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

 

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 2, 2018, Proper 17, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Song of Solomon 2:8-13)

A woman rapturously describes the arrival of her true love at her window. He calls for her to get up and go with him, now that spring has come and the flowers have risen. It is the time for love.

Psalm (45:1-2, 6-9)

The king is addressed in exuberant terms: handsome, graceful, blessed, and even as God. He rules in equity and righteousness, uniquely anointed by God. Instruments play in his fragrant palaces, serenading his splendid Queen and her royal attendants.

Second Reading (James 1:17-27)

James points out that God has given Christians birth by the word of truth. We should not be just hearers who walk away unmoved, but doers of the word. Blessed in their so doing, authentic believers guard their own tongue while caring for the needy.

Gospel (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23)

Jesus accuses some Jewish leaders of hypocrisy because they are so focused on external matters that they have neglected defilement arising in the heart. They have put human traditions over God’s word, thereby missing the true source of sin within each person.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart
  • Our outward manner should reflect our inner person
  • Authentic faith leads to authentic action
  • Doing the word is true listening

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9)

As they are about to enter the Promised Land, Moses charges the Israelites to keep the commandments he has given and pass them along unimpaired to their children. Doing so will impress the nations with their wisdom and the closeness of their God.

Psalm (15)

The Psalmist affirms that only those who live righteously can dwell in the Presence of the Lord. They speak the truth and do no evil, despising evil doers and honoring those who keep their word. They do not lend at interest or take bribes to pervert justice.

Second Reading (James 1:17-27)

James points out that God has given Christians birth by the word of truth. We should not be just hearers who walk away unmoved, but doers of the word. Blessed in their doing, authentic believers guard their own tongue while caring for the needy.

Gospel (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23)

Jesus accuses some Jewish leaders of hypocrisy because they are so focused on external matters that they have neglected defilement arising in the heart. They have put human traditions over God’s word, thereby missing the true source of sin within each person.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Following the word of God leads to wisdom and closeness with him
  • Our outward manner should reflect our inner person
  • Authentic faith leads to authentic action
  • Doing the word is true listening

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, August 19, 2018, Proper 15, 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 2:10-12; 3:3-14)

After David dies his faithful son Solomon succeeds him. The Lord appears and asks him if there is anything that he wants and he, knowing he is but a young man, asks for wisdom to rule well over Israel. Pleased, the Lord grants this along with wealth and a long life.

Psalm (111)

The Psalmist gives many reasons to praise the Lord: his works revealing his honour and majesty, his provision for the needs of his people, his trustworthy laws, and the redemption of his people. Indeed, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Second Reading (Ephesians 5:15-20)

Paul urges his readers to live wisely in an evil time, not wasting any time and knowing the will of God. Rather than being drunk with wine they should be filled with the Spirit, singing and giving thanks to the Lord for all things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel (John 6:51-58)

Jesus’ listeners are disturbed by his claim that his flesh is the bread of life. Jesus does not soften his words, saying plainly that consuming his flesh and blood and abiding in him is essential to eternal life and to being among those he will raise from the dead.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• True wisdom is knowing the Lord and following him in obedience
• We need the wisdom of God to navigate our way through the evil of this world
• The Son of David is a man of wisdom beyond his peers
• Our relationship with the Lord Jesus determines our way of life and our destiny

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Proverbs 9:1-6)

The writer depicts wisdom as a well-built house filled with succulent food and to which all those who need good judgment are invited. Here they will find what they need to live mature and insightful lives.

Psalm (34:9-14)

The Psalmist calls God’s people to fear the Lord and they will lack nothing. If they will depart from deceitful conversation and direct themselves toward doing good and peaceful things they will both find them and have time to enjoy them.

Second Reading (Ephesians 5:15-20)

Paul urges his readers to live wisely in an evil time, not wasting any time and knowing the will of God. Rather than being drunk with wine they should be filled with the Spirit, singing and giving thanks to the Lord for all things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel (John 6:51-58)

Jesus’ listeners are disturbed by his claim that his flesh is the bread of life. Jesus does not soften his words, saying plainly that consuming his flesh and blood and abiding in him is essential to eternal life and to being among those he will raise from the dead.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• True wisdom is knowing the Lord and following him in obedience
• We need the wisdom of God to navigate our way through the evil of this world
• Our relationship with the Lord Jesus determines our way of life and our destiny
• The Lord provides the kind of food we really need

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, August 12, 2018, Proper 14, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33)

David’s son Absalom leads a rebellion against his father and his forces are roundly defeated. Against David’s instructions, Absalom is killed by some soldiers after his hair gets entangled in a tree. David is heartbroken and greatly laments the death of his son.

Psalm (130)

In despair, the Psalmist cries out to the Lord, knowing that while he is unable hide his sin, the Lord is a forgiving God. Waiting upon the Lord, he hopes in his word and encourages Israel to do likewise, confident in the Lord’s love and power to redeem.

Second Reading (Ephesians 4:25-5:2)

Paul exhorts members of the body of Christ to conduct themselves as children of God. Putting their anger behind them, their talk should be grace-filled, building one another up. As they have been forgiven by God in Christ, so also should they forgive others.

Gospel (John 6:35, 41-51)

Some Jews, hearing Jesus claim to be the bread of life, take offence at him because they know his earthly family. Jesus says only those drawn to him by the Father can come to him and receive eternal life. His flesh is the living bread he gives for the life of the world.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God is the God who gives life in its fullness
  • Family relationships, both earthly and spiritual, are important to God and to us
  • God is in the forgiving business and we should be also
  • Sin brings despair, death, and destruction in its wake

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (1 Kings 19:4-8)

On the run from the wicked queen Jezebel, Elijah escapes into the wilderness. Despairing of his life, he encounters an angel who provides him with food and water. It is enough to last him for forty days and nights as he makes his way to the mount of God.

Psalm (34:1-8)

The Psalmist praises the Lord and exhorts others to do the same because his prayer has been answered and deliverance has come. He knows that the angel of the Lord will be with those who look to him in their trouble. Those who do so will indeed be happy.

Second Reading (Ephesians 4:25-5:2)

Paul exhorts members of the body of Christ to conduct themselves as children of God. Putting their anger behind them, their talk should be grace-filled, building one another up. As they have been forgiven by God in Christ, so also should they forgive others.

Gospel (John 6:35, 41-51)

Some Jews, hearing Jesus claim to be the bread of life, take offence at him because they know his earthly family. Jesus says only those drawn to him by the Father can come to him and receive eternal life. His flesh is the living bread he gives for the life of the world.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God is the God who gives life in its fullness
  • God is in the forgiving business and we should be also
  • Sin brings despair, death, and destruction in its wake
  • God provides the kind of food we need.

 

 

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, August 5, 2018, Proper 13, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a)

The pregnant Bathsheba becomes David’s wife and gives birth to their son. Nathan tells David a parable of a rich man who stole a poor man’s lamb. Through it David is able to admit his sin in taking both Uriah’s wife and his life. He and his house will pay dearly.

Psalm (51:1-12)

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 within and a place in the presence of the Lord.

Second Reading (Ephesians 4:1-16)

St. Paul sets out the need for unity in the church, a unity requiring humility, gentleness and patience. To be fully formed in Christ, members of his body need to exercise their gifts of ministry to build the whole body into maturity of faith and knowledge.

Gospel (John 6:24-35)

Jesus sees that the crowd has come to him for earthly food, not for who he is. He uses the opportunity to portray himself as the true bread from heaven providing eternal life. Eager to hear more, he tells them that believers in him will never hunger or thirst.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Seeking to provide for the earthly appetites while ignoring spiritual ones leads to trouble
  • Humility is needed in order to recognize our true condition and need
  • Life in Christ is not a smooth and easy road and requires the help of our fellow travellers
  • The need for inner transformation as followers of Jesus

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15)

Not long out of Egypt, the Israelites complain to Moses and Aaron that they had been led out a land of plenty only to die of hunger in the wilderness. The Lord appears before them and provides manna and quail to meet their need and know that he is God.

Psalm (78:23-29)

The Psalmist celebrates the wilderness experience of Israel, when God miraculously and abundantly provided for the needs of his people. The bread of angels rained down upon them in the form of manna, and flesh in the form of quail.

Second Reading (Ephesians 4:1-16)

St. Paul sets out the need for unity in the church, a unity requiring humility, gentleness and patience. To be fully formed in Christ, members of his body need to exercise their gifts of ministry to build the whole body into maturity of faith and knowledge.

Gospel (John 6:24-35)

Jesus sees that the crowd has come to him for earthly food, not for who he is. He uses the opportunity to portray himself as the true bread from heaven providing eternal life. Eager to hear more, he tells them that believers in him will never hunger or thirst.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Seeking to provide for the earthly appetites while ignoring spiritual ones leads to trouble
  • Life in Christ is not a smooth and easy road and requires the help of our fellow travellers
  • Jesus provides for every need, earthly and heavenly
  • The people of God do not lack provision even though they may not see it because they are looking in the wrong direction

 

 

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, July 29, 2018, Proper 12, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (2 Samuel 11:1-15)

While his army is out to war David relaxes at home and, spying the bathing Bathsheba, wife of one of his loyal soldiers, he brings her to his bed. She becomes pregnant and David, failing to get her husband to sleep with her himself, arranges for his death.

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 (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Paul prays that the Ephesians will be rooted in the love of God through the Holy Spirit as Christ dwells in their hearts through faith. He hopes they realize the full dimensions of this loving presence, commending them to the God who can do more than they can imagine.

Gospel (John 6:1-21)

Jesus and his disciples are followed up a mountain by a large crowd which he feeds by multiplying a boy’s small lunch. Sure that he is the expected prophet, the crowd tries to force him to be their king. Jesus escapes and then walks on a stormy sea to the disciples.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The “son of David” is a different kind of king, able to resist the temptation to turn from the path his Father had laid out for him
  • Even David, a man after God’s own heart, has moments of going astray (having a heart set on the Lord does not guarantee faithfulness)
  • Nothing can come between Jesus and his followers: he is right there with them in the storm, indeed in their hearts
  • Our God is too small and too far away

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (2 Kings 4:42-44)

A man brings Elisha a small offering of first-fruits from his harvest. The prophet directs him to give it to all 100 prophets assembled there because the Lord has told him that it will be more than enough. And indeed there was some left over when they had eaten.

Psalm (145:10-18)

The Psalmist proclaims that the Lord will be honoured because of his glorious and eternal rule over the entire earth. Upholding all who have fallen and near to all who look to him, he provides food and fulfills the desires of all living things.

Second Reading (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Paul prays that the Ephesians will be rooted in the love of God through the Holy Spirit as Christ dwells in their hearts through faith. He hopes they realize the full dimensions of this loving presence, commending them to the God who can do more than they can imagine.

Gospel (John 6:1-21)

Jesus and his disciples are followed up a mountain by a large crowd which he feeds by multiplying a boy’s small lunch. Sure that he is the expected prophet, the crowd tries to force him to be their king. Jesus escapes and then walks on a stormy sea to the disciples.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God is the provider, even in difficult circumstances
  • Jesus fulfills prophecy and the expectations of Israel in unexpected ways.
  • Nothing can come between Jesus and his followers: he is right there with them in the storm, indeed in their hearts
  • The Lord can multiply our poor offerings into something greater that we imagine
  • Our God is too small and too far away

 

 

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, July 22, 2018, Proper 11, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (2 Samuel 7:1-14a)

David wants to build a proper house for the Lord but the Lord says that is not his wish. Instead he will build a “house” for David, an assured line of descendants to rule an eternal kingdom. One of them, whom he calls his “son”, will build a house for his name.

Psalm (89:20-37)

God declares that his steadfast love and faithfulness will be with David and his royal line forever. He will call God his “Father” and the “Rock of his salvation”. Even if his successors prove unfaithful this promise will still hold and his throne will endure forever.

Second Reading (Ephesians 2:11-22)

Writing to Gentile Christians, Paul points out their spiritual state before they knew Christ. They were without God or hope, outsiders to Israel and her covenants. The opposite is now true. They even form part of God’s house, a holy temple built on Christ.

Gospel (Mark 6:30-34, 53-56)

Jesus’ disciples return from their mission and Jesus tries to lead them on a quiet retreat. A rushing crowd intervenes and to Jesus they are sheep without a shepherd so he teaches them. Elsewhere, his presence excites the local populace and he heals many.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • From the beginning the mission of God has Jesus Christ at its centre
  • The Son of David, the Son of God
  • God’s promises go well beyond our expectations
  • God himself is in the midst of his people. He himself will provide the temple where he dwells

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Jeremiah 23:1-6)

The Lord proclaims woe to Israel’s leaders who have failed as proper shepherds of the people. He will gather them back to a fruitful Land under good shepherds, especially one of David’s descendants who will be named “The Lord is my righteousness”.

Psalm (23)

The Psalmist sees the Lord as a good shepherd who looks after his flock, abundantly providing for them even in difficult circumstances. Goodness and mercy characterize a life lived in his fold.

Second Reading (Ephesians 2:11-22)

Writing to Gentile Christians, Paul articulates their spiritual state before they knew Christ. They were without God or hope, outsiders to Israel and her covenants. The opposite is now true. They even form part of God’s house, a holy temple built on Christ.

Gospel (Mark 6:30-34, 53-56)

Jesus’ disciples return from their mission and Jesus tries to lead them on a quiet retreat. A rushing crowd intervenes and to Jesus they are sheep without a shepherd so he teaches them. Elsewhere, his presence excites the local populace and he heals many.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • From the beginning the mission of God has Jesus Christ at its centre
  • The Son of David as the good shepherd
  • God’s promises go well beyond our expectations
  • The need for good shepherds who will be faithful to the Good Shepherd

 

 

 

 

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, July 15, 2018, Proper 10, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19)

David and his men joyfully move the ark which the Lord inhabits from the countryside into Jerusalem. His wife Michal sees him dancing with abandon and despises him. But David makes his offerings, blesses the people and distributes food to them.

Psalm (24)

The Psalmist exhorts the city gates to open themselves to the King of Glory, the Lord strong and mighty, creator and possessor of all the earth. Only those with clean hearts and hands are fit to stand in his awesome presence and receive his blessing.

Second Reading (Ephesians 1:3-14)

Paul joyfully recites the many blessings we have as people who have been made partakers in what Christ has done. We are: blameless, chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven and participants in God’s great future. And the Spirit within is the guarantee.

Gospel (Mark 6:14-29)

King Herod is afraid that the miracle-working Jesus may be John the Baptist risen from the dead. He had arrested John because of his preaching that Herod’s marriage was illegitimate. His angry wife then cunningly overcame his reluctance to execute John.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Earthly rulers are subject to the King of Heaven and should act accordingly
  • Many are the blessings of the redeemed
  • It is critically important to be open to what God is doing
  • The joy of the Lord is my strength

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Amos 7:7-15)

Through the use of a plum line the Lord reveals to Amos that he is going to hold Israel and its king accountable for going astray. An angry priest informs on him to the king and tries to banish him from the realm. Amos replies that he is but humbly obeying the Lord.

Psalm (85:8-13)

The Psalmist paints a beautiful picture of what it is like when the Lord’s people turn their hearts to him. His great salvation will come with abundant good gifts. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet while righteousness and peace will kiss.

Second Reading (Ephesians 1:3-14)

Paul joyfully recites the many blessings we have as people who have been made partakers in what Christ has done. We are: blameless, chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven and participants in God’s great future. And the Spirit within is the guarantee.

Gospel (Mark 6:14-29)

King Herod is afraid that the miracle-working Jesus may be John the Baptist risen from the dead. He had arrested John because of his preaching that Herod’s marriage was illegitimate. His angry wife then cunningly overcame his reluctance to execute John.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Earthly rulers are subject to the King of Heaven and should act accordingly
  • Many are the blessings of the redeemed
  • It is critically important to be open to what God is doing
  • The Lord desires a whole-hearted commitment