Monday, May 27, 2019

Easter 7C Readings & Commentaries


1st Reading:  Acts 16:16-34

Our reading from the Acts of the Apostles comes from a section about the work of Paul and Silas in Philippi, the first missionary work on European soil.  Here they are put in prison after exorcising a slave girl, and then miraculously released (as happens several times in Acts).  This passage contains possible evidence of children or infants being baptized.  The jailer “and his entire family” are said to be baptized.

16:16 One day, as we (Paul and his companions) were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. 17 While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews 21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

Psalm 97
Psalm 97 is an enthronement psalm declaring the God of Israel to be King of all creation.  It is part of a set of psalms (93—99) which may have been used at the Jewish new year festival when the Lord was symbolically re-enthroned.

1 The Lord is King; let the earth rejoice; *
           let the multitude of the isles be glad.
2 Clouds and darkness are round about him, *
           righteousness and justice are the foundations of his throne.
3 A fire goes before him *
           and burns up his enemies on every side.
4 His lightnings light up the world; *
           the earth sees it and is afraid.
5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord, *
           at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare his righteousness, *
           and all the peoples see his glory.
7 Confounded be all who worship carved images
    and delight in false gods! *
           Bow down before him, all you gods.
8 Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice, *
           because of your judgments, O Lord.
9 For you are the Lord, most high over all the earth; *
           you are exalted far above all gods.
10 The Lord loves those who hate evil; *
           he preserves the lives of his saints
           and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light has sprung up for the righteous, *
           and joyful gladness for those who are truehearted.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, *
           and give thanks to his holy Name.

2nd Reading: Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
Our final reading from Revelation this Eastertide comes from the end of the book.  Several independent sayings reiterate the book’s themes.  The book ends with a plea for Jesus to come soon.  One of the early church’s cries was “Maranatha,” Aramaic for “Lord, come.”

22:12 [Jesus said,] “See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 16 It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. 20 The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

Gospel Reading: John 17:20-26
The Sunday between Ascension Day and Pentecost we always read from the 17th chapter of John, sometimes called the “High Priestly Prayer.” It is indeed a prayer by Jesus for the disciples, those with him now and those who will come after them.  The great theme of the prayer is that they may remain one.

17:20 [Jesus continued to pray], “I ask not only on behalf of these [disciples], but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

The Scripture quotations (except for the psalm) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. The Psalm translation is from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2019 Epiphany ESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843. www.EpiphanyEsources.com. All rights reserved.  Bulletin inserts are available.  Go to our website for more information.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Easter 6C Readings & Commentaries



1st Reading:  Acts 16:9-15
In our first reading, the Gospel is brought for the first time to Europe, and we have the story of the first convert there, Lydia. This has all been in response to a vision. Notice Paul begins his efforts by looking for devout Jews. Despite the Gospel having been opened to Gentiles, this is still Paul’s preferred mode of operation. This is one of those sections in Acts where the storyteller’s pronouns change to “we” and “us.” Apparently Luke, the writer of Acts, is a traveling companion of Paul at this point. The Philippians will come to be one of Paul’s favorite communities.

16:9 During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. 11 We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13 On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14 A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15 When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

Psalm 67
Psalm 67 is a song of thanksgiving for a good harvest (this purpose is revealed in vv. 6-7).  As a response to the first reading, it emphasizes the spread of God’s ways and the praise of God to all nations.

1 May God be merciful to us and bless us, *
show us the light of his countenance and come to us.
2 Let your ways be known upon earth, *
your saving health among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, *
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide all the nations upon earth.
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.
6 The earth has brought forth her increase; *
may God, our own God, give us his blessing.
7 May God give us his blessing, *
              and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of him.

2nd Reading:  Revelation 21:10, 22—22:5
Our reading from the Revelation to John is a detail of the new Jerusalem.  (The skipped over portion of the text describes the physical makeup of the city in great detail).  Throughout there is a sense of extravagance.  This language and imagery would not have been startling or strange to the first audience of these words.  The author is drawing on everything from Genesis 2 to Zechariah 14:11 to Tobit 14:4-7 and various passages from 1 and 2 Enoch.  Notice the emphasis that this will be a place of security and healing.  The greatest gift, however, will be the constant worship of God, and the ability, finally, to see God’s face.

21:10 In the spirit [the angel] carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life. 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Gospel Reading:  John 5:1-9
Today we have a miracle story from near the beginning of John’s Gospel. What particular festival is referenced is unknown. Jesus has come to Jerusalem from Cana in Galilee.  The place of the pool of Bethesda is well-known at the northern corner of Jerusalem. It held healing properties both for Jews and pagans. Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath was a great bone of contention and probably reflects a different understanding of Sabbath that had grown between the Johannine Christians and the neighbor Jews of the synagogue. The remainder of chapter five will continue this controversy.

5:1 After [Jesus healed the son of the royal official.] there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3 In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.

Or this

Gospel Reading:  John 14:23-29
Today we hear one of Jesus’ promises to give his followers the Advocate (Paraclete/Helper/Counselor), the Holy Spirit.  By the Spirit we will be taught “everything.”  Jesus then also promises his peace, his own peace, which will keep our hearts from being troubled.  Throughout chapters 14-17, Jesus tries to give his disciples comfort and courage for the trial that is to follow. “And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”  Jesus makes good on his promise at Easter, when he delivers his peace, and the Holy Spirit (John 20:19-23).

23 Jesus [said to Judas (not Iscariot)], “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25 I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.”

The Scripture quotations (except for the psalm) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. The Psalm translation is from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2019 EpiphanyESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843. www.EpiphanyEsources.com. All rights reserved. Permission granted to copy for group study with attribution.  Bulletin inserts are available. Go to our website for more information.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Easter 5C Readings & Commentaries



Our first reading is the culmination of the story of the original acceptance of Gentiles into the community of those who followed Jesus. 

1st Reading:  Acts 11:1-18
Our first reading is the culmination of the story of the original acceptance of Gentiles into the community of those who followed Jesus.  The story began at the beginning of chapter 10, when it was revealed to Cornelius (a Gentile) and Peter, in separate visions, that they were to meet. Peter’s vision also included the directive, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.”  The two do meet and travel to Cornelius’ house where, when Peter begins to tell them the good news, the Holy Spirit falls on them as it had on Jewish disciples.  Peter says he now understands that God shows no partiality.  Now in our reading this morning he takes all this to the leadership of the church, with his resounding concluding words, “Who was I that I could hinder God?”

11:1 Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, 3 saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” 4 Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. 6 As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ 10 This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 11 At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; 14 he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” 18 When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”

Psalm 148
One of the concluding hymns of praise to the psalter, psalm 148 is a hymn calling upon all creation to sing God’s praises.

1 Hallelujah! Praise the Lord from the heavens; *
praise him in the heights.
2 Praise him, all you angels of his; *
praise him, all his host.
3 Praise him, sun and moon; *
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, heaven of heavens, *
and you waters above the heavens.
5 Let them praise the Name of the Lord; *
for he commanded, and they were created.
6 He made them stand fast for ever and ever; *
he gave them a law which shall not pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth, *
you sea-monsters and all deeps;
8 Fire and hail, snow and fog, *
tempestuous wind, doing his will;
9 Mountains and all hills, *
fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Wild beasts and all cattle, *
creeping things and wing├Ęd birds;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, *
princes and all rulers of the world;
12 Young men and maidens, *
old and young together.
13 Let them praise the Name of the Lord, *
for his Name only is exalted,
his splendor is over earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up strength for his people
     and praise for all his loyal servants, *
              the children of Israel, a people who are near him.  Hallelujah!

2nd Reading:  Revelation to John 21:1-6
As the Revelation to John has proceeded, God has won the decisive victory. The final two chapters of the book describe its aftermath.  This vision draws on that of Isaiah 65:17-25, as well as 2 Esdras 7:26 (from the Apocrypha).  It is important to notice that in this vision and subsequent ones in chapter 22, it is the whole creation that is redeemed.  The “first things” that have passed away are pain and death.  “See the home of God is among mortals” recalls the beginning of John’s Gospel: “the Word was made flesh and lived among us.”

21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” 5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”

Gospel Reading:  John 13:31-35
For our Gospel reading on this 5th Sunday of Easter, we return to the ending of the Gospel reading for Maundy Thursday.  It may seem odd to be directed during Eastertide to a text which comes from just prior to Jesus’ passion.  But in these chapters before the passion in John’s Gospel, Jesus is talking about living after the resurrection.  He knows that nothing will be more important than community among the disciples, community whose sole reason for being is love.

15:31 When [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The Scripture quotations (except for the psalm) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. The Psalm translation is from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2019 Epiphany ESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843. www.EpiphanyEsources.com. All rights reserved.  Permission is given to copy for group study. Bulletin inserts are available. For more information go to our website.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Easter 4C Readings & Commentaries


 The Fourth Sunday of Easter is often called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because we always read from the tenth chapter of John in which Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. 

1st Reading:  Acts 9:36-43
The story of Dorcas (or “Tabitha”—an Aramaic name; both meaning “gazelle”) is our next reading from the Acts of the Apostles this Eastertide.  That Peter raises her from the dead shows that Jesus’ power has been handed on to his disciples.  Dorcas appears to have been part of a guild of widows known for their works of charity. Joppa was a Palestinian harbor town near present-day Tel Aviv.

9:36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 37 At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Psalm 23
The most familiar of psalms is ascribed to King David.  It is a song of ultimate trust in God.  “The valley of the shadow of death” is literally, “the darkest valley,” so can apply to any situation of danger or encounter with evil.  God can be trusted to be with us actively in all circumstances.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, *
and leads me beside still waters.
3 He revives my soul, *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.
4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil; *
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You spread a table before me in the presence of those
                                          who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me
                                          all the days of my life;
              and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

2nd Reading:  Revelation 7:9-17
The scroll which in last week’s reading had been given to the Lamb to open, has had six of its seven seals opened.  There is great anticipation and fear about the opening of the last seal.  Chapter six ends, “For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”  In chapter seven, before the opening of the last seal (8:1), that question is answered:  God’s people will be rescued.  Revelation 7:9-17 is a vision of that rescue, and it is true even for those who have been martyred.  The end of the scene borrows from visions of the prophet Isaiah (see especially Isaiah 25:8).  Note as well the paradox of the Lamb who is also the Shepherd.

7:9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” 13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. 16 They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Gospel Reading:  John 10:22-30
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is often called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because we always read from the tenth chapter of John in which Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd.  Our passage this morning tells us we are at the Feast of the Dedication (modern-day Hanukkah).  Jesus, like many of his fellow Jews, was in Jerusalem and in the Temple.  The authorities try to goad Jesus.  “Why do you keep us in suspense” is literally, “why do you keep annoying us.”  Jesus speaks around the question as usual, although ends in a bald-faced statement—“the Father and I are one.”  This was blasphemy without question.

10:22 At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

The Scripture quotations (except for the psalm) are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. The Psalm translation is from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2016 Epiphany ESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843. www.EpiphanyEsources.com. All rights reserved.  Permission is given to copy for group study.  Bulletin inserts are available. For more information visit our website.