Monthly Archives: June 2016

5th Sunday After Pentecost, June 19, 2016

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)

Scripture Readings*: 1 Kings 19:1-4 (5-7), 8-15a, Psalm 42, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 8:26-39

1 Kings 19:1-4 (5-7) 8-15aelijahangel

Jezebel is unmoved by the slaying of the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. She threatens Elijah’s life, and inexplicably, Elijah is terrified and flees. This reading reveals God’s response to His troubled prophet and is a tremendous encouragement for those who suffer depression or despair.

God gives Elijah strength to flee (vv. 5-8), speaks gently (vv. 9-13), listens to Elijah’s doubts and fears (v. 14), and gives him a task to accomplish.

Galatians 3:23-29

The position of “son” in the Roman world was special. A son was accountable to the father, with privileges of direct access to him and his resources. In saying that believers are “sons” in the family of God, Paul makes all other relationships insignificant. There is now no advantage in being a Jew rather than a Gentile, a man versus woman, or free man or slave.

Luke 8:26-39

At times, even gracious acts of God are difficult to accept.

After encountering a storm on the lake, Jesus encounters a man possessed by demons. He has sympathy for him and frees him from the demons, who enter a herd of pigs that proceed to run off of a cliff. The people around were alarmed and frightened by what had happened, and urge Jesus to leave their community.

Jesus urges the delivered man to stay at home; because people are often inclined to listen to a man they know who has experienced the compassion of Christ.

Meeting Jesus

Even great people of faith are sometimes frightened, overwhelmed, or discouraged. Elijah was weary from the battle. Afraid for his life, he flees into the wilderness, begging God to die. Yet God feeds Elijah from His own table, renewing His strength and enabling Him to hear the voice of God.

And so it goes with our own lives. We fear… flee… fail. But God calls us to His Table. He feeds us with the Body and Blood of His own Son. And He strengthens us to hear His voice, leading… guiding… encouraging. At the Table, we meet Jesus. The voices of doubt and confusion are silenced and we are made whole in the presence of Christ.

Prayer for Fourth Sunday After Pentecost – Holy God, you sustain and renew my life through the life of your Son. Help me to love and reverence your Holy Name; through Jesus Christ, Amen.

*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C

Free download:  get pdf versions of these devotionals for every season in Year C

4th Sunday After Pentecost, June 12, 2016

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)

Scripture Readings*: 1 Kings 21:1-10, Psalm 5:1-8, Galatians 2:15-21, Luke 7:36-8:3

1 Kings 21:1-10

King Ahab wants the adjoining property (owned by Naboth) to his palace. He’s willing to offer a fair price. So why, does Naboth refuse?

The vineyard was an ancestral holding, and according to Moses’ Law it could not be sold (see Lev. 25). Naboth was convinced: No price is sufficient to justify disobedience to God’s command.

Galatians 2:15-21

Paul explains that justification is not only legal, but also experiential. God works through the Holy Spirit to actually make those who believe righteous men and women. Because we are united with Christ, in God’s sight we are so connected to Jesus that His death is our death. Because of His resurrection, we have access to God’s own power for holy living.

Luke 7:36- 8:3station_iv

In the parable, the behavior of the two debtors toward the moneylender is analogous to the behavior of Simon and the sinful woman’s toward Jesus. Simon had not offered water to wash the feet of Jesus, offer a kiss, or put oil on his head (all common practices of hospitality in those days).

In announcing the woman’s sins were forgiven, Jesus simply stated what was already true. The woman’s love proved she had been forgiven. Love does not come first: It is a response to God’s working in our lives.

Cries of the Heart

What does your heart long for? For Naboth, it was to honor God and His law. For Paul, it was for the church of Galatia to know that justification comes through faith in Christ alone and not our own works. For the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, it was forgiveness. But what about God’s heart – what does He long for?

Today’s readings reveal the cry of God’s heart. The Creator of the world mourned and avenged the death of his servant Naboth. In so doing, He reveals how precious we are to Him. In Galatians, God so closely identifies us with His Son, that Jesus’ death becomes our own. And in Luke, Jesus reveals God’s overwhelming desire to forgive our sin and reconcile us to Himself in peace.

Today, as you listen to the cries of your own heart, take time to listen to the heart of God. Hear Him loving you… longing for you… inviting you to be at peace in His presence.

Prayer for Third Sunday After Pentecost – God of love, help me to perfectly love You, proclaiming Your grace and compassion in thought, word, and deed; through Jesus Christ, Amen.

*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C

Free download:  get pdf versions of these devotionals for every season in Year C