Second Sunday after Pentecost, June 14, 2020

Please see How to Use Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Genesis 18:1-15 [21:1-7])

The Lord appears to Abraham in the form of three strangers who state that his wife Sarah will bear a son. The elderly and barren Sarah laughs at the idea [but later has a son, Isaac, or, “laughter”, who she knows comes from the Lord].

Psalm (116:1-2, 12-19)

The Psalmist rejoices in the Lord who has heard his cry and blessed him, setting him free and saving him. Although he cannot possibly repay the debt he will fulfil his vows in the presence of God’s people.

Second Reading (Romans 5:1-8)

Having obtained peace with God through faith in Christ, who died for us while we were still sinners, we now have hope of sharing in his glory. By producing character, our sufferings add to this hope and, with the Spirit, God’s love is poured into our hearts.

Gospel (Matthew 9:35-10:8 [9-23])

Overwhelmed by the needs of so many, Jesus sends out his disciples to extend his mission. [They are to be totally dependent on others for their needs. Although sheep among wolves, the Spirit will enable them to stand up to opposing authorities.]

 

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Lord will provide what we truly need to fulfill our calling
  • God will answer our prayers in his way and in his time, but he will answer them
  • God is present with us in various ways
  • The Lord partners with the faithful in the fulfilment of his plans
  • The Lord gives us a lot more than we could ever deserve

SCRIPTURE SENTENCE (BAS, Canada)

The kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel. Mark 1.15

COLLECT OF THE DAY (BAS, Canada)

Almighty God,
without you we are not able to please you. Mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN

 

Based on the Alternate Readings

First Reading (Exodus 19:2-8a)

The Lord tells Moses to remind the people of how he has carried them out of bondage in Egypt on eagles’ wings. In response they are to keep his covenant and be a priestly kingdom, his treasured possession out of all the nations. As one, they promise to obey.

Psalm (Psalm 100)

The Psalmist calls upon the whole earth to rejoice in worshipping the Lord who has made us and called us to be his people. He is altogether good and faithfull, his love endures forever.

Second Reading (Romans 5:1-8)

Having obtained peace with God through faith in Christ, who died for us while we were still sinners, we now have hope of sharing in his glory. By producing character, our sufferings add to this hope and, with the Spirit, God’s love is poured into our hearts.

Gospel (Matthew 9:35-10:8 [9-23])

Overwhelmed by the needs of so many, Jesus sends out his disciples to extend his mission. [They are to be totally dependent on others for their needs. Although sheep among wolves, the Spirit will enable them to stand up to opposing authorities.]

 

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Lord will provide what we truly need to fulfill our calling
  • God is present with us in various ways
  • The Lord partners with the faithful in the fulfilment of his plans
  • The Lord gives us a lot more than we could ever deserve
  • It is the Lord who saves us, we are unable to save ourselves
  • In responding to God’s great salvation, we are to serve him with all our hearts

SCRIPTURE SENTENCE (BAS, Canada)

The kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel. Mark 1.15

COLLECT OF THE DAY (BAS, Canada)

Almighty God,
without you we are not able to please you. Mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN

Third Sunday in Lent, Year A, March 15, 2020

Please see How to Use Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 17:1-7)

After Israel’s miraculous escape from Egypt at the hand of the Lord, the people bitterly complain to Moses that they will die because there is no water in the wilderness. The Lord commands Moses to strike a rock in order to provide life-giving water for them.

Psalm (95)

The Psalmist calls the people to worship the Lord with thanksgiving because of who he is and what he has done. He warns them not to be like their ancestors who tested the Lord by complaining in the wilderness and were denied entrance into the Promised Land.

Second Reading (Romans 5:1-11)

St. Paul marvels at the grace of God who saved us through Christ while we were still weak sinners and his enemies. This is a work of the Holy Spirit who enables our sufferings to create, in turn, endurance, character and a hope that does not disappoint.

Gospel (John 4:5-42)

In Samaria Jesus offers a woman water that produces eternal life, although he knows she is a sinner from a despised race. Astonished at his insight, she goes home to share her experience. Saying true food is doing God’s work, Jesus remains there to preach.

 

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Lord saves us in spite of our unworthiness (grace)
  • Jesus is the only source of eternal life, the font of every blessing
  • We are made right with God to live right with God (and our neighbours)
  • God has done so much for us we are without excuse for not serving him with all our hearts

COLLECT OF THE DAY (BAS, Canada)

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life, may we always thirst for you,
the spring of life and source of goodness;
through him who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. AMEN.

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, February 2, 2020

Lection Connection for the Presentation of the Lord can be found here.

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Micah 6:1-8)

Micah pictures the Lord calling the mountains as witnesses to what he teaches wayward Judah. Do they not remember being brought out of Egypt to the Promised Land? It is not more ritual sacrifices that he requires, but humbly walking in his way of love and justice.

Psalm (Psalm 15)

The Psalmist points out that those who would dwell with the Lord must walk blamelessly, speaking and doing the truth no matter the cost.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Paul points out that the message of the cross contradicts the way spiritual truth is normally acquired. It is foolishness to Greeks seeking wisdom and weakness to Jews seeking powerful signs. The Lord alone saves and therefore no one can boast.

Gospel (Matthew 5:1-12)

Matthew recounts how Jesus, having ascended a mountain, teaches about the attitudes and actions that characterize those who will inherit the kingdom of God. He outlines a blessed life of meekness and humility which results in opposition and even persecution.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God’s ways are not our ways and can sometimes contradict them
  • God is the one to exercise spiritual power, while we are to follow him in humility
  • It is God who saves, not we ourselves
  • To walk humbly before our God is to put his ways above ours and to believe that he will indeed save us in spite of appearances to the contrary

Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, January 19, 2020

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 49:1-7)

Isaiah speaks of the Lord’s chosen servant who is to turn Israel back to God and be used for his glory, manifesting the light of salvation to the nations. Presently despised, Israel will be so noticeably blessed that even foreign kings shall worship the Lord.

Psalm (40:1-11)

The Psalmist speaks as someone whom the Lord has rescued from the pit, set on a rock, and enabled to sing a new song that leads many to faith. It is not temple sacrifices that have saved him, but simply God’s love and mercy, and he now delights in his law.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 1:1-9)

St. Paul celebrates the grace of God that has been manifested to the Corinthians as part of the fellowship of Christ being instituted throughout the entire world. Through grace they have been enriched by having every spiritual gift poured out upon them.

Gospel (John 1:29-42)

John the Baptist appears as a mere servant pointing to a greater one to come. Seeing the Holy Spirit descend upon his cousin Jesus, John identifies him as both the Son and Lamb of God. Two of John’s disciples follow Jesus and then recruit Peter, or “the Rock”.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Grace is characteristic of the manifestation of the Lord
  • God uses those he has lifted up for his greater glory
  • The ones God has saved are set upon the surest of foundations
  • We cannot be silent about what God has done for us
  • When God’s people wholeheartedly proclaim God’s blessings, the whole world will be drawn to him

First Sunday after Christmas, Year A, December 29, 2019

Please see How to Use Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 63:7-9)

In Isaiah’s day things are not looking good for Israel and he reminds the nation of the Lord’s many past gracious acts to their ancestors. Alluding to their escape from Egypt, he emphasizes that salvation was gained through God’s very Presence with them.

Psalm (148)

The Psalmist exhorts the inhabitants of the heavens and the creatures of the earth, animate and inanimate alike, to praise their creator Lord. He has provided a mighty leader for his people and is deserving of their unqualified adulation.

Second Reading (Hebrews 2:10-18)

The writer of Hebrews emphasizes that Jesus, as the pioneer of our salvation, has become one of us, sharing our flesh and blood and our experience. This makes him fit to be both the sacrifice for sin and the faithful high priest to offer it on our behalf.

Gospel (Matthew 2:13-23)

Matthew tells how, under the direct guidance of God’s angel each step of the way, the holy family escapes Herod’s grasp by going down to Egypt and later returns to Israel. He draws attention to how all this resonates with the ancient experience of the nation.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Lord is our protector and deliverer
  • Jesus embodies the history of Israel’s great salvation out of Egypt
  • The incarnation brings God fully into our reality and this brings us to God
  • The birth of Jesus is the result of divine action that extends from creation itself: he is the last piece of the puzzle

 

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 22, 2019, Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 7:10-16)

Challenged by two attacking armies, King Ahaz hesitates to ask the Lord for a sign confirming Isaiah’s prophecy of victory. The Lord provides a sign anyway: soon after a young woman bears a special son named “Emmanuel”, Judah will be delivered.

Psalm (80:1-7, 17-19)

The Psalm is a plea to the Shepherd of Israel to put aside his anger with his sheep and restore them. The Psalmist asks that God’s right-hand man lead them to salvation and faithfulness. They will come back to life as the face of the Lord shines upon them.

Second Reading (Romans 1:1-7)

Paul reminds the Romans of his call to be an apostle to Gentiles such as them. While the Gospel was promised in the Jewish prophecies about their Messiah, grace has now been extended to all. Jesus’ resurrection has declared him Son of God and universal Lord.

Gospel (Matthew 1:18-25)

Joseph is directed by an angel to go through with his engagement to Mary because she is with child through the Holy Spirit. Her son is to be named Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins and, we are told, this is the fulfillment of the Emmanuel promise.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God of salvation is with us
  • Israel’s expectations of restoration looked to God to provide a saviour from amongst them
  • God’s own Son bears the promise and reality of resurrection
  • God’s salvation often arrives in an unexpected manner and usually exceeds all expectation

Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost, November 10, 2019, Proper 27, Year C

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Haggai 1:15b-2:9)

Haggai is given a message for the people of Judah who have returned from exile to the Holy Land: the Lord will continue to be with them and their ruined temple will rise again. More splendid even than Solomon’s temple, it will be filled with the wealth of nations.

Psalm (145:1-5, 17-21)

The Psalmist is caught up in praise as he contemplates the unsurpassed majesty and splendor of the Lord, who blesses the faithful and destroys the wicked. All flesh will someday come to worship him as well.

Second Reading (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17)

To the church in Thessalonica, concerned about the return of Jesus and being gathered to him, Paul re-affirms that this glorious event will occur, but only after the rise of the lawless one. As the first fruits of this coming salvation, his readers are to hold fast.

Gospel (Luke 20:27-38)

Luke relates Jesus’ encounter with some Sadducees who try to make belief in the resurrection seem absurd. Jesus responds by teaching that the resurrection is a scripturally-based reality that will gloriously transcend our experience of this world.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The unsurpassing glory of God brings forth our worship
  • God’s salvation will be seen by all people
  • God is in the resurrection business
  • God will keep his promises, no matter what things look like now
  • God’s future transcends our world and our expectations

 

Based on the Readings as Set, but with the Alternative Psalm

First Reading (Haggai 1:15b-2:9)

Haggai is given a message for the people of Judah who have returned from exile to the Holy Land: the Lord will continue to be with them and their ruined temple will rise again. More splendid even than Solomon’s temple, it will be filled with the wealth of nations.

Psalm (98)

The Psalmist calls for exuberant celebration of the great power of the Lord demonstrated in his decisive exaltation of Israel. The nations bear witness to this miracle and are urged to join in the rejoicing of nature itself.

Second Reading (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17)

To the church in Thessalonica, concerned about the return of Jesus and being gathered to him, Paul re-affirms that this glorious event will occur, but only after the rise of the lawless one. As the first fruits of this coming salvation, his readers are to hold fast.

Gospel (Luke 20:27-38)

Luke relates Jesus’ encounter with some Sadducees who try to make belief in the resurrection seem absurd. Jesus responds by teaching that the resurrection is a scripturally-based reality that will gloriously transcend our experience of this world.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The unsurpassing glory of God brings forth our worship
  • God’s salvation will be seen by all people
  • God is in the resurrection business
  • God will keep his promises, no matter what things look like now
  • God’s future transcends our world and our expectations

 

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Job 19:23-27a)

In this remarkable passage Job cries out for his words of ultimate hope in the Lord to be written down. Despite his great suffering he is confident of his ultimate vindication. He says that in his own flesh he shall see God long after he has died and his body destroyed.

Psalm (17:1-9)

The Psalmist sees himself as a besieged innocent and cries out to the Lord for vindication. He is confident of being heard and ultimately finding refuge under the shadow of God’s wing.

Second Reading (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17)

To the church in Thessalonica, concerned about the return of Jesus and being gathered to him, Paul re-affirms that this glorious event will occur, but only after the rise of the lawless one. As the first fruits of this coming salvation, his readers are to hold fast.

Gospel (Luke 20:27-38)

Luke relates Jesus’ encounter with some Sadducees who try to make belief in the resurrection seem absurd. Jesus responds by teaching that the resurrection is a scripturally-based reality that will gloriously transcend our experience of this world.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God’s salvation will be seen by all people
  • God is in the resurrection business
  • God will keep his promises, no matter what things look like now
  • God’s future transcends our world and our expectations
  • Vengeance is mine, says the Lord

All Saints Day, November 1, 2019, Year C

Lection Connection for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost, Sunday October 3, 2019 can be found here.

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18)

Daniel envisions four great kings or kingdoms arising out of the earth. Each is described as a horrific “beast”, striking terror in the heart of the prophet. In spite of this threatening scenario, Daniel is assured that the kingdom will finally belong to the holy ones of God forever.

Psalm (149)

The Psalm calls for praise to the Lord because he gives glorious victory to lowly Israel, setting it over the kings and nobles of the nations.

Second Reading (Ephesians 1:11-23)

Paul writes of the glorious inheritance we now have in Christ, rooted in the power exhibited in his resurrection and demonstrated in his being designated head over all things. While he is our head, we are his body and therefore share in his fullness.

Gospel (Luke 6:20-31)

The Beatitudes make it clear that the kingdom of God will be upside down from our normal experience. The lowly will be made great and vice versa. We are called to embody this upside- down way of life, loving our enemies and treating them as we ourselves desire to be treated.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God will grant the kingdom to his humble and holy people
  • Exaltation is not ours to grasp. It will be the gift of God
  • The normal human ways to exalt ourselves over others will ultimately result in our downfall
  • No matter how exalted, no human power will prevail over the kingdom of God
  • As those who belong to Christ, all saints already participate in his exaltation

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, October 6, 2019, Proper 22, Year C

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Lamentations 1:1-6)

The writer of Lamentations is eloquent in his sad description of a ruined and desolate Judah and Jerusalem, once majestic among the nations, now like a forlorn widow. He notes simply that this has all come about because of unfaithfulness to the Lord.

Psalm Substitute (Lamentations 3:19-26)

The author of Lamentations continues by expressing his deep pain at Judah’s fate but remembers that the Lord is merciful and faithful and his salvation worth waiting for. From this though he derives his hope.

Second Reading (2 Timothy 1:1-14)

Paul, himself suffering for being faithful, trusts in Christ for his ultimate vindication. He urges Timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel, rekindling the gift of faith that was also in his mother and grandmother and holding to the message of grace already given.

Gospel (Luke 17:5-10)

In response to his disciples’ request for more faith, Jesus asserts that true faith is indeed powerful enough to move mountains. But in contrast he affirms that humble obedience through the simple performance of our duties is the best expression of faith.

Connection Suggestions

  • Disobedience or obedience may result in suffering
  • Doing the right thing because it is the right thing is always the right thing
  • Repent or perish!
  • Simple faithful obedience is better than spectacular demonstrations of faith

 

Based on the Alternative Readings A

First Reading (Lamentations 1:1-6)

The writer of Lamentations is eloquent in his sad description of a ruined and desolate Judah and Jerusalem, once majestic among the nations, now like a forlorn widow. He notes simply that this has all come about because of unfaithfulness to the Lord.

Psalm (137)

The Psalmist bitterly resents the conquerors’ demands for entertainment from the captives. Blaming only the enemies of Judah, especially the Babylonians, for the disaster, he calls on the Lord to execute terrible judgment upon them.

Second Reading (2 Timothy 1:1-14)

Paul, himself suffering for being faithful, trusts in Christ for his ultimate vindication. He urges Timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel, rekindling the gift of faith that was also in his mother and grandmother and holding to the message of grace already given.

Gospel (Luke 17:5-10)

In response to his disciples’ request for more faith, Jesus asserts that true faith is indeed powerful enough to move mountains. But in contrast he affirms that humble obedience through the simple performance of our duties is the best expression of faith.

Connection Suggestions

  • Disobedience or obedience may result in suffering
  • Doing the right thing because it is the right thing is always the right thing
  • Simple faithful obedience is better than spectacular demonstrations of faith
  • Faithfulness in suffering is sustained by a focus on grace received

 

Based on Alternative Readings B

First Reading (Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4)

Crying out for the Lord to end his silence concerning Judah’s destruction, the prophet Habakkuk decides simply to await the divine word. He is told of a coming “end” for which he is to wait, trusting in God’s word. It is by such faith that the righteous will live.

Psalm (37:1-9)

“Just wait” is the counsel of the Psalmist to those who agonize over the triumph of the wicked all around him. Look to the Lord and all will be well. Burning anger will lead to evil but faithfulness will result in inheriting the land and the destruction of the wicked.

Second Reading (2 Timothy 1:1-14)

Paul, himself suffering for being faithful, trusts in Christ for his ultimate vindication. He urges Timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel, rekindling the gift of faith that was also in his mother and grandmother and holding to the message of grace already given.

Gospel (Luke 17:5-10)

In response to his disciples’ request for more faith, Jesus asserts that true faith is indeed powerful enough to move mountains. But in contrast he affirms that humble obedience through the simple performance of our duties is the best expression of faith.

Connection Suggestions

  • Doing the right thing because it is the right thing is always the right thing
  • Simple faithful obedience is better than spectacular demonstrations of faith
  • Faithfulness in suffering is sustained by a focus on grace received
  • Trusting in God often means waiting for him

 

 

 

 

 

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 15, 2019, Proper 19, Year C

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28)

Jeremiah foresees God’s judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem as a scorching wind from the desert that sweeps all before it. The land will be desolate, without light, vegetation or inhabitants. Although this fate is inevitable, the Lord promises that it is not final.

Psalm (14)

The Psalmist laments Israel’s lack of someone to come to her rescue. The world seems full of fools who deny God’s very existence and who ignore his ways. All have gone astray. The Lord, however, is the refuge of the poor, and terror will come on the wicked.

Second Reading (1 Timothy 1:12-17)

Paul tells the young Timothy of his gratitude to Christ Jesus for his conversion and calling to serve. He was such a hard-case unbeliever that his coming to faith can only be seen as a miracle of grace, an example for all to see and come to faith themselves. He can only give glory to God.

Gospel (Luke 15:1-10)

Because he is criticized for socializing among sinners, Jesus tells two parables to illustrate that sinners are actually the primary focus of God’s attention and how he rejoices when even one repents. He tells of a shepherd who finds a lost sheep and a woman who finds a lost coin.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God’s judgment is meant to bring us back to himself
  • Amazing grace
  • We can only truly appreciate our redemption if we truly appreciate our lostness without Jesus
  • Our sinfulness does not make us repellant to God but attracts his loving and redemptive attention

 

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Exodus 32:7-14)

While Moses meets with Yahweh on Mt. Sinai the people demand that Aaron make gods for them. The Lord angrily decides to destroy this people who so quickly abandon him. He plans to make a great nation out of Moses instead, but the latter intercedes and the Lord relents.

Psalm (51:1-10)

The Psalmist admits both his inborn sinfulness and the sinful acts he has committed. He pleads that the Lord will have mercy upon him and grant him forgiveness and a clean heart. He begs for a new spirit to be given to him.

Second Reading (1 Timothy 1:12-17)

Paul tells the young Timothy of his gratitude to Christ Jesus for his conversion and calling to serve. He was such a hard-case unbeliever that his coming to faith can only be seen as a miracle of grace, an example for all to see and come to faith themselves. He can only give glory to God.

Gospel (Luke 15:1-10)

Because he is criticized for socializing among sinners, Jesus tells two parables to illustrate that sinners are actually the primary focus of God’s attention and how he rejoices when even one repents. He tells of a shepherd who finds a lost sheep and a woman who finds a lost coin.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Amazing grace
  • We can only truly appreciate our redemption if we truly appreciate our lostness without Jesus
  • Our sinfulness does not make us repellant to God but attracts his loving and redemptive attention
  • The perversity of sin