Lectionary Commentary

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.

Seventh Sunday of Easter

May 12, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Acts 16:16-34
Reading 2: 
Psalm 97
Reading 3: 
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
Reading 4: 
John 17:20-26
By Russell Pregeant

Jesus’ long farewell to his disciples in John begins at 13:31-35, with his declaration of the mutual glorification that obtains between himself and God and his statement of the “new commandment” to “love one another.” It ends with 17:20-26, which reiterates both themes, so that the discourse is framed by these motifs, identifying them as the dominant thread in the entire section.[1] Although part of the farewell, these verses are spoken to God in prayer, rather than to the disciples. The prayer begins at 17:1 and ends with v.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 5, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Acts 16:9-15
Reading 2: 
Psalm 67
Reading 3: 
Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5
Reading 4: 
John 14:23-29
By Russell Pregeant

Despite the strong emphasis on women in the gospel of Luke, in the book of Acts stories about women are few and far between. We can speculate that this anomaly is largely the result of the lack of such stories in the author’s sources, however, since at a few points the inclusion of women re-emerges as a theme. One of these points is the story of the conversion of Lydia—a woman described as “a worshipper of God,” which suggests that she was a “God-fearer”, that is, a Gentile attached to a synagogue.

Fifth Sunday of Easter

April 28, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Acts 11:1-18
Reading 2: 
Psalm 148
Reading 3: 
Revelation 21:1-6
Reading 4: 
John 13:31-35
By Russell Pregeant

The book of Acts tells the story of the early church, and it is a story of transformations. Characters, most particularly Peter and Paul, undergo transformation; and so does the church itself. Paul’s change is the most dramatic—a complete turnaround from a bitter opponent of the gospel to a courageous bearer of the word into the Gentile world. Peter’s is equally significant, however; and both characters’ faith journeys are central to the plot of Luke-Acts.

Sunday of the Passion

March 24, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Reading 2: 
Psalm 31:9-16
Reading 3: 
Philippians 2:5-11
Reading 4: 
Luke 22:14-23:56
By Paul S. Nancarrow

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 21, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Acts 9:36-43
Reading 2: 
Psalm 23
Reading 3: 
Revelation 7:9-17
Reading 4: 
John 10:22-30
By Russell Pregeant

The gospel lesson illustrates a distinctive aspect of Johannine theology, which Bultmann has called a “dualism of decision.” [1] On the one hand, dualistic language pervades John’s gospel. There are sharp contrasts between light and darkness, flesh and spirit, and above and below. Indeed, one could get the impression from some passages that these contrasts reflect an actual cosmic dualism than would negate human freedom, since whether a person is “from above” or “from below” seems to determine whether or not one has faith in Jesus.

Third Sunday of Easter

April 14, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Acts 9:1-6 (7-20)
Reading 2: 
Psalm 30
Reading 3: 
Revelation 5:11-14
Reading 4: 
John 21:1-19
By Russell Pregeant

The account of Paul’s life-changing vision in Acts 9:1-6 is a powerful sequence in itself, but it is greatly enhanced by the optional verses 7-20. The initial description of Paul as “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” and obtaining authorization from the high priest to have members of “the Way” bound and brought to Jerusalem establishes him as an archenemy of the gospel. His “conversion” experience is thus a dramatic turnaround, a point that his blindness and subsequent healing by Ananias serves to highlight. Sight v.

Second Sunday of Easter

April 7, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Acts 5:27-32
Reading 2: 
Psalm 118:14-29
Reading 3: 
Revelation 1:4-8
Reading 4: 
John 20:19-31
By Russell Pregeant

Resurrection; mandate to witness; the faith-doubt dichotomy; courage in the faith of persecution; repentance/forgiveness of sins—who could ever complain about a lack of thematic substance in this array of texts? No one, I expect, other than the long-term pastor who has had to work with the same materials year in and year out in a lectionary that abandons rotation in this season. I have to wonder how many preachers have in fact acknowledged the difficulty with the words, “poor Thomas,” having grown just a little weary of having to deal with the famous doubter yet again.

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