Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lectionary Notes

Some Notes for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
The Sunday between 4 and 10 September
Proper 23 in Year A
The Collect for this Sunday in the BAS was the one appointed for the Sunday Next before Advent in the Prayer Book, which in turn is a version of the ancient Latin Collect. Since in the new lectionary, the Sunday before Advent is kept as the Reign of Christ it is good that this Collect has been retained on a different day. Other Churches of the Anglican
Communion have done the same in different ways. See

Some of the notes on the readings have appeared in earlier postings, but the whole has been largely re-written.

Exodus 12.1–14

This is the account of the institution of the Feast of Passover, which God commanded the people of Israel to keep as an everlasting memorial of the delivery from bondage in Egypt. The feast is called “the Passover of the Lord” because the Lord passed over the land of Egypt in judgement (verse 12), but passed over the houses where the Israelites were, which were marked with the blood of the Passover lamb (verses 7, 13). The first Passover meal was, as it were, the “last supper” of Israel in Egypt, as can be seen in the words about eating the meal in haste (verse 11). The whole of the Exodus celebrated in the Passover is seen in Christian tradition as a type or foreshadowing of the death and resurrection of Christ, the true Paschal Lamb. This is why we read this passage on Maundy Thursday. We read it today as one of the highlights in the story of the Exodus. Much has been passed over since last week’s reading (Chapter 3), and should be read in order to know the whole story.
The word ‘passover’ translates the Hebrew pesach, which is from a verb meaning ‘to pass over, spring over’. An old Hebrew commentary on this passage says, “The sacrifice is called פֶּסַח (pesach) because of the skipping and the jumping over, which the Holy One, blessed be He, skipped over the Israelites’ houses that were between the Egyptians houses. He jumped from one Egyptian to another Egyptian, and the Israelite in between was saved.” In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures and in Christian writings, pesach became pascha, which in turn became the name for Easter in many languages. Pascha is surprisingly similar to the Greek word for ‘suffering’ (paschein).
It seems unnecessary to comment here on all the technical instructions for the passover
The Psalm
Psalm 149, is one of the “Hallelujah Psalms”. “Hallelujah” (alleluia is simply a form of the word more euphonious in Latin and Greek) is a Hebrew word meaning “Praise the Lord”. This is a liturgical song, inviting the congregation of the faithful to praise. The New Oxford Annotated Bible suggests that it was a hymn meant to accompany a festival dance [verse 3], of an apparently war-like character [verses 6-9]. The psalms chosen for the lectionary usually seem to reflect on the first reading: here the judgement on the nations reflects the final plague sent by the Lord against Egypt. One might also note, however, a link between the “binding of the kings in chains” and the promise of the Lord Jesus to his disciples that what they “bind” on earth will be bound in heaven. See also the notes on this Psalm at the RCL site:
The Epistle: Romans 13.8–14
Importance of Love for One’s Neighbour
Our reading from the Letter to the Romans jumps over the opening seven verses of Chapter 13, a very important passage which speaks of the relation Christians ought to have to the civil government of the country in which they live. In particular there are assumptions about the duty to pay taxes which should not be ingored. These verses are not read in Church, but it would be helpful to read them over before looking at the passage we will be reading.
After making it clear that we are to pay everything that we owe, St Paul begins the next section by reminding us of the one debt that is never paid: “Owe no one anything, except to love one another: for he who loves his neighbour, has fulfilled the law”. Love of neighbour is not a favour we grant and could as well withhold, but is a debt we owe—to God. This might be a surprise to some; in fact it is another element of the Christian life which involves being “transformed by the renewal of our minds”. On the words that love fulfills the law, see Mark 12.31; James. 2.8 John 13.34; 1 John 4.11; Col 3.14;1 Tim 1.5; 1 Corinthians 13. St Paul is here commenting on the words of Jesus, who in turn quoted Leviticus 19.18.
If love is the fulfilling of the law it is the foundation of all Christian conduct. The urgency for Christians to conduct themselves is all the greater because of the imminence of Christ’s coming. Though the time seems to have stretched, the urgency of our calling is no less. We may not know the time [kairos] of Christ’s coming, but we know very well that it is high time to act in love, and follow all these words of St Paul.
The Holy Gospel: Matthew 18.15–20
Much important material between last week’s Gospel reading and this week’s is omitted from the Sunday readings. Passages that are read at other times or read in parallel version are noted:
XVII. 1-8. The Transfiguration. Read on the Last Sunday after Epiphany or Lent 2
XVII. 9-13. Conversation On The Descent.
XVII. 14-21. The Epileptic Boy.
XVII. 22, 23. Second Announcement Of The Passion. The parallel, Mark 9:30-32 is read on Proper 25, Year B
XVII. 24-27. The Temple Tax.
XVIII. 1-4. Jesus On Personal Ambition. The parallel, Mark 9:33-37 is read on Proper 25 ,Year B
XVIII. 5-9. Considerate Behaviour Towards Little Ones. The parallel, Mark 9:38-50 is read on Proper 26, YearB
XVIII. 10-14. The Preciousness Of The Individual. Partly paralleled in Luke 15:1-10, read on Proper 24, Year C

This teaching on disputes that arise between Christians is found only in St Matthew, except for an echo in one verse of St Luke: Take heed to yourselves; if you brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him (Luke 17.3). A sizeable body of opinion holds that this passage reflects the later experience and condition of the Christian community rather than the original words of Jesus. Indeed, the passage seems to assume a more established community even if we understand “church” as a local group of believers, as some do.
Some Christians, particularly at the time of the Reformation, have taken this passage as a prescriptive regulation for Church discipline. It is one of the scriptural foundations of the practice of excommunication.
The rule is obviously good, for first one is to try and settle the matter privately, and only when that has failed, to involve other Christians. In verse 15 ‘point out the fault’ could be given with more strength, "convince him of his fault," i.e. get him to acknowledge the wrong. The teaching on reconciliation continues in next week’s reading : the whole shows us that it is a duty for both the offender and the one offended.The need for witnesses (verse 16) is founded on Deuteronomy 19:15, but the Lord Jesus seems to have reduced the minimum requirement to one witness in addition to the plaintiff.
We cannot stress too much that the goal is the reclamation of the sinner, rather than punishment: if he listens to you you have won him. This commends the translation “convince” in verse 15: unless one acknowledges one’s fault there is no real reconciliation, but only giving in resentfully.
The passage concludes with a guarantee, the assurance, so to speak, that the decisions of the church have the authority of heaven. Here the words that were spoken to Simon Peter are now addressed to all the disciples.
This passage needs to be read and understood in context, for its context is forgiveness and reconciliation, as the Gospel Acclamation reminds us. It immediately follows the parable of the Lost Sheep (18.10-14) and is itself followed immediately by Peter’s question of how many times he must forgive his brother, to which Jesus says “Seventy times seven” (18.21-22). This in turn is followed by the parable of the Unforgiving Servant (18.23-end). This context should make Christians cautious, thoughtful, and prayerful in applying the rules of 18.15-17.
A further consideration how we are to take the words let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector, which is generally taken to mean “an unworthy outsider”, one fit to be expelled from the Church. This interpretation is hard to deny. But as we think about these words, let us simply consider how the Lord Jesus himself treated Gentiles and tax collectors.

Feria signifies an ordinary weekday.
FAS is For All the Saints: Prayers and Readings for Saints’ Days, which may be purchased at the ABC or found on-line at
ACP: Anglican Cycle of Prayer.

1 Thursday: Feria [in BCP, Giles, Abbot in Provence, c. 720]
Pray for the parish of St. George, Haliburton
ACP Saskatchewan (Rupert's Land, Canada) The Rt Revd Michael William Hawkins; Saskatoon (Rupert's Land, Canada) The Rt Revd David Irving
Have an oyster! This day is traditionally counted as the beginning of the oyster season, the eight months containing the letter R in which it was thought safe to eat oysters. However, the legal opening of the oyster season in Britain was August 5th. He was a bold man that first eat an oyster. ~ Jonathan Swift

2 Friday: Memorial of The Martyrs of New Guinea, 1942
When Japanese forces invaded New Guinea in 1942, a number of Anglican missionaries decided to stay with their people for as long as possible, despite orders for white people to evacuate the island. Their faithfulness resulted in martyrdom. See FAS p. 266
Pray for the parish of St. James, Fenelon Falls
ACP: Sebei - (Uganda) The Rt Revd Augustine Joe Arapyona Salimo
On this day in 1666 began the Great Fire of London

3 Saturday: Memorial of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, 604
Gregory the Great was Bishop of Rome from 590 to 604, a time of great danger and uncertainty, and in which the leaders of the Church had to take care for civil government and social welfare. Gregory is particulalry remembered for sending Augustine of Canterbury to preach the gospel among the heathen English. See FAS p. 268
Pray for the parish of St. James, Kinmount
ACP Sekondi - (West Africa) The Rt Revd John Kwamina Otoo

4 Sunday: The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Pray for Volunteer Workers in Diocesan Ministry
ACP The Rt Revd Paul Keun-Sang Kim Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Korea & Bishop of Seoul

5 Monday: Commemoration of First Anglican Eucharist in Canada, 1578; Labour Day
Robert Wolfall, a priest of the Church of England, was among the company of Martin Frobisher’s expedition to the canadian Arctic in 1568. On Sunday, September third, Wolfall preached and celebrated communion on the shore of Baffin Island, the first Anglican Eucharist in what is now Canada. FAS, p. 270.
Pray for Couchiching Jubilee House, Orillia (FaithWorks)
ACP Seychelles - (Indian Ocean) The Rt Revd James Richard Wong Yin Song

6 Tuesday: Feria
Pray for the parish of St. John, Dunsford
ACP Sheffield - (York, England) The Rt Revd Steven Croft; Sheffield - Doncaster - (York,
England) The Rt Revd Cyril Guy Ashton

7 Wednesday: Feria
Pray for the parish of St. John, Irondale
ACP Shinyanga - (Tanzania) The Rt Revd Charles Kija Ngusa

8 Thursday: Memorial of The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
'The legend of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary … bears witness to a deeper truth of faith — that Mary herself was the daughter of Israel’s hope and the child whose own offspring would fulfill the longing of the whole family of creation’ ; see FAS, p. 272.
Pray for the parish of St. John, Rosedale
ACP Shyira - (Rwanda) The Rt Revd Laurent Mbanda

9 Friday: Feria
Pray for the parish of St. Luke, Burnt River
ACP Shyogwe - (Rwanda) The Rt Revd Jered Kalimba
On this day in 1513 an English army defeated the Scots at Flodden Field, a disaster for the Scots commemorated in the famous lament The Flowers of the Forest.

10 Saturday: Memorial of Edmund James Peck, Missionary to the Inuit, 1924 Edmund Peck spent almost forty years in mission in the Eastern Arctic where he ‘built the Anglican Church … not only spiritually by his preaching but also physically with his own hands. See FAS, p. 274
Pray for the parish of St. Margaret, Wilberforce
ACP Sialkot - (Pakistan) The Rt Revd Samuel Sant Masih Pervaiz

11 Sunday: The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Pray for The Bridge Prison Ministry, Brampton (FaithWorks)
ACP Sittwe - (Myanmar) The Rt Revd Dr James Min Deng

No comments: