August 23 to 29 (Ordinary 21)

What's ahead in the Bible readings for this week?
The Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time*
RCL Proper 16, Roman Catholic Proper 21
The Fourteenth Week After Pentecost

August 23 to 29, 2018

Gospel and Epistle Lessons

Roman Armor

In our Sunday Gospel reading, we have Peter confessing that Jesus is the Holy One of God. In the Saturday reading, we are reminded that we should ask and the door will be opened for us. We read another version two weeks ago.

This week's Epistle readings are anchored on Sunday by Paul's description of the whole armor of God. In the Thursday reading, he refers to the breastplate of faith and love. On Sunday, the breastplate is righteousness. This armor is valuable for all of us. Of course, people wore clothing under their armor, and Paul tells us (in a reading from Colossians) to cloth ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and love.

Some verses from our Tuesday Epistle reading are difficult for some of us, particularly 5:22 and 23: “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior.” Here is what the New Interpreter's Study Bible has to say:

The household code in Ephesians has been misused: First, because in some editions of the Bible, Eph 5:21 [“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ”] has not been printed with the code and second, because editors have not noted that “be subject” does not appear in the best mss of 5:22. The Greek literally reads “wives to your husbands as to the Lord”. The Greek for “head” can mean “origin” or “source” rather than “leader” or “authority.” The writer's intent is not to universalize Greco-Roman household management. The passage teaches that all Christians are under Christ's lordship and are to “submit” to one another for Christ's sake.


Complementary Series Hebrew Scriptures

On Thursday through Saturday we read the twenty second chapter of Joshua. In the Saturday reading the tribes that have settled west of the Jordan criticize those who settled east of the Jordan for building an altar. The critics mention the sin at Peor. In Numbers 25, a plague has struck the Israelites because they have been intermarrying with women from Moab and worshipping their god, the Baal of Peor. The Lord expressed anger to Moses, who in turn told the judges of Israel to kill any of their people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. Zimri brought a foreign woman into his family in the sight of Moses and the judges. Aaron's grandson Phinehas killed Zimri and his wife, and the plague ended. The Saturday reading also mentions Achan's breaking faith about devoted things. In Joshua 7, the Israelites suffer an unexpected defeat at the hands of Ai because Achan has taken for himself things that were supposed to be devoted to God.

All of this leads up to our Sunday reading, where Joshua declares his allegiance to the Lord.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scriptures

Our scriptures in this track are about Solomon and the construction of the temple. Solomon reigned from about 970 to 931 BCE. This temple was destroye by the Babylonians in 587/586 BCE. As is often the case, if we were reading chronologically the Sunday lesson would be last, but it is understandably significant since it is his prayer of dedication.

Of course there is more to read than I can discuss here. May these Scriptures bring a blessing into your life.

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Summaries for the week ahead

Thursday to Sunday Psalms
Complementary Psalm 34:15-22 God's eyes are on the righteous and God's face is against evildoers.
Semi-continuous Psalm 84 A day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.

Thursday: Preparation for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Joshua 22:1-9 The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh take possession of land in Gilead, east of the Jordan.
Semi-continuous 1 Kings 4:20-28 The extent of Solomon's kingdom
Both 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Let us put on the breastplate of love and for a helmet hope of salvation.

Friday: Preparation for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Joshua 22:10-20 The eastern tribes build a large altar. The western tribes think they are revolting against God.
Semi-continuous 1 Kings 4:29-34 Solomon's wisdom and knowledge are vast.
Both Romans 13:11-14 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. Let us lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Saturday: Preparation for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Joshua 22:21-24 Phineas the priest and the heads of the western tribes are satisfied that the altar is a witness between the tribes.
Semi-continuous 1 Kings 5:1-12 King Hiram of Tyre will provide cedar and cypress wood for the temple.
Both Luke 11:5-13 Knock and the door will be opened for you.

The Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18 Joshua tells the Israelites, "Choose what gods you will follow, but as for me and my household, we will follow the Lord."
Semi-continuous 1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11, 22-30, 41-43 Solomon's prayer at the temple dedication.
Both Ephesians 6:10-20 Put on the whole armor of God.
Both John 6:56-69 Jesus is the bread of eternal life.

Monday to Wednesday Psalms
Complementary Psalm 119:97-104 Your words are sweeter than honey in my mouth.
Semi-continuous Psalm 11 The righteous will see God's face.

Monday: Reflection on the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Nehemiah 9:1-15 Ezra's prayer revering God's care for the people.
Semi-continuous 1 Kings 5:13-18 Solomon conscripts forced labor to build the temple.
Both Ephesians 5:21-6:9 Rules for husbands, wives, and children.

Tuesday: Reflection on the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Nehemiah 9:16-31 Ezra confesses the people's sin.
Semi-continuous 1 Kings 6:1-14 The temple exterior is finished.
Both Ephesians 6:21-24 I am sending Tychicus to you.

Wednesday: Reflection on the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Isaiah 33:10-16 God assures the righteous of food and water.
Semi-continuous 1 Kings 6:15-38 The temple interior is finished.
Both John 15:16-25 I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that Abba will give you whatever you ask in my name.

*Denominations have different ways of designating the weeks during the year, so your church may refer to this week by a different name. Regardless of the name, the readings are the same. Here is an explanation: Calendar Explanation

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from The 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: Roman armor by Effib, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain imnage.