Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Apocalyptic Discourse - 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time [Proper 13]


Genesis 19:1-29
Psalm 59
Matthew 24:23-35 (36-44) OR Luke 17:20-37
1John 2:3-29 OR 2John OR 2Peter 2:1-22

Love, in truth, is not permissiveness, but it aspires to perfection, for “whoever obeys God’s word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection.” But where destructive opinions are introduced, the way of truth is maligned, and those with unsteady souls, enticed from the way of love by the lures of licentiousness, become irrational creatures of instinct, insatiable for sin, reveling in dissipation, with eyes full of adultery and hearts trained in greed. As the proverb says, “The sow is washed only to wallow in the mud.” Therefore, friends, let us turn away from every evil thought, word, and deed, that we might not suffer the penalty for wrongdoing. Rather, let us seek the merciful grace of Jesus Christ, whose commandment is love and whose name is truth, for the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Apocalyptic Discourse - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 12]

Deuteronomy 4:32-40 OR Isaiah 65:10-65 OR Ezekiel 7:(1-9) 10-27
OR Zechariah 14:(1-3) 4-9 (10-21)
Psalm 50: (7-8) 9-21 (22-23) OR 105:(1-6) 12-15, 26-36 (37, 43-45)
Matthew 24:15-22 OR Mark 13:14-20 OR Luke 21:20-24
1Corinthians 10:(14-17) 18-11:1


Holy and merciful God, we confess that we have acted wickedly. We have forgotten your words, cast off discipline, and spoken against those whom you love. We all too quickly assume that you are just like us, that we know your mind, that we may speak judgment against others with impunity. Forgive us, O Lord, for we have too often forgotten how far you have come and how much you have done to save us from death, depravity, and despair. We have neglected to pay our vows to you, to whom we have promised lifelong loyalty. Cleanse us from every sin, forgive our every transgression, wash us thoroughly in the blood of the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ, and receive once again our sacrifice of thanks and praise. This we ask in his name.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Christian education and liturgical resources

As the summer flies by all too quickly, you may find yourself in need of doing some planning for the fall, both for Sunday school and worship, in which case, I could well imagine 6 or 7 weeks in the study of the Lord's Prayer ...

and 6 to 9 weeks rediscovering an important, but forgotten Reformer.

The seventeen chapters in this piece are very short and could easily be read two or three at a clip. For many an adult ed class or book group, you could well spend a whole semester on these two studies alone.

After which, you may be ready for something lighter at Advent and Christmas. Written to "delight," this story is probably most suited to a family night or fellowship gathering, but perhaps it has been adapted for pageants; you might also think of it as an extended Christmas card for a congregation, a thank you gift for key families, a welcome gift for visitors, etc.

Where worship is concerned, if you haven't looked into Year D yet, it is not too soon to plan ahead:


On the other hand, if you want to restart the RCL cycle with Year A and the Gospel of Matthew, you may want to have this on hand:

These are just a few — hopefully helpful — pieces developed over the years in small church ministry, and one (the translation) that has arisen from the nagging sense that we still have a lot to learn about our identity and mission as Christians in the Reformed tradition from the actual Reformers (there are more than just Luther and Calvin) who got the ball rolling. In short and paradoxically, clues to the way forward always seems to demand attending to the past, if we are patient and teachable enough to search out the great treasures of the tradition. Obviously, that applies to scripture above all, especially to those basic, but neglected essentials like the Lord's Prayer.

Spread the Word!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Apocalyptic Discourse — 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 11]

Deuteronomy 31:23–29 or Micah 7:1–7 or Daniel (11:40–45) 12:1–13
Psalm 54
Matthew 10:17–22a; 24:9–14 or Mark 13:9–13
1 Corinthians 9:1–15

O Lord our protector, we live in troubled times, when many run to and fro in pursuit of vain things, and lawlessness increases. Nevertheless, in Jesus Christ you deliver your people from death to life, everyone who is found written in your book of life. Speak to us once more of eternal things: of life and love, of your holy splendor and your complete joy, that we may gain wisdom and shine with your glory like the brightness of the sky, like the stars forever and ever. This we ask in the name of your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness.

For homiletical commentary on these texts, follow the link.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Apocalyptic Discourse - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 10]

Jeremiah 7:1–15 or Daniel 2:1–49
Psalm 17:8–14 (15) or 83
Matthew 24:1–8 (or Mark 13:1–8)
1 Corinthians 7:1–40

OPENING PRAYER [see Daniel 2:20–23, 47] [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Blessed be your name, O God, from age to age, for wisdom and power are yours! Truly, you are God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries! You change times and seasons, depose and establish rulers, give wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to the understanding. You reveal deep and hidden things; you know what is in the darkness, and light dwells with you. To you, O God of our ancestors, we give thanks and praise, for you give your faithful ones wisdom and power, and reveal yourself to those who seek you. Draw near to us now, we pray, as we gather in your presence to magnify your holy name.

NB: Here is some related homiletical commentary on these texts.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Proper 9]

2Kings 6:8-23
Psalm 57 OR 3
Matthew 12:38-50 OR Luke 11:24-36
1Corinthians 5:1-5 (6-8) 9-13; 6:1-11

O LORD our refuge, you have spoken through your prophets and your teachers of wisdom, yet you are among us as one greater still! You have expanded our understanding of family, saying, whoever does the will of our heavenly Father is a brother or sister of Jesus Christ the Son. Yet one far greater than the church is here! Yes, you are here, for so you have promised to be present in the Spirit where your followers are gathered in your name, you who were three days in the heart of the earth and are now seated at the right hand of power. Therefore, awaken us to the nearness of your presence, speak to us with the power of our risen Lord Jesus, and give us courage and determination to obey, for we are eager to receive the blessing you promised when you said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”