September 11, 2022

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
    • Psalm 14
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • Exodus 32:7-14
    • Psalm 51:1-10
  • Second reading
    • 1 Timothy 1:12-17
  • Gospel
    • Luke 15:1-10

Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart>
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.

The gospel from Luke:
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable:

Pharisees Question Jesus
1886-1894 Tissot, James*
Brooklyn Museum
New York, NY

“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’

Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

*….when his (Tissot) carefully researched collection of 350 watercolors depicting the life of Jesus was first published as a book in 1896, it found a large and enthusiastic audience. No one who had followed his previous career could have anticipated that this painter of urban life in Paris and London would undertake the project of painting virtually every event in the Gospels.

Pastor Stevensen is back teaching a college course. There are rules he needs to enforce, one being no work sharing. But no student who breaks the rule is punished or expelled because of tuition paid. Our gospel reading in Luke this week is about enforcing rules. The Pharisees took seriously the rule about work. The tax collectors and sinners were forbidden to eat with the others. The Pharisees ask Jesus why he does. He answers that there is more rejoicing over saving one sheep than those he leaves in the wilderness. Jesus is the one who goes out and rescues lost sheep. Psalm 51 today gives us the meaning of the lost sheep and offers the meaning of sin. “My inward being was born a sinner.” In our hymn #448, Amazing Grace, we sing “I was lost but now I am found.” God is superior to us. In our third hymn today, #492, we ask “O Master let me walk with you in lowly paths of service true.” In Luke we can read that when Jesus was nailed to the cross with two thieves on their crosses, one asked Jesus for forgiveness and Jesus granted it. Jesus had time to care about one more lost sheep.

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