Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 23, 2018, Proper 20, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection 

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Proverbs 31:10-31)

The writer details the qualities of a good wife who provides for her family wisely and generously, while supporting the poor. Her husband, children and community all praise her good works. Her obedience to the Lord is better than mere charm and beauty.

Psalm (1)

The Psalmist likens a person who obeys God’s laws to a tree planted by a river, always flourishing. Unlike sinners and scoffers who come and go with the wind, they are happy and content in the knowledge that the Lord watches over them as they walk in his way.

Second Reading (James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a)

Godly wisdom shows in one’s good works that, done in gentleness, promote harmony and peace. False wisdom gives rein to our inner cravings for things, resulting in conflict. Resist these and the devil behind them will flee as you look to God for your needs.

Gospel (Mark 9:30-37)

On the way through Galilee Jesus again tells his disciples that he will be betrayed, die and rise again in three days. Still not understanding, they are afraid and soon fall into arguing about who is the greatest. Jesus them that the humble servant shall be first.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God honours the simple fulfilment of our calling
  • Trusting the Lord is the way to contentment and stability
  • Going our own way leads to trouble
  • Good works are good
  • Serving others is serving yourself

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Jeremiah 11:18-20)

The Lord informs Jeremiah of a plot against him. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, he had no idea of their scheme to make him and his memory disappear from the face of the earth. The prophet, trusting in the Lord, invokes divine vengeance upon them.

Psalm (54)

The Psalmist calls upon the Lord to hear his prayer and vindicate him against those who have risen up against him. He knows that the Lord will do this, and he will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving for his victory over his enemies.

Second Reading (James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a)

Godly wisdom shows in one’s good works that, done in gentleness, promote harmony and peace. False wisdom gives rein to our inner cravings for things, resulting in conflict. Resist these and the devil behind them will flee as you look to God for your needs.

Gospel (Mark 9:30-37)

On the way through Galilee Jesus again tells his disciples that he will be betrayed, die and rise again in three days. Still not understanding, they are afraid and soon fall into arguing about who is the greatest. Jesus them that the humble servant shall be first.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Going our own way leads to trouble
  • Peace comes from leaving retribution and revenge to the Lord
  • We can expect opposition when we decide to follow Jesus
  • Opposition to God’s way arises both within and from without

 

 

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 16, 2018, Proper 19, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Proverbs 1:20-33)

Wisdom calls out to both the simple and the scoffer to listen to her or find themselves in ruin and unable to save themselves from circumstances of their own making. Those who take Wisdom to heart, who fear the Lord, will find security and peace.

Psalm (19)

Even though the creation itself cannot speak it does declare God’s word. Like the sun revives the earth each day, the Law of God joyfully revives the soul. Following it has its own rewards. Our thoughts, as well as our words, need to be in tune with God’s ways.

Second Reading (James 3:1-12)

James warns that teachers should take care because they will be held to a higher standard. The tongue, although small, can be the spark that sets off a poisonous fire. If it utters both blesses and curses it is only reflecting the unperfected heart of the speaker.

Gospel (Mark 8:27-38)

In response to Jesus’ question, Peter identifies him as the Messiah. Jesus then says that he will suffer, die, and then rise again. Peter strongly objects, but Jesus emphasizes that God’s way is that both he and his followers are to lose their lives in order to save them.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The way of God, although contrary to human inclinations, leads to life and peace
  • Be careful little tongue what you say
  • What we say reflects who we are
  • True faithfulness is more than skin deep

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Isaiah 50:4-9a)

Isaiah speaks of the servant of the Lord, a teacher whose word sustains the weary and is determined to accomplish his appointed task in spite of suffering. He knows the Lord is near to help and no one has grounds to say that he is guilty of anything wrong.

Psalm (116:1-9)

The Psalmist speaks of having called to the Lord in a life-threatening crisis and being delivered from death. The Lord protects those who simply trust in him and delivers them from death, enabling them to walk before him among the living.

Second Reading (James 3:1-12)

James warns that teachers should take care because they will be held to a higher standard. The tongue, although small, can be the spark that sets off a poisonous fire. If it utters both blesses and curses it is only reflecting the unperfected heart of the speaker.

Gospel (Mark 8:27-38)

In response to Jesus’ question, Peter identifies him as the Messiah. Jesus then says that he will suffer, die, and then rise again. Peter strongly objects, but Jesus emphasizes that God’s way is that both he and his followers are to lose their lives in order to save them.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The way of God, although contrary to human inclinations, leads to life and peace
  • God will sustain the faithful, even through death itself
  • Be careful little tongue what you say
  • The call to teach the Word of God is both scary and rewarding

 

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 9, 2018, Proper 18, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23)

The writer sets out reasons for the rich to treat the poor with respect and dignity. In the end, both rich and poor are God’s creatures and a good name is far better than merely being rich. The Lord is on the side of the poor, defending them against injustice.

Psalm (125)

The Psalmist declares that the Lord surrounds his people like the unmoveable mountains that surround Jerusalem. Wickedness is to be banished from the Land and goodness rewarded. Evildoers will ultimately be expelled and Israel will be at peace.

Second Reading (James 2:1-10, [11-13], 14-17)

James challenges his readers to realize that loving their neighbour is inconsistent with favouritism toward the rich. The rich are the oppressors of the faithful while it is the poor who are rich in faith and deserve honour. Real faith produces good works, not just words.

Gospel (Mark 7:24-37)

Jesus hesitates to help a Gentile woman but then responds to her persistence and humility by healing her demon-possessed daughter. In another Gentile area he opens a man’s ears and loosens his tongue, to the astonishment and admiration of all.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Being rich is not a clear sign of God’s blessing
  • True riches are found in one’s faith in the God of both rich and poor
  • The poor have a special place in God’s heart
  • The love of God crosses barriers: rich and poor; Jew and Gentile
  • Actions speak louder than words

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Isaiah 35:4-7a)

Describing a future time of redemption, Isaiah speaks of a terrible recompense for evildoers. But at that time the blind will see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the speech-impaired speak, as the wilderness is transformed by freshly abundant water.

Psalm (146)

The Psalmist encourages a life of praise to the Lord who keeps faith forever, unlike mortals whose help comes to an end. Creator of all, he provides food to the hungry, justice for the oppressed and recompense for the wicked. His reign is without end.

Second Reading (James 2:1-10, [11-13], 14-17)

James challenges his readers to realize that loving their neighbour is inconsistent with favouritism toward the rich. The rich are oppressors of the faithful while the poor are rich in faith and deserve honour. Real faith produces good works, not just words.

Gospel (Mark 7:24-37)

Jesus hesitates to help a Gentile woman but then responds to her persistence and humility by healing her demon-possessed daughter. In another Gentile area he opens a man’s ears and loosens his tongue to the astonishment and admiration of all.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Kingdom of God involves remarkable transformations back to the way things ought to be
  • The poor have a special place in God’s heart
  • The love of God crosses barriers: rich and poor; Jew and Gentile
  • Actions speak louder than words