Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, August 26, 2018, Proper 16, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection 

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (1 Kings 8:[1,6,10-11], 22-30, 41-43)

Solomon dedicates the new temple and the divine Presence powerfully fills the building. The king knows that the Lord is not confined to this space but asks that all those who pray toward it, Jew and Gentile alike, will be answered and come to know the Lord.

Psalm (84)

The Psalmist exults in the blessings of living in the presence of God, his temple and his city. A single day spent there is worth thousands wasted in sin. He affirms that those who derive their strength from God alone are the happiest of all.

Second Reading (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Paul affirms that the Christian struggle is not with other humans but with evil spiritual forces. We need to use all the spiritual weapons God has for us, like soldiers fully armed for battle. The Ephesians are to pray that Paul will do his best to advance the Gospel.

Gospel (John 6:56-69)

Although Jesus discourages a literal meaning, talking of the need to eat his flesh and drink his blood offends many of his disciples and they desert him. The twelve remain with him, knowing, as Peter puts it, that only he has the words of eternal life.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Being in the presence of the Lord trumps all other considerations
  • The struggles of individual believers are part of a universal cosmic spiritual struggle
  • Only the Lord is able to provide eternal life as well as victory over sin and death: it is to him alone that we must look
  • We need to look beyond the surface to see God at work at the spiritual level

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18)

Having led Israel in the conquest of Canaan, Joshua charges the nation always to follow the Lord and not the gods of their ancestors or the gods of the Land. Joshua commits himself and his family to the Lord as do the people, knowing what he has done for them.

Psalm (34:15-22)

The Psalmist asserts that the Lord helps those who follow his laws but is against those who do evil. Even though the righteous are beset by many troubles, they will be rescued and live. The wicked will be condemned to death for their evil deeds.

Second Reading (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Paul affirms that the Christian struggle is not with other humans but with evil spiritual forces. We need to use all the spiritual weapons God has for us, like soldiers fully armed for battle. The Ephesians are to pray that Paul will do his best to advance the Gospel.

Gospel (John 6:56-69)

Although Jesus discourages a literal meaning, talking of the need to eat his flesh and drink his blood offends many of his disciples and they desert him. The twelve remain with him, knowing, as Peter puts it, that only he has the words of eternal life.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • There is only one way to live and that is by the word of the Lord
  • The struggles of individual believers are part of a universal cosmic spiritual struggle
  • Only the Lord is able to provide eternal life as well as victory over sin and death: it is to him alone that we must look
  • We need to look beyond the surface to see God at work at the spiritual level

 

 

 

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 10, 2017, Proper 18, Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 12:1-14)

Nine plagues having failed to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites, Yahweh tells Moses to prepare for one more: the death of all the firstborn males. Each Israelite household is to slaughter a lamb and smear the blood on the outside of its doorway to alert the angel of death to pass over it. The occasion will be the beginning of their new year and will be celebrated by reenacting this unique meal.

Psalm (149)

Calling upon the people to render joyful and melodic praise to their Maker and their King, the Psalmist reminds them that Yahweh takes pleasure in them, giving victory to the humble. At the same time they are to be ready to execute judgment on the nations at his bidding and for their glory.

Second Reading (Romans 13:8-14)

Like Jesus, St. Paul asserts the truth that to love one’s neighbour as oneself is to fulfill the law. He then points out that his readers’ ultimate salvation is nearer now than ever and they must wake up and live in its light, not giving themselves over to the debaucheries of the flesh. In other words, they must put on the Lord Jesus Christ and resist any inclinations to live contrary to him.

Gospel (Matthew 18:15-20)

Jesus gives specific directions on what to do if a fellow Christian sins against us. His stress is on winning the person back into the fellowship rather than on asserting our own rights. They need to be confronted with their sin within a widening circle of witnesses. Decisions made in this way, even to the point of ex-communication, have the awesome weight of heaven behind them.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The importance of dealing with sin through repentance and change
  • The deadly seriousness of sin
  • The importance of loving one another
  • God’s intentions, even in discipline, are for our good
  • New beginnings with God are possible
  • Bad news can be good news

Based on the Alternative Set of Readings

First Reading (Ezekiel 33:7-11)

Yahweh appoints Ezekiel as a watchman for the Israelites. He is to deliver Yahweh’s dire warnings to abandon their wicked ways or die in their sins. This is a heavy responsibility because unless he delivers the message he will share in the same fate. He is to tell them that while Yahweh does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, he delights in seeing real repentance that leads to a changed life.

Psalm (119:33-40)

The Psalmist, appreciating that living as Yahweh demands is truly the way of life, expresses his desire to know, understand, and delight in the law. He realizes that to follow it faithfully he needs Yahweh to turn his heart away from wickedness of all kinds and grant him life.

Second Reading (Romans 13:8-14)

Like Jesus, St. Paul asserts the truth that to love one’s neighbour as oneself is to fulfill the law. He then points out that his readers’ ultimate salvation is nearer now than ever and they must wake up and live in its light, not giving themselves over to the debaucheries of the flesh. In other words, they must put on the Lord Jesus Christ and resist any inclinations to live contrary to him.

Gospel (Matthew 18:15-20)

Jesus gives specific directions on what to do if a fellow Christian sins against us. His stress is on winning the person back into the fellowship rather than on asserting our own rights. They need to be confronted with their sin within a widening circle of witnesses. Decisions made in this way, even to the point of ex-communication, have the awesome weight of heaven behind them.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The ways of God are the ways of life
  • The importance of dealing with sin through repentance and change
  • The deadly seriousness of sin
  • The importance of loving one another
  • God’s intentions, even in discipline, are for our good
  • Bad news can be good news