It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Narrative Lectionary 6/16-7/7

Psalms (4 weeks): see R. Jacobson’s 6-week series (2015)

6/16 Psalm 113 (Luke 15:8-10)
6/23 Psalm 69:1-16 (Matthew 7:7-11)
6/30 Psalm 27:1-6 (Matthew 6:25-34)

7/7 Psalm 40:1-10 (Luke 17:11-19)


Monday, December 31, 2018

Narrative Lectionary January-June 2019

January 20 Tempted in the Wilderness
Matthew 4:1-17 Psalm 91:9-12

January 27 Beatitudes
Matthew 5:1-20 Beatitudes, salt of the earth, let your light shine (Psalm 1:1-3)

February 3 Matthew 6:7-21 [25-34]
Lord’s prayer, treasure in heaven
and/or Matt 6:25-34, Lilies of the field (Psalm 20:7)
February 10 The Golden Rule Matthew 7:1-14, 24-29
Speck in the eye, narrow gate, wise man builds house on rock (Psalm 37:16-18)

February 17 Parables of the Kingdom
Matt 13:24-43 Parable of wheat and weeds (Psalm 84:1-7)

February 24 Feeding 5,000 Matthew 14:13-33 Feeding the 5,000, walking on the sea
(Psalm 95:1-5)

March 3 Transfiguration Matthew 16:24--17:8
Passion prediction, bearing the cross, Transfiguration (Psalm 41:7-10)
March 6
Who Is the Greatest? Ash Wednesday
Matthew 18:1-9 Debate about who is the greatest, become like a child; if your right hand causes sin cut it off (Psalm 146:7c-10 or 51:1-3)

March 10 Forgiveness First Sunday in Lent Matthew 18:15-35
Church discipline, forgiving 70 times 7, parable of unforgiving servant (Psalm 32:1-2)

March 17 Laborers in the Vineyard Second Sunday in Lent Matthew 20:1-16 (Psalm 16:5-8)

March 24 Wedding Banquet Third Sunday in Lent Matthew 22:1-14 (Psalm 45:6-7)

March 31 Bridesmaids (or Talents) Fourth Sunday in Lent Matthew 25:1-13
and/or Matt 25:14-30, (Psalm 43:3-4)

April 7 Last Judgment Fifth Sunday in Lent Matthew 25:31-46 (Psalm 98:7-9)

April 14 Triumphal Entry, cleansing the temple  Palm Sunday
Matthew 21:1-17 (Psalm 118:25-29)

April 18 Preparing for the Last Supper, mention of betrayal Words of Institution
Maundy Thursday Matthew 26:17-30(Psalm 116:12-15)

April 19 Good Friday
Matthew 27:27-61 Crucifixion; "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?"
(Psalm 22:1-2, [14-18])
April 21 Easter Matthew 28:1-10 Resurrection, empty tomb, women encounter the risen Jesus
(Psalm 118:19-24)
April 28 Second Sunday of Easter Matthew 28:16-20
Great commission, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (Psalm 40:9-10)

May 5 Third Sunday of Easter Acts 10:1-17, 34-48
Peter’s vision show how God cleanses people of every nation (Matt 9:36-37)

May 12 Fourth Sunday of Easter Acts 13:1-3; 14:8-18 Beginning of Paul’s mission. Healing at Lystra, gospel to the Gentile world (Matt 10:40-42)

May 19 Fifth Sunday of Easter Romans 1:1-17 Gospel as power of God for salvation to all, both Jews and Greeks (Matt 9:10-13)
May 26 Sixth Sunday of Easter Romans [3:28-30] 5:1-11 God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit; Christ died for the ungodly (Matt 11:28-30)

June 2 Seventh Sunday of Easter Romans 6:1-14 We were buried with him by baptism into death, so that we might walk in newness of life. Hope of resurrection. (Matt 6:24)
June 9 Pentecost Acts 2:1-4; Romans 8:14-39 The groaning of creation, Spirit helps us in our weakness, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Matt 28:16-20)



Monday, September 10, 2018

Blessed to be a Blessing, a Reflection on Genesis 12:1-5

The first eleven chapters of Genesis tell of God's gifts to us humans and what we do with them and how God responds.

In the beginning, God gave us a garden, companionship, and food. God said not to do this one thing, but that's what we did. God sent them out of the garden but out there they were going to be able to obtain food and to have families. Moreover, God replaced their fig leaf loincloths with fur coats.

Next, as we learned to grow crops and tend sheep, jealousy and violence erupted. God responded by protecting the malefactor from the retribution that we might assert that he had deserved.

Families grew and spread out, but so did the wickedness--to the extent that the Lord regretted even having populated the earth anyway.

But, instead of wiping out the human race entirely, God chose the moral man to begin the project anew. This worked for a while. Noah's son's families expanded and spread out into many lands. They began to be prideful of their accomplishments. They erected a tower with its top in the sky to make a name for themselves. God scattered them over the earth.

Then, in Chapter 12, God once again reached out, choosing Abraham to start things over, once more, "I will bless you, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Abraham's predecessors had done it wrong, but he was to do it right.

Abraham had some work to do, "Go to the place that I will show you."

We can remember and celebrate Abraham's call and his response. And we can metaphorize it: What changes in our lives need our response? Where is the Lord showing us to go? What is the Lord commanding us to do?

Monday, July 30, 2018

Reversal of Fortune, a Reflection on Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17

Ruth is a foreigner, a widow with no money who is living with her mother-in-law, Naomi, who is also a widow without financial resources.

A kinsman, Boaz, marries Ruth. They have a child, Obed. Ruth who had refused to stay behind when Naomi had returned home now has a new home, a new husband, and a child. Naomi who had lost a husband and two sons now because of the loyalty of her daughter-in-law now is a grandmother.

Obed is the grandfather of King David. And David is the ancestor of Jesus.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

How we know that we abide in God, Reflection on 1 John 4:7-21

If the author of this epistle were writing to your congregation today, would he need to include this section? Does your congregation need to be reminded to love? to love each other? to love our brothers and sisters? to love people we don't even know? And which is harder for us, anyway, to love people we have to be around all the time or people that we don't?

Consider for a while today what verse 7 means to you. How does loving someone help you to know God? Or, how does knowing God help you to love someone?

The Father has sent his Son to save the world, verse 14. The world. God hasn't sent the Son to take us away from the world, to live separately from it, but to save it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Sin, not sins, a Reflection on John 1:29-34

Religious authorities, aware of the impact that John had been making, traveled to the wilderness to question him. "Who are you?" they wanted to know. He denied being the Messiah or Elijah or the prophet, but put them on alert (19-33).

The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

In their commentary on John, Gail R. O'Day and Susan E. Hylen point out what I should have been able to notice on my own but didn't, that John says "sin" not "sins" of the world. They say:
As a singular noun, "sin" points to the world's collective alienation from God. "Sins" in the plural evokes a catalog of individual misdeeds and "sinful" behaviors, which is not what John is saying here. "Sin" in the singular refers to a broken relationship with God in which we all share equally, whereas "sins" in the plural can be used to point to some relationships and behaviors as more broken than others. As the Passover Lamb, Jesus liberates the world from slavery to "sin" by bringing the world into new and fresh contact with the presence of God, so that human alienation from God can end.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Light is Still Turned On, a reflection on John 1:1-14

I am pondering on verse 10, "He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him." Why did the world not know him? Has the world caught on yet?

I keep reading. Verse 11 says "He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him." Okay, many of the Jews of his day did not convert to Christianity. But, how many Christians of my own day really accept Christ? Do we show evidence of this acceptance by the way we live our lives?

"And the Word became flesh and lived among us," (v14). In their commentary, John, Gail R. O'Day and Susan E. Hylen point out something that I had totally missed--The use of first person pronouns--John intended for his readers--intends for his readers--to understand and accept that the Word is here--As O'Day and Hylen put it, "The eternal Word of verses 1-2 now completely enters the human and time-bound sphere by becoming flesh...The story of God and the Word is no longer a cosmic story, but is an intimately human story.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Great Commandment, Reflection on Matthew 22:34-40

The Pharisees and Herodians disagreed on a lot of things, but they did agree with one thing--they both saw Jesus as a disruption. They tried to trap him by asking the question about paying taxes, but he didn't fall into the trap.

The Saducees, another group opposing Jesus, also failed in their tactic of asking a trick question.

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Saducees, they decided to make yet another attempt. They addressed him as "Teacher," (were they being sarcastic? surely, they didn't think Jesus could teach them anything?) They asked him "Which commandment of the law is most important?"

Were they trying to get him to say that some of the law was less important than the others? Do we believe that? What distinctions do we make? What the difference between naming what's most important and summarizing the law? When prophets summarized the law (see Micah 6:8; Isaiah 33:15-16; 56:1; Amos 5:14-15), were they saying that the rest of the instruction is unimportant?

Jesus responds to them by quoting scripture (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18). Is he saying the rest of the instruction is unimportant? Or, is he saying all the instructions that the Scripture gives us is intended to help us do these things: Love God and love neighbor?

Monday, June 4, 2018

Reflection on Exodus 20:17-20

Quote from Allen & Williamson's Preaching from the Old Testament:
Eight of the ten words begin: "you shall not." People often speak of negative commandments as off-putting "do nots" that constrict life....But that misconstrues the negative instructions in the Torah. First, we can keep all of them while taking a nap. ...Second, negative mitzvoth deal with the parameters of behavior. They do not specify what we should do, simply what we should not do. They name the actions that cancel all possibility of living with others a life of well-being (which can only be lived with others.)