Preaching The Lectionary Psalms for Cycles A, B, C
Psalm 145 is known not so much in its entirety, but piecemeal, by those who are familiar with Christian worship texts. Words like "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised" (v. 3); "The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season" (v. 15) and "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth" have often called us to worship. The words, "The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (v. 8) have often called us to confession, or assured us of God's pardon.
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These scriptures remind us that a life worth living must be worthwhile. Meaning and purpose is found in what we do. Part of the new world envisioned in these scriptures includes the ways what we do gives us a sense of self-worth and value. This is true for us as Christians and as the church. We are saved by our faith in Jesus, not by our works, but our work in Christ is its own reward.
Mark Ellingsen Bob Ove Ron Love Bonnie Bates Bill Thomas Frank Ramirez
Isaiah 65:17-25 This lesson promises that children will no longer be born for calamity, that there will be no more premature deaths in the city (vv.vv.21,23). As of late April, there had been 711 murders in 2019 in Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, and New York. Brookings Institute found in 2013 that a child’s income level is closely related to the income his/her parents made. The lesson assures us that better days lie ahead, but not because of what we do. Martin Luther well expressed this point:
Trevor was in trouble again. He had never been in trouble in year six, but now he was in year seven, everything had changed.
It seemed to start with the new school. Trevor had arrived on the first day proud and smart in his new school uniform, but one of the teachers had shouted at him for having his blazer unbuttoned. Trevor had stared in amazement, his mouth open. He couldn't believe anyone could be so stupid as to care whether or not he wore his blazer undone.
"Do your blazer up boy, don't stand there looking like a half-wit," the teacher had snarled.
This text forms the last portion of the long judgment-salvation oracle that is contained in Isaiah 65. It comes from Israel's post-exilic period, when for the first time in the Old Testament, the Lord divides his covenant people into two groups, those who will be judged and those who will be saved. The difference between them is that one group has depended on the Lord for its life, while the other has not and has deliberately turned away from its Lord (cf. 65:1, 11-12). Trust, faith marks the way by which God's saving acts will be received.