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 Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 

      Proper 28, Track 1

November 19, 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 use Lectio 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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Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

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Collect

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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A Reading from Judges  (4:1-7)
The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. So the Lord sold them into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goiim. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly twenty years.

At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, ‘Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.'”

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Here we see Deborah acting as a judge in ancient Israel, a position of high authority. She commissions Barak to lead troops against an oppressive enemy. Later in the story we learn that Barak will not go without Deborah agreeing to go with him. She does, and at the crucial moment she tells Barak to attack. The attack is successful. They overcome Sisera and his army of chariots. The fleeing Sisera later is killed by another shrewd woman, Jael, a Kenite neighbor. The land had rest for forty years.
Although early Israel had women authorities, that tradition did not last. 
Paul’s churches had women leaders and apostles, but that did not last. 
What do we need to learn? 
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Psalm 123    Ad te levavi oculos meos                  St. Helena Psalter
  
To you I lift up my eyes, *
     to you enthroned in the heavens.
As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, *
     and the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Holy One our God, *
     until God shows us mercy.
Have mercy upon us, O God, have mercy, *
     for we have had more than enough of contempt,
Too much of the scorn of the indolent rich, *
     and of the derision of the proud.
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What would you ask God to do for us?  

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A Reading from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians (5:1-11)
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
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Paul encourages the congregation to be vigilant in faith, love and hope. 

He discourages them from vain speculations about the future. 
What do you do to help you live in the present moment? What can you do…? 

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The Gospel according to Matthew (25:14-30)
Jesus said, “It is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”
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It is likely that Jesus’ listeners would have heard this story differently from the way we hear it. The economic system of his day was corrupt and exploitative, run by absentee aristocrats who were harsh, who reaped where they did not sow and gathered seed they did not scatter. They pressured managers to exploit the land and peasants. They expected to double their investment annually. Graft was part of the system. 

This one brave slave refused to participate in the evil system. He buried the talent so it could do no harm. By the way, a talent was worth about $1.25 million in today’s money. 
What does this economic picture say about Rome? What does it say about the U.S.?
What economic system do you think Jesus would endorse?