New Revised Standard Version
Scripture Summaries for August 2021 – Year B
Scripture Summary for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost - Year B (August 1) by Rev. Shelley
2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a: “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord”. Brave prophet Nathan comes to confront David about his murder of Uriah; the result of his affair with Bathsheba that we read about last Sunday. Rather than approach the King directly, Nathan tells a heartrending story about a rich man's injustice towards a poor man. When David hears this story, he is infuriated, and is ready to punish this rich man who showed no mercy or pity. Nathan's concise response: “You are the man”.
Psalm 51:1-13: This is one of the greatest penitential prayers in the Psalter. We know that David wrote this psalm after Nathan confronted him with his sin. He acknowledges that he needs the mercy of God, born of God's love. His sin wasn't simply against Uriah and Bathsheba, but also against his Lord. David pleads for God's cleansing of sin, his continued presence and God's renewal and joy.
Ephesians 4:1-16: “One faith, one Lord, one baptism”. From this baptismal truth flows our calling to live the life of Christ in community with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a life that will bear the fruit of God's spirit – humility, gentleness, love, patience, and peace. It will be a life of service to others as God equips each of us with gifts of ministry. The goal of this is to have each of us grow up to become like Christ; fully mature and filled with God's compassionate goodness.
John 6:24-35: The crowds begin looking for Jesus again. Where was the man who has healed their sick and filled them with food? Jesus now explains that He has come not just to feed them physically, but to meet their spiritual needs. He is the eternal bread that will leave none hungry and no one thirsty. For those who saw Jesus simply as a meal ticket, this was a difficult concept. They ask “What must we do to perform the works of God? Jesus responds “This is the work of God, that you believe in him who he has sent”.
Scripture Summary for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost - Year B (August 8) – by Rev. Shelley
2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33: We continue King David's story today with another tragic family event. His beloved son Absalom has rebelled against his father, hoping to gain the throne for himself. The lection ends with Absalom's defeat and death. David's despairing cry echoes down through the years with all who have lost children, however rebellious: “Oh my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you”.
Psalm 130: The Psalmist cries out from the depths for the Lord's mercy. The poet counts on God's willingness to forgive. If God did not forgive, then none of us could stand. The psalmist is willing to wait for his answer; longing for it even more earnestly than the night watchman waits for the morning's dawn. The psalmist knows that God offers this hope to all; and he therefore encourages all people to depend on God's steadfast love.
Ephesians 4:25-5:2: St. Paul here gives us more wisdom in how to live the new Christ-life. We are to speak truth to each other, don't steal or hold grudges or become bitter. Work honestly, so that you can share with the poor. And why do all these things? So that the Holy Spirit will not be grieved. How can we do this things – by relying on the Holy Spirit within us. Jesus said in last week's gospel that God's seal was on Him. Here St. Paul says that we too have the seal of the Holy Spirit on our lives.
John 6:35, 41-51: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” We continue in John 6 today. As the people tried to “locate” Jesus' whereabouts in last week's reading, today the authorities try to “locate” Jesus by ancestry. He can't be from heaven because we know his family. We know where he's from, therefore, we will not believe him. Jesus says that there is only one way to know who he is, and that is if the Father draws us to him. Jesus will then become for us the bread of life, bringing eternal life to each and everyone who believes.
Scripture Summary for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost – Year B (August 15) – by Rev. Shelley
1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14: King David has died and his son Solomon (Bathsheba's child) is now - ruler. We are told that Solomon loved the Lord. When he was offering sacrifices to God, the Divine appeared to him in a dream. The Lord wants to know what Solomon would like God to do for him. Solomon could have asked for riches or fame. Instead, he is humbled and only asks that God give him understanding and wisdom to just his people justly. God is pleased with this answer and promises Solomon what he has not asked for – riches and honour.
Psalm 111: This Psalm is filled with praise for the Lord. The psalmist will praise the Lord in the presence of both the upright, and in formal worship. God deserves this praise because the Divine is one who remembers and keeps covenants (agreements) for ever. God's works towards the people are done in faithfulness, mercy, justice, and grace. To be in awe of this God is to show true wisdom.
Ephesians 5:15-20: St. Paul lists the marks of a Spirit filled church. The wisdom of Christ will be shown in how we live our lives. Life is short so living this new way will redeem whatever time God gives to us. This filling of the Spirit will be shown not by what we might have thought – but by music and thanksgiving. The Spirit of Christ within our hearts will bubble forth in psalms, hymns, and songs. Rather than complaining, the spirit-filled life will be filled with gratitude and thankfulness.
John 6:51-58 : The lectionary stays with John 6 again this week. Jesus continues to emphasize that He is the true and living bread that comes down from heaven. His opponents get totally caught up in wondering how Jesus could give people his flesh to eat. Rather than seeing that Jesus was talking about feeding on Him spiritually, they were repulsed by thinking of this as only a physical teaching. Jesus doesn't make it easier for them. Jesus is more interested in letting his followers know that he will grow them spiritually if they feed on his words and works.
Scripture Summary for the 13h Sunday after Pentecost – Year B (August 22) – by Rev. Shelley
1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43: Solomon, like his father before him, had the humility to understand how momentous an occasion this was. God's presence, symbolized by the ark of the Covenant now moves into Solomon;s newly built Temple. Solomon prays an astonishing prayer. He realizes that God cannot be contained in all of creation, yet is willing to be confined in a human made Temple. Solomon asks that God answer the prayer of anyone (Jew or Gentile) who prays with their eyes and hearts toward this Temple. A thousand years later a descendant of Solomon will claim to be the living Temple, ready to hear the cries of all people.
Psalm 84 : Here the Psalmist here longs to enter the Temple of God. This is truly a longing for God. He is envious of those who minister and sing every day in God's Temple. He's even envious of the birds who nest in the Temple. He exclaims that really happy (or blessed) people are the ones who find their strength in the Lord and sing God's praises. Even when their way is through rough dry desert, they find the springs of living water. The Psalmist ends this song with his own plea to God to hear his prayer.
Ephesians 6:10-20: The writer of Ephesians wants to make sure that his readers do not get discouraged as they live the Christian life. There is a larger context to their lives. Try to do good and you might be opposed by not just flesh and blood but by evil forces. Paul then encourages them to “put on the armour of God”. He cleverly uses the accessories of a Roman soldier, and invites us to stand against evil using truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God. We then follow these up by praying in the spirit at all times.
John 6:56-69: Our final week in John 6 finds Jesus not only alienating his opponents, but also many of his disciples. They “turned back and no longer went about with him”. The idea of eating his flesh and drinking his blood was too difficult for many to understand. He was talking about the spirit that would give people life through his words and deeds. Jesus asks the 12 whether they would be leaving as well. Peter gives those wonderful words “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Taste God and nothing else will satisfy.
Scripture Summary for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost - Year B (August 29) by Rev. Shelley
Song of Solomon 2:8-13: This is a beautiful narrative of romantic love. Jews have also seen it as a metaphor for The Lord God and Israel. Christians see it as a picture of Christ and his Church. The voice of love (be it a lover, God, Christ) calls to the beloved one – winter is over, spring has arrived, and love can begin to blossom. Nature is blooming with beauty, fragrance and nourishment. The only proper response of the beloved is to arise and come away with the initiator of this love.
Psalm 45: 1,2, 6-9: This Psalm can be seen as a response to the Song of Solomon passage. The bride acknowledges her lover's beauty and grace. The Psalmist then lists why one can love God as the true King. God is everlasting, ruling with equity. God loves righteousness and hates wickedness. God clothes his beloved people with fragrance and serenades them with music.
James 1:17-27: James gives very practical advice on how to live the Christian life. First of all, know that all good gifts come from God above. There is no room of boasting. Don't let anger be the rule of your life; this does not honour God. Hearing God's word is not enough; that Word of truth must be put into action in our lives. Finally, control your tongue. If you cannot do that you're not really a religious person. True religion means personal purity, and meeting the needs of the downcast and downtrodden.
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23: Jesus' detractors now oppose him on the issue of outward defilement. His disciples do not wash their hands before eating. This was part of the purity laws of the time. Jesus attempts to have them lift the discussion to a higher (or deeper) level. It is what is inside the heart that brings true defilement – envy, slander, pride, folly etc. Jesus has come to deal with the root problem of humanity by dealing with our true issues. He comes to live the pure life and then have us align ourselves to him for our purity.