covenant

Friday: Preparation

The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 7
Roman Catholic Proper 12

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 57:1-13

The righteous perish,
 and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
 while no one understands.
For the righteous are taken away from calamity,
 and they enter into peace;
those who walk uprightly
 will rest on their couches.
But as for you, come here,
 you children of a sorceress,
 you offspring of an adulterer and a whore.
Whom are you mocking?
 Against whom do you open your mouth wide
 and stick out your tongue?
Are you not children of transgression,
 the offspring of deceit—
you that burn with lust among the oaks,
 under every green tree;
you that slaughter your children in the valleys,
 under the clefts of the rocks?
Among the smooth stones of the
 valley is your portion;
 they, they, are your lot;
to them you have poured out a drink offering,
 you have brought a grain offering.
 Shall I be appeased for these things?
Upon a high and lofty mountain
 you have set your bed,
 and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
Behind the door and the doorpost
 you have set up your symbol;
for, in deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
 you have gone up to it,
you have made it wide;
and you have made a bargain for yourself with them,
 you have loved their bed,
 you have gazed on their nakedness.
You journeyed to Molech* with oil,
 and multiplied your perfumes;
you sent your envoys far away,
 and sent down even to Sheol.
You grew weary from your many wanderings,
 but you did not say, “It is useless.”
You found your desire rekindled,
 and so you did not weaken.

Whom did you dread and fear
 so that you lied,
and did not remember me
 or give me a thought?
Have I not kept silent and closed my eyes,
 and so you do not fear me?
I will concede your righteousness and your works,
 but they will not help you.
When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
 The wind will carry them off,
 a breath will take them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me shall
 possess the land and inherit my holy mountain.

*Molech was a Caananite god to whom children were sacrificed.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Job 6:14-30

[Job answered {Job 6:1}]

“Those who withhold kindness from a friend
 forsake the fear of the Almighty.
My companions are treacherous like a torrent-bed,
 like freshets that pass away,
that run dark with ice,
 turbid with melting snow.
In time of heat they disappear;
 when it is hot, they vanish from their place.
The caravans turn aside from their course;
 they go up into the waste, and perish.
The caravans of Tema look,
 the travelers of Sheba hope.
They are disappointed because they were confident;
 they come there and are confounded.
Such you have now become to me;
 you see my calamity, and are afraid.
Have I said, ‘Make me a gift’?
 Or, ‘From your wealth offer a bribe for me’?
Or, ‘Save me from an opponent's hand’?
 Or, ‘Ransom me from the hand of oppressors’?

“Teach me, and I will be silent;
 make me understand how I have gone wrong.
How forceful are honest words!
But what do your criticisms amount to?
Do you think your words are convincing,
 as if the speech of the desperate were wind?
You would even send the orphan into slavery,
 and bargain over your friend.

“But now, be pleased to look at me;
 for I will not lie to your face.
Stop assuming my guilt.
 for I have done no wrong.
Is there any wrong on my tongue?
Don't I know the difference between right and wrong?” (TLCO)

Complementary Psalm 22:19-28

But you, O Lord, do not be far away!
 O my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword,
 my life from the power of the dog!
 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.¹
I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
 in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
 All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
 stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he did not despise or abhor
 the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
 but heard when I cried to him.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
 my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
 those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
 May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember
 and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
 shall worship before him.
For dominion belongs to the Lord,
 and he rules over the nations.

¹Paul alludes to this verse when he comments on his personal circumstances in 2 Timothy 4:16-18

Semi-continuous Psalms 42 and 43

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
 so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
 for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
 the face of God?
My tears have been my food
 day and night,
 while people say to me continually,
 “Where is your God?”

These things I remember,
 as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
 and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
 a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
 and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
 my help and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
 therefore I remember you from
the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
 from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
 at the thunder of your cataracts;
 all your waves and your billows
 have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
 and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock,
 “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
 because the enemy oppresses me?”
As with a deadly wound in my body,
 my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
 “Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
 and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

[pspsa,

Vindicate me, O God,
 and defend my cause
 against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust
 deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
 why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully
 because of the oppression of the enemy?

O send out your light and your truth;
 let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
 and to your dwelling.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
 to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
 O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
 and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
 my help and my God.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Galatians 3:15-22

Galatians-3.jpg

Brothers and sisters, I give an example from daily life: once a person's will has been ratified, no one adds to it or annuls it. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, “And to offsprings,¹” as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,” that is, to one person, who is Christ. My point is this: the law, which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one.

Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

¹Genesis 12:7, 13:14, and 24:7

Year C Ordinary 12, Revised Common Lectionary Proper 7, Roman Catholic Proper 12, Friday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The New International Version Bible ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are from New Living Translation Holy Bible copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Image Credit: Images from Hortus Deliciarum, all public domain. Collage created by Michael Gilbertson using Photoshop. Collage may be used under Creative Commons 2.0, which simply requires attribution.

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Monday: Reflection on the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Exodus 40:1-15

Model of the Tabernacle

The Lord spoke to Moses: On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. You shall put in it the ark of the covenant, and you shall screen the ark with the curtain. You shall bring in the table, and arrange its setting; and you shall bring in the lampstand, and set up its lamps. You shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the covenant, and set up the screen for the entrance of the tabernacle. You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. You shall set up the court all around, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court. Then you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it shall become holy. You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, so that the altar shall be most holy. You shall also anoint the basin with its stand, and consecrate it. Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting, and shall wash them with water, and put on Aaron the sacred vestments, and you shall anoint him and consecrate him, so that he may serve me as priest. You shall bring his sons also and put tunics on them, and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests: and their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout all generations to come.

Psalm 20

The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
 The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary,
 and give you support from Zion.
May he remember all your offerings,
 and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices. Selah

May he grant you your heart's desire,
 and fulfill all your plans.
May we shout for joy over your victory,
 and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
 he will answer him from his holy heaven
 with mighty victories by his right hand.
Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
 but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
They will collapse and fall,
 but we shall rise and stand upright.

Give victory to the king,
 O Lord; answer us when we call.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:19-25

Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Year C Lent 5 Monday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Image By Daniel Ventura. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Share Alike license via Wikimedia Commons. Degem Mischan made by Michael Osnis.

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Thursday: Preparation for the Second Sunday in Lent

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Genesis 13:1-7, 14-18

So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.

Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. He journeyed on by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together, and there was strife between the herders of Abram's livestock and the herders of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.

Abram-Covenant.jpg

The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.¹ I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.

¹Paul uses this verse in Galatians 3:16 to argue that Christ is Abraham's descendant. Stephen also refers to this in his defense before the Sanhedrin.

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
 whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
 of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
 to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
 they shall stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
 my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
 yet I will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
 to live in the house of the Lord
 all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
 and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
 in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
 he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up
 above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
 sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
 be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
 Do not hide your face from me.

Do not turn your servant away in anger,
 you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
 O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me,
 the Lord will take me up.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
 and lead me on a level path
 because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
 for false witnesses have risen against me,
 and they are breathing out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
 in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
 be strong, and let your heart take courage;
 wait for the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Philippians 3:2-12

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh—even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Year C Lent 2 Thursday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: Courtesy of St. Talka.org (Coptic Orthodox Church)

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Monday: Reflection on the First Sunday in Advent

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Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Torah: Numbers 17:1-11

Aaron's-staff.gif

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the Israelites, and get twelve staffs from them, one for each ancestral house, from all the leaders of their ancestral houses. Write each man's name on his staff, and write Aaron's name on the staff of Levi. For there shall be one staff for the head of each ancestral house. Place them in the tent of meeting before the covenant, where I meet with you. And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout; thus I will put a stop to the complaints of the Israelites that they continually make against you.” Moses spoke to the Israelites; and all their leaders gave him staffs, one for each leader, according to their ancestral houses, twelve staffs; and the staff of Aaron was among theirs. So Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant.

When Moses went into the tent of the covenant on the next day, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted. It put forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds. Then Moses brought out all the staffs from before the Lord to all the Israelites; and they looked, and each man took his staff. And the Lord said to Moses, “Put back the staff of Aaron before the covenant, to be kept as a warning to rebels, so that you may make an end of their complaints against me, or else they will die.” Moses did so; just as the Lord commanded him, so he did.

Psalm 90

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
 in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
 or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
 from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust,
 and say “Turn back, you mortals.”
For a thousand years in your sight
 are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.
¹

You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
 like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
 in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are consumed by your anger;
 by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
You have set our iniquities before you,
 our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

For all our days pass away under your wrath;
 our years come to an end like a sigh.
The days of our life are seventy years,
 or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
 they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Who considers the power of your anger?
 Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
So teach us to count our days
 that we may gain a wise heart.

Turn, O Lord! How long?
 Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
 so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us,
 and as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
 and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
 and prosper for us the work of our hands—
 O prosper the work of our hands!

¹Peter uses this verse in his argument against false teachers in 2 Peter 3:1-13. It is the Monday Epistle Lesson.

Christian Scripture Epistle Lesson: 2 Peter 3

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you that you should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles. First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!” They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Year C Advent 1 Monday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: Aaron's Rod Budded and Blossomed by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Thursday: Preparation for the First Sunday in Advent

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Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Writings: Nehemiah 9:6-15

And Ezra said: “You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you. You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham; and you found his heart faithful before you, and made with him a covenant to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite; and you have fulfilled your promise, for you are righteous.

“And you saw the distress of our ancestors in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea. You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted insolently against our ancestors. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. And you divided the sea before them, so that they passed through the sea on dry land, but you threw their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. Moreover, you led them by day with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the way in which they should go. You came down also upon Mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right ordinances and true laws, good statutes and commandments, and you made known your holy sabbath to them and gave them commandments and statutes and a law through your servant Moses. For their hunger you gave them bread from heaven, and for their thirst you brought water for them out of the rock, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you swore to give them.”

Psalm 25:1-10

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
 do not let me be put to shame;
 do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
 let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
 teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
 for you are the God of my salvation;
 for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
 for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
 according to your steadfast love remember me,
 for your goodness' sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
 therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
 and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
 for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Christian Scripture Epistle Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Thief.png

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.¹ For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

¹This is an allusion to Isaiah 59:17. Here are verses 15-20; the Lord was displeased that there was no justice.

Year C Advent 1 Thursday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Additional citations of Hebrew Scripture used in Christian Scripture, when not found in the NIV, are from the NET Bible. Scriptures designated (NET) are from the Net Bible-New English Translation ® copyright © 2005 by Biblical Studies Press, LLC (www.bible.org) used by permission. All rights reserved.

Image credit: Ohaf Orchard Street at Night by Benny1982, only-fools-horses-tribute-wikia.com.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Complete Jewish Bible (which has both testaments), and some perspective on what often seems like John the Evangelist's anti-Semitism.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Latter Prophets: Ezekiel 29:1-12

In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: Mortal, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him and against all Egypt; speak, and say, Thus says the Lord God:

I am against you,
 Pharaoh king of Egypt,
the great dragon sprawling
 in the midst of its channels,
saying, “My Nile is my own;
 I made it for myself.”
I will put hooks in your jaws,
 and make the fish of your channels stick to your scales.
I will draw you up from your channels,
 with all the fish of your channels
 sticking to your scales.
I will fling you into the wilderness,
 you and all the fish of your channels;
you shall fall in the open field,
 and not be gathered and buried.
To the animals of the earth and to the birds of the air
 I have given you as food.
Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know
 that I am the Lord
because you were a staff of reed
 to the house of Israel;
when they grasped you with the hand, you broke,
 and tore all their shoulders;
and when they leaned on you, you broke,
 and made all their legs unsteady.

Therefore, thus says the Lord God: I will bring a sword upon you, and will cut off from you human being and animal; and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.

Because you said, “The Nile is mine, and I made it,” therefore, I am against you, and against your channels, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia. No human foot shall pass through it, and no animal foot shall pass through it; it shall be uninhabited forty years. I will make the land of Egypt a desolation among desolated countries; and her cities shall be a desolation forty years among cities that are laid waste. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture: 1 Samuel 17:55—18:5

When Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?” Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know. The king said, “Inquire whose son the stripling is.” On David's return from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand. Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved.

Complementary Psalm 76

In Judah God is known,
 his name is great in Israel.
His abode has been established in Salem,
 his dwelling place in Zion.
There he broke the flashing arrows,
 the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.

Glorious are you, more majestic
 than the everlasting mountains.
The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
 they sank into sleep;
none of the troops
 was able to lift a hand.
At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
 both rider and horse lay stunned.

But you indeed are awesome!
Who can stand before you
 when once your anger is roused?
From the heavens you uttered judgment;
 the earth feared and was still
when God rose up to establish judgment,
 to save all the oppressed of the earth.

Human wrath serves only to praise you,
 when you bind the last bit of your wrath around you.
Make vows to the Lord your God, and perform them;
 let all who are around him bring gifts
 to the one who is awesome,
who cuts off the spirit of princes,
 who inspires fear in the kings of the earth.

Semi-continuous Psalm 63

O God, you are my God, I seek you,
 my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
 as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
 beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
 my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
 I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
 and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
 and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
 and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
 your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek to destroy my life
 shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword,
 they shall be prey for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
 all who swear by him shall exult,
 for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 11:15-19

Adoration to the Throne

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
 and of his Messiah,
and he will reign forever and ever.”

Then the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, singing,

“We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty,
 who are and who were,
for you have taken your great power
 and begun to reign.
The nations raged,
 but your wrath has come,
 and the time for judging the dead,
for rewarding your servants, the prophets
 and saints and all who fear your name,
 both small and great,
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Year B Ordinary 34 Tuesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image Credit: Adoration to the Throne from Trinity Cathedral, Troitse-Danilov Monastery, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Complete Jewish Bible (which has both testaments), and some perspective on what often seems like John the Evangelist's anti-Semitism.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Daniel 7:1-8, 15-18

In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream: I, Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then, as I watched, its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a human being; and a human mind was given to it. Another beast appeared, a second one, that looked like a bear. It was raised up on one side, had three tusks in its mouth among its teeth and was told, “Arise, devour many bodies!” After this, as I watched, another appeared, like a leopard. The beast had four wings of a bird on its back and four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the visions by night a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth and was devouring, breaking in pieces, and stamping what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that preceded it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, when another horn appeared, a little one coming up among them; to make room for it, three of the earlier horns were plucked up by the roots. There were eyes like human eyes in this horn, and a mouth speaking arrogantly.

As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me. I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter: “As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever—forever and ever.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 2 Kings 23:1-14

There is a parallel passage at 2 Chronicles 34:4-14.

Then the king directed that all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem should be gathered to him. The king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him went all the people of Judah, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. All the people joined in the covenant.

The king commanded the high priest Hilkiah, the priests of the second order, and the guardians of the threshold, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. He deposed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who made offerings to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and all the host of the heavens. He brought out the image of Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the Wadi Kidron, burned it at the Wadi Kidron, beat it to dust and threw the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. He broke down the houses of the male temple prostitutes that were in the house of the Lord, where the women did weaving for Asherah. He brought all the priests out of the towns of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beer-sheba; he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on the left at the gate of the city. The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but ate unleavened bread among their kindred. He defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of Ben-hinnom, so that no one would make a son or a daughter pass through fire as an offering to Molech. He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the Lord, by the chamber of the eunuch Nathan-melech, which was in the precincts; then he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. The altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, he pulled down from there and broke in pieces, and threw the rubble into the Wadi Kidron. The king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which King Solomon of Israel had built for Astarte the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. He broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the sacred poles, and covered the sites with human bones.

Complementary Psalm 93

The Lord is king,he is robed in majesty;
 the Lord is robed,
 he is girded with strength. He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
 your throne is established from of old;
 you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
 the floods have lifted up their voice;
 the floods lift up their roaring.
More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
 more majestic than the waves of the sea,
 majestic on high is the Lord!

Your decrees are very sure;
 holiness befits your house,
 O Lord, forevermore.

Semi-continuous Psalm 132

O Lord, remember in David's favor
 all the hardships he endured;
how he swore to the Lord
 and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
“I will not enter my house
 or get into my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes
 or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the Lord,
 a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

We heard of it in Ephrathah;
 we found it in the fields of Jaar.
“Let us go to his dwelling place;
 let us worship at his footstool.”

Rise up, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
 you and the ark of your might.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
 and let your faithful shout for joy.
For your servant David's sake
 do not turn away the face of your anointed one.

The Lord swore to David a sure oath
 from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
 I will set on your throne.
If your sons keep my covenant
 and my decrees that I shall teach them,
their sons also, forevermore,
 shall sit on your throne.”

For the Lord has chosen Zion;
 he has desired it for his habitation:
“This is my resting place forever;
 here I will reside, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless its provisions;
 I will satisfy its poor with bread.
Its priests I will clothe with salvation,
 and its faithful will shout for joy.
There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David;
 I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.
His enemies I will clothe with disgrace,
 but on him, his crown will gleam.”

New Testament Lesson: John 3:31-36

Beyond Death

The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true.  He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God's wrath.

Year B Ordinary 34 Saturday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Parallel passages are as indicated in Modern English Version (MEV), copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: Beyond Death by Pixabay user Sciencefreak, via Pixabay. This is a public domain image

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Friday: Preparation for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of the New International Version, summaries of the week's readings, a wish that the church could settle the meaning of justification, widows, and faith that moves mountains.

More information about the two complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Deuteronomy 15:1-11

There is a parallel passage at Leviticus 25:8-38.

Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts. And this is the manner of the remission: every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who is a member of the community, because the Lord's remission has been proclaimed. Of a foreigner you may exact it, but you must remit your claim on whatever any member of your community owes you. There will, however, be no one in need among you, because the Lord is sure to bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a possession to occupy, if only you will obey the Lord your God by diligently observing this entire commandment that I command you today. When the Lord your God has blessed you, as he promised you, you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, “The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,” and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ruth 4:11-17

[Boaz has redeemed Elimelech's land and will marry Ruth.]

Then all the people who were at the gate, along with the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you produce children in Ephrathah and bestow a name in Bethlehem; and, through the children that the Lord will give you by this young woman, may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Complementary Psalm 146

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
 I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
 in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
 on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
 whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
 the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
 who executes justice for the oppressed;
 who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
 the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
 he upholds the orphan and the widow,
 but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign forever,
 your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Semi-continuous Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house,
 those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
 the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
 and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
 for he gives sleep to his beloved.

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
 the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
 are the sons of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has
 his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
 when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 9:15-24

Christ on the cross

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. Where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hence not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been told to all the people by Moses in accordance with the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you.”¹ And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Thus it was necessary for the sketches of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.

¹Exodus 24:8

Year B Ordinary 32 Friday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version (MEV) , copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.
Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: Jesus on the Cross by an unknown artist via freelargeimages.com.

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