What follows are the readings for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, August 26, 2018.
These are for Year B in the three-year Lectionary cycle.
There are two sets of first readings, each with an accompanying Psalm from which the celebrant can choose. I have given the second selection blue subheadings below. Emphases mine throughout.
Readings continue from 1 Kings and Solomon’s reign after succeeding his father David. God enabled Solomon to build the first temple, which lasted approximately 350 years until the Babylonians destroyed it. The destruction was a divine judgement on God’s chosen people. 2 Chronicles 7 — here and here — gives more information about the magnificence of the temple and God’s instruction to Solomon to remain faithful to Him.
1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43
8:1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.
8:6 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.
8:10 And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD,
8:11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
8:22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven.
8:23 He said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart,
8:24 the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand.
8:25 Therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, ‘There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’
8:26 Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.
8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!
8:28 Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, O LORD my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today;
8:29 that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place.
8:30 Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive.
8:41 “Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name
8:42 –for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm–when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house,
8:43 then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.
The Psalm is about God’s pleasing dwelling place and the happiness of His faithful.
84:1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
84:2 My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
84:3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
84:4 Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Selah
84:5 Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
84:6 As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
84:7 They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
84:8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
84:9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed.
84:10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.
84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly.
84:12 O LORD of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.
Joshua tells the Israelites to remain faithful to God, who mercifully watched over them from Abraham’s time to the deliverance from bondage in Egypt to the present. This was Joshua’s final message to the tribes of Israel. He died soon afterwards.
Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
24:1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God.
24:2a And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors–Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor–lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods.
24:14 “Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
24:15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
24:16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods;
24:17 for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed;
24:18 and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.“
The Psalm acknowledges the mercy God shows to His faithful.
34:15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.
34:16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.
34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all.
34:20 He keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken.
34:21 Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
34:22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
This passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians contains many familiar and powerful verses about faith.
6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.
6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
6:12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
6:14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.
6:15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
6:16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
6:17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
6:19 Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
This passage concludes Jesus’s words to the crowd in Capernaum whom He had fed the day before (the Feeding of the Five Thousand). I am happy to see that the 2005 version of the Lectionary that the Vanderbilt Divinity Library uses includes the difficult verse, John 6:66:
Some traditions use versions of the Revised Common Lectionary that differ slightly from the version on this RCL website. Differences between lectionary selections in your denomination’s published materials and what appears on this site may be a result of variations in adoption of the RCL by your denomination.
I have highlighted verse 66 in purple.
6:56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.
6:57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.
6:58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
6:59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
6:60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?”
6:61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you?
6:62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
6:63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
6:64 But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.
6:65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
6:66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.
6:67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”
6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.
6:69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Sometimes we need reminding that a) Jesus always knew who the believers were during his earthly ministry, b) only God the Father can give people faith in Jesus and c) He lost many followers that day.