luke 10:38-42
By Mary Ricketts

Amos 8:1-12

This pericope continues God's proclamation against the injustices found in Israel.

Proper 10

July 14, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Amos 7:7-17
Reading 2: 
Psalm 82
Reading 3: 
Colossians 1:1-14
Reading 4: 
Luke 10:25-37
By Mary Ricketts

Amos 7:7-17

This is the first of two readings from the prophet Amos. In the opening chapters of this book God has denounced the people of Israel, and said they have ruined all the “prophets-in-training.” So, Amos is given the proclamation from God, even though he raises cattle and sycamore trees.

Proper 8

June 30, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21
Reading 2: 
Psalm 16
Reading 3: 
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Reading 4: 
Luke 9:51-62
By David Grant Smith

1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21        

Proper 9

July 7, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
2 Kings 5:1-14
Reading 2: 
Psalm 30
Reading 3: 
Galatians 6: (1-6) 7-16
Reading 4: 
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
By Mary Ricketts

During Common Time the lectionary gives continuous reading through a number of books. In the month of July in the Hebrew Scriptures we are finishing up with 2 Kings, moving though Amos and will finish up in the first chapter of Hosea. Each of the Hebrew Scriptures selections can be easily paired with the Psalm of the day. The month begins by finishing up the readings from the letter to the Galatians and then the rest of the month is spent in the letter to the Colossians.

Proper 7

June 23, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 65:1-9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 22:18-27
Reading 3: 
Galatians 3:23-29
Reading 4: 
Luke 8:26-39
By David Grant Smith

Isaiah 65:1-9                         

Proper 6

June 16, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15
Reading 2: 
Psalm 32
Reading 3: 
Galatians 2:15-21
Reading 4: 
Luke 7:36-8:3
By David Grant Smith

2 Samuel 11:26--12:10, 13-15          

Proper 5

June 9, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
1 Kings 17:17-24
Reading 2: 
Psalm 30
Reading 3: 
Galatians 1:11-24
Reading 4: 
Luke 7:11-17
By David Grant Smith

1 Kings 17:17-24       

Proper 4

June 2, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43
Reading 2: 
Psalm 96:1-9
Reading 3: 
Galatians 1:1-12
Reading 4: 
Luke 7:1-10
By David Grant Smith

1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43          

Trinity Sunday

May 26, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Reading 2: 
Psalm 8
Reading 3: 
Romans 5:1-5
Reading 4: 
John 16:12-15
By Ignacio Castuera

Christopher Bryant tells a story about C. G. Jung that ought to inform the way preachers deal with the subject of the Trinity:

Day of Pentecost

May 19, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Acts 2:1-21
Reading 2: 
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
Reading 3: 
Romans 8:14-17
Reading 4: 
John 14:8-17, (25-27)
Alt Reading 2: 
Acts 2:1-21
Alt Reading 1: 
Genesis 11:1-9
By Ignacio Castuera

Some lectionary lists suggest using either the traditional Acts 2 reading or the story of the Tower of Babel found in Genesis 11. Using both will help convey the fact that the author of Luke/Acts had in mind that one of the most important roles of the Holy Spirit was ushering the time when Babel would be reversed and true communication be re-established.

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