Scripture Readings

... for March 2018

March 4th - Third Sunday in Lent

The third covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the central one of Israel’s history: the gift of the law to those God freed from slavery. The ten commandments are one of the chief parts of Luther’s catechism, a core piece of baptismal instruction. They begin with the statement that because God alone has freed us from the powers that oppressed us, we are to let nothing else claim first place in our lives. When Jesus throws the merchants out of the temple, he is defending the worship of God alone and rejecting the ways commerce and profit-making can become our gods.

  • Exodus 20:1-17
  • Psalm 19
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
  • John 2:13-22


March 11th - Fourth Sunday in Lent

The fourth of the Old Testament promises providing a baptismal lens this Lent is the promise God makes to Moses: those who look on the bronze serpent will live. In today's gospel Jesus says he will be lifted up on the cross like the serpent, so that those who look to him in faith will live. When we receive the sign of the cross in baptism, that cross becomes the sign we can look to in faith, for healing, for restored relationship to God, for hope when we are dying.

  • Nunbers 21:4-9
  • Psalm 107:1-3, 7-22
  • Ephesians 2:1-10
  • John 3:14-21


March 18th - Fifth Sunday in Lent

God promises Jeremiah that a “new covenant” will be made in the future: a covenant that will allow all the people to know God by heart. The church sees this promise fulfilled in Christ, who draws all people to himself when he is lifted up on the cross. Our baptismal covenant draws us to God’s heart through Christ and draws God’s light and truth into our hearts. We see God’s heart most clearly in the way Jesus shares human suffering, in an agony both the John and Hebrews readings describe.

  • Jeremiah 3:31-34
  • Psalm 51:1-12
  • Hebrews 5:5-10
  • John 12:20-33


March 25th - Palm Sunday

The first and second readings and psalm are the same this Sunday every year: Christ emptying himself of divine power and protection, willingly becoming vulnerable to those who struck him and put him to death. With Christ we lament his suffering and all human suffering, but expect God’s final vindication. Mark’s passion story begins with an unnamed woman anointing his head, perhaps to proclaim him Messiah, and Jesus saying she has anointed him beforehand for burial. Mark’s Easter story will begin with women going to anoint Jesus for burial, only to find that he has been raised, God’s living Anointed One.

  • Mark 11:1-11
  • Isaiah 50:4-9a
  • Psalm 31:9-16
  • Philippians 2:5-11
  • Mark 14:1 -- 15:47


... for April 2018

April 1st - Easter

This year may be the one in which John’s resurrection account is likely to be chosen over Mark’s, perhaps because Mark’s gospel ends so abruptly, with astonishment and fear rather than joyful proclamation. Yet Mark may speak to our experience more directly than the other gospels. Corinthians and Acts fill out the story by telling of appearances of the risen Christ. Peter says we “ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” And so do we, in a foretaste of the mountaintop feast where death will be no more.

  • Acts 10:34-43
  • Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
  • Mark 16:1-8


April 8th - Second Sunday of Easter

The Easter season is a week of weeks, seven Sundays when we play in the mystery of Christ’s presence, mostly through the glorious Gospel of John. Today we gather with the disciples on the first Easter, and Jesus breathes the Spirit on us. With Thomas we ask for a sign, and Jesus offers us his wounded self in the broken bread. From frightened individuals we are transformed into a community of open doors, peace, forgiveness, and material sharing such that no one among us is in need.

  • Acts 4:32-35
  • Psalm 133
  • 1 John 1:1 - 2:2
  • John 20:19-31


April 15th - Third Sunday of Easter

The gospel for the third Sunday of Easter is always one in which the risen Christ shares food with the disciples, meals that are the Easter template for the meal we share each Lord’s day. In today’s gospel, Jesus both shares the disciples’ food and shows them the meaning of his suffering, death, and resurrection through the scriptures: the two main elements of our Sunday worship.

  • Acts 3:12-19
  • Psalm 4
  • 1 John 3:1-7
  • Luke 24:36b-48


April 22nd - Fourth Sunday of Easter

The image of the Good Shepherd shows us how the risen Christ brings us to life. It is the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep, one of mutual knowledge and love, that gives the shepherd authority. The shepherd’s willingness to lay down his life for the sheep shows his love. First John illustrates what it means to lay down our lives for one another by the example of sharing our wealth with any sister or brother in need.

  • Acts 4:5-12
  • Psalm 23
  • 1 John 3:16-24
  • John 10:11-18


April 29th - Fifth Sunday of Easter

This Sunday’s image of how the risen Christ shares his life with us is the image of the vine. Christ the vine and we the branches are alive in each other, in the mystery of mutual abiding that we read of in the gospel and the first letter of John. Baptism makes us a part of Christ’s living and life-giving self and makes us alive with Christ’s life. As the vine brings food to the branches, Christ feeds us at his table. We are sent out to bear fruit for the life of the world.

  • Acts 8:26-40
  • Psalm 22:25-31
  • 1 John 4:7-21
  • John 15:1-8