Sunday, June 13, 2021

4 Pentecost 2021 (Proper 7B) Readings with Commentaries

 The Collect of the Day

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 loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1st Reading (Track 1): 1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23) 32-49

The story of David and Goliath serves to establish David as Israel’s true warrior-king, upstaging the still-reigning Saul. At the beginning of his kingship, Saul was set the task of defeating the Philistines, which he failed to do.  David (unlike Saul earlier in the story) defends not only Israel, but Israel’s God.  Israel’s warrior-king is a shepherd-king, driven by faith not by fear.

[17:1a Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. 4 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 He had greaves of bronze on his legs and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him. 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “Today I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. 19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, took the provisions, and went as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the encampment as the army was going forth to the battle line, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. 22 David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage, ran to the ranks, and went and greeted his brothers. 23 As he talked with them, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.]

32 David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 David said, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you!” 38 Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” So David removed them. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine. 41 The Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was only a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the field.” 45 But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army this very day to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's and he will give you into our hand.” 48 When the Philistine drew nearer to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

Psalm 9:9-20 (Track 1)

Psalm 9 extols in both thanksgiving and praise the power of God against all enemies.


9 The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, *
        a refuge in time of trouble.

10 Those who know your Name will put their trust in you, *
        for you never forsake those who seek you, O Lord.

11 Sing praise to the Lord who dwells in Zion; *
        proclaim to the peoples the things he has done.

12 The Avenger of blood will remember them; *
        he will not forget the cry of the afflicted.

13 Have pity on me, O Lord; *
        see the misery I suffer from those who hate me,
        O you who lift me up from the gate of death;

14 So that I may tell of your praises and rejoice in your salvation *
        in the gates of the city of Zion.

15 The ungodly have fallen into the pit they dug, *
        and in the snare they set is their own foot caught.

16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice; *
        the wicked are trapped in the works of their own hands.

17 The wicked shall be given over to the grave, *
        and also all the peoples who forget God.

18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, *
        and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.

19 Rise up, O Lord, let not the ungodly have the upper hand; *
        let them be judged before you.

20 Put fear upon them, O Lord; *
        let the ungodly know they are but mortal.

Or this (Track 1 option)

1st Reading (Track 1): 1 Samuel 17:57—18:5, 10-16

Several things are going on in the following story. First there is the end of the story of David killing Goliath. Second, love for David builds among the people, and also in Saul’s own son, Jonathan.  He will become an important character in the next few chapters as Saul attempts to kill David. This is the third aspect of the story, Saul’s disintegration as David rises to power. Much has been written about the love of David and Jonathan. It is impossible to know its nature (which is perhaps a modern question). Yet it is an example of the possibility of deep intimacy between men.

17:57 On David’s return from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” 18:1 When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved. 10 The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; 11 and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. 12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul removed him from his presence, and made him a commander of a thousand; and David marched out and came in, leading the army. 14 David had success in all his undertakings; for the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in awe of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David; for it was he who marched out and came in leading them.

Psalm 133 (Track 1)

Our psalm is one of the “Songs of Ascent,” pilgrim songs sung on the journey to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the pilgrim festivals.  It emphasizes the ideal of unity among us, using two images:  the anointing of a priest, and the “dew” of the great Mt. Hermon, which collects into streams that provide precious water for the land (it feeds the Sea of Galilee).


1 Oh, how good and pleasant it is, *
        when brethren live together in unity!

2 It is like fine oil upon the head *
        that runs down upon the beard,

3 Upon the beard of Aaron, *
        and runs down upon the collar of his robe.

4 It is like the dew of Hermon *
        that falls upon the hills of Zion.

5 For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: *
        life for evermore.

 1st Reading (Track 2):  Job 38:1-11

The Book of Job is an ancient folktale which probes the keeping of faith in the midst of suffering.  This is a question as old as faith itself.  The story may originally have been 1:1—2:13 and 42:7-17, a simple tale.  Over time the tale was, perhaps, thought to be too simple, and so an extended conversation between Job and three friends was added (3:1—31:40), as well as a speech by the stranger Elihu (32:1—37:24) and a reply by God (38:1—42:6) that includes this morning’s passage.  God never answers Job’s question, yet he scolds Job’s friends and Elihu for their over-simplistic answers.  God’s only answer is that he is the Lord of creation.

38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:  2 Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. 4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? 8 Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?—9 when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, 11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?”

Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32 (Track 2)

Psalm 107 is one of the historical psalms.  It also seems to be intended for use by pilgrims as they travelled to Jerusalem for one of the festivals.  They were reminded by this psalm of the great thanks they owed God for their deliverance in times of danger.  The section we are using relates to our first reading and the Gospel in that it focuses on the sea and God’s power over it.


1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, *
        and his mercy endures for ever.

2 Let all those whom the Lord has redeemed proclaim *
         that he redeemed them from the hand of the foe.

3 He gathered them out of the lands; *
        from the east and from the west,
        from the north and from the south.

23 Some went down to the sea in ships *
        and plied their trade in deep waters;

24 They beheld the works of the Lord *
        and his wonders in the deep.

25 Then he spoke, and a stormy wind arose, *
        which tossed high the waves of the sea.

26 They mounted up to the heavens and fell back to the depths; *
        their hearts melted because of their peril.

27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards *
        and were at their wits’ end.

28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, *
        and he delivered them from their distress.

29 He stilled the storm to a whisper *
        and quieted the waves of the sea.

30 Then they were glad because of the calm, *
        and he brought them to the harbor they were bound for.

31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his mercy *
        and the wonders he does for his children.

32 Let them exalt him in the congregation of the people *
        and praise him in the council of the elders.

2nd Reading:  2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Paul has just proclaimed that everyone in Christ is a new creation, and thus our ministry is reconciliation. Now, Paul says, is the acceptable time for this ministry, using a quote from the prophet Isaiah (49:8).  This has been Paul’s approach to ministry, and it has produced great trials and sufferings. Yet even though he has been treated as having nothing, he knows he possesses everything.  He asks finally that those to whom he writes open their hearts to what he has to say.

6:1 As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12 There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13 In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

Gospel Reading:  Mark 4:35-41

Jesus has been teaching by means of parables and now wishes to cross the Sea of Galilee.  A great windstorm arises, and the disciples are terrified. However Jesus remains asleep!  Upon waking, he hushes the wind and the stormy sea with a word.  He asks them to examine their faith and understand that fear is its opposite.  They, however, focus on his power to command the creation.

4:35 On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

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.  All rights reserved.  The Collect of the Day and the Psalm translation are from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2021, Epiphany ESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843, www.epiphanyesources.com. All rights reserved.  Permission is given to copy for group study.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

3 Pentecost 2021 Proper 6 B Readings with Commentaries

 The Collect of the Day

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

1st Reading (Track 1): 1 Samuel 15:34—16:13

In last week’s reading Saul was chosen as king.  He is a disappointment to God, largely through his disobedience (see 15:4-9). Samuel must deliver God’s verdict, which he does regretfully. He has become attached to Saul.  But God orders Samuel to find the new chosen one.  Note the text makes much about not looking at the outward forms of Jesse’s sons, but then cannot help but brag about David’s handsomeness!  David will not become king until the beginning of 2 Samuel.  Until then Saul and he develop a relationship that is fraught with peril for both.

15:34 Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel. 16:1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

Psalm 20 (Track 1)

Psalm 20 was probably used as part of a royal liturgy.  It proclaims that God will respond to the king’s prayer and give him victory.  He will do so because of the king’s (and the peoples’) trust in God.



1 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble, *
        the Name of the God of Jacob defend you;

2 Send you help from his holy place *
        and strengthen you out of Zion;

3 Remember all your offerings *
        and accept your burnt sacrifice;

4 Grant you your heart’s desire *
        and prosper all your plans.

5 We will shout for joy at your victory
    and triumph in the Name of our God; *
        may the Lord grant all your requests.

6 Now I know that the Lord gives victory to his anointed; *
        he will answer him out of his holy heaven,
        with the victorious strength of his right hand.

7 Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, *
        but we will call upon the Name of the Lord our God.

8 They collapse and fall down, *
        but we will arise and stand upright.

9 O Lord, give victory to the king *
        and answer us when we call.

1st Reading: Ezekiel 17:22-24

The prophet Ezekiel was a prophet of the exile, that period when the Jewish people had been completely overrun by the Babylonian Empire and many of them forced into exile in Babylon.  In our reading this morning Ezekiel foresees a return to the homeland using the image of a sprig that grows into a great tree on a “high and lofty mountain.”  The dry tree shall flourish—a word of hope for the exiles.

17:22 Thus says the Lord God:  I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out.  I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.  23 On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it, in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live; in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind. 24 All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord.  I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.  I the LORD have spoken; I will accomplish it.

Psalm 92:1-4, 11-14 (Track 2)

Psalm 92 is a song of thanksgiving for the deliverance from personal enemies.  In the Hebrew text it is entitled “A Song for the Sabbath Day.”  Christian emphasis on “thanksgiving” (the meaning of the word “Eucharist”) as the principal cause for weekly corporate worship has its root in the Hebrew Scriptures.


1 It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord, *
        and to sing praises to your Name, O Most High;

2 To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning *
        and of your faithfulness in the night season;

3 On the psaltery, and on the lyre, *
        and to the melody of the harp.

4 For you have made me glad by your acts, O Lord; *
        and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands.

11 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, *
        and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon.

12 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord *
        shall flourish in the courts of our God;

13 They shall still bear fruit in old age; *
        they shall be green and succulent;

14 That they may show how upright the Lord is, *
        my Rock, in whom there is no fault.

2nd Reading:  2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (11-13) 14-17

Paul wants the Corinthians to be confident as they face death. The gift of the Spirit to each one of us is a guarantee (the Baptismal rite calls it a “seal”) that God will never abandon us.  If we can let go of our fears about the future, then we can concentrate on our ministry of reconciliation in the present.  In fact, it makes that ministry of reconciliation all the more urgent and clear.  Everything has become new! This is our proclamation.  By this Paul does not mean that we should pretend everything is new, but believe that it is new despite all signs to the contrary.

5:6 We are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

[11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.]

14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Gospel Reading:  Mark 4:26-34

Chapter four of Mark is a chapter of parables.  Mark contains far fewer parables than Matthew and Luke, and they are mostly found here.  The chapter opens with the well-known Parable of the Sower (we read it in Matthew’s year).  Here we have two short parables:  the seed growing secretly and the mustard seed.  (The former is found also in Matthew, the latter in both Matthew and Luke).  They both emphasize the mysteriousness of God’s kingdom/God’s grace.

4:26 Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” 30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

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.  All rights reserved.  The Collect of the Day and the Psalm translation are from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2021, Epiphany ESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843, www.epiphanyesources.com. All rights reserved.  Permission is given to copy for group study.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

2 Pentecost 2021 Proper 5B Readings with Commentaries

 

The Collect of the Day

O God, from whom all good proceeds:  Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever  Amen.

1st Reading (Track 1): 1 Samuel 8:4-11 (12-15) 16-20 (11:14-15)

Our passage today is a turning point in the story of biblical Israel.  The people have had no other king but God.  A series of “judges” have ruled Israel in the name of God.  They people see no successor to Samuel as judge, and so they ask for a king.  Their reasoning is significant:  they want to be like other nations.  Samuel knows this is disaster, and so does God, but God says to give them what they want, just make sure they know the consequences.  “Damn the consequences,” is the reply.  So Saul becomes the first anointed king of Israel.

8:4 All the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, 7 and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. 9 Now then, listen to their voice; only—you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” 10 So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots.

[12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. 15 He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers.]

16 He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 19 But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, 20 so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.’

[11:14 Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed offerings of well-being before the Lord, and there Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.]

Psalm 138 (Track 1)

Psalm 138 is an individual’s prayer of confidence in God.  This confidence rests on the promise of God’s steadfast love, which is for the lowly as well as the mighty.



1 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart; *
        before the gods I will sing your praise.

2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
    and praise your Name, *
        because of your love and faithfulness;

3 For you have glorified your Name *
        and your word above all things.

4 When I called, you answered me; *
        you increased my strength within me.

5 All the kings of the earth will praise you, O Lord; *
        when they have heard the words of your mouth.

6 They will sing of the ways of the Lord, *
        that great is the glory of the Lord.

7 Though the Lord be high, he cares for the lowly; *
        he perceives the haughty from afar.

8 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you keep me safe; *
        you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies;
        your right hand shall save me.

9 The Lord will make good his purpose for me; *
        O Lord, your love endures for ever;
        do not abandon the works of your hands.

1st Reading (Track 2):  Genesis 3:8-15

What follows is the second half of the temptation story (sometimes called “the fall”).  The crafty serpent has revealed that the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden (of which God has commanded they shall not eat) will not cause them to die, but to be like God, that is, wise, “knowing good and evil.”  They ate, but their first knowledge is of shame. They “knew that they were naked.”  Shame distorts their relationship with God, as the second part of the story tells us.  The tragedy of the whole of the Bible can be summarized in Adam’s response to God, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid…”  The “original sin” may be disobedience of God’s command, or is it the refusal to take responsibility for one’s own actions?

3:8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, :The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Psalm 130 (Track 2)

Psalm 130 is one of the “Songs of Ascent,” pilgrim songs sung on the way to Jerusalem.  This psalm is a prayer for deliverance from personal trouble.  The psalmist knows the “depths,” but also trusts the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy.



1 Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice; *
        let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

2 If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss, *
        O Lord, who could stand?

3 For there is forgiveness with you; *
        therefore you shall be feared.

4 I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; *
        in his word is my hope.

5 My soul waits for the Lord,
    more than watchmen for the morning, *
        more than watchmen for the morning.

6 O Israel, wait for the Lord, *
        for with the Lord there is mercy;

7 With him there is plenteous redemption, *
        and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.

 2nd Reading:  2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1

Paul begins this paragraph by referencing the faith of the psalmist in the midst of trouble.  The exact reference is to Psalm 116:10.  He has been talking about the experience of suffering, both by himself and the Christian community in general.  He encourages the Corinthians to experience it as “a slight momentary affliction.”  It is not God’s ultimate plan for us.

4:13 Just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Gospel Reading:  Mark 3:20-35

Jesus has just called his twelve disciples.  Now there is a troubling encounter with his family, who attempt to restrain him because there is a rumor that he is insane.  The religious authorities also claim that he is in league with Satan.  (“Beelzebul” is a form of Baal-zebub, a widely known pagan God, see 2 Kings 1:2).  He responds with his well-known saying about sins against the Holy Spirit being “eternal,” i.e., unforgivable.  Bible interpreters have spent two millennia trying to figure out exactly what constitutes a “sin against the Holy Spirit.”  More importantly, as the story moves on, his family attempts to intervene again and he more or less turns his back on them.  He has created a new family.

3:20 The crowd came together again, so that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat. 21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered. 28 Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” 31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” 33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

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.  All rights reserved.  The Collect of the Day and the Psalm translation are from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2021, Epiphany ESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843, www.epiphanyesources.com. All rights reserved.  Permission is given to copy for group study.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Trinity Sunday B Readings with Commentary

The Collect of the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 1st Reading:  Isaiah 6:1-8

Our first reading is the call of Isaiah to prophesy to the people of Judah.  The scene is the throne room of God and the mood is one of sheer awe.  In the face of God’s holiness, Isaiah can only shrink back.  Yet the mercy of God shines through and Isaiah is then able confidently to answer the call.  This reading is chosen for Trinity Sunday because of the curious, “Who will go for us?”  Why the use of the plural?  Christians have seen it as a foreshadowing of the Trinity (see a similar use at Genesis 1:26).

6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

Canticle: A Song of Praise (Benedictus es, Domine)

The text of this canticle is The Prayer of Azariah & the Song of the Three, 29-34.  It is found in The Book of Common Prayer as Canticle 13 (p. 90). It is taken from the apocryphal additions to the book of Daniel (inserted between 3:23 and 3:24).  This text is a portion of the song the three young men sing in the fiery furnace.  The entire song is 40 verses long.  The final verse below is a Christian addition.



Glory to you, Lord God of our forebears; *
    you are worthy of praise; glory to you.

Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name; *
    we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you in the splendor of your temple; *
    on the throne of your majesty, glory to you.

Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim; *
    we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you, beholding the depths; *
    in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.

Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *
    we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

 Or this

 Psalm 29

Psalm 29 is an obvious psalm in response to our first reading, especially due to verse 9.  The heavens open and the voice of God rings through the whole creation, over whom the Lord is sovereign.  One thing that distinguishes this psalm is its use of the divine name “Yahweh” (translated, “the Lord”) 18 times.  In addition, the term “voice” is heard seven times.  It’s a reminder that the psalms are poetry!


1 Ascribe to the Lord, you gods, *
        ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his Name; *
        worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
    the God of glory thunders; *
        the Lord is upon the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice; *
        the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; *
        the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;

6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *
        and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire;
    the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; *
        the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

8 The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe *
        and strips the forests bare.

9 And in the temple of the Lord *
        all are crying, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned above the flood; *
        the Lord sits enthroned as King for evermore.

11 The Lord shall give strength to his people; *
        the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.


2nd Reading:  Romans 8:12-17

In chapter 8 of Romans, Paul contrasts life “according to the flesh” with life “according to the Spirit.”  Here he indicates the contents of the life of the Spirit:  adoption as children of God as God’s Spirit is united to our own and we are able to cry to God as an intimate familiar (“Abba” is the Aramaic word for “father.”).  Our deep sharing with Christ in the Spirit means, however, a sharing in his suffering as well as his glorification.

8:12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Gospel Reading:  John 3:1-17

In the context of Trinity Sunday, the story of Nicodemus’ meeting with Jesus takes on particular meaning.  Although it cannot be used as a “proof text” for the doctrine of the Trinity, it does feed into it with all three persons of the Trinity present in the story.  In this context as well, “being born from above” takes on the need for and promise of our sharing in the divine life.  We are offered the opportunity to be caught up in the divine love that characterizes the relationship among the members of the Trinity.

3:1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

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.  All rights reserved.  The Collect of the Day and the Psalm translation are from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2021, Epiphany ESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843, www.epiphanyesources.com. All rights reserved.  Permission is given to copy for group study.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Day of Pentecost B Readings with Commentaries

 The Day of Pentecost:  Whitsunday (B)

 The Collect of the Day

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit:  Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1st Reading:  Ezekiel 37:1-14

Ezekiel was a prophet during the time of Israel’s exile in Babylon.  He was known for his vivid dreams, one of which is our first reading today.  Ezekiel is taken in this dream to a valley littered with dry bones, a metaphor for Israel’s life under the oppressive Babylonian Empire.  “Can these bones live?” is the question of Israel’s reality in exile.  Do we have a future?  The story keeps us in suspense for a bit, but the definitive answer is, “Yes.”  God will provide a future, despite the present reality.  The “breath” is an important aspect on this day of what invigorates the dry bones.  The word for “breath,” “wind,” and “spirit” are the same word in Hebrew, ruac.

37:1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones:  I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” 7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath:  Thus says the Lord God:  Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. 11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

Or this

1st Reading:  Acts of the Apostles 2:1-21

Our first reading is the story of the Spirit’s manifestation on the Day of Pentecost.  Pentecost was a major Jewish festival which occurred 50 days after Passover.  It is also known as the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot. It was the festival of the spring harvest in Jesus’ day. It came to be the annual celebration of the gift of the Torah.  The Holy Spirit’s falling on everyone is a different phenomenon than the Spirit’s falling on individuals in the Hebrew Scriptures (and usually for a set period of time). This “falling” is universal and permanent.  Peter’s speech includes an extended quote from the prophet Joel (2:28-32). 

2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:  17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

Psalm 104:25-35, 37b

Psalm 104 as a whole is a hymn to God as creator and sustainer of all life. Our portion today concludes the psalm with a reference to God’s taming of the sea (seen by ancient peoples as the source of chaos represented here by the sea monster “Leviathan,” which is God’s plaything). It also includes a reference to the Spirit of God.  “Breath” in verse 30 and “Spirit” in verse 31 are, as above, the same Hebrew word.


25 O Lord, how manifold are your works! *
        in wisdom you have made them all;
        the earth is full of your creatures.

26 Yonder is the great and wide sea
    with its living things too many to number, *
        creatures both small and great.

27 There move the ships, and there is that Leviathan, *
        which you have made for the sport of it.

28 All of them look to you *
        to give them their food in due season.

29 You give it to them; they gather it; *
        you open your hand, and they are filled with good things.

30 You hide your face, and they are terrified; *
        you take away their breath,
        and they die and return to their dust.

31 You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; *
        and so you renew the face of the earth.

32 May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; *
        may the Lord rejoice in all his works.

33 He looks at the earth and it trembles; *
        he touches the mountains and they smoke.

34 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; *
        I will praise my God while I have my being.

35 May these words of mine please him; *
        I will rejoice in the Lord. [37b] Hallelujah!

 2nd Reading:  Acts of the Apostles 2:1-21

              See above. 

Or this

2nd Reading:  Romans 8:22-27

Romans chapter eight is Paul’s great proclamation of Life in the Spirit. Paul asserts what the story of Pentecost proclaims, that the Spirit of God dwells in all believers (8:9). That Spirit prays in us, even when we have no words. More than this, Paul says, in what is a stunning theology of the creation, the creation itself groans to be set free, as we do, who are part of that creation. The Spirit is, in one sense, a way of speaking about the intimacy we share with God, as God’s adopted daughters and sons rather than slaves (see also 8:15).

8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Gospel Reading:  John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Our Gospel reading today contains three out of the four predictions by Jesus of the coming of the Spirit in John’s Gospel.  Jesus calls the Spirit, “the Advocate,” a judicial term.  The Spirit will plead our cause, testify on our behalf.  And the Spirit will prove the world wrong “about sin and righteousness and judgment.”  The world only knows punishment for sin.  God has responded with forgiveness.  And finally, the Spirit will lead the followers of Jesus into all truth, a saying in which Jesus clearly teaches that there is more to be learned in every generation of believers.

15:26 Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. 4b I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

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.  All rights reserved.  The Collect of the Day and the Psalm translation are from The Book of Common Prayer.  Commentaries are copyright © 2021, Epiphany ESources, 67 E. Main St., Hornell, NY  14843, www.epiphanyesources.com. All rights reserved.  Permission is given to copy for group study.