O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your lovingkindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary:
First Reading and Psalm: Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
Alternative Reading and Psalm: Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18
Second Reading: Romans 6:1b-11
Gospel: Matthew 10:24-39
Jesus said to the twelve disciples,
"A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
"Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
"For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's foes will be members of one's own household.
"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it."Lectionary Reflections for the Season of Pentecost:
City Church: Ordinary Time.
With the church calendar, though, we are guided through the year based on the rhythms of the Scripture and the ecclesial community throughout time and space. And as we enter into Ordinary Time, we aren’t entering into a lull or a time far from God, like the earth turning away from the sun in its orbit. We aren’t nearer to God in the pomp and circumstance of Easter than we are in the chilly June mornings that feel like summer will never come. Ordinary Time, like the rests in between musical notes in the songs we sing together, is the time of pausing, listening, and understanding that the ordinary is never quite as mundane as it seems.
From Advent to Pentecost, the church celebrates what God has done to inaugurate the new creation through Christ’s birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. In the season after Pentecost--Ordinary Time--we live into this great story, remembering that following Jesus is a day by day, week by week journey, or, as Eugene Peterson puts it, "a long obedience in the same direction." This season teaches us that God is present and at work among us, both in the ordinary and extraordinary moments of our everyday lives, bringing about the renewal of all things. The liturgical color is green, signifying growth, renewal, and the flourishing of God's kingdom.Missio Alliance: Jesus, the Spirit, and Empowerment.
Paul could say that he was with them in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, but at the same time with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. This is empowerment in the pattern of the crucified Messiah. Jesus hung on the cross in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, while at the same time with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Weakness, fear, and trembling cause one to cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” A demonstration of the Spirit and of power cause that same person to call out, in spite of weakness, fear, and trembling, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.”
The church has been given the Holy Spirit in order to be empowered as witnesses to the crucified Messiah. Our empowerment will likewise resemble the crucified Messiah, and not the one who crucified the Messiah. It is power that resembles the kingdom of God, not power that resembles the empire of Caesar.
Yes, the resurrection and the ascension mean that Jesus has been exalted above Caesar, but he has been exalted as the crucified Christ; he is the resurrected king. We must never assume that the Holy Spirit empowers us with empire-power to be mini-Caesars.
We are empowered with kingdom-power to be mini-Christs. (emphasis original)Ekklesia Project: Hating the Godfather.
Jesus is calling for us to see God as our Father, the community of disciples as our brothers and sisters. He is calling us to move into a different identity than the one we are given at birth by our family and our society. We are a military family, we are a patriotic family, we are Southern family—these identities won’t stand. Our only hope is that our biological family will join us in the new family of God.
Jesus is paraphrasing the verses of Micah 7:6 in this teaching on the strife that will come to families. This is part of a passage in which Micah is describing the dissolution of society. It is there that he speaks of the break down of the family, but his response isn’t to say lets work on restoring family values and teaching kids to respect their parents. Instead, Micah goes on to say, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (7:7). In other words, the solution to the break down of society isn’t to restore and reaffirm the social order. It is instead to have our lives reordered by God.The Brazos Blog: Stanley Hauerwas on Matthew 10:24-39.
Jesus, however, is clear. Attempts to secure our lives through the means offered by the world are doomed to failure. If we are to find our lives, it seems, we must be prepared to lose our lives. But this is not a general recommendation meaning that we should learn unselfishness—even unselfishness that may cost our lives—for the life we must be willing to lose is the life lost “for my sake,” that is, for Jesus. Self-sacrifice, often justified in the name of family or country, can too easily be tyrannical. The language of sacrifice is often used by those in power for perverse ends. Jesus does not commend the loss of self as a good in and of itself. He demands that we follow him because he alone has the right to ask for our lives.
Too often Christianity in our time is justified as a way of life that leads to stability and order. “The family that prays together stays together”—but such sentiments cannot help but lead to an idolatry of the family. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37) is a hard saying, but one that makes clear why Jesus must prepare the disciples for persecution. Our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, are now found among the disciples and not among the so-called blood relations. Let that be preached from the pulpits of America and see if those preachers will live free of persecution. Not a little is at stake. The violence of nations is often justified in the name of protecting our loves—our way of life. Yet it is exactly those loyalties that Jesus calls into question as he instructs his disciples.