Friday, October 20, 2017

Lectionary 29 A - 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 
One reason Paul may be continually thankful for the church of the Thessalonians is because he is continually troubled by the church of the Corinthians. And in same way the Philippians and Ephesians may have helped him endure the “who has bewitched you” Galatians, present day overseers may balance the burden of their call by rejoicing in works of faith in one place while laboring with love for ministries that struggle. I don’t know because I’ve been in the same place for twenty plus years and the Calvary that I landed in, by the grace of God BTW, was already a “friendly church serving Christ and community.” But all of us together are called to be the church steadfast in hope and inspired by the Holy Spirit. So how do we help each other be the best we can be and sound forth the word in the Macedonia and Achaia that for us are congregations in Northern Texas and Northern Louisiana and Durant, OK and Clovis, NM? What was then is now. We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Lectionary 29 A - Isaiah 45:1-7

Isaiah 45:1-7
Cyrus the Great was good to all the gods who had been displaced by the Babylonians returning “the images of the gods… to their places and I let them dwell in eternal abodes.” (The Cyrus cylinder 538 BC) Granted he hoped for something in return. “May all the gods whom I settled in their sacred centers ask daily of Bêl and Nâbu that my days be long and may they intercede for my welfare.” But he was especially kind to the exiles from Judah and not only sent them home but funded the rebuilding of the temple and the reestablishment of sacrifices according to the Law of Moses. Not that he gave the God of Israel sole credit for making him “Cyrus, king of the world, great king, mighty king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters...” But then Cyrus didn’t know he was a pawn in God’s game and that the little “g” gods couldn’t hear or answer any of his prayers. The lesson of Cyrus is that God’s good and gracious will is done with or without prayer (Luther’s explanation to the 3rd petition of the Lord’s Prayer) so that sometimes even less than pious people perform holy acts.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lectionary 28 A - Matthew 22:1-14


The interesting twist to “many are invited but few are chosen” is that the choice belongs to the invited. Granted the poorly dressed one is dismissed in no uncertain terms but one can’t help but notice the guest list originally included those who declined and they did not suffer a similar fate. It was only after the A-list said, “No thank you” that the good and bad from the highways and byways were invited to fill the void. It could be that the “friend” in less than acceptable garments represents those who attending the banquet would have rather stayed home but even so being tied hand and foot and thrown into the outer darkness seems a little over the top for a dress code violation. We could read this text as a warning to dress up our lives in acceptable fashion or else suffer the consequence. But maybe we would be better dressed if we read it as an invitation to live life like a wedding reception where the party celebrates our very best hopes and dreams. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lectionary 28A - Philippians 4:1-9

Philippians 4:1-9
Writing from prison Paul encourages the Philippians with a lovely laundry list of “whatever is” think on these things which goes well beyond the power of positive thinking. It is, however, an attitude adjustment in the same way we are to have the mind of Christ who did not consider equality with God something to be exploited. (Philippians 2:6) Gentleness evident to all and the double dip of rejoicing is only possible because the Lord is near. It is for this reason that Euodia and Syntyche are to set aside whatever has come between them and remember the Gospel for which they both contend. Paul had no way of knowing his letter would be read by anyone after it had served its purpose let alone for 2000 years of church history. If he had he might not have called out these two women by name. On the other hand I wonder if the things that divide us would be as important to us if we knew our names would be forever enshrined in the scriptures. Just saying.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Lectionary 28 A - Psalm 23



Psalm 23
The table prepared is in the presence of enemies which makes one wonder about the relative calm of green pastures and quiet waters. But maybe that is why this psalm is so often recited at funerals. While the dearly departed have passed through “the valley of the shadow” and experience heads anointed with oil and cup overflowing we who mourn do so in the presence of death, the last enemy to be defeated. The table prepared is the promise that the shadow cast by death is not long enough to block out the light for the evil death would do has been undone by the cross – the rod and the staff of the Shepherd. The green pastures and still waters happen whenever souls are refreshed, despite real loss and longing, by the sure and certain promise of a forever dwelling in the house of the Lord.