Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, October 22, 2017, Proper 24, Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 33:12-23)

Moses feels the heavy responsibility of leading unruly Israel and appeals to Yahweh for help. Yahweh promises that his Presence will go with them and so demonstrate their uniqueness among the nations. He then grants Moses’ request to see his divine glory by protecting him in a cleft of a rock and covering him with his own hand. For his own safety Moses was only able to glimpse the divine form from behind and not face to face.

Psalm (99)

The Psalmist begins with the affirmation of Yahweh as King of all peoples, a King whose love of justice and righteousness has been implemented first of all in Israel. Three times Yahweh is declared holy and three times the people are called to worship in his awesome Presence.

Second Reading (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10)

St. Paul knows the Thessalonians are among God’s chosen because his preaching of the Gospel was in the Holy Spirit and power. Responding with faith, they became willing imitators of Paul and his team, joyful examples to others well beyond their own region. In spite of persecution they turned from idols to the living God and now wait for his resurrected Son to return and rescue them from the wrath to come.

Gospel (Matthew 22:15-22)

A group of Pharisees try to trick Jesus up by asking him if he considers it lawful to pay an unpopular tax to the Roman emperor. Jesus, knowing their intent, asks them whose head and title are inscribed on the coin used for the tax. Of course it is Caesar’s and Jesus tell them to give to Caesar what is his and to God what is his. Amazed at his answer, they leave him alone.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Everything in all creation belongs to God
  • Questioning God?
  • The importance of the right attitude when confronted with the truth of God
  • To whom do we owe ultimate allegiance?
  • The holiness of God
  • Being in the presence of God
  • What to do in the face of opposition

Based on the Alternative Set of Readings

First Reading (Isaiah 45:1-7)

Yahweh proclaims Cyrus the Persian emperor as his anointed servant through whom he is working on behalf of Israel, his chosen people. Even though the mighty king does not know him, Yahweh affirms his divine sovereignty, not only over him but also all of history. He alone is God and his actions are intended to make this fact known far and wide.

Psalm (96:1-9, [10-13])

In a breathtaking affirmation of Yahweh’s absolute sovereignty over the entire earth, the Psalmist calls for all the nations to come into his sanctuary to worship him as the only king. He is the all-powerful creator while other gods are mere idols. He alone is the judge and even the trees of the field join in the joyful acknowledgement of his majesty.

Second Reading (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10)

St. Paul knows the Thessalonians are among God’s chosen because his preaching of the Gospel was in the Holy Spirit, both in word and power. Responding with faith, they became willing imitators of Paul and his team, joyful examples to others well beyond their own region. In spite of persecution they turned from idols to the living God and now wait for his resurrected Son to return and rescue them from the wrath to come.

Gospel (Matthew 22:15-22)

A group of Pharisees try to trick Jesus up by asking him if he considers it lawful to pay an unpopular tax to the Roman emperor. Jesus, knowing their intent, asks them whose head and title are inscribed on the coin used for the tax. Of course it is Caesar’s and Jesus tell them to give to Caesar what is his and to God what is his. Amazed at his answer, they leave him alone.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Everything in all creation belongs to God
  • To whom do we owe ultimate allegiance?
  • God is sovereign over earthly kings
  • God is accomplishing his purposes in history
  • Turning from idols to the living God
  • The joy of following Jesus

 

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