Reign of Christ, Nov. 26, 2017, Proper 29, Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24)

The Lord God proclaims that he will gather the people of Israel together from their places of exile like a shepherd who gathers his sheep and provides them with lavish care. Those who have abused the weak will be destroyed and the nation’s relationship with God will be restored under David as its shepherd-king.

Psalm (100)

The Psalmist exhorts the whole earth to joyful praise of Yahweh, creator of all, and to come into his presence as his people, sheep of his pasture. Yahweh is good, loving and faithful across the generations.

OR

Psalm (95:1-7a)

The Psalmist invites the people of God into the joyful presence of Yahweh with thanks and praise. As creator of all things he is king over all other powers and we are his sheep, fed in his pasture.

Second Reading (Ephesians 1:15-23)

St. Paul is caught up in the knowledge of God’s great power made known in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to a place above all other rule and authority. He prays that the Ephesians will experience this power more and more as they come to know Christ in whom their hope for redemption is secure.

Gospel (Matthew 25:31-46)

Using the image of a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats, Jesus teaches that he himself will occupy a throne of solemn judgment when he returns in great glory. All the nations will be held to account for how they have treated the least of those whom he identifies as extensions of himself, his family.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God/Christ as shepherd-king: savior, provider, protector, judge
  • The people of God as “sheep” and God/Christ as “shepherd”
  • The relationship/identification of God/Christ with his people
  • Trusting in the awesome power of God, creator, re-creator, king
  • God/Christ as the shepherd who sets all things right
  • In the presence of God/Christ

 

 

Readings for November 20, 2016 The Reign of Christ Year C Proper 29 (34) & Thanksgiving Day (U.S.)

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Readings for Thanksgiving Day (U.S) are below.

The Reign of Christ Proper 29(34)

First Reading and Psalm

  • Jeremiah 23:1-6
  • Luke 1:68-79

First Reading and Alternative Psalm

  • Jeremiah 23:1-6
  • Psalm 46

Second Reading

  • Colossians 1:11-20

Gospel

  • Luke 23:33-43

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

Through the prophet Jeremiah YAHWEH rebukes the false shepherds who have ruined his people and promises to gather them himself from the places to which they have been scattered. New faithful shepherds will be appointed and they will be ruled over by a “Righteous Branch” from the house of David whose name will remind YAHWEH’s people that a right relationship with him is grounded, not in them, but in him. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, announces in an excited burst of poetry that his infant son will be the long-awaited prophet who prepares the way of the Lord. The light of Israel’s great deliverance from the darkness of her own sins and all her enemies is now beginning to dawn. St. Paul prays that the Colossians will experience God’s strength to endure and give thanks to him for delivering them from the power of darkness by granting them “a share in the inheritance of the saints in light”. This redemption has come by the reconciliation of all things to himself through his beloved Son on the cross, a Son in whom his own fullness dwells. St. Luke records Jesus’ words of forgiveness from the cross while the leaders of the people and the soldiers scoffed at his seeming inability to save himself. Meanwhile Jesus majestically grants entrance into Paradise to the repentant thief. The irony is exquisite.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Through the prophet Jeremiah YAHWEH rebukes the false shepherds who have ruined his people and promises to gather them himself from the places to which they have been scattered. New faithful shepherds will be appointed and they will be ruled over by a “Righteous Branch” from the house of David whose name will remind YAHWEH’s people that a right relationship with him is grounded, not in them, but in him.

Psalm

Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, announces in an excited burst of poetry that his infant son will be the long-awaited prophet who prepares the way of the Lord. The light of Israel’s great deliverance from the darkness of her own sins and all her enemies is now beginning to dawn.

New Testament

St. Paul prays that the Colossians will experience God’s strength to endure and give thanks to him for delivering them from the power of darkness by granting them “a share in the inheritance of the saints in light”. This redemption has come by the reconciliation of all things to himself through his beloved Son on the cross, a Son in whom his own fullness dwells.

Gospel

St. Luke records Jesus’ words of forgiveness from the cross while the leaders of the people and the soldiers scoffed at his seeming inability to save himself. Meanwhile Jesus majestically grants entrance into Paradise to the repentant thief. The irony is exquisite.

Based on the Alternative Readings

Through the prophet Jeremiah YAHWEH rebukes the false shepherds who have ruined his people and promises to gather them himself from the places to which they have been scattered. New faithful shepherds will be appointed and they will be ruled over by a “Righteous Branch” from the house of David whose name will remind YAHWEH’s people that a right relationship with him is grounded, not in them, but in him. The Psalmist depicts YAHWEH’s majestic rule in the midst of the chaos and trouble of life. He provides joy like a river flowing through the city of God as the morning dawns. St. Paul prays that the Colossians will experience God’s strength to endure and give thanks to him for delivering them from the power of darkness by granting them “a share in the inheritance of the saints in light”. This redemption has come by the reconciliation of all things to himself through his beloved Son on the cross, a Son in whom his own fullness dwells. St. Luke records Jesus’ words of forgiveness from the cross while the leaders of the people and the soldiers scoff at his seeming inability to save himself. Meanwhile Jesus majestically grants entrance into Paradise to the repentant thief. The irony is exquisite.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Through the prophet Jeremiah YAHWEH rebukes the false shepherds who have ruined his people and promises to gather them himself from the places to which they have been scattered. New faithful shepherds will be appointed and they will be ruled over by a “Righteous Branch” from the house of David whose name will remind YAHWEH’s people that a right relationship with him is grounded, not in them, but in him.

Psalm

The Psalmist depicts YAHWEH’s majestic rule in the midst of the chaos and trouble of life. He provides joy like a river flowing through the city of God as the morning dawns.

New Testament

St. Paul prays that the Colossians will experience God’s strength to endure and give thanks to him for delivering them from the power of darkness by granting them “a share in the inheritance of the saints in light”. This redemption has come by the reconciliation of all things to himself through his beloved Son on the cross, a Son in whom his own fullness dwells.

Gospel

St. Luke records Jesus’ words of forgiveness from the cross while the leaders of the people and the soldiers scoffed at his seeming inability to save himself. Meanwhile Jesus majestically grants entrance into Paradise to the repentant thief. The irony is exquisite.

Thanksgiving Day (U.S.) November 24, 2016

First Reading and Psalm

  • Deuteronomy 26:1-11
  • Psalm 100

Second Reading

  • Philippians 4:4-9

Gospel

  • John 6:25-35

Full lections can be read here.

Connection Based on the Readings as Set

Moses commands the Israelites, once they have arrived in the Promised Land, to bring its first fruits as an offering to YAHWEH while reciting the story of their deliverance from Egypt. In this way the harvest is to be celebrated as part of God’s abundant provision for his people. The Psalm could well be taken as providing a liturgical text for such a celebration, calling as it does for exuberant praise and thanksgiving for all of YAHWEH’s love and faithfulness. Paul begins the Philippians reading with another call to “Rejoice” while encouraging his readers to turn to God in prayer and thanksgiving instead of worrying about anything. This leads to a profound peace that can be maintained by focusing our thoughts and actions on all things good. In the Gospel Jesus is questioned by people who are focused on the wrong thing: food that perishes. In spite of their newly-filled bellies, they demand of Jesus a sign like the bread from heaven Moses gave their ancestors. In response Jesus claims to be the Father’s gift of “true bread from heaven”, the “bread of life”. “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never thirst”. Clearly, he is the focus we should seek and the gift for which we should give thanks.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Moses commands the Israelites, once they have arrived in the Promised Land, to bring its first fruits as an offering to YAHWEH while reciting the story of their deliverance from Egypt. In this way the harvest is to be celebrated as part of God’s abundant provision for his people.

Psalm

The Psalm could well be taken as providing a liturgical text for such a celebration, calling as it does for exuberant praise and thanksgiving for all of YAHWEH’s love and faithfulness.

New Testament

Paul begins the Philippians reading with another call to “Rejoice” while encouraging his readers to turn to God in prayer and thanksgiving instead of worrying about anything. This leads to a profound peace that can be maintained by focusing our thoughts and actions on all things good.

Gospel

In the Gospel Jesus is questioned by people who are focused on the wrong thing: food that perishes. In spite of their newly-filled bellies, they demand of Jesus a sign like the bread from heaven Moses gave their ancestors. In response Jesus claims to be the Father’s gift of “true bread from heaven”, the “bread of life”. “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never thirst”. Clearly, he is the focus we should seek and the gift for which we should give thanks.

Readings for October 16, 2016 Year C Proper 24 (29)

Please see How to Use Lection Connection.

First Reading and Psalm

  • Jeremiah 31:27-34
  • Psalm 119:97-104

Second Reading

  • 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

Gospel

  • Luke 18:1-8

Alternative First Reading and Psalm

  • Genesis 32:22-31
  • Psalm 121

Full lections can be read here.

Connection Based on the Readings as Set

Through Jeremiah YAHWEH promises a new covenant with Israel as the end result of his faithful watching over the beleaguered nation. While he may not have appeared to be listening while they suffered, all would be clear when he finally acted. In a new covenantal relationship he would put his law permanently in their hearts, forgiving and forgetting their past unfaithfulness. The Psalmist exults in the law of God, the practice of which makes him wiser than any of his enemies, teachers or elders. Such divine words are sweeter than honey itself. Paul reminds Timothy of the inspired nature of the Scriptures and their ability to form spiritually those willing to listen to them. Not listening guarantees wandering away from the truth. In the Gospel Jesus tells a parable in which a judge is forced to grant justice to an audacious widow by the sheer persistence of her asking. So it is that God will surely not resist the cry of the faithful who suffer. Justice delayed is not justice denied, but its delay poses a serious challenge to faith.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Through Jeremiah YAHWEH promises a new covenant with Israel as the end result of his faithful watching over the beleaguered nation. While he may not have appeared to be listening while they suffered, all would be clear when he finally acted. In a new covenantal relationship he would put his law permanently in their hearts, forgiving and forgetting their past unfaithfulness.

Psalm

The Psalmist exults in the law of God, the practice of which makes him wiser than any of his enemies, teachers or elders. Such divine words are sweeter than honey itself.

New Testament

Paul reminds Timothy of the inspired nature of the Scriptures and their ability to form spiritually those willing to listen to them. Not listening guarantees wandering away from the truth.

Gospel

In the Gospel Jesus tells a parable in which a judge is forced to grant justice to an audacious widow by the sheer persistence of her asking. So it is that God will surely not resist the cry of the faithful who suffer. Justice delayed is not justice denied, but its delay poses a serious challenge to faith.

Connection Based on Alternative Readings

Jacob’s audacity and persistence in his wrestling bout with a mysterious “man” pays off with a profound blessing. His new name, Israel, reveals that he has been wrestling with God himself. It also hints at the nature of his descendants’ relationship with both God and humanity. The Psalmist knows where to look for help: to YAHWEH alone. It is he who “keeps” us: he will not sleep through our need, whatever that need might be. Paul reminds Timothy of the inspired nature of the Scriptures and their ability to form spiritually those willing to listen to them. Not listening guarantees wandering away from the truth. In the Gospel Jesus tells a parable in which a judge is forced to grant justice to an audacious widow by the sheer persistence of her asking. So it is that God will surely not resist the cry of the faithful who suffer. Justice delayed is not justice denied, but its delay poses a serious challenge to faith.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Jacob’s audacity and persistence in his wrestling bout with a mysterious “man” pays off with a profound blessing. His new name, Israel, reveals that he has been wrestling with God himself. It also hints at the nature of his descendants’ relationship with both God and humanity.

Psalm

The Psalmist knows where to look for help: to YAHWEH alone. It is he who “keeps” us: he will not sleep through our need, whatever that need might be.

New Testament

Paul reminds Timothy of the inspired nature of the Scriptures and their ability to form spiritually those willing to listen to them. Not listening guarantees wandering away from the truth.

Gospel

In the Gospel Jesus tells a parable in which a judge is forced to grant justice to an audacious widow by the sheer persistence of her asking. So it is that God will surely not resist the cry of the faithful who suffer. Justice delayed is not justice denied, but its delay poses a serious challenge to faith.