Reflection on This Week’s Readings


What does readiness look like? Being ready can mean having your bags packed and your tank full of gas so you can leave on vacation. Being ready can mean having jumper cables in the trunk of your car in case of a dead battery. Being ready can mean leaving a light on for a family member returning home late at night.

There are many things we do in life to be ready. Sometimes readiness anticipates something good happening, and sometimes it anticipates something bad. In today’s reading from Luke 12, Jesus compares the coming of the Son of Man to something positive—the expected arrival of the head of the household—and to something negative—a thief coming in the night.

The arrival of the Son of Man will be unexpected. We have to be ready because it could happen tomorrow—or years from now. We must be dressed for action, like the Israelites waiting for their escape from Egypt, eating their Passover lambs with their shoes on and their staffs in hand. When the moment came, they were ready to leave.

What does readiness look like for Christians awaiting the coming of the Son of Man? It’s gathering in community for prayer and praise. It’s eating our sacred meal of communion together frequently. It’s making time for God in our daily lives. This is what it means to have our lamps lit, to be dressed for action.

But what if this coming frightens us? What if the very unknowable-ness of the day, the hour, or what exactly will happen makes us anxious and afraid? When this coming happens, will it be a good thing or a bad thing? Will we even recognize it? Into our uncertainty, into our unknowing-ness, Jesus speaks these tender words: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).



Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday arrives, and once again we meet the Son of Man; yet always there is something of Christ’s presence that surprises us.

Luke 12:32-40

We are given four different images of the life of faithfulness: we are a flock that is well shepherded; we put our money into sturdy purses; we are slaves served at table by the master; our lives are broken into by God’s very self. At holy communion today, we are those very slaves served by the master.

Genesis 15:1-6

This account of the establishment of the covenant between God and Abraham is set next to Luke 12 as two more images of God’s promise of grace to the faithful. God’s coming is like a couple in their 90s finally bearing a child and like the multitudinous stars shining in the night.

Psalm 33:12-22

Having heard the Lord’s promise to Abram, we join in this psalm which praises the greatness and goodness of God. Along with the descendants of Abram, the church is now like a nation blessed by God. Once again, we call God our shield (v. 20). In the language of the psalm, we people of faith place our trust and hope in God.

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

Hebrews 11 is the first of four semi-continuous selections here in Year C: Year B also includes four semi-continuous passages from Hebrews. The reading enhances our hearing of Genesis15 with the author’s extended example of Abraham’s faith. Both Hebrews 11:12 and Genesis15:5 invoke the image of the stars.

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