Sunday Readings & Comments

NOVEMBER 15, 2020 SUNDAY

Dear Church Family,

May we be blessed with a wonderful day — as I note this particular Friday….As I wrote in my journal early this morning — “Every day is blessed day – a gift of God — the joy of a life among friends and loved ones – love and grace. Risk trusting that is so – for that’s what Jesus teaches us.

And you shall read and pray one of my favorite Collects. When it comes up, the end of the Church Year is near. Soon we turn the page and begin Year B, with the First Sunday of Advent, November 29 this year.

In this Collect is an outline for a Divine reading of scripture. We read, and read again — aloud, to hear the words spoken. Hearing scripture – first, an oral event, before it was written. Mark words, noting who, what, where, when and how — without making judgments or conclusions. Then reflect on what the Spirit lifts up within. What gets your attention? What do you resist? Note any sensory reactions. We inwardly respond. What is God telling you? Offer your thanks and praise, as you experience and intuit God’s words to you. Rest then – and let the process sink in. In such a way we hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest a lively engagement with the Spirit through scripture.

As the year closes, our texts have an apocalyptic tone – on God’s near presence, as well as God’s character and nature. As is written in Judges, God is to be taken seriously, and will not be ignored. The third servant in the parable of the talents represents how a misreading of God’s nature can lead to rejection outright of God’s intention for us. God is more than a casual relationship – one among many, or if we have time. The Psalmist reminds us that God is enthroned in the heavens – and draws our attention beyond the distractions and cares of this world to a larger one that surrounds us. It is a call both to take this world and the world to come, seriously.

First Thessalonians makes us aware of the suddenness of God’s coming. “A thief in the night” awakens our complacency. It is a call to live prepared, but not anxious. Trust God who has shown us in Jesus, our salvation – and whether asleep or awake, we are held in and live with him forever. It is the word of hope and encouragement.

The Gospel challenges us to live confidently in the Father’s love – to take risks, leaps of faith. The workers/servants who follow the owner’s lead in risking all he has on them, is the model for us as God’s servants. We venture and invest without certainty of our outcome – but know how God brings it all together at the end, whenever. Our faith is in a God who knows what it means to take a risk and can turn what seems to be failure into extraordinary success and our salvation.

Blessings as we listen to, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Spirit of the Living God who comes and whispers to us in Holy Scripture. See you, in our present way of gathering, this Sunday, Fr. Steve
 

24th Sunday after Pentecost 

November 15 — Proper 28 

The 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.

Old Testament

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.’”

The Response

Psalm 123

Ad te levavi oculos meos
1 To you I lift up my eyes, *
to you enthroned in the heavens.
2 As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, *
and the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
3 So our eyes look to the Lord our God, *
until he shows us his mercy.
4 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy, *
for we have had more than enough of contempt,
5 Too much of the scorn of the indolent rich, *
and of the derision of the proud.
 
 

The Epistle

1 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.

The Gospel

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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