We Are All Tested

Proper 23, Year B, Old Testament
Scripture: Job 23: 1-9, 16-17

Job is in physical pain and his friends have told him to repent for his sins. They believe that Job must have sinned greatly because he is experiencing so much pain. This to them is the idea of God’s cause and effect – you do something bad so God makes you suffer, or you do something good and God blesses you. Job dialogues with his three friends and this part of the reading is his dialogue with Eliphaz. Job decides that he needs to speak with God face to face. He wants to present his case to God because he feels that he has been so faithful to God that he deserves a fair hearing before God. Job feels that God is absent because God does not immediately respond. Job feels alone and terrified and he would rather die. He has grown tired of defending his faith to his family and his friends.

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LPTW Proper 23, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 23, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

What Does it Take to Get Into the Kingdom?

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 23, Year B
Scripture: Mark 10:17-31

What does it take to get in? That’s the question that Jesus is asked. Jesus answers the question that is not asked and offers a very different way of being. The commandments of old are valid but insufficient. The way we’ve always done it is not working. What in the world would be an entrance requirement for a way of life you have already begun? What if it is not about getting in but about noticing that you are already in?

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LPTW Proper 23, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 23, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 23, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 23, Year B, All

We are Invited

Proper 23, Year A
Scripture: Matthew 22:1-14

This is the final parable that Jesus gives in the temple, and it is especially a difficult one for children and youth to understand. To explain the parable briefly, many sight it as being an allegory of salvation history. The wedding banquet is given by the king (God) for the son (Jesus). Many guests are invited ahead of time and say they will come, but on the day of the wedding, no one will come and some, in fact, abuse the slaves he sent to gather them. The king (God) is furious and sends troops to punish them.

The wedding banquet is still ready, so the king (God) tells the slaves to go and gather all who are in the streets, good and bad, to the banquet. They come, ready for the banquet – all except one, who is singled out and taken away. This final piece is said to be not about a physically being ready, but about leaving behind the old and being ready for the feast, being ready for God, presenting yourself to God in such a way as to say, I have prepared myself and am here. It is also good to note that in Jesus’ culture, when one was invited to a wedding, there were robes given to the guests to wear and this man chose not to – he chose to keep his own clothes, thus not giving himself fully to God and to the feast.

This is a difficult parable that has been used to exclude people and bully people into being a certain way to get into the feast. This is really about God inviting us to come, choosing to come, and welcoming us to be ready when we are invited. Jesus is urging us to come to the feast when we are invited and to put on the “clothes” that God has provided for us. We are all invited into the kingdom of heaven, it is our choice to accept and prepare ourselves or not.

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LPTW Proper 23, Year A, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 23, Year A, Older Children
LPTW Proper 23, Year A, Adult
LPTW Proper 23, Year A, All

 

Focus on God Our Creator

Proper 23, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Exodus 32:1-14

Moses has been on the mountain with God for 40 days and nights which means that the Israelites have been without either of their leaders.  In their anxiousness they turn to Aaron who helps and encourages them create a calf and then to have a festival.  As God sees what they are doing, God becomes angry and wants to get rid of them.  Moses, however, steps in and asks for God’s mercy, quoting God’s promise from Genesis.  This is a great risk for Moses, as he asks God to turn away from anger and remember the promises that were made to the people.  God changes his mind and does not burn wrath upon the people.

Download the Old Testament Lesson Plan for Proper 23

LPTW Proper 23, Year A, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 23, Year A, Older Children, Old Testament

Choosing Gratitude

Ordinary Time, Proper 23, Year C
Scripture: Luke 17:11-19

What do we take for granted, not pausing for even a moment’s gratitude? Healed, nine lepers raced off. One, an undocumented alien, came back to say thanks. Are we choosing to show gratitude?

Download the Lesson Plans for Proper 23

LPTW Proper 23, Year C, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 23, Year C, Older Children
LPTW Proper 23, Year C, Adults
LPTW Proper 23, Year C, All