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Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32

Proper 7B

Ancient Israel was never know to be a seafaring people.  By Jesus’s day being a fisherman was clearly a common occupation on the Sea of Galilee but Israel did not have much experience with sailing forth on mighty sea vessels out into the Mediterranean or some such.  Yet the section of Psalm 107 that the…

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1 Samuel 17: (1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49

Proper 7B

What’s not to like about this story? It has everything a good story needs: a scrappy young up-start, in intimidating and arrogant bully and a dramatic reversal of fortune with national consequences.  For all that we say the Bible isn’t a book of heroes, this story — and it’s popularity in Sunday school classrooms around…

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Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

Proper 6B

It gets repetitive to point out the RCL’s tendency to avert the reader’s eyes from anything smacking of judgment or the destruction of the wicked and of those who pose themselves as enemies of God.  But here it is again as we scoop out seven verses from the middle of what is already a somewhat…

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1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13

Proper 6B

Comments, Observations and Questions: God’s Regret? This week’s reading begins in an uncomfortable place: with the failure of King Saul — a King appointed by God.  And so we are told that God regrets (in some translations, repents from) making Saul king.  What are we to make of a God who regrets and/or repents?  Folks…

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1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15)

Proper 5B

Getting Political This week’s lectionary reading fronts a larger section of text that tells us what happens when God’s people “get political.”  From the start, God’s people have been shaped and sustained through covenants.  Of course, there have always been leaders mediating this covenant — folks like Moses and Joshua feature prominently in that list. …

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Psalm 130

Proper 5B

Psalm 130 may be called a song of “ascents” but it begins with a descent into the depths of despair and desperation.  Traditionally this poem has been tagged with the Latin phrase de profundis as those are the first two words of this psalm in the Latin Vulgate translation of the original Hebrew.  But what…

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Psalm 81:1-10

Proper 4B

Psalm 81 is God’s cri du coeur, the cry of the heart.  When we think of God’s heart, we mostly think of its purity or power.  There is a long tradition in what is now mainly the Roman Catholic tradition of the “sacred heart.”  If you have ever been to Paris, you perhaps visited the…

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1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)

Proper 4B

Illustration It is a strange trick of the lectionary that we are back to 1 Samuel 3 for the season of Pentecost even though we just engaged it during the season of Epiphany — there are several archived sermon commentaries you can access for the text.  For the purpose of this week, though, I want…

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Isaiah 6:1-8

Trinity Sunday B

Illustration For many congregations in North America, this lectionary text will coincide with graduation celebrations — a season when the story of God’s calling and, especially, God’s overcoming our weakness and frailty to accomplish God’s purposes will be a very live factor in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings.  This would be a great Sunday to…

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Psalm 29

Trinity Sunday B

The Revised Common Lectionary assigns Psalm 29 for the Year B Trinity Sunday but it is by no means clear what this ode to the power of God as seen in a thunderstorm has to do with the Triunity of God.  Granted there are actually not a lot of (if any) Old Testament passages that…

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