We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Lectionary, Proper 6, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, June 18, 2023

I.Theme –    Living in a new way

 "Calling of the Disciples" – Domenico Ghirlandaio (1481)

The lectionary readings are here  or individually:
Old Testament – Exodus 19:2-8a
Psalm – Psalm 100
Epistle – Romans 5:1-8
Gospel – Matthew 9:35-10:8(9-23)

Today’s readings remind us of God’s saving work in our world and our participation and cooperation to accomplish God’s plan. In Exodus God recounts the saving deeds performed for the people and makes a covenant with them. Paul reminds us that our reconciliation to God in Jesus Christ will lead to our salvation. In the gospel, Jesus sends out the twelve disciples to carry his work and message throughout Israel.

II. Summary

Old Testament – Exodus 19:2-8a

Today’s reading brings the people of Israel to their goal in the wilderness, to the place of God’s self-revelation. Here God offers to humankind a response to their sin (Genesis 2-3), a call to one particular people to enter into covenant with God. God has chosen Israel (Deuteronomy 7:6) from all the world to be God’s “treasured possession.” God proclaims the background of the covenant: mighty acts of deliverance, especially the exodus from Egypt when God bore the people “on eagles’ wings” (an image of the female eagle’s care of her young).

Then God sets forth the conditions of the covenant. Israel is to obey God, especially in commandments to be set forth later. They will thus be “a priestly kingdom and a holy nation,” a people set apart and consecrated for God’s service. As priests were responsible to the people for both worship and teaching, so Israel is sanctified for its service to the rest of the world.

Psalm – Psalm 100

Psalm 100, a hymn of praise to God, is a joyous affirmation of the people’s loyalty to and dependence upon God. Though the psalm celebrates God’s special relationship with the chosen people, the call to praise is issued to all of creation. In the psalm, the psalmist gives seven ways to thank God; his reason for such actions is summarized in verse 3—God’s goodness calls forth thanks and praise.

Epistle -Romans 5:1-8

Paul uses two equivalent metaphors to describe God’s redeeming act in Christ: justification, that is, the ending of a legal dispute (3:21-26), and reconciliation, that is, the termination of a state of enmity. Paul makes it clear that it is we who are estranged from God; there is no room here for a doctrine of the cross in which Christ’s sacrifice pacified an angry God. Instead, in Christ’s sacrifice God manifests God’s justifying, reconciling love for us.

Although Christians are still sinful, transformation through the gift of the Holy Spirit has begun. One effect is that they have peace with and access to God (5:1-2). A second effect is that they now possess confident hope, leading them to look forward to the fullness of sanctification. Whereas justification marks the start of this process, salvation marks its future completion. Christians enter ever more fully into salvation by participating in Christ’s risen life and by anticipating a share in God’s glory.

Gospel -Matthew 9:35-10:8(9-23)

Today’s reading contains an introduction (9:36-38) and the beginning of the mission discourse (10:1-42), the third of the five main discourses that form the structural backbone of Matthew’s gospel. In this discourse, Jesus invites his disciples to begin to participate in his service to the kingdom of God.

Jesus’ ministry is identified as teaching, preaching and healing (4:23; 9:35). The people are “like sheep without a shepherd,” a traditional description of the people of Israel when their leadership has failed (Ezekiel 34:1-6; Zechariah 10:2). He tells the disciples to ask God “to send out laborers.” The harvest is often an image of the last judgment (13:39), already underway in Jesus’ ministry.

The Twelve named disciples, recalling the twelve tribes of Israel, symbolize the fullness of the new covenant community. Jesus now gives them the authority to preach and heal (10:7-8), but reserves authority to teach until after the resurrection (28:20).

Like Jesus during his earthly ministry, the disciples are at this time to limit their ministry to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The exceptions (8:5-10, 15:21-28) foreshadow the mission to the Gentiles (8:10-12, 28:19) validated by Jesus’ resurrection and enthronement. The disciples show Jesus to the people, for their message and ministry is that of Jesus himself.

The greeting of “peace,” shalom, is a dynamic word sent out by the speaker that, if it finds no effect in the hearer, returns to the speaker. If there is no response, the disciples are to disassociate themselves from that town by the prophetic action of shaking off its dust. The fate of Sodom and Gomorrah was a traditional illustration of God’s judgment on wickedness (Genesis 18:16–19:28), but the judgment on unbelief will be more severe. Using the form of the commission of a prophet (Jeremiah 1:4-10), Matthew has outlined the authoritative mandate (28:18) and the mission of the disciples (28:19).