Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 27, 2020

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 17:1-7)

The Israelites test the Lord by quarrelling with Moses because they find no water at Rephidim. Again, the Lord miraculously provides for them, this time having Moses strike a rock to get water. A very frustrated Moses calls the place “Testing” and “Quarrelling”.

Psalm (78:1-4, 12-16)

The Psalmist calls Israel to celebrate and pass on to their own children the cautionary tale of the Lord’s repeated provisions for their ancestors during the Exodus.

Second Reading (Philippians 2:1-13)

Paul urges his readers to adopt “the mind of Christ”, who did not exploit his equality with God but took on human form, humbling himself to death on a cross. Therefore, the same God who works in us raised him Lord of all, with every knee to bow before him.

Gospel (Matthew 21:23-32)

Jesus silences Jewish leaders questioning his authority with a counter question about the authority of John the Baptist. He then shows them that true obedience is not just lip service, but actually doing God’s will, just like the notorious sinners who believed John.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

Testing the Lord is not a good move

Testing the Lord reveals the hardness of our own hearts

Miracles, even repeated miracles, will not by themselves suffice for faith

God is a God of grace and mercy

Humility or self-focus? Which opens the door to others and to God?

True belief shows itself in godly action

Scripture Sentence (BAS, Canada)

My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them and they follow me. John 10.27

Collect of the Day (BAS, Canada)

Grant, O merciful God,
that your Church,
being gathered by your Holy Spirit into one,
may show forth your power among all peoples,
to the glory of your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN

 

Based on the Alternate Readings

First Reading (Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32)

The Lord claims every human being, while each individual is responsible for their own actions. To punish the child for the sins of the parents is wrong. The one who sins is the one who dies, and this gives no pleasure to God. But those who repent shall live.

Psalm (25:1-9)

The Psalmist expresses his keen desire to follow the ways of the Lord who is full of mercy and steadfast love. He calls for help from the one who is eager to respond to the humble. Only because of the Lord’s nature can the Psalmist’s youthful sins be forgiven.

Second Reading (Philippians 2:1-13)

Paul urges his readers to adopt “the mind of Christ”, who did not exploit his equality with God but took on human form, humbling himself to death on a cross. Therefore, the same God who works in us raised him Lord of all, with every knee to bow before him.

Gospel (Matthew 21:23-32)

Jesus silences Jewish leaders questioning his authority with a counter question about the authority of John the Baptist. He then shows them that true obedience is not just lip service, but actually doing God’s will, just like the notorious sinners who believed John.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

The importance of taking personal responsibility for one’s sin

Personal and/or corporate repentance?

Is God unfair?

God is a God of grace and mercy

Humility or self-focus? Which opens the door to others and to God?

Scripture Sentence (BAS, Canada)

My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them and they follow me. John 10.27

Collect of the Day (BAS, Canada)

Grant, O merciful God,
that your Church,
being gathered by your Holy Spirit into one,
may show forth your power among all peoples,
to the glory of your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN

 

 

 

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, August 23, 2020

Please see How to Use Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 1:8-2:10)

The Israelites are still in Egypt and have become so numerous that Pharaoh tries to destroy all their male infants. One is put in a basket on the Nile by his mother and then, with the help of the child’s sister, is saved by the Pharaoh’s own daughter. He is Moses.

Psalm (124)

The Psalmist encourages Israel to remember that it was the Lord alone who delivered them from the raging flood of their enemies. They escaped like a bird from a broken snare because the Lord, the creator of all, is their help.

Second Reading (Romans 12:1-8)

Paul affirms that true worship presents our entire beings, body and soul, unto the Lord. Not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of our minds, we act in humility and sobriety, exercising our gifts of grace for the good of the body of Christ.

Gospel (Matthew 16:13-20)

Peter identifies Jesus as “Messiah, Son of the living God”. Jesus blesses him for this divine insight and affirms that Peter is the rock on which his church will be built and it will conquer hell itself. As to his identity as Messiah, the disciples are told to keep quiet.

 

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God delivers his people from their enemies
  • No foe is superior to God
  • The importance of everyone, from greatest to least, doing their part
  • The people of God carry out the purposes of God
  • The importance of humility

Scripture Sentence (BAS, Canada)

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16.16

Collect of the Day (BAS, Canada)

Almighty God,
we are taught by your word
that all our doings without love are worth nothing. Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtue;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN

 

Based on the Alternate Readings

First Reading (Isaiah 51:1-6)

Isaiah calls for those who seek the Lord to look back to Abraham and Sarah as our ancestors in faith. The Lord will cause the land to blossom like Eden as his rule of justice and light is extended to the nations and the present cosmos passes away.

Psalm (138)

The Psalmist thanks the Lord for his faithfulness in answering his prayer for salvation. All the rulers of the earth shall praise the Lord when they see how the lowly are exalted. For these reasons he is certain the Lord will fulfill his purpose for him.

Second Reading (Romans 12:1-8)

Paul affirms that true worship presents our entire beings, body and soul, unto the Lord. Not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of our minds, we act in humility and sobriety, exercising our gifts of grace for the good of the body of Christ.

Gospel (Matthew 16:13-20)

Peter identifies Jesus as “Messiah, Son of the living God”. Jesus blesses him for this divine insight and affirms that Peter is the rock on which his church will be built and it will conquer hell itself. As to his identity as Messiah, the disciples are told to keep quiet.

 

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The salvation of God’s people will attract the attention of the nations
  • The importance for faith of looking at examples from the past
  • God delivers his people from their enemies
  • No foe is superior to God
  • The importance of everyone, from greatest to least, doing their part
  • The importance of humility

Scripture Sentence (BAS, Canada)

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16.16

Collect of the Day (BAS, Canada)

Almighty God,
we are taught by your word
that all our doings without love are worth nothing. Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtue;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
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

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, October 27, 2019, Proper 25, Year C

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Joel 2:23-32)

The prophet Joel tells of a time in which the Lord will exalt his humiliated people, blessing them extremely abundantly both materially and spiritually. Indeed, his Spirit will be poured upon each one of them and those who look to him will be saved.

Psalm (65)

The Psalmist calls us to rejoice in the God who answers prayer and saves us, forgiving us and delivering us from evil. The God of all creation shows his power especially in providing water in abundance, enabling the fruits of the earth to flourish.

Second Reading (2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18)

Paul anticipates that day when, having expended himself fully, he, along with all who have looked for Jesus to appear, will receive the crown of righteousness. Experience has proven that he will be rescued from all adversity and so attain to the kingdom at last.

Gospel (Luke 18:9-14)

Jesus’ story of the Pharisee and the tax collector vividly illustrates the fact that God will exalt the truly humble and humiliate the falsely proud. It is the sinner who calls out to God for mercy who is saved, not the one who is confident in his own righteousness.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Being open and honest before God in our needs
  • It is only God who can save us, he alone is our saviour
  • The salvation of God is both spiritual and material in nature
  • Humility is the place to start in our relationship with God
  • Evil is more powerful than our own resources to overcome it

 

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22)

Jeremiah voices the urgent appeal of a distressed nation to their God who seems to be acting like a stranger. Taking responsibility for their sins, they pointedly argue that if the Lord fails to save his covenant people, it is his own name that will be disgraced.

Psalm (84:1-7)

The Psalmist exults in the many delights of living in the very presence of God. He affirms that those who derive their strength from God alone are the happiest of all. Indeed, the ways to his divine presence are very evident in their hearts.

Second Reading (2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18)

Paul anticipates that day when, having expended himself fully, he, along with all who have looked for Jesus to appear, will receive the crown of righteousness. Experience has proven that he will be rescued from all adversity and so attain to the kingdom at last.

Gospel (Luke 18:9-14)

Jesus’ story of the Pharisee and the tax collector vividly illustrates the fact that God will exalt the truly humble and humiliate the falsely proud. It is the sinner who calls out to God for mercy who is saved, not the one who is confident in his own righteousness.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Being open and honest before God in our needs
  • It is only God who can save us, he alone is our saviour
  • Humility is the place to start in our relationship with God
  • Evil is more powerful than our own resources to overcome it
  • Taking responsibility for our own sin

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, September 1, 2019, Proper 17, Year C

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Jeremiah 2:4-13)

Through Jeremiah the Lord charges Israel with gross unfaithfulness. In spite of many blessings at God’s hand, they have become as worthless as the idols to which they have turned. The Lord is outraged that they have forsaken him, the true God, for useless figments of their imagination.

Psalm (81:1, 10-16)

The Psalmist, speaking for the Lord, recites Israel’s refusal to obey the Lord. In spite of his bringing them out of Egypt into the Promised Land they prefer their own ways to his. He yearns for his people to repent so that he can deliver them and pour abundant blessings upon them.

Second Reading (Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16)

The author exhorts his readers to continue in mutual love, living it out in hospitality, care for prisoners and marriage. They are to be content with what they have, trusting in the Lord’s help and offering continual sacrifices of word and deed through an unchanging Christ.

Gospel (Luke 14:1, 7-14)

A guest in a Jewish leader’s home, Jesus notices how people try to get the best places at the table. He tells them it is better to take a low position and then be invited higher. Indeed, it is better to invite the needy than those who will repay. Such actions reflect how God works with us.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • An hospitable people reflect their hospitable God
  • Humility and repentance are two sides of the same coin
  • A little humility goes a long way
  • In spite of assured blessings for following the paths of our God, we still forsake them for our own road to disaster
  • Vanity, vanity, all is vanity

 

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Proverbs 25:6-7)

The writer advises that a person should not presume a position among the great because it is better to be invited to come forward than to be embarrassed by being shown a lesser place.

Psalm (112)

The Psalmist notes that those who fear the Lord will be among the great and prosperous in the Land. They give light to others by their gracious conduct, generosity to those in need, and righteous conduct. Secure in the Lord, they provoke the envy of the wicked in their vain desires.

Second Reading (Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16)

The author exhorts his readers to continue in mutual love, living it out in hospitality, care for prisoners and marriage. They are to be content with what they have, trusting in the Lord’s help and offering continual sacrifices of word and deed through an unchanging Christ.

Gospel (Luke 14:1, 7-14)

A guest in a Jewish leader’s home, Jesus notices how people try to get the best places at the table. He tells them it is better to take a low position and then be invited higher. Indeed, it is better to invite the needy than those who will repay. Such actions reflect how God works with us.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • An hospitable people reflect their hospitable God
  • Humility and repentance are two sides of the same coin
  • A little humility goes a long way
  • In spite of assured blessings for following the paths of our God, we still forsake them for our own road to disaster
  • Vanity, vanity, all is vanity

 

 

 

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, July 7, 2019, Proper 9, Year C

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (2 Kings 5:1-14)

A captive Israeli girl informs her master Naaman, commander of Aram’s army, that there is a prophet back home who can cure his leprosy. He finds Elisha who tells him to wash in the Jordan to be healed. At first he refuses, but his servants convince him to try and he is healed.

Psalm (30)

Because the Lord healed him in the past, the Psalmist invites others to join him in praise and thanksgiving. When he had been confident in his prosperity, adversity had brought him low. But Yahweh heard his cry and turned his mourning into joy.

Second Reading (Galatians 6:[1-6], 7-16)

Paul directs the Galatians to restore sinners among them with humility, keeping in mind their own weaknesses. In this attitude they are to care for one another, doing what is right in the Spirit. They are to boast only in the Cross of Christ, who gathers all peoples into a new creation.

Gospel (Luke 10:1-11, 16-20)

Jesus sends out seventy disciples into all the towns he is going to as his representatives and as agents of the incoming kingdom of God. They rejoice in their power over the demonic forces of Satan, but Jesus tells them that just being accepted in heaven is more important than even this.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • There are varieties of healings but only one God
  • All of us represent the Lord to others
  • Using spiritual power with humility and care
  • A little humility goes a long way

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Isaiah 66:10-14)

Isaiah looks forward to a time when Jerusalem becomes the nurturing mother of God’s people. The prosperity of the nations shall be hers while her people are comforted. Then Israel will be glad and flourish and it will be known that her great God is surely with them.

Psalm (66:1-9)

The Psalmist calls the whole earth to praise the God of Israel who rescued her through the Red Sea and across the Jordan river. His power is without limit and his shaken adversaries humbly bow low before him in acknowledgement.

Second Reading (Galatians 6:[1-6], 7-16)

Paul directs the Galatians to restore sinners among them with humility, keeping in mind their own weaknesses. In this attitude they are to care for one another, doing what is right in the Spirit. They are to boast only in the Cross of Christ, who gathers all peoples into a new creation.

Gospel (Luke 10:1-11, 16-20)

Jesus sends out seventy disciples into all the towns he is going to as his representatives and as agents of the incoming kingdom of God. They rejoice in their power over the demonic forces of Satan, but Jesus tells them that just being accepted in heaven is more important than even this.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Our weaknesses and defeats offer opportunity for God’s power to be known
  • Using spiritual power with humility and care
  • A little humility goes a long way
  • God is in the business of putting things right

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019, Year C

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 12:1-4, [5-10], 11-14)

The Lord announces the last of the plagues against Egypt. He will go through the land destroying all first-born males. The Israelites are to eat a pure lamb, putting its blood on their door to ensure that they are passed over. The event is to be celebrated annually.

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

Knowing his prayers have been heard, the grateful Psalmist realizes that the best response is to orient his entire life toward the Lord, especially in giving thanks, fulfilling his vows and lifting up the cup of salvation.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that it was Jesus himself who instituted the Lord’s Supper. It is to be repeated in remembrance of his death on their behalf until he comes again.

Gospel (John 13:1-17, 31b-35)

As Passover approaches Jesus realizes that his hour to die has now come. Although returning to his Father, he will be leaving behind his beloved disciples. He washes their feet, impressing upon them that loving one another will mark them as his disciples.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Passover, Jesus’s crucifixion, and the Lord’s Supper share profound connections
  • The wages of sin is death
  • Jesus fulfills not only the prophetic traditions of Israel but also its very institutions and history
  • God provides a substitute
  • Remembrance is critical to the exercise of faith