Thursday, July 31, 2014

Inclusive language…it really does matter

A.Hanson, NYC 2014
In my freshman year of college, in my first religion class, I remember raising the issue that perhaps we should not always refer to God in the masculine. This was raised in an online discussion and my classmates went wild.  Some responses raised included outright denial that God was anything but a man, as well as a dismissal of the conversation saying, "It's not important.  Just let it go."

I have held on to those comments for all these years because I think my classmates were very wrong.  I have had many conversations with people of faith throughout this intervening time.  I have had conversations with women who feel excluded, I have had conversations with people who don't believe that God is male and do not want to hear that in worship, and most recently I have had an entirely unexpected conversation.

Throughout this year I had many conversations with an elderly gentleman who has been a lifelong Lutheran.  He is in his eighties and confessed to me once last fall that he had been struggling with something his whole life.  He struggled with the idea that he did not believe that God was a man.  He thought that limited the fullness of God. He also was ashamed to confess this, because he thought he was the only one that struggled with this.

We worship at a congregation that makes an effort to use inclusive language whenever possible, but this gentleman was troubled by the Lord's prayer and the creeds.  Together he and I looked through the Bible to determine different metaphors for God.  My personal favorite is God as a mother hen (Matthew 23:37), I just love the visual of God as a puffed up hen gathering chicks under her wings, a sort of fierce love.  This gentleman particularly appreciated this metaphor, because he raises chickens.

This conversation has been ongoing this year, and just yesterday he brought in an article from this month's edition of the Lutheran that talked about the use of inclusive language for God.

It gives me so much joy and hope that one of our church elders is still finding joy in discovery and conversation and daring to consider and reconsider all of the ways that imagine God. Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Highlighting the Bible, Part X: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians

A. Hanson, NYC, 2014
Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and 1 Thessalonians are letters that are attributed to Paul.  While some other letters are also attributed to Paul (which will be explored in part XI), their authorship is in question.  1 Thessalonians is the earliest letter that we have from Paul, and like the two letters to the Corinthians, references some other correspondence with the congregation that we do not have.

Galatians is a favorite of Lutherans as well, because Paul teaches justification by faith through grace.

A. The following passages from Galatians do not appear in the lectionary:

Gal 2:1-14 (Paul and the other apostles; Paul rebukes Peter at Antioch)

Gal 3:1-22 (Law or Faith; The promise to Abraham; The purpose of the law)

Gal 4:1-3 (while we were minors, we were slaves to the law)

Gal 4:5-31 (Paul reproves the Galatians; the allegory of Hagar and Sarah)

Gal 5:2-12 (The nature of Christian freedom

Gal 6:17-18 (a final admonition and benediction)

B. The following passages from Ephesians do not appear in the lectionary:
Eph 4:17-24 (The old life and the new)

Eph 5:3-6 (renounce pagan ways)

Eph 5:21-33 (The Christian household: this is the controversial "wives be subject to your husbands" passage)

Eph 6:1-9 (Children obey your parents; slaves obey your masters)

Eph 6:21-24 (personal greetings and benediction)

C. The following passages from Philippians do not appear in the lectionary:
Phil 1:1-2 (salutation)

Phil 1:12-20 (Paul's present circumstances)

Phil 2:14-30 (Shining as lights in the world; Timothy and Epaphroditus)

Phil 3:1-4 (admonishment that one need not be tied to the law of circumcision)

Phil 4:10-23 (Acknowledgment of the Philippians gift; final greetings and benediction)

D. The following passages from Colossians do not appear in the lectionary:
Col 1:29 (a statement about Paul's interest in the Colossians)

Col 2:1-5 (more commentary on Paul's interest in this community

Col 2:20-23 (Warnings against false teachers)

Col 3:18-25 (Rules for Christian households, "wives be subject to your husbands")

Col 4 ("masters treat your slaves justly"; further instructions; Final greetings and benediction)

E. The following passages from 1 Thessalonians do not appear in the lectionary:
1 Thess 2:13-20 (giving thanks for the community; Paul's desire to visit the community again)

1 Thess 3:1-8 (the sending of Timothy to check in on the community; Timothy's report)

1 Thess 4:1-12 (A life pleasing to God)

1 Thess 4:12-15 (some final greetings)

1 Thess 4:25-28 (request for prayer; benediction)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Highlighting the Bible, Part IX: 1 and 2 Corinthians

A. Hanson, NYC 2014
Paul's first and second letters to the Corinthians are part of an ongoing conversation with the community at Corinth.  It is theorized that Paul wrote an earlier letter to this community, and these letters continue conversations.  They are an interesting snapshot into the lives, concerns, disagreements, hopes, and joys of these early churches.  Portions of 1 Corinthians are often read at weddings because of the focus on love.

The following passages from 1 and 2 Corinthians do not appear in the lectionary:

1 Cor 4 (The Ministry of the Apostles; Fatherly admonition)

1 Cor 5 (Sexual immorality defiles the church; Sexual immorality must be judged

1 Cor 6:1-11 (Lawsuits among believers)

1 Cor 7:1-28 (Directions concerning marriage; The life the Lord has assigned; The unmarried at the Widows)

1 Cor 7:32-40 (more discussion about marriage, love, and honor in relationships)

1 Cor 9:1-15 (The rights of an apostle)

1 Cor 9:24-27 (talking about enslaving the body to belief)

1 Cor 10:14-33 (command to flee from the worship of idols; Do all to the glory of God)

1 Cor 11:1-22 (Head Coverings; Abuses at the Lord's supper)

1 Cor 11:27-34 (Partaking of the Supper unworthily)

1 Cor 14 (Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues; Orderly Worship)

1 Cor 15:12-18 (The resurrection of the dead)

1 Cor 15:27-58 (more commentary on the resurrection; what happens to the physical body after resurrection)

1 Cor 16 (The collection for the saints; plans for travel; Final messages and greetings)

2 Cor 1 (salutation; Paul's thanksgiving after affliction; postponement of Paul's visit)

2 Cor 2 (more about Paul's visit; forgiveness for the offender; Paul's anxiety in Troas)

2 Cor 3:1-11 (Ministers of the new covenant)

2 Cor 5:1-5 (we know that our earthy dwellings will not endure)

2 Cor 6:11-18 (the Temple of the living God)

2 Cor 7 (Paul's joy at the church's repentance)

2 Cor 8:1-6 (Encouragement to be generous)

2 Cor 8:16-24 (commendation of Titus)

2 Cor 9:1-5 (the collection for Christians at Jerusalem)

2 Cor 10 (Paul defends his ministry)

2 Cor 11 (Paul and the false apostles; Paul's suffering as an apostle)

2 Cor 12:11-21 (Paul's concern for the Corinthian church)

2 Cor 13:1-10 (Further warning to examine their lives of faith)

Highlighting the Bible part VIII: Romans

A.Hanson, NYC 2014
Paul's letter to the Romans is one of the most beloved Pauline epistles (or letters).  Paul had been a missionary for a number of years at the time of its writing.  Romans has a well developed theology (hence its favored status among Lutherans and other Protestants) and is distinct in that it is the only letter that was not written to a congregation founded by Paul or a person whom he converted.

All of Paul's letters begin with a salutation.  The letter to the Romans is written to "all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints."

The following passages from Paul's letter to the Romans do not appear in any lectionary passage:

Romans 1:8-32 (Prayer of Thanksgiving; The Power of the Gospel; the Guilt of Humankind

Romans 2 (The righteous judgment of God; The Jews and the law)

Romans 3:1-18 (continuing the argument that law does not save; None is righteous)

Romans 4:1-12 (The Example of Abraham)

Romans 7:1-13 (An Analogy from Marriage; The Law and Sin)

Romans 9:6-33 (commentary on God's election of Israel; God's wrath and mercy; Israel's unbelief)

Romans 10:1-4 (commentary on Paul's desire that all be saved)

Romans 11:3-28 (Israel's rejection is not final; The salvation of the Gentiles; All Israel will be saved)

Romans 11:33-36 (a hymn of praise to God)

Romans 13:1-7 (Being subject to authorities)

Romans 14:13-23 (Do not make another stumble)

Romans 15:1-3 (Please others, not yourself)

Romans 15:14-33 (Paul's reason for writing so boldly; Paul's plan to visit Rome)

Romans 16:1-23 (Personal greetings; final instructions

Highlighting the Bible, Part VII: The Acts of the Apostles (Acts)

A.Hanson, NYC 2014
The book of The Acts of the Apostles is part of a series with Luke's Gospel.  The title is quite informative, as the book does indeed refer to the actions of Jesus' apostles.  It tells the story of the growing Christian church from its very beginnings in Jerusalem.  We often only pay attention to Acts when the story of Pentecost is read (Acts 2:1-21) or perhaps the story of the Ascension (Acts 1:1-11).  This book traces the path that the first believers traced in their work of evangelism and many of the places mentioned in Acts will be found in letters that the apostle Paul writes.

The following passages from Acts do not appear in the lectionary:

Acts 1:18-20 (a commentary about the scriptures being fulfilled about Judas' betrayal)

Acts 3:1-10 (Peter heals a crippled beggar)

Acts 3:20-26 (commentary cited from Moses about the coming of a prophetic messiah)

Acts 4:1-4 (a description of the arrest of Peter and John because they were telling the story of the resurrection)

Acts 4:13-31 (The believers pray for boldness)

Acts 4:36-37 (a description of Joseph, called Barnabus, who sold some land and gave the proceeds to the apostles)

Acts 5:1-26 (Ananias and Sapphira, the healing of many by the apostles, and the persecution of the apostles)

Acts 5:33-42 (A pharisee named Gamaliel convinces the crowds not to arrest the apostles)

Acts 6 (Seven chosen to serve: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, also the arrest of Stephen)

Acts 7:1-54 (Stephen's speech to the council)

Acts 8:1-13 (Saul's persecution of the church, Philip preaching in Samaria)

Acts 8:18-25 (Simon offered to pay the apostles to lay hands on him and give him the holy spirit)

Acts 9:19-35 (Saul preaches in Damascus, Saul escapes from the Jews, Saul in Jerusalem, the healing of Aeneas)

Acts 10:1-33 (Peter and Cornelius)

Acts 11:19-30 (The Church in Antioch)

Acts 12:12-25 (Peter is released from prison and goes to visit Mary the mother of John.  No one believes he is alive; the death of Herod)

Acts 13: (Barnabus and Saul are commissioned; The apostles preach in Cyprus; Paul and Barnabus in Antioch of Pisidia)

Acts 14 (Paul and Barnabus in Iconium; Paul and Barnabus in Lystra and Derbe; The return to Antioch in Syria)

Acts 15 (The council at Jerusalem; The council's letter to gentile believers; Paul and Barnabus separate)

Acts 16:1-8 (Timothy joins Paul and Silas; Paul's vision of the man of Macedonia)

Acts 16:35-40 (the magistrates release Paul from jail in Phillipi)

Acts 17:1-21 (The uproar in Thessalonica; Paul and Silas in Beroaea; Paul in Athens)

Acts 17:32-22 (a few believers come to the church based on Paul's sermon at the Areopagus)

Acts 18 (Paul in Corinth; Paul's return to Antioch; Ministry of Apollos)

Acts 19:8-41 (The Sons of Sceva; The riot in Ephesus)

Acts 20 (Paul goes to Macedonia and Greece; Paul's farewell visit to Troas; The Voyage from Troas to Miletus; Paul speaks to the Ephesian elders)

Acts 21 (Paul's journey to Jerusalem; Paul visits James at Jerusalem; Paul arrested at the Temple; Paul defends himself)

Acts 22 (Paul tells of his conversion; Paul is sent to the Gentiles; Paul and the Roman Tribune; Paul before the Council)

Acts 23 (Paul before the Council; the plot to kill Paul; Paul sent to Felix the Governor)

Acts 24 (Paul before Felix at Caesarea; Paul's defense before Felix; Paul held in custody)

Acts 25 (Paul appeals to the emperor; Festus consults King Agrippa; Paul brought before Agrippa)

Acts 26 (Paul defends himself before Agrippa; Paul tells of his conversion; Paul tells of his preaching; Paul appeals to Agrippa to believe)

Acts 27 (Paul sails for Rome; The storm at sea; The shipwreck)

Acts 28 (Paul on the island of Malta; Paul arrives at Rome; Paul and Jewish leaders in Rome; Paul preaches in Rome

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Your sighs and groans and mumbled prayers are heard by God in heaven…a sermon on Romans 8:26-39

A. Hanson, NYC 2014
Grace, peace, and mercy are yours from the Triune God who promises to hear our prayers.  Amen. 

Let’s listen one more time to today’s reading from Romans, chapter 8, verses 26-39:

 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all day long;
   we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ 
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

            This portion of Paul’s Letter to the Romans was written as a sort of encouragement to followers of Jesus. Paul is acknowledging that the road that believers walk is difficult, and that even in their present suffering, God bears with them. Paul is NOT equating suffering with what it means to be a Christian or saying that suffering now will pay off with salvation in the future.  Paul is saying that suffering is part of what it means to live in a broken world.
            While we do not live under the oppression of the Roman Empire, we certainly know what it means to live in a broken world.  And while we are eavesdropping on a letter written to another people in another time and place, Paul’s letter to the Romans provides hope for us even now. We need to hear that in the midst of what feels like a broken God-forsaken world, with immigrant and refugee children being detained in unimaginable and inhuman conditions in our own country, passenger planes being shot out of the sky in Ukraine, and land strikes on children and families in Gaza, we need to hear that God is present and knows that our weeping and our groans and our sighs are prayers. 
It is easy to become discouraged with all the suffering in the world.  It is understandable to ask, “where is God in all this mess?” and believe that suffering points to God’s absence rather than God’s presence.  I don’t have some theological rationale for why suffering exists.  I don’t have a neat answer for you.  It would be a mistake to look at this text from Romans and parse out sound bites that would attempt to explain suffering in this broken world, such as, “ We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”  This sounds suspiciously like it could be manipulated into the baseless platitudes of “Everything happens for a reason” or “God never gives you more than you can handle.”  Sometimes suffering is just suffering.  Life is hard.  Suffering is not part of the roadmap of how to be a Christian, but unfortunately, it is part of what it means to be human.
So is there any good news? It’s good news to me that the Holy Spirit helps us pray when we are too weak to do so on our own.  When we cannot even form words, just sighs. And that same Spirit intercedes for us with God who promises to hear our prayers. Somewhere along the line, maybe in Sunday School, maybe as a result of memorized prayers before going to bed or table graces, many of us got the idea that a prayer is only a prayer if it makes sense and sounds good.  Anne Lamott writes in her book, Help, Thanks, Wow, “Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up.” So your sighs and groans and tears and mumbled prayers are heard by God in heaven. 
I remember how liberated I felt when I learned that I could actually shout at God when I was angry because God can take it.  God does not want or need us to kneel quietly, fold our hands neatly and pray with the eloquence of Jesus himself.  God loves us just as we are and wants us to bring our whole selves to our prayers. God does not love us any less if we are not blessed with the gift of words or if we shout “God, where are you?!” or even if our prayer is something along the lines of “Whoever you are, I hope you are listening.” 

And while it is good news that the Spirit intercedes for us, the even better news is that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  Suffering is real.  Pain is real.  Sin is real. It can feel like God is absent from our lives, and yet, God became human and lived among us and lives in us, so we never have to be apart from God again.  Nothing will separate us from God.  Not hardship, distress, addiction, mental illness, divorce, abuse, persecution, famine, nakedness, poverty, wealth, peril, fear, doubt, certainty, sword, war, politics, violence or even we ourselves.  Nothing in all of creation, in this broken world, can separate us from God. Sin still exists in the world.  Brokenness still exists in the world.  But the hold that sin, death, and evil has on God’s beloved people, which is ALL people, has forever been broken.  Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mary Magdalene: Apostle to the Apostles

July 22 is the feast day of St Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles.  It is also my birthday, so I feel a special affinity for this brave woman.  Mary Magdalene was the first preacher of the Gospel.  She testified to what she had seen, this crazy story that the tomb was actually empty and  that Jesus had risen from the dead. I draw on her strength when I am feeling like I just don't have it in me to preach.  And I remember Mary Magdalene running to the disciples crying, "I have seen the Lord!"   It was a simple sermon, yet it meant everything. I draw on her strength when I feel like the deeply entrenched patriarchy of the professional clergy is too much to bear.  I hold Mary Magdalene in my heart every time I step up to the pulpit to preach.

Here is her story from John 20:11-18,

 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Mary Magdalene was the first preacher of the resurrection!  In one of my first Bible classes at seminary, we learned that if a woman was actually named and described in the scriptural texts, she was extraordinarily important. We don't hear much about where Mary Magdalene came from, or how she came to be a follower of Jesus.  She is not a prostitute like so many people think. 

In the other Gospels, she appears primarily at the time of Jesus' death and at his empty tomb. 

Matthew 27:56-61, Mary Magdalene and other women sitting vigil at the death of Jesus, sitting at the tomb after the burial

Matthew 28:1, Mary Magdalene and another Mary went to the tomb, presumably to tend to it with spices 

Mark 15:40-47, Mary Magdalene sitting vigil at the death of Jesus and participating in the burial

Mark 16:1 (shorter ending of Mark) Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James go to the tomb to anoint Jesus.  They witness the empty tomb.

Mark 16:9 (Longer ending of Mark) We hear that Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene (from who he had cast out seven demons) and she goes out and tells the good news to the disciples

Luke 8:2, We hear that Jesus has cast seven demons out from Mary Magdalene, and that she, alone with Joanna and Susanna, helped to provide resources for Jesus and the disciples 

Luke 24:1-11, Mary Magdalene and the other women are again at the tomb with spices.  But they find it empty.  They remember the words of Jesus and run to tell the disciples, who do not believe them. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Called to Proclaim Belonging: A guest post for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries

Photo credit to Emily Ann Garcia
A few weeks ago I was asked to write a guest post for the Proclaim blog on the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries site.  The post can be viewed here in its context on that blog or appears in full text below.  

As I write this post I am just a few short weeks away from finishing my internship at First Lutheran Church, in St Peter, MN. I am the first intern for this congregation. When the congregation began discerning the possibility of having an intern long before my arrival, they compiled a profile that said, “We believe that our conviction of welcome and designation as a Reconciling in Christ congregation makes us makes us an ideal site for an LGBTQ intern.”  My interview went very well, and as I walked home, I thought, “I have found my internship site.”  On that very same day, Pastor Alan stated to the congregational council, “I have found our intern.” 

One of my fears prior to internship was that I would be known only as “the gay pastor.”  I was afraid that all of my work and my pastoral formation would be filtered through that part of my identity.  In a world that so often forces LGBTQ people to apologize for who they are, before they can even begin to live into their vocation, I have seen, heard, and experienced something exciting at First Lutheran Church.  This congregation’s convictions about hospitality and welcome are real, and they are living out the Gospel. In this place, I am Pastor Amy first, and a gay pastor second.

Like most LGBTQ people I have struggled with belonging.  Belonging in our families, churches, communities, and workplaces. The church is a particularly painful place for many of us. In representing my congregation as a Reconciling in Christ site at the Southwest Minnesota Synod Assembly, I had the opportunity to talk with many people about what it means to be a safe place of welcome for all people. As many lamented that their congregations might never openly welcome LGBTQ folks, and tears were shared for family members and friends who left these congregations, I was able to share some hope that there is a new day dawning in the church.

 Part of my sense of call is to unceasingly proclaim to all the beautiful, broken, and beloved people of God who feel pushed aside by our culture or the church itself, “You already belong.  You may feel like you are on the margins, but you are part of the Body of Christ.”  My call is also to baptize and serve Holy Communion to equip this Body for their own work for justice, peace, and mercy in the world.

My experience as an intern this year, as well as my participation in Proclaim, has given me the confidence to live boldly into my calling to ministry.  I no longer apologize for being who God created me to be, but instead give thanks that I am who I am, that I have this call and have this sacred task before me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Highlighting the Bible Part VI: The Psalms (Year A, B, C)

A.Hanson, Belle Plaine, MN, 2013
The Book of the Psalms is a collection of 150 songs that are attributed to various authors.

]The longest psalm is 119 (176 verses)
The shortest psalm is 117 (2 verses)

The following are psalms that do not appear whole or in part in any of the three lectionary years:

Psalm 3
Psalm 5-7
Psalm 9-14
Psalm 18
Psalm 20
Psalm 21
Psalm 28
Psalm 35
Psalm 38-42
Psalm 44
Psalm 45
Psalm 48
Psalm 52
Psalm 53
Psalm 55-62
Psalm 64
Psalm 73-77
Psalm 79
Psalm 81
Psalm 88
Psalm 94
Psalm 101
Psalm 102
Psalm 105
Psalm 106
Psalm 108-110
Psalm 113-115
Psalm 117 (the shortest Psalm at two verses!)
Psalm 120
Psalm 124
Psalm 125
Psalm 127-129
Psalm 131
Psalm 132
Psalm 134-137
Psalm 140-144

A.Hanson, 2013
There are a number of psalms that appear in two or more of the lectionary years:

Psalm 1 (Years A-B)
Psalm 8 (all years)
Psalm 15 (all years)
Psalm 16 (all years)
Psalm 19 (Years B and C)
Psalm 22 (all years)
Psalm 23 (all years)
Psalm 24 (a portion in years A-B)
Psalm 25 (all years)
Psalm 27 (A-C)
Psalm 29 (all years)
Psalm 30 (B-C)
Psalm 31 (all years)
Psalm 32 (A-C)
Psalm 34 (A-B)
Psalm 36 (all years)
Psalm 46 and 47 (all years)
Psalm 51 (all years, used on Ash Wednesday)
Psalm 65 (A-B)
Psalm 66 (A-C)
Psalm 67 (A-C)
Psalm 70 (all years)
Psalm 71 (all years)
Psalm 72 (all years)
Psalm 80 (all years)
Psalm 84 (A-C)
Psalm 89 (A-B)
Psalm 91(B-C)
Psalm 93 (B-C)
Psalm 96-98 (all years, used during Christmas)
Psalm 99 (A-C)
Psalm 103 (A-C)
Psalm 104 (B-C)
Psalm 111 (B-C)
Psalm 116 (all years)
Psalm 118 (all years)
Psalm 119 (portions used in A-B)
Psalm 121 (A-C)
Psalm 126 (B-C)
Psalm 130 (A-B)
Psalm 138 (A-B)
Psalm 145 (A-B)
Psalm 146 (all years)
Psalm 148 (all years)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Highlighting the Bible Part V: The Gospel of John

Amy Hanson, Minnesota, 2014
Portions of John's Gospel are scattered throughout the three-year lectionary cycle. Also, because John's Gospel has the highest Christology, we read the texts for Holy Week and the Easter story from John's Gospel.

The following are passages from John's Gospel that do not appear in the three-year cycle (Years A,B,C) of the Revised Common Lectionary.

John 2:23-25 (Commentary on Jesus cleansing the Temple)

John 3:22-36 (Jesus and John the Baptist, The One Who Comes From Heaven)

John 4:1-4 (Commentary on how Jesus made his way back to Galilee through Samaria)

John 4:46-54 (Jesus Heals an Official's Son)

John 5:10-47 (Commentary on Jesus Heals on the Sabbath, The Authority of the Son, Witnesses to Jesus)

John 6:22-23 (Commentary on Jesus being alone on the Shore before the story of Bread from Heaven)

John 6:36-40 (Jesus talking to the disciples about being the bread from heaven)

John 7:1-36 (The Unbelief of Jesus' Brothers, Jesus at the Festival of Booths, Is This the Christ?, Officers are Sent to Arrest Jesus)

John 7:40-52 (Division Among the People, The Unbelief of Those in Authority)

John 8:1-30 (The Woman Caught in Adultery, Jesus the Light of the World, Jesus Foretells his Death)

John 8:39-59 (Jesus and Abraham)

John 10:19-21 (commentary from the Jewish crowds that Jesus must have a demon)

John 10:31-42 (more of the story of Jesus being rejected by the Jews)

John 11:45-57 (The Plot to Kill Jesus)

John 12:12-19 (Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem)

John 12:37-50 (The Unbelief of the People, Summary of Jesus' Teaching)

John 13:36-38 (Jesus foretells Peter's denial)

John 15:18-25 (The World's Hatred)

John 16:1-4 (Jesus speaking about the tribulations that will come to those who follow him)

John 16:16-33 (Sorrow will Turn into Joy, Peace for the Disciples)

John 21:20-25 (Jesus and the Beloved Disciple)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Highlighting the Bible, Part IV, Year B (Mark 2015) Gospel readings

A. Hanson, Minnesota, 2014
Part IV: Highlighting the Bible, Year B

The Gospel readings for Year B include readings from Mark's Gospel, as well as a substantial amount of readings from John's Gospel. As far as Gospel's go, Mark is my least favorite.  It is abrupt, hurried, and brief.

Here's what doesn't appear from Mark's Gospel in Year B:

Mark 1:40-45 (Jesus cleanses a leper)

Mark 2 (Jesus heals a paralytic, Jesus calls Levi, The Question about Fasting, Pronouncement about the Sabbath)

Mark 3:1-19 (The Man with a Withered Hand, A multitude at the Seaside, Jesus Appoints the Twelve)

Mark 4:1-25 (The Parable of the Sower, The Purpose of the Parables, A Lamp Under a Bushel Basket)

Mark 5:1-20 (Jesus heals the Geresene Demoniac)

Mark 6:45-52 (Jesus Walks on Water)

Mark 7:9-13 (an admonishment about rejecting the commands of God)

Mark 7:17-20 (Another admonishment)

Mark 8:1-26 (Feeding the Four Thousand, The Demand for a Sign, The Yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod, Jesus Cures a Blind Man and Bethsaida)

Mark 9:9-29 (The Coming of Elijah, The Healing of a Boy with a Spirit)

Mark 10:32-34 (A Third Time Jesus foretells His Death and Resurrection)

Mark 11 (Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus Curses the Fig Tree, Jesus Cleanses the Temple, The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree, Jesus' authority is Questioned)

Mark 12:1-27 (The Parable of the Wicked Tenants, The Question about Paying Taxes, The Question about the Resurrection)

Mark 12:35-37 (The Question About David's Son)

Mark 13: 9-23 (Persecution Foretold, The Desolating Sacrilege)

Mark 14 (The Plot to Kill Jesus, The Anointing at Bethany, Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus, The Passover with the Disciples, The Institution of the Lord's Supper, Peter's Denial Foretold, Jesus Prays in Gethsemane, The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus, Jesus Before the Council, Peter Denies Jesus)

Mark 15 (Jesus Before Pilate, Pilate Hands Jesus Over to be Crucified, The Soldier's Mock Jesus, The Crucifixion of Jesus, The Death of Jesus, The Burial of Jesus)

Mark 16: 9-19 (This is called the "Longer Ending of Mark", and includes Jesus' appearance to Mary Magdalene, two disciples, the commissioning of the disciples, and the Ascension of Jesus)