Lectionary Commentary

Proper 27

November 11, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17
Reading 2: 
Mark 12:38-44
By Russell Pregeant

One of the gifts of a process-relational approach to scripture is permission to re-read stories. By re-reading, I do not mean simply replacing one story with another, so that the entire meaning-structure of the original is destroyed. I mean approaching the story from a different perspective than we usually read it from, so that we are able to find new meaning in it.

Proper 26

November 4, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Deuteronomy 6:1-9
Reading 2: 
Psalm 146
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 9:11-14
Reading 4: 
Mark 12:28-34
By Russell Pregeant

I choose the alternative First Reading but stay with Psalm 146 in order to emphasize the anti-idolatry theme in the gospel text. What Jesus identifies as the “first” commandment—love of God with all of one’s heart, soul, mind and strength—is a slightly modified version of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, traditionally known as the Shema (= Hebrew for “hear,” the first word of the passage). (The Markan version adds “mind” to the list and uses a different Greek term for “strength” than is found in the Septuagint.) The Shema prohibits idolatry in two ways.

Proper 21

September 30, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
Reading 2: 
Psalm 124
Reading 3: 
James 5:13-20
Reading 4: 
Mark 9:38-50
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 19:7-14
Alt Reading 1: 
Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
By David Grant Smith

Esther 7, 9 with Psalm 124

Proper 20

September 23, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Proverbs 31:10-31
Reading 2: 
Jeremiah 11:18-20
Reading 3: 
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Reading 4: 
Mark 9:30-37
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 24
Alt Reading 1: 
Psalm 1
By David Grant Smith

Proverbs 31 with Psalm 1

Proper 19

September 16, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Proverbs 1:20-33
Reading 2: 
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Reading 3: 
James 3:1-12
Reading 4: 
Mark 8:27-38
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 116:1-8
Alt Reading 1: 
Psalm 19
By David Grant Smith

Proverbs 1 / Psalm 19 / Wisdom 7

Proper 25

October 28, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
Reading 2: 
Psalm 34:1-8
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 7:23-28
Reading 4: 
Mark 10:46-52
By Bruce G. Epperly

Today’s passages focus on restoration, recovery, and re-orientation. The Job saga concludes with a complete restoration of Job’s wealth, status, and paternity. Psalm 34 proclaims how good it is to be rescued by God. Hebrews affirms that God is on our side and that Christ, the high priest, intercedes on our behalf ceaselessly, even when we are unaware of it. Mark tells the story persistence rewarded by a cure.

Proper 24

October 21, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Job 38:1-7, 34-41
Reading 2: 
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 5:1-10
Reading 4: 
Mark 10:35-45
By Bruce G. Epperly

Job 38:1-7, 34-41

Then God answered through the whirlwind! We continue our journey through Job with a theophany, an auditory encounter in which the Holy One responds to Job’s indictment.

Proper 23

October 14, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Reading 2: 
Psalm 22:1-15
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 4:12-16
Reading 4: 
Mark 10:17-31
By Bruce G. Epperly

Today’s readings force us to face the challenges of mortality. As the commercial says, “life comes at you fast.” There is a sense of disorientation in these passages. There is a sense that something has gone wrong and help is far away. Authentic theological reflection and spiritual practice must be all season: it must embrace desolation as well as celebration, sickness as well as health, death as well as resurrection.

Proper 22

October 7, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Job 1:1; 2:1-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 26
Reading 3: 
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
Reading 4: 
Mark 10:2-16
By Bruce G. Epperly

Job 1:1; 2:1-10

The bible speaks in many voices. There are points and counterpoints, agreements and disagreements, in the evolving and sometimes devolving theology of scripture. The Book of Job challenges easy understandings of the problem of evil or the causes of suffering. The author of Job is, perhaps, thinking of Deuteronomy 28 as he or she launches a theological and existential challenge to the rewards-punishments, acts-consequences vision of human success and failure.

Proper 18

September 9, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Proverbs 2:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
Reading 2: 
Isaiah 35:4-7a
Reading 3: 
James 2:1-17
Reading 4: 
Mark 7:24-37
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 146
Alt Reading 1: 
Psalm 125
By David Grant Smith

Proverbs 22 / Psalm 125                   

Proper 17

September 2, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Reading 2: 
Psalm 45:1-2, 7-10
Reading 3: 
James 1:17-27
Reading 4: 
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Alt Reading 2: 
Psalm 15
Alt Reading 1: 
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
By David Grant Smith

Song of Solomon 2 / Psalm 45

Proper 16

August 26, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
I Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43
By Mary Ricketts

The main section of this reading (22-30) is Solomon's dedication prayer for the temple in Jerusalem. The verse that comes before this section sets the scene for the temple dedication that occurred in the seventh month, which means this dedication service was held off for nearly a year after the completion of the temple and coincided with the Feast of Tabernacles. This Feast was a ceremonial renewal of God's covenant with the chosen people. At this year's celebration, the Ark of the Covenant was brought from the city of David to Jerusalem.

Proper 15

August 19, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
I Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
Reading 2: 
Psalm 111
Reading 3: 
Ephesians 5:15-20
Reading 4: 
John 6:51-58
By Mary Ricketts

This week's readings revolve around Wisdom. It is the gift asked for by Solomon, praised in the psalm, revealed in Jesus of Nazareth, and encouraged by the Epistle. In the opening pages of Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, he writes, "The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people." I agree with Foster and understand his statement to reflect a need for wisdom in our world, that is, not just information or opinions, but a knowledge which comes from a deep well of faith.

Proper 14

August 12, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
Reading 2: 
Psalm 130
Reading 3: 
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Reading 4: 
John 6:35, 41-51
By Mary Ricketts

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

Proper 13

August 5, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a
Reading 2: 
Psalm 51
Reading 3: 
Ephesians 4:1-16
Reading 4: 
John 6:24-35
By Mary Ricketts

2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a

The Prophet Nathan's confrontation of David's liaison with Bathsheba is perhaps familiar ground for you.

Proper 12

July 29, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
2 Kings 4:42-44
Reading 2: 
Psalm 145: 10-19
Reading 3: 
Ephesians 3:14-21
Reading 4: 
John 6:1-21
By Paul Nancarrow

2 Kings 4:42-44

Proper 11

July 22, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Reading 2: 
Psalm 23
Reading 3: 
Ephesians 2:11-22
Reading 4: 
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
By Paul Nancarrow

Jeremiah 23:1-6

This passage begins in the same prophet-speaking-truth-to-power vein as the Amos passage from last week, but then it heads toward a different conclusion. Jeremiah cries woe upon the “shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of God’s pasture,” that is, the kings and nobles who are charged by God with caring for God’s people, and who have betrayed that charge by exploiting the people instead.

Proper 10

July 15, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Amos 7:7-15
Reading 2: 
Psalm 85:8-13
Reading 3: 
Ephesians 1:3-14
Reading 4: 
Mark 6:14-29
By Paul Nancarrow

Amos 7:7-15

Proper 9

July 8, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Ezekiel 2:1-5
Reading 2: 
Psalm 123
Reading 3: 
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Reading 4: 
Mark 6:1-13
By Paul Nancarrow

Ezekiel 2:1-5

This passage is part of the call narrative of Ezekiel, specifically the moment when God commissions Ezekiel to be God’s prophet. Leading up to this call is Ezekiel’s vision of the throne-chariot of God, which takes up all of Chapter 1 of the book, and leaves Ezekiel so overwhelmed by divine glory that he collapses in a heap on the bank of the Chebar River. It is because Ezekiel is thus dazed and confused that God must begin with him by saying “O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you.”

Proper 8

July 1, 2012
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Reading 2: 
Lamentations 3:21-33
Reading 3: 
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Reading 4: 
Mark 5:21-43
By Paul Nancarrow

Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24

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