Thursday, October 26, 2017

Pentecost 20A

Psalm 96

Sing a new song for God, all the earth! Sing a new song! Sing a new song!
Sing a new song for God, all the earth! Sing a new song! Sing a new song!

Declare God's glory,
and bless God's name.
Tell the story day after day for God is coming, oh, oh,
here among us, oh, oh!

Let the sky and earth be glad.
Creatures of the sea and land.
Come and make a joyful noise,
ev'rything that has a voice!
Let the sky and earth be glad,
creatures of the sea and land.

And the fields are celebrating,
in their joy the crops are waving,
and the forests singing in rhythm,
ev'ry tree can hold the vision!

Paraphrase and music by Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan

Matthew 22:15-22

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?" 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax." And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" 21They answered, "The emperor's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

Creation Psalms

The lectionary appoints Psalm 96 and two other creation-focused psalms 98 and 148 every year for the feast of the nativity, incarnation, the celebration of God-among-us that begins in a spectacularly paradoxical way with baby Jesus in the Bethlehem manger. Those psalms bring us all creation celebrating the prospect of the new and more loving human stewardship and caretaking of creation that will happen as a result of Jesus. As Hebrew bible scholar Walter Brueggemann says, "Of course the forests clap their hands! No more clear-cutting! Of course oceans rejoice! No more pollution!"

we've traveled far in the church's year of grace...

in this Season of the Spirit of Pentecost, Time of the Church, in the gospel according to Matthew:

After the famous genealogy, Matthew starts out with the angel telling Joseph to name the baby Emmanuel, God-with-us.
At the end of the gospel, Jesus promises to be with us always, and sends us into the world (Great Commission) as his crucified and risen presence. Our readings from John's gospel have emphasized abiding in Jesus. That's more than simple assent, more than plain "believing," more than basic trust. As the apostles Paul would have it with his expression "In Christ" (and with the Philippians passages we've considered over the past month), it's total surrender to Jesus, a kind of melting into him and his way of life, identifying and living into his death and resurrection. Remember, for the apostle Paul, the gospel is Death and Resurrection.

Back to Matthew:

Today's scripture passage has us in Holy Week.

• "The Lord has need." Matthew 21:1-3

• Daughter of Zion, your king is coming to you. Matthews 21:5

• 21:8-9 Palm branches, Hosanna to the Son of David

• 21:10 "When he entered Jerusalem...." who is this?

• 21:11 the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee

• 21:12-17 Cleanses the Temple – "den of robbers" in verse 17 left for Bethany

• 21:18-22 curses the fig tree // verse 22, whatever you pray in faith shall be given to you

• 21:23-27 Enters the Temple, questions about John's baptism verse 17 "neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."


• 21:28-32 vineyard workers

• 21:33-46 Vineyard with watchtower, kills slaves, kills the son; 21:42 stone the builders rejected

Matthew 22

• 22:1-14 Wedding Banquet. 22:9 go into the streets and invite everyone. 22:12 How did you get in here without a wedding robe?

• 22:15-22 today's political practical text

• Last Sunday we heard 22:34-40 the greatest commandment: 37 = God 38 = neighbor as ourselves. The lectionary assigns this text for Pentecost 21, but next Sunday we'll be celebrating Reformation rather than Pentecost 21.

• continuing in Matthew: more parables

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