House Church 9.01.2019 // Proper 17 - Year C - Track 2: Sirach 10:12-18; Psalm 112; Hebrews 13:1-8,15-16; Luke 14:1,7-14)
Ordinary time refers to the two periods in the Church calendar that are not marked by a major church season (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost). The Ordinary time after Pentecost lasts until Advent. (Church calendar + Special days )
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Old Testament - Sirach 10:12-18
The beginning of human pride is to forsake the Lord;
the heart has withdrawn from its Maker.
For the beginning of pride is sin,
and the one who clings to it pours out abominations.
Therefore the Lord brings upon them unheard-of calamities,
and destroys them completely.
The Lord overthrows the thrones of rulers,
and enthrones the lowly in their place.
The Lord plucks up the roots of the nations,
and plants the humble in their place.
The Lord lays waste the lands of the nations,
and destroys them to the foundations of the earth.
He removes some of them and destroys them,
and erases the memory of them from the earth.
Pride was not created for human beings,
or violent anger for those born of women.
The Response - Psalm 112
Happy are they who fear the Lord
and have great delight in his commandments!
2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches will be in their house,
and their righteousness will last for ever.
4 Light shines in the darkness for the upright;
the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.
5 It is good for them to be generous in lending
and to manage their affairs with justice.
6 For they will never be shaken;
the righteous will be kept in everlasting remembrance.
7 They will not be afraid of any evil rumors;
their heart is right;
they put their trust in the Lord.
8 Their heart is established and will not shrink,
until they see their desire upon their enemies.
9 They have given freely to the poor,
and their righteousness stands fast for ever;
they will hold up their head with honor.
10 The wicked will see it and be angry;
they will gnash their teeth and pine away;
the desires of the wicked will perish.
The Epistle - Hebrews 13:1-8,15-16
Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you." So we can say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?"
Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
The Gospel - Luke 14:1,7-14
On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, `Give this person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, `Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
NOTES + THOUGHTS:
*Liturgy means “the work of the people.” We enter into this work when we enact the scriptures together by reading and discussing them and allowing our lives to be formed by Christ and each other. Like a potluck, we each bring something to the discussion, and there is always enough.
Which passage jumped out at you the most? Why?
What thoughts / questions do you have?
What connections do you see between the readings + life?
What action or change do they invite?
Why was it included in the Bible?
Is there any disconnect between the narrators perspective and our perspective as modern readers?
One of our guiding metaphors at Collective is a Table. (Read more about our guiding metaphors here)
“The Table is a metaphor for hospitality.
The shared meals that are part of most of our gatherings are an expression of the hospitality we seek to embody. We can disagree about faith, politics, social issues and more, but we can still eat together and see each other’s humanity and value. We choose to make room to sit across from human mysteries and learn to see God in each other and even in the differences of stories and lives.
Rather than agreement, Jesus plan for unity was radical love and hospitality - being fully present to each other in love. We can experience this unity and oneness in Christ and around the table even if we disagree on politics, theology, and many other things.”
Genuine hospitality is shocking to the rest of our culture. Walls, locked doors, tightly secured bank accounts, and privacy seem to be definitive aspects of American life, even within the Church. However, Christianity has a long history of radical generosity and hospitality that shone like a beacon in a dark and inhospitable world.
Generosity and true hospitality levels out status and power and brings everyone to the table as equals. This can be seen dramatically in the ministry of Jesus - who didn’t just give to the poor, he sat with the poor. He touched the untouchable, spent time with, wept with, laughed with, and partied with the most undignified people in his world and in doing so, restored their dignity and humanity. The author of Hebrews encourages her readers to do the same. In fact, the entire Bible is littered with passages pleading with its readers to recognize their shared humanity with those most unlike them. This kind of living is hard, but life-giving to everyone involved.
-How are we doing at living out our guiding metaphor of hospitality as a church? Where can we do better?
-Where can you personally extend hospitality and generosity?
-How is giving money easier than giving dignity?
Luke has more meal-time scenes than any other gospel. Amazing things happen with Jesus and meals. In this regard, not much has changed. The spiritual life is not meant to be compartmentalized as a separate, sacred place that is visited once a week - it is intermingled in our daily conversations and the simplest moments like sitting around a table together.
One biblical scholar, Darrell Bock, writes this: “Both how we operate socially and whom we invite to dinner indicate the type of person we are.”
-If the only thing someone knew about you was who you ate meals with, what would they assume?
This chapter is the culmination of the book of Hebrews. The author sets the reader firmly in the whole of God’s story - from the old covenant, to its fulfillment in Jesus, into the new covenant community and with a vision of the future “city which is to come.” As with most epistles, the author leaves her readers with a few significant “practicals” - a final outworking of the foundation found in the prior chapters. The call to hospitality, generosity and genuine love cannot be overlooked as fundamental to modeling your life after Jesus.
-What about hospitality is so important for the lives of Christ followers?
This is the table of Christ.
Here we remember God’s love + acceptance for humans.
Here we remember our connection with all humankind.
All are invited to come and eat
You who have much faith + you who have little.
You who have been here often + you who are new.
You who have tried to follow + you who have failed.
Come, because Christ has invited us here together.
(*Inspired by Galatians 6, Isaiah 66, and Psalm 66)
Come now and see the works of God,
how wonderful she is in her doing toward all people.
Her eyes keep watch over all the nations,
as a mother comforting her children
Come and join her in this universe of care,
Lifting one-another’s burdens
Opening our hearts to the burdens of all our neighbors,
across the street and around the world.
Come let us carry the burden of love together,
For she who holds our life, will keep our feet secure. Amen.