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Lectionary 26C (September 29, 2019)

Jesus breaks this story while he tells it. It’s a standard reversal of fortunes story. The rich man and Lazarus are caricatures. The rich man dresses in purple—plays dress up Caesar inside his mansion—he wears fine linen and feasts sumptuously. Then, poor Lazarus! He lies at the gate hoping for …

Lectionary 25C (September 22, 2019)

Jesus confronts the cruelty of the world with grace. There’s always more grace than the world can counter with cruelty, although this can be hard to believe. You take a text like our First Reading, Amos. For Amos, God’s concern is economics. Israel is rotting with inequality. Amos names a …

Lectionary 24C (September 15, 2019)

Previously on Exodus: God has liberated Israel from slavery in Egypt, drowned the pursuing Egyptians at the Red Sea, fed the Israelites with miracle bread, and after three months brought them to Mount Sinai, where God manifested as a smoky cloud. Moses went up, came down to let everyone know …

Lectionary 23C (September 8, 2019)

Is Jesus throwing shade at our special projects campaign? “Don’t start a tower without calculating the cost, or else you’ll quit, and the neighbors will laugh at you”? Well, we have estimated the costs of roofing, flooring, and the other work around here. Folks have obtained bids and estimates and …

Lectionary 22C (September 1, 2019)

The dinner in today’s gospel is all about Jesus. We’re left to wonder if the host was hoping Jesus would teach or heal, or if they’re hoping to catch him doing something wrong. Regardless, he is the star of the show. He embraces the role. He’s not quite David Lee …

Lectionary 21C (August 25, 2019)

We are people of Holy Baptism. We read Scripture from within the deep waters of Christ’s baptismal font. This is not always as attractive as reading the surface from outside. Here’s a good surface reading: “There are six days on which work should be done.” It’s nice. It’s concise. It’s …

Lectionary 20C (August 18, 2019)

“No, I tell you…I have [not] come to bring peace to the earth…but rather division.” That’s a nice way to start a picnic, Jesus. He’s not bringing division for division’s sake. I have in my life encountered folks who I am convinced simply enjoy fighting. That’s not the division Jesus …

Lectionary 19C (August 11, 2019)

“Abraham believed, and God reckoned it to him as righteousness.” This is one of the most influential sentences ever written. God reckons Abraham’s belief as righteousness. The question, “what is righteousness?” lies beneath everything we do and say as Christians. Old Testament theologian Walter Brueggemann says that (at least in …

Lectionary 18C (August 4, 2019)

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Teacher. Ecclesiastes: also known as “The Day the Teacher Lost It.” The Teacher finally snapped. What does the Teacher mean by “vanity”? We’ve used that English word for centuries to translate a Hebrew word for mist. The ancient Greek translators chose a word meaning “useless.” …

Lectionary 17C (July 28, 2019)

Happy Sodom and Gomorrah Sunday, everybody! I love that the Lectionary pairs this scene with Luke’s account of the Lord’s Prayer. This scene is the perfect foil to any simplistic reading of Jesus on prayer. Life is complicated. God’s relationship with people is complicated. Abraham’s relationship with Sodom is complicated. …