New Revised Standard Version
Scripture Summary - 9th Sunday after Pentecost–Year A (Aug. 2nd)
by Rev. Shelley
Genesis 32:22-31: After 20 years away from his family, Jacob decides to return to his homeland. He went out as a fugitive and is returning as a rich man with many children. But this return will mean an encounter with his older brother. Has Esau forgiven Jacob? When Jacob hears that Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men, he fears the worst. He is now afraid. He quickly divides his family into companies, so that if one is attacked, the others will escape. He sends many presents ahead to appease his brother. He knows that their fate will be decided the next day. But then night falls. And Jacob has an unexpected encounter that will change his life.
Psalm 17: 1-7,15: The Psalmist here is pleading for God's help against a foe. He reminds God of his own worthiness. He does not speak evil, and he does not resort to violence to further his cause. He assures himself that he is praying this prayer because he does believe in the God who answers prayer. Verse 15 is especially provocative – anticipating a time when the psalmist will see God face to face and be satisfied.
Romans 9:1-5: In this passage Paul is showing his servant leadership and his great compassion. His grief is so great for his own people (Israelites/Jews) that he would prefer that he be cut off from Christ rather than have his people not recognize that Jesus is the Messiah. He gives a good summary of all that has been entrusted to his ancestors from God including the coming of the Christ.
Matthew 14:13-20: Jesus needs some time away from the crowds that are now following him everywhere. He is in mourning over the death of his cousin John (the Baptist). But the crowds are on to him, and follow him out into the wilderness. When he sees them, he has compassion on them and heals their sick. They are still with him as evening falls. Jesus then performs a miracle that all four gospel writers record. The one who called himself the “bread of life” now feeds a crowd of over 5,000 with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread.
Scripture Summary - 10th Sunday after Pentecost- Year A (August 9th)
by Rev. Shelley
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28: The story of the Patriarchs has moved to the next generation with the story of Jacob's family. Joseph is Jacob's favourite of all his sons. He is the firstborn of his beloved Rachel, who has died in childbirth with son Benjamin. The older sons are aware of this favouritism and decide to murder Joseph and tell their father the lie that he has been killed by a wild animal. Luckily (or unluckily) traders on their way to Egypt pass by at this point, and instead of death, Joseph is sold into slavery for twenty pieces of silver.
Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22: This long Psalm celebrates the history of how God has led his people and provided for their needs in the past. Verses 16-22 mention the patriarch Joseph and all that he suffered in Egypt. But it is through this man that many Egyptians and Israelites were saved from famine.
Romans 10:5-15: Paul reminds us that our salvation is not about keeping the law. Salvation is for everyone and is as close to each of us as our breath. God makes no distinction between people, but anyone who calls Jesus Christ Lord is saved. Does that mean that good works are not needed? Martin Luther says “Christians are saved by faith alone, but not by faith which remains alone”. Keeping of the law and doing good works are not a way to get God's favour; they are the outcome of a changed life in Christ. But now he asks a key question: How can anyone call on this God if we don't share the good news about this God?
Matthew 14: 22-33: Here Jesus finally gets a time away from the crowds to rest and pray. The disciples leave by boat and a storm arises. Jesus comes walking on the water by night to meet them. Peter asks that if it's really Jesus, that he be given permission to walk out to Him. He begins well, but becomes frightened and begins to sink. Jesus immediately catches him and saves him. Sometimes we fall when we step out in faith, but Jesus is there to save us too.
Scripture Summary -11th Sunday after Pentecost–Year A (August 16th)
by Rev. Shelley
Geneis 45:1-15, 50:14-21: Joseph has risen from slavery to a position of power; second only to Pharaoh. With his God given ability to interpret Pharaoh's dream, he has averted starvation for the Egyptian people when famine strikes their land. Famine has come to Canaan too, and eventually his brothers come to Egypt for grain. How will Joseph treat them? It is one of the great stories of all time. Forgiveness is given - “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”.
Psalm 133: Anyone who reads the story of the patriarchs, or who lives in a family knows the truth of this Psalm. When a family lives in unity it is like the oil of healing and the dew of refreshment. It is a blessing that comes from the Lord.
Romans 11:1-2A, 29-32: Here Paul reminds us of the blessings that come from our spiritual heritage received from the Jewish people. God's calling on them has not been cancelled. Their non-recognition of Christ has enabled Gentiles to become part of the spiritual family.
Matthew 15:21-28: Jesus challenges the custom that says that it is our ritual practices that measure our spiritual state. No - it is our inner life that is important. It is what can defile or sanctify us. In the 2nd part of our text Jesus encournters a foreign woman who wants him to heal her daughter. Jesus reminds her that his first priority is to his own people. Her sassy response to his use of the word “dog” wins him over, and he heals her child.
Scripture Summary - 12th Sunday after Pentecost –Year A (Aug. 23rd)
by Rev. Shelley
Exodus 1:8-2:10: The patriarchs are dead and there is now a new Pharaoh in Egypt “who did not know Joseph”. The Egyptians are now afraid of the growing number of Hebrews in their country, so they enslave the men, and demand that all baby boys be killed. But the women come to the rescue. The Egyptian midwives out maneuver Pharaoh. Miriam and her mother devise a daring plan to save their little brother. Even Pharaoh's daughter becomes part of the story as she falls for Miriam's little baby bro and adopts him as her own. Thus begins God's rescue plan for his people. The baby's name is Moses.
Psalm 124: In this Psalm, the writer reminds the Israelites that it is the Lord God who saves them from their enemies. The picture here seems to be referencing the deliverance from the Egyptians as they crossed the Red Sea. Like a bird the slaves had escaped a snare. Their deliverance was possible because they trusted in the one who is the creator of the whole earth.
Romans 12:1-8: Paul invites us to live a new transformed life in Christ. We do this by offering to God all that we are. Pagans in Paul's day would offer an animal or grain sacrifice on an altar to be burned. As Christians we bring ourselves to the altar – not to be burnt – but to be given new life by Christ. We then go back out into the world as Christ's new living body. Each of us is a cell – needing each other, and together showing Christ's concern and life giving spirit to the world.
Matthew 16:13-20: Jesus asks his disciples what people are saying about him. They give him the local gossip. Then Jesus gets personal. “But who do you say that I am?” Peter blurts out - “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus commends Peter, letting him know that this revelation has come from His Father. “Who do you say that I am?” It is a penetrating question that we all need to ask ourselves.
Scripture Summary-13th Sunday after Pentecost - Year A (Aug. 30)
by Rev. Shelley
Exodus 3: 1-15: Last week Moses was a baby being rescued from a death sentence by Pharaoh's daughter. Moses is now an adult and has unfortunately had to flee Egypt because of his own misdoing. He is in the desert and happens to notice a strange sight – a burning bush that is not consumed by the fire. He decides to investigate. From here comes an encounter with God that will change his life, and the lives of the Israelties, and indeed, the course of human history. It is always good to take time to notice...
Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26: Here the Psalmist praises God for God's faithfulness in all his encounters with the Israelites. He rescues them from their enemies, making them stronger than all their foes. Even in their suffering God was there, working out a plan for their release. Moses and Aaron were his gifts to his people – they who would act as the Hebrews' saviours.
Romans 12:9-21: St. Paul continues his teaching ministry, striving to build up the faith of the Roman Christians. The qualities that describe a true Christian – let love be genuine, hate what is evil, serve the Lord, rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Don't seek revenge, live in harmony with others, attuned to both their joys and their sorrows. We can only live a life like this when we trust that God is in control and will help us by the Holy Spirit to see life from this heavenly viewpoint.
Matthew 16:21-28: Last week Peter made the great declaration about Jesus “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”. He, of course, has no idea of what this will look like when lived out by Jesus. When Jesus shares about his coming confrontation with the religious authorities and how this will result in his death, Peter begins to rebuke Him, telling Him that this must never happen. Jesus is forced to tell “Rocky” that he is speaking now like the evil one, discouraging Jesus in all that He will have to endure in the coming days. He then shares with his followers that they too will be asked to give up all in their following of Jesus.