Our mission is to explore and celebrate God’s infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

We aspire to worship weekly, pray daily, learn constantly, serve joyfully, and live generously.

  Scriptures & Reflection

 

 The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 23, Track 1, October 15, 2017 – Year A

How to use this page:

Read a different passage each day and think about it.  Some questions are offered to help stimulate your reflection.  You’ll find your experience of worship on Sunday will be intensified.

For a method to read and pray with the scriptures you might try to use the ancient practice of Lectio Divina (Divine Reading).  We’ve written some instructions on how to useLectio with the Sunday Scriptures at the following link:Using Lectio Divina to pray the lections

We use the Episcopal Revised Common Lectionary.
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Exodus 32:1-14
Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14

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Collect

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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A Reading from Exodus (32.1-14)
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.
The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt! The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.”
But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'” And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.
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What was the people’s failure? 
How might this passage strengthen your own commitment to prayers of intercession?
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Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23                                    St. Helena Psalter
  
Alleluia! Give thanks, for the Holy One is good; *
     God’s mercy endures for ever.
Who can declare the mighty acts of God *
      or show forth rightful praise?
Happy are they who act with justice *
     and always do what is right!
Remember me, O God, with the favor you have for your people, *
     and visit me with your saving help;
That I may see the prosperity of your elect
          and be glad with the gladness of your people, *
     that I may glory with your inheritance.
We have sinned as our forebears did; *
     we have done wrong and dealt wickedly.
Israel made a bull-calf at Horeb *
     and worshiped a molten image;
And so they exchanged their Glory *
     for the image of an ox that feeds on grass.
They forgot you, their Savior, *
     who had done great things in Egypt,
Wonderful deeds in the land of Ham, *
     and fearful things at the Red Sea.
So you would have destroyed them,
          had not Moses your chosen stood before you in the breach, *

to turn away your wrath from consuming them.

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What must we do to be faithful in our generation? 

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A Reading from  Paul’s letter to the Philippians (4:1-9)
My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
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Paul introduces one of the most exquisite passages in his writing with the conflict between two women who are leaders and co-workers in the congregation, but who are in conflict.

How can you incorporate Paul’s eloquent advice into your own life?

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The Gospel according to Matthew (22:1-14)
Jesus said, “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a Once more Jesus spoke to the people in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
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Scholars have puzzled for centuries about the meaning of the guest without the wedding robe. What do you think it means?

This Sunday is our annual Stewardship Sunday. If you were crafting a stewardship appeal from this gospel, what would you say?