Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Collect for Proper 28, Episcopal BCP*)
Readings for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 27) can be found here.
As we wind down the season after Pentecost (only 3 more Sundays until Advent!) we come to the first of a series eschatological readings in Matthew – the parable of the wise and foolish maids (or bridesmaids or virgins…take your pick!) This is another of those stories that can be taken simply on face value – be prepared, for we know not the day or hour of His coming – or peeled back, layer by layer. When you do that you find notes of judgment and worthiness. All the maids are there waiting; couldn’t the more prepared ones have shared with the others? What does this mean for the faithful – how much preparation is enough? What about grace? Lots to work with there.
I, however, am always drawn to this particular reading from Amos. “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream,” has been my hashtag over the last few
weeks as I’ve worried and fretted and prayed over a situation close to me, but it applies in SO many areas of our lives today. How can we understand the role of the prophet crying out for justice? Who are the prophetic voices in our midst today? Or is the role of prophets and prophetic voices truly over? Examining Amos, the simple dresser of sycamore trees, in his own context and exploring his call to God’s people may give us some perspective on how to think about these issues. And Amos calls us to question the relationship between our liturgical lives and what we do out in the world. Is our worship disconnected from everyday life? How do we relate the cry for justice to the Eucharist?
Do you know where your sermon ponderings are leading this week, preachers? Do you have questions? Inspirations? Share your thoughts with us here!
*Yes, this is the Collect for NEXT week; I just happen to really like it and think it’s a great prayer for preaching prep!