We Are Family

Proper 27, Year B, Old Testament
Scripture: Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17

This week we continue the journey with Naomi and Ruth. The two women have arrived back in Naomi’s homeland; but the future for these two poor widows is still uncertain. Ruth’s heritage as a Moabite woman works against her, but Naomi’s claim of Ruth as her “daughter” acts as a talisman against the public perception. The passage for today is all about claiming our familial identity. Today’s passage is a story in two parts: In the first part, Naomi worries that they need help to provide for Ruth’s needs in the patriarchal society in Bethlehem. Naomi devises a plan to secure a husband for Ruth. In the second part, which takes place after we learn of all of the ways that Boaz was a kind and generous man, the reader discovers that Ruth married the exact right person for the continuation of the chosen line from Abraham. Ruth and Boaz’s son, Obed, became the father of Jesse – whose youngest son David was anointed by Samuel and became the greatest King of Israel. David is important in Christian lineage because the Messiah is prophesized to come from the line of David. Thus, Ruth, the Moabite woman who refused to leave the side of her mother-in-law, is named in Jesus’ genealogy at the beginning of the Gospels.

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LPTW Proper 27, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 27, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

Gratitude and Giving

Season after Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Proper 27, Year B
Scripture: Mark 12:38-44

The season of Ordinary Time continues for two more Sundays. The Gospel brings us back to noticing what we are being called to do. Clearly it is not to put on a big show or call attention to ourselves. Beware of those whose actions are not compatible with their talk! And perhaps it’s not about the size of the contribution, but the depth of the gratitude.

Download the lesson plans for Proper 27

LPTW Proper 27, Year B, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 27, Year B, Older Children
LPTW Proper 27, Year B, Adults
LPTW Proper 27, Year B, All

Serving the Lord, Walking with God

Proper 27, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

This passage comes toward the end of Joshua. Joshua has led them into the promised land and brought them all together to renew their covenant, their promises with God. Joshua helps them understand the weight and importance of their decision by recounting the past for them, going back to what their ancestors went through and the choices they made on their journey. By going back to the beginning of their story, he is showing the Israelites that there has always been a place for them on the path with God.

As we hear the exchange between Joshua and the people, the refrain, “Serve the LORD,” comes again and again. This is not just about worship, but also about serving, about being the person of God in the world. Joshua knows from history and experience that the people of Israel have trouble staying focused on God, especially then the going gets tough. He tries to impress upon them the weight and importance of this decision. This is a life choice and he wants them to understand that.

The Israelites pledge and choose to serve God because of what God has done for them. They retell their story of following God and say to Joshua, if God has done all these things, then this is our God.

Download the Old Testament Lesson Plans for Proper 27

LPTW Proper 27, Year A, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Proper 27, Year A, Older Children, Old Testament

Be Prepared

Proper 27, Year A
Scripture: Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus is now finished with the confrontations and moved on to talking about preparing for what is ahead. This parable warns of what happens when one does not prepare for something you know is going to happen.

In that culture, weddings were a bit different than they are in our culture. The bridegroom, his family and guests would gather in their house, the bride, her family and guests would gather at their house. When they were ready, the groom and his family would make their way to the bride’s house. Upon their arrival, the groom would take his bride inside the house to consummate the marriage, and they were then married. After the bride and groom join their family and guests again, the party would begin.

This being the case, there was not a definite start time, but you knew it was going to happen on a given day or the day after. You were to prepare and stay prepared and be ready for the celebration that ensued after the marriage took place.

Our lesson for Matthew today is saying that the kingdom of heaven is like this. How so? For Matthew’s community, it was about being immediately ready for Christ to come back and not to fall asleep on watch. 2000+ years later, the message is still to be ready, but in a slightly different way. The kingdom of heaven is both in the future and in the present. The kingdom of heaven is happening now – so how are we prepared? How are we sustaining our life of faith and lighting our lamps with extra oil to show the world who God is?

Download the Lesson Plans for Proper 27

LPTW Proper 27, Year A, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 27, Year A, Older Children
LPTW Proper 27, Year A, Adults
LPTW Proper 27, Year A, All

The Right Answer to the Wrong Question

Ordinary Time, Proper 27, Year C
Scripture: Luke 20:27-38

Jesus refuses to climb into the little boxes people try to create to contain him. Where are we stuck in our little boxes, too afraid to risk the freedom Jesus offers?

Download the Lesson Plans for Proper 27

LPTW Proper 27, Year C, Younger Children
LPTW Proper 27, Year C, Older Children
LPTW Proper 27, Year C, Adults
LPTW Proper 27, Year C, All