St Paul’s reads selected passages from Scripture at every public worship service from the Revised Common Lectionary. The Revised Common Lectionary, which we share with other historic Christian denominations, lays out a way of reading almost the entire Bible during Sunday worship over a period of three years. We are presently in Year A of that cycle. St Paul’s invites you not only to read these passages before they are read each week in church, but also to use them for your own weekly Bible study if you cannot join us for the weekly Bible Study on Wednesdays. Following these readings are three questions which you may use for more intentional Bible discussion.
Collect of the Day- Proper 24
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
and strip kings of their robes,
to open doors before him–
and the gates shall not be closed:
I will go before you
and level the mountains,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
I will give you the treasures of darkness
and riches hidden in secret places,
so that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I surname you, though you do not know me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
besides me there is no god.
I arm you, though you do not know me,
so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness,
I make weal and create woe;
I the LORD do all these things.
Psalm 96:1-9, (10-13)
1. Sing to the LORD a new song; *
sing to the LORD, all the whole earth.
2. Sing to the LORD and bless his Name; *
proclaim the good news of his salvation from day to day.
3. Declare his glory among the nations *
and his wonders among all peoples.
4. For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; *
he is more to be feared than all gods.
5. As for all the gods of the nations, they are but idols; *
but it is the LORD who made the heavens.
6. Oh, the majesty and magnificence of his presence! *
Oh, the power and the splendor of his sanctuary!
7. Ascribe to the LORD, you families of the peoples; *
ascribe to the LORD honor and power.
8. Ascribe to the LORD the honor due his Name; *
bring offerings and come into his courts.
9. Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness; *
let the whole earth tremble before him.
10. Tell it out among the nations: “The LORD is King! *
he has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
let the sea thunder and all that is in it; *
let the field be joyful and all that is therein.
12. Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy
before the LORD when he comes, *
when he comes to judge the earth.
13. He will judge the world with righteousness *
and the peoples with his truth.]
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead– Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.
The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
QUESTIONS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:
What is the nature of the trap that the Pharisees set for Jesus? How does he extricate himself from the potentially dangerous situation?
What do we learn about Jesus and his ministry? What is the point that Jesus makes?
What implication does the fact that we are made in God’s image have on our lives?
Why do you think the Pharisees were amazed at Jesus and went away? How do you continue to be amazed by Jesus in your own life?
What other insights does the reading contribute to your understanding of the challenge of living Christian life?