It is not Wise to Judge

Eight Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture: Sirach 27:4-7

These words come from the Apocrypha from Sirach also known as Ecclesiasticus. Written by Jeshua be Eleazar be Sira in Alexandria, Egypt in the second century BCE, Sirach gives us wise phrases much like the book of Proverbs. Today’s passage is about judging strangers by their words (and actions) rather than trusting them outright. Without developing xenophobia, we might choose to pay more attention to the wisdom of our words and the fruits of our actions.

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LPTW Epiphany 8, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 8, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

Joseph is Reconciled

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture: Genesis 45: 3-11, 15

Today we depart from our prophet lineage to catch up with a story from the first book of the Bible at its climax. The long saga of Joseph and his brothers is about to come to an end. Joseph does share many traits with the prophets. In addition to foretelling the future, he attributes his crazy circumstances to God’s ultimate care. His faith in God changes how he views his situation. And it informs how he chooses to treat his family. Today’s focus is on forgiveness.

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LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

The Call of Isaiah

Fifth Week after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture:  Isaiah 6:1-8

Two themes weave together in today’s reading: an experience of God and a commissioning to ministry. Isaiah has a mystical experience and is in a state of awe. In this state, he is called to be a prophet to God’s people, to speak on behalf of the Lord. He answers with the famous phrase, “Here I am.” Too often these themes are examined separately, losing the power of one leading directly to the other. We first experience God, then we serve God. Divorcing the two leads to empty worship without service or empty service without worship.

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LPTW Epiphany 5, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 5, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

Blessing

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C
Scripture: Luke 6:17-26

Last week, we hear about Jesus calling the first disciples. Today, Jesus introduces new teachings to his disciples and those who are gathered around him. In Luke 6:12-16, Jesus chooses and names his 12 disciples, so this is his first teaching directly to them. A teaching of blessing the poor, a teaching of reversals.

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LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Younger Children
LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Older Children
LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Adults

Love, Bless, Give

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C
Scripture: Luke 6:27-38

Jesus continues his teaching with disciples from last week. Instructing them on what this new way of life, this new way of being means. These are reversals and things that flip the current way of life on its head. As we near the end of Epiphany, I wonder what these reversals say to us.

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LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Younger Children
LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Older Children
LPTW Epiphany 7, Year C, Adults

Trust in the Lord

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, Old Testament
Scripture:  Jeremiah 17:5-10

This reading is a standard, blessing and curse type saying, an oracle of judgment against Judah. Although it reads like other wisdom literature, it is written after King Josiah’s reform has failed and before the Exile. Jeremiah is warning the people to put their trust back in the Lord, and to stop thinking anything or anyone else can save them. Our approach for this class will be to build trust among the students and to explore the concept of placing our trust in God.

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LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 6, Year C, Older Children, Old Testament

Elijah and Elisha

Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: 2 Kings 2:1-12

This is a story of the passing of leadership – from the great prophet Elijah to his disciple, Elisha. It has all the drama a prophet of God story needs, plus a heart-warming friendship. These men of God have become friends as well as teacher and disciple. Elijah is to be carried up to God and Elisha is to continue the work. Elisha asks for a double portion of the Spirit – something felt he needed to continue the ministry. The story, both the fiery drama of a chosen one, and the tender friendship of two faithful servants of God, can inspire our own relationships and ministry.

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LPTW Last Epiphany, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Last Epiphany, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

The Lord is Everlasting

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Isaiah 40:21-31

The reading for today offers a poetic reminder of the glory of God, and of God’s constant presence and mercy. Even when life is challenging, God is already present with us, more powerful than we can imagine, and gathering us ever closer. We have as much need of this reminder as the people who first heard Isaiah’s words. It rights our perspective and cheers us on.

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LPTW Epiphany 5, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 5, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

The Prophet of God

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

 

The relationship between God and the prophets of God is very close. The prophet is the key to the people getting back into right relationship with God. Prophets bring messages of doom and of redemption. They tell of the need to repent and the bring the hope of God’s love.

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LPTW Epiphany 4, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 4, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

Jonah Brings the Word of God

Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Jonah 3:1-5

Whether you tell the entire story of Jonah (whale and all) or just the verses assigned for today, the message of repentance and forgiveness are clear. God has sent his prophet, Jonah, to preach a message of warning to the people of Ninevah. Surprisingly, they listen to his message and repent. God changes his mind and chooses to spare the people from destruction. If only we were as quick to repent!

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LPTW Epiphany 3, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 3, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament