On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Texts for Sunday, September 4th, the 16th Sunday after the Pentecost, 2016

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

15See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Psalm: Psalm 1

1 Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of
the wicked, 
    nor lingered in the way of sinners,
    nor sat in the seats of the scornful!

2 Their delight is in the law of the LORD, 
    and they meditate on his law day and night.

3 They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; 
    everything they do shall prosper.

4 It is not so with the wicked; 
     they are like chaff which the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when
judgment comes, 
    nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, 
    but the way of the wicked is doomed.

Second Reading: Philemon 1-21

1Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, 
  To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God 5because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. 6I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. 7I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

8For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, 9yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. 10I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. 11Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. 12I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. 13I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. 15Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
17So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. 20Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. 21Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

25Now large crowds were traveling with [Jesus;] and he turned and said to them, 26“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32If he cannot, then, while the. other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

Luke 14:25-35 Greek Text

Greek Study Luke 14:25-35

v25 στραφεις (στρεφω) aor. part. "turning" Attendant circumstance participle, expressing action accompanying the main verb "said"; "He turned and spoke to them", NJB.

v26 ου μισει (μισεω) pres. "does not hate" - present tense is durative; "continues to hate". 
ετι τε και "yes, even" την ψυχην εαυτου "his own life" - in the sense of his being.
v27 ο στις pro. "anyone who" - introduces an indefinite relative clause.
ου βασταζει (βασταζω) pres. "does not carry [his cross]" Matthew refers to taking up the cross rather than carrying one. The image of discipleship in terms of cross-bearing here is likened to a prisoner having to carry his own cross for execution, a referent to the self-denial of Christ.
ερχεται οπισω μου "follow me" - in the sense of commit to Christ.
ειναι (ειμι) pres. inf. "[cannot] be
τις "which” - an interrogative pronoun; a question-form expecting a negative answer.
εξ (εκ) + gen. "one [of you]" θελων pres. part. "wants"
οικοδομησαι (οικοδομεω) aor. inf. "to build
πυργον (ος) "a tower" - a watch tower or farm building (both agricultural images).
καθισας (καθιζω) aor. part. "sit down [and estimate]" - having sat down [figure out]. 

v29 ινα μηποτε + subj. "for if" - introduces a negated purpose clause. The person plans this project in order that everyone does not begin to ridicule him. 
θεντος (τιθημι) aor. part. gen. "he lays" – a genitive absolute participle, best treated as a temporal clause.
μη ισχυοντος (ισχυω) pres. part. gen. "is not able" – another genitive absolute forming a causal clause.
εκτελεσαι (εκτελεω) aor. inf. "to finish" – a complementary infinitive
οι θεωρουντες (θεωρεω) pres. part. "[everyone] who sees it" - participle can be taken as a substantive modified by "all", or "all" can be taken as a substantival adjective modified by the participle which as an attributive adjective.
αρξωνται (αρχω) aor. subj. "will" εμπαιζειν (εμπαιζω) pres. inf. "ridicule" mock, taunt - infinitive is complementary, complementing the sense of the verb "may begin". 

v30 λεγοντες (λεγω) pres. part. "saying" - The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the "ridicule", as NIV, or possibly instrumental, expressing means - ridiculed "by saying."
ουτος ο ανθρωπος "this man” construction usually expresses derision.
οικοδομειν (οικοδομεω) pres. inf. "[began] to build" εκτελεσαι (εκτελεω) aor. inf. "[was not able] to finish" – (infinitive is again complementary). 

v31 η τις + part "or suppose [a king]" - a rhetorical question expecting a negative answer.
πορευομενος (πορευομαι) pres. part. "is about to go [to war]" - participle is adverbial, possibly conditional, serving as the indicative finite verb; if a king goes out to encounter another king in war, then does not sit down first ....?" On the other hand it may just be temporal, "when going out", or modal, expressing manner, "contemplating going".
συμβαλειν (συμβαλλω) aor. inf. "against" - engage with, throw together into battle, infinitive expresses purpose, "in order to engage in battle." 
βασιλει (ευς εως) dat. "[another] king" - Dative of direct object after a συν prefix verb, here as an infinitive - συμβαλειν =συν + βαλλω, "to meet with."
ουχι καθισας (καθιζω) aor. part. "will he not [first] sit down [and consider]" - confer/deliberate/decide.
υπαντησαι (υπανταω) aor. inf. "[he is able] ..... to oppose" - to meet, oppose, confront in battle; infinitive is epexegetic, clarifying the substantive "able/strong/possible."
τω ... ερχομενω/ (ερχομαι) pres. part. "the one coming" - participle serves as a substantive, dative of direct object after the verb υανταω, "meet with"

v32 ει δε μη γε "if he is not able" - introduces the protasis of a conditional sentence, 1st then he will send a delegation ...." 
αποστειλας (αποστελλω) aor. part. "he will send [a delegation]" "having sent" is aorist while "asks" is present. It is usually accepted that the aspect of both should be the same, but here we have a perfective aorist (punctiliar) and an imperfective present (durative). 

v33 πας εξ υμων, "every one of you" and αποτασσεται πασιν τοις εαυτου υπαρχουσιν
saying goodbye to all he has – in context the message is consider the cost
ουτως ουν "in like manner - those who would be a disciple need to assess whether they can "give up everything".
ουκ απατασσεται (αποτασσω) pres. "does not give up" - the present tense is best taken to express a characteristic feature, i.e. a disciple will "relinquish everything". It is possible to argue that the present tense is durative: "continually ready to give up all that he has got in order to follow ". 
τοις ... υπαρχουσιν (υπαρχω) pres. part. "[everything you] have" participle serves as a dative of direct object after the verb αποτασσεται, "say goodby to". If discipleship entails renouncing all worldly wealth then none of us can rightly claim the status of disciple. The idea that free grace gets us in, renunciation keeps us in, is sanctification by works and is the problem addressed by Paul in Romans and Galatians. 
ειναι (ειμι) pres. inf. "[cannot] be" μου gen. pro. "my [disciple]

v34 μωρανθη/ (μωραινω) aor. subj. pas. "loses its saltiness" – an idiom, “to become tasteless/foolish/insipid".
αρτυθησεται (αρτυω) fut. "be made salty again" – idiom, be restored to usefulness. 

v35 κοπιαν (α) "the manure pile

When Prayer causes grief

"Jesus said love one another. He didn't say love the whole world.” — Mother Teresa
"We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.” — Mother Teresa

It was a quite night at Philemon’s house. Not a creature was stirring, except maybe Philemon. The death and life of Onesimus was in his hands, and even if the choice was life, he, Philemon, could make that life mighty miserable for Onesimus. What would he do? 
More importantly: Why would he do it? Why would anyone give up his rights, his property, his honor, his leisure and life? For Onesimus? For Paul? What is Onesimus? What is Paul? 
What is Philemon? What a wicket prayer this is: “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ.” Philemon 6 What an expensive prayer for him who has received it. How will he become so big a soul to do what Paul suggests or worse, to do what Jesus suggests? 
Many are invited to the wedding feast of the kingdom but few, suggests Jesus, are willing to come. (Lk14:15-24) They will not taste of the king’s feast and if the parable in Lk14:15-24 is right, it will be their choice and their commitment to the things of today, the things of this world, the ways of this world, and the peace with this world that will guide their decisions not to sit down at the blessed feast. It is a step back from being the least at table. It is stepping away from the table all together for reasons that sound good and valid.
And what a crumby choice it is. Sitting at the low end. Ignoring a new field. Leaving the training of oxen to another week. Ignoring a new wife and therefore the children, the family that she will be the matriarch of and that will be both husband and wife’s security in old age. Doing any of these puts many tomorrows in jeopardy. Forgiving a slave who has run away, put the whole house’s honor and means of making a living, even surviving, in jeopardy. 
So, on a roof in Ephesus sat one Philemon. He has been invited to the wedding feast and now he is contemplating the cost. Will he have enough poise to withstand the ridicule that will come his way? Will his house suffer? Will it stand? Is there enough faith in that heart of his to do this? Is that heart of his large enough to find and to love the will of God and then, because he loves God, to do it? It is not about Paul or Onesimus: It is about Philemon and his entire house who will, with him, suffer the consequences of his choice. Does he “hate” them enough to love the will of God and the sacrifice of Christ that were the Genesis of his, and Onesimus’, baptism?
When salt is no longer “salty,” when it no longer acts as the thing that makes the oven burn, the fire that Jesus longed to ignite on earth (12:49), it is thrown out (14:34-35). But before Philemon is another possibility: Will he throw himself out for not being “salty” enough? The downside of hearing and celebrating the stories of the triumphs of the saints is that we sit on rooftops and feel insufficient in the life of faith. We give up the struggle too early and thereby throw out the salt, ourselves, ourselves. (What odd grammar!) 
This is not a reflection about those who take the faith superficially in the first place. They have already heard that having faith has demands and they have subtly made other arrangements. Their oxen are being trained. Their fields are being sown, tended, reaped and stored in storehouses.  Their futures are secure in their children. Those arrangements will be shattered. (Lk 12:13ff)
This is really a reflection that asks those who struggle with the faith and have their nights on rooftops. Somewhere in Ephesus, the church has by now read Paul’s letter that Onesimus has carried on his way to an uncertain home. They are up as well. They are praying for Philemon and Onesimus. And you: Who is praying that your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ? Who is praying that your heart may, in faith, grow large enough to hear the invitation of God? Are you praying that you might perceive the will of God and have the resolve to do it? Do you dare? Will you sit with the least and be at home as if it was your house because it actually is your house because you are a child of the Father? Is your house your real “house” or is there more to you and your baptism? 

Onesimus and Ephesus await your answer.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Luke 14 Greek Text

Greek Study Luke 14:1-14

v1 και εγενετο (γινομαι) aor. and it came to pass this phrase introduces a new episode.
σαββατω (ον) dat. one Sabbath; the dative is temporal "on the Sabbath day."
τινος των αρχοντων Φαρισαιων gen. "a prominent Pharisee" - The use of multiple genitives is unusual, there is a possessive (the house of), a partitive (he is both prominent and others are subordinate to him; i.e. he is one those who exercise authority over other Pharisees, so a leading churchman; a bishop of sorts.)
φαγειν (εσθιω) aor. inf. "to eat" - infinitive forms a purpose clause; Jesus went to the Pharisee's home to eat – teaching and healing were not initially on the menu!
ησαν παρατηρουμενοι (παρατηρεω) pres. part. "[he] was being carefully watched" - a periphrastic imperfect construction expressing durative action; so he was being surveilled.

v2 και ιδου and behold, indicating surprise, the unexpected presence of this sick man at the meal - either his arrival or more likely being placed before Jesus to see if Jesus would bend/break the Sabbath law regarding healing.
υδρωπικος adj. "[a man] suffering from abnormal swelling" literally water in his limbs (CHF or “dropsy/edema” – a malady that  Jewish teachers often associated with sexual sin.)

v3 απακριθεις (αποκρινομαι) pas. part. "[Jesus] asked" attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb ειπεν - an unusual Semitic construction, more common in the Greek – so this story is likely preserved in the Gentile community – one might hermeneutically speculate as to why.  
εξεστιν "is it lawful" - permitted 
θεραπευσαι (θεραπευω) aor. inf. "to heal" - infinitive serves as the subject of the verb "is lawful"; lit. "is to heal lawful on the Sabbath."
τω σαββατω/ (ον) dat. "on the Sabbath" - Dative of time. These churchmen can't say yes as it would defy tradition, but they also are aware a good argument can be mounted from scripture to support yes. And they can’t say no because they would prove themselves to be heartless, seeing as it was they who brought the sick person to meet Jesus. Hoisted on their own petard, as the old saying goes.

v4 ησυχασαν (ησυχαζω) "they remained silent" - in a legal setting silence means approval, but as they are cornered it is more likely embarrassment! 
επιλαβομενος (επιλαμβανομαι) aor. mid. part. "so taking hold of [the man]" - adverbial, expressing result, "so as a result” – a verb is not used elsewhere of Jesus’ healing, it conveys a tactile sense. Jesus uses some form of overt physical contact he does not use elsewhere.  Another peculiar, if not singular element to this story

v5 τινος gen. pro. "if one" pronoun introduces an interrogative clause which has two sub clauses, the second being the question. The Pharisees understood it was proper to relieve the immediate distress of someone on the Sabbath, even that of an animal, though the Essenes believed this could only apply to a person.
υιος ... ονος "son " – is a textual variant as "ass" fits the context better and has a strong Old Testament precedent.  But a change from "son" to "ass" is more easily explained than a change from "ass" to "son".
και ουκ and not. This negation is used to show that Jesus expects a positive answer. 

v6 ανταποκριθηναι (ανταποκρινομαι) pas. inf. "[and they had nothing] to say" – lit. "They could make no answer to the argument put forth by Jesus."  (If only politics worked this way in the real world!)

v7 επεχων (επεξω) pres. part. "when he noticed" τους κεκλημενους (καλεω) pas. part. " the guests" εξελεγοντο (εκλεγομαι) mid. imperf. "picked" - middle voice is best "choosing for themselves" πρωτοκλισιας (α) "the places of honor" αραβολην (η) "[he told them this] parable"  
Teaching parables are often little more than illustrations used to make a point, so idiomatically "he gave them a little word of advice". The implication is these churchmen demonstrated by their actions the inability to promote their own righteousness let alone God’s. 

v8 οταν + subj. "when" υπο someone γαμους (ος) "wedding feast" technically the banquet hall; "when you are invited by anyone to a banquet hall"
μη κατακλιθης (κατακλινω) aor. pas. subj. "do not take" a subjunctive of prohibition.
μηποτε + subj. "lest” negated purpose; "as it may turn out that..."
η κεκλημενος "may have been invited" - " a more distinguished guest than yourself has been invited".

v9 ο .... καλεσας (καλεω) aor. part. "the host who invited [both of you]" ελθων (ερχομαι) aor. part. "will come [and say]" σοι dat. pro. "to you" τουτω dat. pro. "[give] this person [your seat]και τοτε "and then” μετα αισχυνης (η) "humiliated" (lit. “with shame”) preposition μετα + gen. is adverbial expressing manner in the sense of being shamed  as opposed to feeling shame. Honored guests often arrived late (and for effect) so it was pragmatically unwise to go for the more honored seat early. (At this point honor is determined by social status, by 300 AD it was determined by age.)
εσχατον adj. "least" - adjective is elative i.e. the "lower" rather than the "last" seat.

v10 οταν + subj. "when" Given the nature of Jesus' sarcasm here, which is not overly evident, we may need to expand the opening clause: "when you are invited to a dinner party and you really what to make an impression on the guests (given the high opinion that you have of yourself), then πορευθεις (πορευομαι) aor. pas. part. "[take the lowest place]" αναπεσε (αναπιπτω) imp. sit down ινα + subj. "so that"  
ο κεκληκως (καλεω) perf. part. "host" σοι dat. "[will say] to you" ανωτερον adv. "[move up] to a better place" - [move up] higher. The verb προσαναβηθι, "move up", may have the sense of "come up", ie. the host is inviting the person to come closer.

v11 ο υψων (υψοω) part. "[everyone] who exalts" - in the sense of lifting up to a high station ταπεινωθησεται (ταπεινοω) fut. pas. "will be humbled" the agent of the action is God - the proud, particularly the self-righteous, are blind to reality to the extent of not even getting pride right.  (Luke is likely referring back to the Magnificat.)
ο ταπεινων (πατεινω) pres. part. "he who humbles [himself]".
τω κεκληκοτι (καλεω) perf. part. "to his host" ποιης (ποιεω) sub. "you give" δειπνον (ον) "dinner" the evening meal - the 2 meals are the two main meals of the day a late morning and a late afternoon.
μη φωνει (φωνεω) pres. imp. "do not invite" present tense implies that the command urges an ongoing process; this principle of reciprocity was dominant in the first century, as today.
ανταποδομα (α ατος) "repaid" positive or negative, here a positive. 
αλλ (αλλα) "but" - Strong adversative δοχην (η) "banquet" πτωχους (ος) "poor" - beggar  a person socially disadvantaged due to limited resources the list in this passage is of different types of socially disadvantaged people. The list appears again in v21 of the following parable.

v14 μακαριος εση "you will be blessed" a predicate adjective; "If you show reciprocity in extending hospitality, you will be blessed." The blessing, given the context, is to be exalted in the sight of God. 
ανταποδοθησεται (ανταποδιδωμι) fut. pas. "you will be repaid" God is the agent.

των δικαιων gen. adj. "of the righteous" - the Pharisees believed in the general resurrection of the dead to judgment; some to reward, others to punishment. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Texts for Sunday, August 28th, the 15th Sunday after the Pentecost, 2016

First Reading: Proverbs 25:6-7

6Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
  or stand in the place of the great;
7for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
  than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

Psalm: Psalm 112

1 Hallelujah!
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.

Second Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

1Let mutual love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember 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. 4Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 5Keep 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.” 6So we can say with confidence, 
 “The Lord is my helper;
  I will not be afraid.
 What can anyone do to me?”
7Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 15Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14

1On 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.

7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8“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; 9and 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. 10But 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. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12He 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. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”