Laboring Together with Christ

Date: June 18, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Second Sunday after Pentecost; Year A

a prayer of Jesus
laborers in the harvest
our call to mission

Summary:
Filled with compassion for the people, Jesus cries out for God to send “laborers into the harvest.” This work of love and compassion and grace is the work God’s people continue today.

Some discussion Questions:
1. What does St. Matthew mean by “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom?”
2. How is it that suffering has led to endurance, character and hope in my life?
3. What, in my experience, causes me to be thankful for what God has accomplished?

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The 2nd Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 6A (6/18/2017)

Lessons:
Exodus 19:2-8a
Psalm 100
Romans 5:1-8
St. Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)
Semicontinuous Readings:
Genesis 18:1-15 [21:1-7]
Psalm 116:1, 10-17

Prayer of the Day:

Teach us, good Lord God, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, except that of knowing we do your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

9.35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10.1 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. (more…)

Majesty and Mistery

Date: June 11, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Feast of the Holy Trinity; Year A

holy trinity
majesty and mystery
the presence of God

Adoration of the Trinity

Summary:
Scripture proclaims God to be one, yet three. We experience our one God as Father (Creator), Son (Savior) and Spirit (Sustainer). Reflecting on our experience of God, we draw near to the majesty and mystery of One who loves us.

Some discussion Questions:
1. How have I experienced God as Creator, Savior and Sustainer?
2. How do Father, Son and Spirit relate to grace, love and communion?
3. What does the first chapter of Genesis mean when, at the end of a day of creating, “God saw that it was good?”

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You Will Be My Witnesses

Date: May 28, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Seventh Sunday of Easter; Year A

living lives of faith
you will be my witnesses
the call from Jesus

Summary:

In his last meeting with his disciples, Jesus doesn’t invite them to make witness to him — instead, he informs them that they “will be” his witnesses. What sort of witness will our lives make? How will we continue the ministry they began?

Some discussion Questions:
1.  Where does Jesus anticipate that his followers will witness to the good news he has shared with them?
2. In John 17:1-11, what does Jesus ask God to do for his followers (and us) as they represent him in the world?
3. In 1st Peter 4, what encouragement does Peter offer to those who witness to Jesus in difficult times?

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The Way that Is Jesus

Date: May 14, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Fifth Sunday of Easter; Year A

love, unite and serve
the way, the truth and the life
Jesus leads us forth

“The Last Supper” by Tintoretto (Jacopo Comin)

Summary:
Thomas asks Jesus where he is going, because he wants to know the way to get there. Jesus answers, explaining to Thomas that the “way” is more important than the “there.” So what is the way Jesus wants us to go?

Some discussion Questions:
1. How might knowing “the way of Jesus” lead me to truth, life, and an untroubled heart?
2. In Acts 7, what does the forgiveness displayed by Stephen say about the character of his faith?
3. Reflecting on 1st Peter 2:2-10, when have I stumbled over Jesus, and when has he been my cornerstone?

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Open Our Eyes!

Date: April 30, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Third Sunday of Easter; Year A

present in the word
present in the Eucharist
open our eyes, Lord

Supper at Emmaus, by Rembrandt

Summary:
On the way to Emmaus, Cleopas and his companion are both taught by Jesus and experience Jesus at the table. In these two ways (Word and Meal) Christ still comes to us today. This is the heart of what it means to be church.

Some discussion Questions:
1. How has God been revealed to me through word and sacrament?
2. Considering Acts 2:14a, 36-41, what would it take to get 3,000 more people excited about Jesus today?
3. Reflecting on 1st Peter 1:17-23, and knowing that I am loved completely by God, how might I commit myself to love others “deeply from my heart?”

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The Promise of New Life

Date: April 16, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Resurrection of Our Lord (Easter Sunday); Year A

the resurrection
presence of Christ in our lives
promise of new life

Resurrection; Raphael (1499-1502)

Summary:
We are Easter people. We are resurrection people. We take death seriously, but even in the midst of it we hold to the promise of new life. This is the heart of our faith — and the heart of our Easter proclamation. May you know the presence of Christ in your life. And may it give you the gifts of peace and hope and joy.

Some discussion Questions:
1. What significance does the celebration of Easter have for my life today?
2. How do the people of Jeremiah’s time remember (see Jeremiah 31:1-6) God’s presence with them in the past?
3. According to Colossians 3:1-4, what changes when a person experiences the resurrection of Christ first-hand?

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As I Have Loved You

Date: April 13, 2017
Liturgical Day: Maundy Thursday

his body and blood
given and shed for us all
unity in Christ

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci (1495-1498)

Summary:
Jesus shares with his followers a vision of what it will mean to be the church that is gathered in his name. It will have to do with loving one another with the same selfless, sacrificial love that Jesus has shown to them. Paul notes that the Christians in Corinth seem to have lost track of this (gathering for Eucharist in a way that reveals — perhaps even enhances — their divisions). But he calls them, and us, to honor this “last request” of Jesus every time we come to the table to receive Christ in the bread and wine.

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A Day of Contrasts

Date: April 9, 2017
Liturgical Day: Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday; Year A

Palm Sunday entrance
Passion Sunday observance
mystery of faith

“Entry into Jerusalem” by Fr. Theodore Jurewicz, 1998

Summary:
On this day of extreme contrasts we will watch as Jesus is welcomed into Jerusalem by a joyous crowd, and put to death as bystanders jeered him. Yet through it all, the love and grace of God is proclaimed.

Some discussion Questions:
1. What caused the Centurion and those who were with him to believe that Jesus was God’s son?
2. In St. John 12:1-11, what is the difference between Mary of Bethany’s response to Jesus and Judas Iscariot’s response to Jesus?
3. Reflecting on St. John 12:20-36, how do we find and respond to people who are asking to see Jesus today?

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New Life in Christ

Date: April 2, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Fifth Sunday in Lent; Year A

razing Lazarus
an invitation to faith
the gift of new life

The Raising of Lazarus (after Rembrandt) by Vincent van Gogh

Summary:
Jesus raises Lazarus from death, and gives him the gift of new life. The faith of Martha and others leads them to new life as well. This is the gift of Christ to all who believe — and the faith which the season of Lent seeks to nurture in us today.

Some discussion Questions:
1. In what ways does my faith in Christ help me to experience the life God wants me to know?
2. Reflecting on Ezekiel 37:1-14, what aspect of my life cries out for the new life that only comes from God?
3. When do I feel the tension between my fallible human nature and the spiritual life?

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