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.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
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.
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.'”
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?
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.
What would you ask God to do for us?
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.
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…?
The Gospel according to Matthew (25:14-30)