What are We Afraid Of?

A Sermon for Epiphany 6; Jeremiah 17:5-10, Psalm 1, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26

Very early in my working life, Jim was a mentor to me, as I struggled to understand who I was in relationship to work. Later he became in mentor in understanding faith. He developed cancer, struggled through many grueling treatments, which did not yield the best of results. I will always remember hearing him say I now understand that God will heal me through death. It took another decade or so to begin to really understand. At his funeral his family became a mentor to me; they all appeared dressed in their finest white; explaining later, This is an Easter celebration.

After the funeral in a church parking lot conversation, mom said to me If we really believe what we say, what are we afraid of? What we say comes from our Christian creeds or statements of faith. From the Nicene Creed, we say at Eucharist, we say

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

From the Apostles’ Creed, we say at morning prayer and Baptism we say

 the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

And so we come to today’s reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

In biblical times resurrection was not a widespread idea. Most thought resurrection was impossible, you died and that was that. There may be an occasional miraculous event, but they were few, and no one knew anyone had. (1st and 2nd Kings make a few references (1 Kgs 17:17; 2 Kgs 4:18) to resurrection. Some prophetic writings expect a general resurrection at some time in the future Isa 26:19; Dan 12:2; cf. Job 19:25-27; Ezek 37:1-14) (Sampley).

In the 1st century, there were many thoughts about the resurrection. The was a Greek idea of immortality without a body (Gaventa and Petersen). Epicureans rejected any notion of an afterlife, Others denied resurrection of corpses (Gaventa and Petersen). Both fit with the general Greek thought that the body was corrupt, better to be done with it. Some thought that the body and spirit separated at death, the body stays on the earth, and the spirit goes to the atmosphere. Some strands of Jewish thought hoped for resurrection, others longed for a bodily resurrection (2 Maccabees 7), while some Hellenistic Jewish expressed hope for a redeemed and renewed world (Works). Many Jews in the Holy Land affirmed the importance of physical creation and the body which shaped their thoughts on resurrection (Keener and Walton).

Into this collection of wildly varying thoughts of resurrection comes Paul with his teaching of Christ’s bodily resurrection and the resurrection of bodies of all who have faith, who believe in Jesus, God’s Christ. The gospel, the good news, Paul preaches is grounded in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. If Christ is dead, Paul is a liar or a fool, the gospel is empty, nothing but hot air. If Christ is dead, there is no faith, there is no forgiveness, there is no hope (Bratt). And this is true because Paul believes that God cares for the physical stuff of creation, all of it, including us, including our bodies. God’s caring is revealed in conquering sin, through conquering death, through the resurrection of Jesus (Works). For Paul Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of the end of time, the beginning of the resurrection of all things, not of a selected group of individuals. Jesus’ resurrection is the cosmic expression of divine victory over death; it is the transformative event of history  God’s culminating but not yet finished purposes in all of creation. (Gaventa and Petersen; Sampley) So, to deny the resurrection of the dead means there is no victory over death, that we are still captive to our sins; without recourse, without hope (Sampley).

Paul’s calling Jesus first fruits draws on the Exodus sacrifice of giving the first of the harvest to God which assures the rest of the harvest will be as abundant, (Ex23:16-19). So, if Christ, the first fruit of humanity, is resurrected, the resurrection of all humanity is assured (Works; Sampley).

A sidebar here. In Greek, the noun ‘faith’ has a verb equivalent. English does not so we cannot say ‘faithing,’ like we can say ‘believing’ as the verb form of ‘belief.’ The result is translators use ‘believing’ when ‘faithing’ is what was written. And in English ‘faith’ and ‘believe’ are slightly different, so ‘believing’ has a different inference than ‘faithing’ would have. Thus we have to be diligent in our reading, in our hearing, and in our thinking.

Now ~ why does all this matter? Some Corinthian believers bragged that they had already arrived at the fullness of the life of faith. Therefore, they boast that they have advanced beyond others their faith (Sampley). As we know such boasting never ends well; it is one of the sources of controversy that Paul’s letters address.

But what about today? Why does all this matter today? Bruce Epperly suggests that survival after death is relational and connected to the realities of this life. Resurrection is this-worldly as well as beyond this life (Epperly). And that brings me back to my mom’s parking lot question If we really believe what we say, what are we afraid of? At one level she was saying we don’t have to be afraid of death, and that is true enough. And yet I’ve come to understand a deeper meaning; we don’t have to be afraid of anything, because the worst anyone can do is introduce us to death; but so, what! when bodily resurrection in the glory of God’s presence greets us. I’ll admit, the place and time of that greeting is unknown, and this was a central question for the Corinthians (Sampley). But even after all these years, unknown does not mean untrue.

Today, faithing in bodily resurrection taps into the power of the culminating transformative event of history; it is the source: of the glory, of empowering agency, by which Paul, following Jesus’ example, confounds popular wisdom (Kesselus). It is the strength by which we

  • can begin religious discussion from a place of vulnerability and humility (Pankey)
  • be calm in the face of a rebellious teen
  • know peace in the moment of existential challenge
  • have the courage to run into dangerous situations to save others
  • will confront a despot proclaiming a fake truth
  • can stand between a bully and their victim
  • give voice of outrage for killer denied their spiritual guide at the time of their death
  • proclaim that a bill outlawing abortion when Roe v Wade is overturned is not a stand for life, but the further oppression of women,
  • because it does not hold men accountable for their part in creating a fetus,
  • does not take into account the physical or mental health of the mother, or the father for that matter,
  • does not provide medical care, loving support, education and all other needs            for all children regardless of race, creed, color, social or economic status,
  • does not provide equal access to birth control, which would prevent most                unwanted pregnancies;
  • It ignores John 9(3-4) when Jesus says,

no one sinned, this man was born blind. Let the Glory, let the work of God be known (my paraphrase).

It is the strength that flows from belief in bodily resurrection that empowers us

  • to speak the hard truth to a friend and/or loved one
  • to sit with a loved one, friend or stranger as they receive devastating news
  • to be with another as they die.

It is the strength that flows from belief in bodily resurrection that empowers us

  • to acknowledge that yes, the 3 in 1; 1 in 3 God we proclaim does not make any sense, but is nonetheless true
  • to acknowledge that yes, there is no perceivable evidence that bodily resurrection occurs, nonetheless we trust the promise of our God.

It is the strength that flows from belief in bodily resurrection that empowers us to gather in worship week after week in a time when belief in such practice is precipitously falling; that gives meaning to our voice as together, using the form beginning on page 358 we reaffirm our faith     as set forth in the Nicene Creed …

 

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son
he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic
and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come (BCP 358).

Amen.


References

Bratt, Doug. Epiphany 6 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. 17 2 2019. <cep.calvinseminary.edu>.

Epperly, Bruce. The Adventurous Lectionary. 17 2 2019. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/livingaholyadventure/author/bruceepperly&gt;.

Gaventa, Beverly Roberts and David Petersen. New Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary. Nashville, n.d.

Harrelson, Walter J. The New Interpreters’ Study Bible. Abingdon Press, 2003. E-book.

Keener, Craig and John Walton. NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible Notes. Nashville: Zondervan, 2017.

Kesselus, Ken. “Joining the Saints Epiphany 6.” 17 2 2019. Sermons that Work. <episcopalchurch.org/library/sermon>.

Pankey, Steve. Paul’s Logic. 17 2 2019. <wordpress.com/read/feeds/333491/posts/1312346053>.

Sakenfeld, Katharine Doob. New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Nashville: Abingdon, 2009.

Sampley, J. Paul. New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary The First Letter to The Corinthians. Ed. Leander E. Keck. Vol. IX. Nashville: Abingdon, 2015. X vols.

The Episcopal Church. The Book of Common Prayer. New York: Church Publishing, 1979.

Works, Carla. Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. 17 2 2019. <workingpreacher.org>.

 

 

 

From Glory to Call

 

A Sermon for Epiphany 5; Isaiah 6:1-8, [9-13], Psalm 138, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11,
Luke 5:1-11

 

Nearly a quarter-century ago I stood at the end of a line of eight candidates for ordination, and the cast of presenters, vestors, and supporters for each candidate, we were preceded by the Cathedral choir and choral members from the 8 associated churches, the cathedral clergy, and followed by, the bishop’s crew and the Bishop. We processed into St. Patrick’s Breastplate, you know its refrain

 I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity.

 and perhaps its musically different 6th verse

Christ be with me, within, behind, before, besides, to win, to comfort, and restore, beneath, above, in quiet, in danger, in hearts, in mouth of friend and stranger.

We chose it not just because of the power of the hymn, but because it is one of few that are long enough for such an entourage to process into the Cathedral.

Being the alphabetically last of the candidates I, and my cohort could not see into the cathedral nave, and could barely hear, as the procession started. As we rounded the corner, the glorious sound of that hymn was inspiring. When I stepped into the nave and saw the uncountable people who filled the space to capacity, I was stunned. It was a glorious moment. It has stayed with me ever since. It has been a source of strength, a source of calm, a source of assuredness. It has been a reminder of the presence of the glory of God, in all the world. It was my Isaiah moment.

It was not an accident that the Old Testament reading that day was this morning’s reading from Isaiah. A quarter-century ago, as we planned this service, we chose this reading because of verse 8

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!” (Isaiah 6:8);

all of us had heard God’s call, and all of us were responding Here am I; send me!

As strong as these memories are, this morning I am drawn to the first four verses. The image of God sitting on the throne, his robe filling all the Temple, thereby all the world (Mast). The seraphs, six-winged fiery serpents (Harrelson), singing Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isaiah 6:3) with such fervor, such enthusiasm, such passion, that the very foundations of the Temple in Jerusalem shook, and the whole place, the various outer courtyards, the court of Israelites, the court of the priest, the sanctuary, and the Holy of Holies was filled with smoke. All of which emphasizes the utterly sacred nature of God, a being wholly set apart and separated from all defilement and impurity (Harrelson).

The absolutely sacred nature of God terrifies Isaiah, and he confesses his and Israel’s sinfulness (Allen). Then, without his saying anything, a Seraph, think Chinese dragon, takes a coal from the Altar of God, touches his lips, and pronounces that Isaiah is clean; he no longer has to fear being in God’s glory.

Surrounded by God’s glory, having heard he is cleaned from all sin, Isaiah is ready to answer God’s call. I’m not sure he was ready to hear the details. God tells him to preach so that all the people will be blind and deaf, to tell them that they just don’t get it. (Mast; Giere). The people are so resistant to God, punishment has already been pronounced. His calling is to last until everything is destroyed, everything is uninhabited, and all the people are gone, leaving the land desolate and empty. All that is left ~ is a smoldering stump. But ~~ that stump ~ is a holy seed; hope (Tucker).

The journey through these verses takes us from glory to call through despair to hope.  We witness a similar journey in Luke. There is nothing here quite so visually stunning as singing, fiery, flying serpents, nonetheless, the Glory of God is present, because the people are here to hear Jesus, so many that Jesus has to get into a boat move a bit offshore just to be heard. The image may suggest the Spirit of God, the voice of God sweeping over the chaos, over the water of the deep (Gen. 1:1-3) (The Living Church). Together with John’s Gospel’s opening verses

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2)

we can know that the glory of God was present at creation; thus, the glory of God is present by the lakeside.

Just as the glory of God is less vivid here than in Isaiah, the calling is equally vague. Simon and his crew have been working all night, with no success. They are tired. They are ready to go home, when Jesus gets into their boat, and asks to be taken just offshore (The Living Church). When Jesus is done preaching, he tells them to row back out to the deeper waters and let their nets down again. His fishing expertise rejects the suggestion, a lifetime of fishing tells Simon the fishing is done. Nonetheless, since Jesus says so, off they go. As you heard, the catch is beyond all their imaginations. Simon recognizes the presence of divine glory, and as Isaiah did, recognizes his sinful nature, and pleads for Jesus to go away from him. There are no acts of cleansing. There is no asking. Jesus simply assures them, Do not be afraid. and continues From now on you will be drawing people into the glory of God’s presence (my paraphrase) (Allen).

A part of this journey is how God comes to us in the midst of our failures; God sees new possibilities, asks us not to give up, but to faithfully be open to new imaginations, by seeing more deeply, expecting more, trusting in the power of God’s glory (Epperly); and remembering that the extraordinary catch of fish happens in Jesus’ presence (Lewis).

Today the world is as chaotic as is was in Isaiah’s day, when the King has just died, and no one knew how the next King would act; and in Simon’s day just after a complete failure of a long night’s work. Their journeys affirm for us that the glory of God is present; in the midst of the fear of the completely unknown; and in the midst of fear of the failure of longtime customary success.  Their journeys affirm for us that the glory of God is present in the midst of our unclean, sinful ways, known and unknown; thought, said, done and undone. Their journeys affirm that our guilt has departed, and our sins have been blotted out (Isaiah 6:7). Their journeys call us to look and listen to perceive not only God’s glory but also, God’s calling.

In general, our calling is to witness to God’s glory. The work is not always pleasant. It may require us to name how, when. and where we are missing God’s point; how we are not treating each other as the image of God, how we are failing to tend the land as God (in Genesis2: 8 & 15) put us in the garden to do.

What I draw from the awesome memory at the entry to my ordination is that I am not alone, that day the seraphic voices of the countless voices singing were filling the world with the glory of God in the words of St Patrick’s Breast-Plate “I bind unto myself today ….” that moment my calling was not to, but with God’s people.

Today there are many voices, in countless and sundry forms singing the glory of God. We sing it weekly

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

May our voice join theirs, moving from grace to calling. May our voices join theirs, in being courageous voices speaking the hard truth, as Isaiah did. May our voices join theirs, and draw people into the presence of God, as Simon’s and the Apostles’ did. May our lives join theirs, so that all we think, say and do, or do not do, draws others into God’s gracious, ever-present glory, that all may live as worthy servants of God (Crichton and Wisher).


References

Allen, Ronald J. “Commentary on Luke 5:1-11.” 10 2 2019. Working Preacher. <workingpreacher.org>.

Ashley, Danáe M. Trusting Jesus Epiphany 5 (5). 10 2 2019. <http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/stw/&gt;.

Epperly, Bruce. The Adventurous Lectionary. 10 2 2019. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/livingaholyadventure/author/bruceepperly&gt;.

Gaventa, Beverly Roberts and David Petersen. New Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary. Nashville, n.d.

Giere, Samuel. Commentary on Isaiah 6:1-8, (9-13). 10 2 2019. <http://www.workingpreacher.org/&gt;.

Harrelson, Walter J. The New Interpreters’ Study Bible. Abingdon Press, 2003. E-book.

Hoezee, Scott. Epiphany 5C Luke 5:1-11. 10 2 2019. <http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/sermon-starters/advent-3c/?type=the_lectionary_gospel&gt;.

Keener, Craig and John Walton. NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible Notes. Nashville: Zondervan, 2017.

Lewis, Karoline. “Dear Working Preacher Catching People.” 10 2 2019. Working Preacher.

Mast, Stan. Epiphany 5C Isaiah 6:1-13. 10 2 2019. <http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/sermonstarters/&gt;.

Sakenfeld, Katharine Doob. New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Nashville: Abingdon, 2009.

The Living Church. “”Over the Water”.” 10 2 2019. livingchurch.org. <livingchurch.org/2018/08/22/freedom-and-popular-culture>.

Tucker, Gene M. The Book of Isaiah 1–39. Vol. 4. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2015. 12 vols. OliveTree 2016.

 

 

Great Expectations – Not

A Sermon for Epiphany 4; Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 4:21-30,

Years ago, Angie and I fell in love with Master Piece Theater, especially the Mystery series. So, when we discovered all those shows in their various series were stream-able, well we stream a lot. Recently we watch Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party which involves the famous detective Hercule Poirot and the almost as famous mystery writer Ariadne Oliver. The story spins around Mrs. Llewellyn-Smythe, a wealthy widow. She has no children of her own. A niece, Rowena Drake, and her family have moved in to help care for her.  Mrs. Llewellyn-Smythe also has an au pair, Olga Seminoff, to care for her. When Mrs. Llewellyn-Smythe unexpectedly dies, Mrs. Drake and her family expect to inherit her substantial estate including her palatial home  (Wikipedia). If you know anything about Agatha Christie’s writing and Poirot’s storyline, you know there is much more to the story. You may also have figured out, Mrs. Drake and family do not inherit the estate. Their great expectations ~ are not. And that is the connection to today’s Gospel

Today’s Gospel story begins last week, with Jesus reading from Isaiah 61, about proclaiming the good news and the year of the Lord’s favor the jubilee year; then sitting down in the synagogue, the traditional teaching position and saying Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. (Luke 4:21) Jesus’ home town friends and family are amazed. They are wondering; Really Jesus? Here? How? Where? (Hoezee, Epiphany 3). Then they get ecstatic over the possibility that they will see water become wine, that they will the lame walk, that they will the blind see; and all the things they have heard that Jesus has done elsewhere (Kubicek). Surely this is the hint that all the centuries of waiting have come to an end and that they will share in Jesus’ expanding fame (Culpepper). They can’t wait for Jesus to do the works of God’s grace among them (Kubicek). They are can’t wait to share in the benefits that will surely be coming to the prophet’s hometown (Culpepper). This really is good news (Gaventa and Petersen).

Only Jesus continues to preach. He reminds them that in the time a great famine God sent Elijah to a widow in Zarephath in Sidon, a Phoenician town near Tyre (1 Kings 17) gentile territory. And then that Elijah cleansed (indicating making the person pure and able to be in God’s presence) a leper named Naaman, a gentile, the commander of Syrian army a rival of Israel (2 Kings 5) (Easton). The people of Nazareth are as surprised as Mrs. Llewellyn-Smythe’s family. If you know the rest of Christie’s story, you know the people turn out to be quite deadly. The people of Nazareth change just as quickly, just as vicious. Instantly Jesus goes from hero to villain. They drive him out of town, to the edge of a cliff, (an implication they indent to stone him) (Keener and Walton).

How did that happen? Well ~ if we think about it, we know. And we know because we know about the volatility of community and or family dynamics. In one way or another, we have experienced just how quickly we can go from hero to villain when results do not meet expectation (Hoezee, Epiphany 4)

However, there are some things to ponder. What we have witnessed is the people of Nazareth claiming for themselves the blessings Jesus said are available “this day.” (Harrelson). That just may be the results of them forgetting the foundation stories of their origins. Throughout the Exodus, from escape to the wilderness wanderings, to receiving then 10 commandments … Israel, they, were appointed to lives as a demonstration, of God’s community of charity, faith, hope, and love, for all people (Kubicek). David Jacobsen notes that we are witnessing what happens when grace and divine favor, meet up with privilege and entitlement (Jacobsen). It is a stark reminder that just because we are faithful because it is our habit to go synagogue or to church doesn’t give us exclusive rights to God’s presence, God’s grace, or God’s shalom (Kubicek).

I mentioned that we know the family and community dynamics that erupt from sudden disappointment, especially when lots of money, power or prestige are involved. We also know the utilitarian expectation some draw from the Bible. Just because we go to church. Just because we lift a few verses from scripture; cast them as never changing ridged legalism, and proudly proclaim “This is the way to God.” as we leave aside other less comfortable verses that challenge our self-gratification and admiration, and make the Bible a utilitarian handbook for life, does not give us exclusive rights to God’s presence, grace or shalom. No one ever has, does, or ever will, have the freedom to put limits on who receives God’s grace (Culpepper). Think about it for a minute and you realize Jesus never heals a righteous person, because, by definition, they are unclean, unfit to be in the presence of God, unable to receive divine mercy or grace. The sick, the blind, the lame, the lepers, the chronically ill, the poor, the destitute, with despicable home lives, those who don’t belong to the chosen tribes; are all excluded from society. And every healing is from among them. God’s grace, mercy, healing and shalom is given to whomever, God – Jesus – Spirit chooses to give it upon. We are uncomfortable when Jesus extends the boundaries of salvation to include others, ~ to include foreigners. We cling to the belief that God’s doesn’t care for strangers when God does not know any strangers. We cannot understand, will not understand, that the day of shalom includes everyone (Epperly). There is an element of this thinking, of this world view, in every effort to exclude undesirables, in efforts to reduce community-based healthcare, education and other programs to improve the common good.

So right here, right now I see a couple of triplets. The first triplite is about self-recognition. This Gospel story calls us to recognize our own limitations and fallibility, our own need for repentance, our own need for transformation (Epperly). This Gospel story places an evangelical priority on being willing to name the truth, the hard truth, the uncomfortable truth, and to acknowledge just how challenging the “Good News” really is (Lewis). And third, Jesus, had a prophet’s task, to shatter traditional barriers, cross conventional boundaries that benefit outsiders. Through our baptism, through our vow to continue Jesus’ ministry, ~ so ~ do ~ we (Gaventa and Petersen). I don’t know about you, but this leaves me feeling like in I’m standing on the edge of a town’s cliff.

Luke also gives us a triplite for confidence. Jesus’s doesn’t meet his fate here, he passes through the crowd (Jacobsen). There is nothing magical or mystical here. Luke emphasizes that Jesus was not stopped by the raging crowd; “He was going on.” which implies a continuous action: Going on the way is a frequent theme in Luke (Culpepper).

In I Corinthians 13, the love Paul commends, is fallible, it recognizes its limitations, which leaves room for growth, leaves room for trusting in God’s larger vision (Epperly). Recognizing our limitations and fallibility, our own need for repentance; our own need for transformation also leaves room for growth, leaves room for trusting in God’s larger vision. The reminder that God’s grace that is never subject to the limitations and boundaries of any nation, church, group, or race, is double-edged; we cannot limit God’s grace for anyone else, neither can we limit God’s grace that is upon ourselves (Culpepper).

“Today this scripture is being fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21). Today this Good News is being proclaimed in your thinking, in your saying and in your doing. Today, even if you don’t know what you can do, God does; so, with great expectations, I know that ~ today ~ you continue on your way (Epperly).


References

Culpepper, R. Alan. New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary The Gospel of Luke. Vol. 8. Abbington, 2015. 12 vols. Olive Tree App.

Easton, M. G. Easton’s Bible Dictionary. Public Domain, 1897. Olive Tree.

Epperly, Bruce. The Adventurous Lectionary. 3 2 2019. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/livingaholyadventure/author/bruceepperly&gt;.

Gaventa, Beverly Roberts and David Petersen. New Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary. Nashville, n.d.

Harrelson, Walter J. The New Interpreters’ Study Bible. Abingdon Press, 2003. E-book.

Hoezee, Scott. Epiphany 3 Luke 4:16-21. 27 1 2019. <cep.calvinseminary.edu>.

—. Epiphany 4C Luke 4:21-30. 3 2 2019. <http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/sermon-starters/advent-3c/?type=the_lectionary_gospel&gt;.

Jacobsen, David Schnasa. Commentary on Luke 4:21-30. 3 2 2019. <http://www.workingpreacher.org&gt;.

Keener, Craig and John Walton. NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible Notes. Nashville: Zondervan, 2017.

Kubicek, Kirk Alan. “We Are His Epiphany 4.” 3 2 2019. Sermons that Work. <episcopalchurch.org/library/sermon/we-are-his-epiphany-4-c-february-3-2019>.

Lewis, Karoline. “Dear Working Preacher Good News?” 3 2 2019. Working preacher. <http://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?cat_id=36&gt;.

Sakenfeld, Katharine Doob. New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Nashville: Abingdon, 2009.

Wikipedia. Hallowe’en Party. n.d. 3 2 2019. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallowe%27en_Party&gt;.