Sunday, November 4, 2018

Of all three years of the lectionary cycle, this year’s All Saints readings have the most tears. Isaiah and Revelation look forward to the day when God will wipe away all tears; in John’s gospel, Jesus weeps along with Mary and all the gathered mourners before he demonstrates his power over death. On All Saints Day we celebrate the victory won for all the faithful dead, but we grieve for our beloved dead as well, knowing that God honors our tears. We bring our grief to the table and find there a foretaste of Isaiah’s feast to come.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Widows are visible everywhere in today’s readings. Jesus denounces those scribes who pray impressive prayers but devour widows’ houses. He commends the poor widow who in his view gave far more than the major donors. Jesus doesn’t see her simply as an object of compassion or charity. She, like the widow of Zarephath who shares her last bit of food with Elijah, does something of great importance.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

November begins with All Saints Day and ends in or near Advent, when we anticipate Christ’s coming again. So the readings today tell of the final resurrection and the end time. In the turmoil of hope, fear, and disbelief that these predictions provoke in us, Hebrews sounds a note of confident trust. Christ makes a way for us where there is no way, and we walk it confidently, our hearts and bodies washed in baptismal water, trusting the one who has promised. The more we see the last day approaching, the more important it is to meet together to provoke one another to love.

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Even after Israel had experienced the vagaries of kings, they still longed for a true king to set things right. He would have the king’s title of Anointed One (Messiah); he would be the “one like a human being” (Son of Man) given dominion in Daniel’s vision. Jesus is given these titles, even though he is nothing like an earthly king. His authority comes from the truth to which he bears witness, and those who recognize the truth voluntarily listen to him. We look forward to the day he is given dominion, knowing his victory will be the nonviolent victory of love.

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