Thursday, August 28, 2008

Proper 17 (22) - Lection Notes

Proper 17 (22)

Exodus 3:1-15 - Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c

Romans 12:9-21 - Matthew 16:21-28

Fr Paul C Thoms

For additional comments by Chris Haslam, of the Diocese of Montreal.

Exodus 3:1-15

1 Last week we began with the birth of Moses. This Sunday we find Moses married tending his father-in-law Jethro's sheep on "Horeb, the mountain of God."

2 Moses experience of God at the burning bush.

14 Here is the great "I AM" statement. Where is one of those places in sacred scripture that caused the scribes to bath themselves prior to use a pen but once to write that most sacred of names.

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c

Romans 12:9-21

Matthew 16:21-28

Friday, August 22, 2008

Proper 16 (21) - Lection Notes

Proper 16 (21)

Exodus 1:8-2:10 or Isaiah 51:1-6
Psalm 124 or Psalm 138
Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20
Fr Paul C Thoms

For additional comments by Chris Haslam, of the Diocese of Montreal.

NOTE: The reading from Exodus is one of a series of nine readings. In the same manner as we have read since Trinity Sunday from Genesis. For those who read regular, and particular those who preach regular — this is a good time to read through Exodus (in a sitting preferable). Tis only 40 short chapters after all!

Exodus 1:8-2:10
The notion of history is always important. How quickly sometimes we forget the wishes, the beliefs, the honour, of those who go before us. Recently I had someone confess to me that they had very little problem with most of the commandments. But when it came to the commandment about honouring ones' "mother and father" they had great difficulty at time. Parents can try us at times like anything else.
1.8 A new arose who did not know Jesus. In our world today many are arising who do not know Jesus. Our young people, our grand-children are growing up and few of them will hear and know the bible stories we were taught as children. They will know nothing of Joseph, they may know nothing of God — they will know nothing of Jesus.

1.15-20 The reach of God extends beyond the Hebrews to Egyptian midwifes (even as they are under the command of Pharaoh, but yet they fear God above their Pharaoh).

2.1-10 Pharaoh's daughter adopts a Hebrew boy — Moses.

The Parables

Recently I picked up Megan McKenna's book Parables: the Arrows of God. Now picking up a book like this can lead to endless reading, and sure enough it has. But it is not pointless study.
Check out Parables by McKenna at Google Books.

Parables by McKenna is a series of ten sermons based on parables of Jesus. I highly recommend this book to any who preach from the parables. McKenna is an incredible preacher, and much of that comes through in her composition of sermons.

But once you delve into a consideration of the Parables it leads to considering what other are saying about the Parables. Today there are many popular as well as scholarly writings about the Parables. My study lead me to the Parables of Jesus by Joachim Jeremias which I had on my shelf. But this then drove me to request from a local public library a copy of C H Dodd's book The Parables of the Kingdom. And as I read Dodd's argument I will be requesting other books from the library, as well as looking for some more recent texts online.

Study of the Scriptures and popular and scholarly reflections by others is a task that must be taken up by every generation. The urban as well as the rural priest, as one who attempts to speak clearly God's Word, for God's People, ought to see the task of study as an extension of the task of one's prayer of life. Such enquires will also take one back to languages once learn in our pursuit of a theology. Popular texts will restrict themselves to vernacular for the most part. Jeremias and Dodd will cause one to search for a Greek interlinear or dictionary stirring what ever Greek, Latin and maybe German one has studied. Even German texts can be acquired through a public library.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Your Church Can Thrive / Harold Percy

In the past spring, a group of us, read together The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. This was a growing experience for all as we took time to discuss the book and it’s spiritual implications for us.
This fall it is my hope that we will have an opportunity to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” all that Harold Percy has written in his book Your Church Can Thrive.
Harold Percy writes first of all as an Anglican priest in an urban parish in Mississauga, Ontario. But no where does he flaunt being Anglican. The only places where you will find the term Anglican is in one of the few notes in the book, most of which refer to books published by the Anglican Book Centre (ABC). As you read the book you will appreciate that it could have been written by almost any clergy or lay person. This is a real plus - Harold is the rector of a parish congregation, he is not one who seats a distance and pens observations deemed to be of ultimate important by the composer. He writes his ongoing experience as a rector. In reading this book you will come to appreciate his straight forward style, which you will likely find challenging at times. The point of reading this book will be for all of us to learn together.

The book is divided into five chapters and their titles summarize what we can expect in part.

1. Thinking About Growth
2. Those in the Pews
3. Those Who Walk In
4. Friends and Family of Member
5. Those Who Live in the Neighborhood

Some of what we read will come home to us in our own experiences as we have visited other churches ourselves.

I will look forward to our discussions, the challenges that this will highlight for us, and how this will cause us to grow in our faith.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Proper 15 (20) - Lection Notes

Proper 15 (20)

Genesis 45:1-15 or Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
Psalm 133 or Psalm 67
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Fr Paul C Thoms
Lections may be viewed at Vanderbilt Divinity College.

For additional comments by Chris Haslam, of the Diocese of Montreal.

Genesis 45:1-15
2 - Joseph the "dreamer" weeps.
3 - Joseph reveals himself.
4 - don't be angry with yourselves.
7 - a remnant on earth
8 - God sent Joseph to Egypt.
15 - Joseph kissed his brothers and wept upon them - then they talked with him. Joseph, who was wronged by his brothers takes the first step of reconciliation with his brothers.

Isaiah 56:1, 6-8

Psalm 133
This Psalm is classified as a Wisdom Psalm. It instills a feeling of unity, peace and tranquillity, not what Joseph felt for so many years.


Psalm 67

Romans 11:1-2a
1 - Paul a descendant of Benjamin, upon whose neck Joseph cried.
2 - God foreknew the people
30 - we receive mercy because of the disobedience of those who go before us.
31 - having received mercy yourselves, others may now receive mercy.
32 - all disobedience is imprisoned so that God may be merciful to all.

Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-2
10 - over and over again Jesus says "listen" and we pick up a book.
11 - while we ought to guard our minds, it is our mouths and the words we speak that reveal our hearts.
13 - what the Father sows will last

15 - Peter, the not so silent, speaks up yet again.
He ask Jesus to "Explain this parable to us."
16 - This reveals that Peter still does not understand.
17-20 - Jesus explains the parable
22 - Canaanite woman approaches Jesus
23-27 - her faith and tanasity
28 - her faith!

Monday, August 4, 2008

CyberSins and Digital Good Deeds (2007)

I received this book in the post during Lent, March 11th to be precise. I came across it at Google Books.

You can read portions of CyberSins and Digital Good Deeds @ Google Books. Both Chapters and Amazon list this recent book.

After viewing the Table of contents you will realize that this book is a series of not so connected essays on the evil and good will of the wild world of the web – at its’ best and at its’ worst – that’s the connection.

This book does have a good index and contains biographical information for those who want to pursue matters further. There are over ninety essays in this collection of 180 pages, which means that most are short. Many of the articles are about a page in length, and some less. The production editor was not afraid of using a extra tree or two as there is lots of “whitespace” which always makes for a more readable text, but there are a number of blank even pages for no apparent reason. The articles are not sub-divided into sections – they are simply presented as individual article onto themselves.

The articles entitled


$100 MIT Laptop

Projest Gutenberg

all take up less than a page. I am glad they are mentioned on the plus side of cyber-matters, but couldn’t a little more be said. Guess “good news” doesn’t sell. These are three great stories that deserve to be told.

Proper 14 (19) - Lection Notes

Proper 14 (19) - Lection Notes

Fr Paul C Thoms

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 – Psalm 105, 1-6, 16-22, 45b – Romans 10:5-15 – Matthew 14:22-33

Lections may be viewed at Vanderbilt Divinity College.

For additional comments by Chris Haslam, of the Diocese of Montreal.

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

The focus of the readings has been on Jacob up to this point. Now it is Joseph who stands at centre stage. There is much for any family member to grapple with in this passage:

1 Jacob moves into a place where his father lived as an alien. It is unsettling to live in a place where you feel you don't belong - even if you really do belong there.

2 Joseph brought a bad report to Jacob about his wives Bilhah and Zilpah. Who likes a tattle-tale.

3 Joseph is loved by his father more than anyone else - he is the favoured son.

4 The love of a father turns to hate in his sons. Jacob's other sons are jealous of Joseph.

13-14 Jacob unaware of the jealousy of his sons sends Joseph into a trap that was brooding in the hearts of his brothers. In hearts that should have been bearing love, hatred, malice and murder lurked.

18 The hatred boils over into a conspiracy to kill their brother and lie to their father.

19 "Here comes this dreamer". To them Joseph had become an idle distraction - he was no longer their brother as far as they were concerned.

21 Reuben vainly, and weakly - not willing to take his stand against his bothers, attempts to fool the others.

27 The plan for harm by Joseph's brothers is thwarted by a higher plan, one that is yet to be revealed.

28 For twenty pieces of silver they betray and sell off their brother.

Psalm 105, 1-6, 16-22, 45b

Classified by Bernhard Anderson: a salvation history psalm (hymn).

5 May be regarded as a key verse of this Psalm.

Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he uttered.

In the midst of our sin the Lord's purposes are being fulfilled.

This Psalm summarizes all that happened with God's people from Moses to Joseph.
Psalm 105 is employed by the Revised Common Lectionary as follows:

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45c
Proper 19
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Proper 25
Psalm105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
Proper 22
Psalm 105:1-11, 45c (Alt)
Proper 17

It should be very familiar over these Sundays.

Romans 10:5-15

Like most of Romans there is allot to hear in this passage.
Here "saved" is used in the following tenses:

9 you will be saved (future tense)
10 is saved (present tense)
13 shall be saved (future tense)

Verse 15 is worthy of note as well and the quotation from the Hebrew Scripture. It has been pointed out by others that their are those who go, but they are not "sent."

Matthew 14:22-33

Three times in this passage we hear the verb "immediately." If one has spent any time studying Mark's gospel this term will be familiar, and here Matthew also uses the verb three times.

Peter is often noted as being so quick, so immediate, with his responses. It is noteworthy that of the disciples it is Peter who responds. With Peter in the boat no one else gets a chance to be first, to respond.

Pentecost 11 - week of July 27 - Aug 2

Each day is a gift from God. Some days, or weeks, we may be aware of this others we just float through without even realizing. When you can call your mother, and on your birthday, wish her a happy "birth" day - it is a gift from God. And it has been a week of birthdays and anniversaries. As the week drew to a close our annual Sea Fest descended upon the beach with fireworks and a BANG!
In the middle of all of this two individuals died. Each with their own individuality that caused others to love them and be loved by them.

Why Study the Past by Rowan Williams

For many a good sermon has been determined by the quote of a well know theologian, or probably more importantly a prominent bishop. Archbishop Rowan Williams is very quotable in many respects, he is rather well read and this is reflected in his writings. However this volume, Why Study the Past (2005), is a book that many may over look, but shouldn't. Unfortunately for those who like to quote bishops, and in particular the Archbishop of Canterbury, there are few usable sermon quotations from Why Study the Past, but Williams does open doors to understanding the past and the Scriptures.

This book is definitely about the history of the Church - why we should study the past and effectively who we have become and why. Williams is critical of the assumptions and opinions made by certain historians and how this influenced their writings.

Why Study the Past is readable. It, like so many other books from an academic, is the product of a series of lectures delivered, meaning that it requires some concentration (a quick search at Wikipedia or Christian Classics Ethereal Library may serve helpful). The text ought to be consumed by those who week after week attempt to translate the early Church for this present day. As well, for anyone actively engaged in a Bible study group, in particular those leading such a study, the implications of this book should both challenge and encourage.

While both Chapters and Amazon list this book chapter one can be read online at Google Books.