Proper 27

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Prayer of the Day
Lord, when the day of wrath comes we have no hope except in your grace. Make us so to watch for the last days that the consummation of our hope may be the joy of the marriage feast of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Job 19:23-27a
{23} "O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book! {24} O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock forever! {25} For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; {26} and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, {27} whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

23. my words: Job wants the words of his contention with Yahweh cast in the form of a legal brief (Job 13:17).
a book: In Hebrew the word is sepher, which must mean a scroll, or more generally a document, upon which the words would be written.
24. with an iron pen: See Jeremiah 17:1 where Judah’s sin is carved into the heart as into a stone "with a pen of iron," literally a stylus or graver. Judah’s sins and Job’s words would be as permanent as an inscription engraved on stone. (In Jeremiah 31:33 Yahweh says he will write the Torah on the hearts of his people.)
with lead they were engraved on a rock: The Behistun inscription attests to "lead poured into letters incised in stone to form an inlaid inscription." [1]
25. my Redeemer: The word "redeemer" is capitalized because the translation assumes that God is intended (verse 26). However, Job needs a goel, a "redeemer" or advocate to defend him in his contention with God. "A major argument against viewing God as the goel is that it would mean a complete reversal in the pattern of Job’s thought to date, a pattern which also persists after this famous cry of hope. Job has portrayed God consistently as his attacker not his defender, his enemy not his friend, his adversary at law not his advocate, his hunter not his healer, his spy not his savior, an intimidating terror not an impartial judge. In subsequent speeches Job continues to be overwhelmed at the anticipated appearance of God’s terrifying ‘face’ (23:14-17); he identifies God as his accuser and adversary at law to the very end (31:35-37)." [2]
my Redeemer lives…my skin has been thus destroyed: Job anticipates his death and asserts that his advocate lives and will defend his reputation. His recorded testimony will be presented to the court.
26. I shall see God: Job will confront God in court and be vindicated ("whom I shall see on my side").
my eyes shall behold, and not another: Although Job has an advocate, he wants to present his own case to God, and believes that he will be allowed to do so, even after death. "Job is not proposing the idea of a universal resurrection, but the radical hope that he will see his divine adversary face to face, in person, ‘from his flesh’….

Psalm 17:1-9
{1} Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit. {2} From you let my vindication come; let your eyes see the right. {3} If you try my heart, if you visit me by night, if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress. {4} As for what others do, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. {5} My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped. {6} I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words. {7} Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. {8} Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, {9} from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me.

1, 2, 6: The singer his/her case before Yahweh, knowing that Yahweh will respond, and seeks vindication and protection against wicked enemies who accuse him/her of deceit, and seek to despoil him/her. This setting is prescribed in Deuteronomy 17:8-11, and referred to in 1 Kings 8:31-32).
3-5: The singer asserts his certainty that when Yahweh investigates he will "find no wickedness in me."
8. the apple of the eye: Something extremely precious. Literally, "a little man in the eye." [3] Yahweh calls his people, "the apple of my eye" (Zechariah 2:8 (MT 2:12), Deuteronomy 32:10)), and encourages his people to keep his teachings as "the apple of their eye" (Proverbs 7:2). [4]
the shadow of your wings: To be in one’s shadow is to be within their protection. "The term  [cnpik] very likely refers to the extended wings of the cherubim above the ark of the covenant, which are thought of as a symbol of God’s protection (Pss. 36:7; 63:7)." [5]

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
{1} As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, {2} not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. {3} Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. {4} He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. {5} Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?… {13} But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. {14} For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. {15} So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. {16} Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, {17} comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

1. the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him: The subject of the reading is the parousia, the appearance of Jesus and the gathering of the faithful to him.
2. by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here: Paul refers to a prophecy or in an oral communication or in a letter, "as though from us," that is, falsely asserting or misunderstood to say that Paul said "that the day of the Lord is already here."
3. that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed: Paul begins his teaching of the correct view of "the day." Two things must happen first, "rebellion," that is "apostasy" and a specific person, "the lawless one" (not Satan, verse 9) who is not identified must be "revealed."
4: "Behind these characterizations of the Man of Lawlessness is the figure of Antiochus IV Epiphanes [174-165 b. c.], whose self-aggrandizement assumed apocalyptic significance (Dan. 11:36-37 Theod[otian]). It is not said whom the Man of Lawlessness opposes…but… v. 4 suggests that he opposes God." [6]
the temple of God: The arrogance of "the lawless one" knows no limits. He will enter the Temple (in Jerusalem) and seat himself there as the deity.
5. I told you these things: Jesus said something similar in John 16:4. The point is that the disciples and followers of Paul have been warned about the things that will come, and therefore have no excuse for not knowing what is to come.
[6-12: Paul continues to write about "the lawless one" who will be destroyed by the Lord Jesus.]
13-14: The second thanksgiving in the letter (see 1:3-4). The Thessalonians are "beloved of the Lord," chosen by God "as the first fruits of salvation," and called to believe "through our proclamation" to "obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." For this Paul always thanks God.
15. stand firm…hold fast: They are urged to remain faithful to the Gospel they have heard from Paul and not to follow false teachers.
16. through grace: Eternal comfort and hope are gifts of God’s grace.
17: Paul prays that the Thessalonians will be comforted and strengthened in words and works by Christ and God.

Luke 20:27-38
{27} Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him {28} and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. {29} Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; {30} then the second {31} and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. {32} Finally the woman also died. {33} In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her." {34} Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; {35} but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. {36} Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. {37} And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. {38} Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive."

28-33: The theory behind the question goes something like this: the law of the levirate (Deut. 25:5f) was to provide for a male descendent for the purpose of preserving the life of the father through the memory of the son, and to secure his heritage for the family. If there is a resurrection then there is no need for levirate. Since the Torah provided for levirate, the resurrection is superfluous.
34-36: Jesus speaks about life in an age in which resurrection is a reality. "In the world in which there is no more death, one does not need marriage, which is necessary for procreation." [7] "…Jesus says to the Sadducees, those who quote Moses (about levirate marriage) should also listen to him (about resurrection) and the Lucan Jesus adds, even about immortality…. …Yahweh identifies himself to Moses as the God of the patriarchs long after they have died…. Only living people can have a God, and therefore Yahweh’s promise to the patriarchs that he is/will be their God requires that he maintain them in life." [8]
[39-40: In these verses some of the scribes acknowledge the force of his argument and dare not ask him more questions.]

     In the first lesson Job asserts his innocence before Yahweh and, facing immanent death, relies on his advocate, his redeemer, to plead his case. He is certain of vindication. The singer in the Psalm places him-/herself and his/her cause before Yahweh whom (s)he confidently expects to exonerate him/her. Some Christians in Thessalonica have misunderstood Paul to say that the parousia will come soon (perhaps hoping for victory over their adversaries), but Paul says that is wrong and that they must be steadfast and faithful to the Gospel.

Hymns [9]
With One Voice (e.g. 762v), Hymnal Supplement 1991 (e.g. 725s) and LBW (e.g. 32).
E=Entrance; D=Hymn of the Day; I=First Lesson, P=Psalm; II=Second Lesson; G=Gospel

486 --E--Spirit of God,
352 --D--I Know that
707s --P--All the Ends
558 --P--Earth and All

795v --P--Oh, Sing to the (830s)
337 --G--Oh, What Their
330 --G--In Heaven Above

Prayers of the People [10]
P or A: Our God is a God of liberation, lifting the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, gathering the sinner and the outcast into a common fellowship, and, through the Holy Spirit, calling many to the freeing power of the gospel today. We pray to our gracious God, saying, "Lord in your mercy", and respond ,"Hear our prayer."
A: God of everlasting love, you do not abandon your people. Reveal the comfort of your presence when this world seems most bleak to us, and when our lives seem most empty. Lord, in your mercy. Hear...
A: May your call to live justly in a world of injustice be seen as a blessing and not a hardship. Help us to bear the challenges of this call. Lord, in your mercy. Hear... 
A: For the ill and the dying, we pray to you, O God, that they might find healing and hope. We remember __________ together with their families and friends who keep vigil at their side. Lord, in your mercy. Hear...
A: We pray for those who mourn the loss of a loved one, that their sadness may be turned into joyful anticipation of new life--for you are a God who brings life from death. Lord, in your mercy. Hear...
A: May the words of our mouths and the actions of our daily living bless your holy name, Father. We think particularly of the gatherings of this congregation--meetings, youth events, Bible studies, and fellowship occasions--that these gatherings be holy and filled by your presence. Lord, in your mercy. Hear...
P: Into your hands we lift up every concern which we have spoken here today, and every silent word of repentance, anxiety, and praise. We commend all these things to your care. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Or [11]

Presider or deacon
Standing firm and holding fast, let us offer prayers to God who proclaims to us the good news of Christ.
Deacon or other leader
For N our bishop and N our presbyter, for this holy gathering, and for the people of God in every place.
For mercy, justice, and peace among all peoples.
For good weather, abundant fruits of the earth and peaceful times.
For our city and those who live in it and for all those we love.
For all those in danger and need: the sick and the suffering, prisoners, captives, and their families, the hungry, homeless, and oppressed.
For those who rest in Christ and for all the dead.
For our deliverance from all affliction, strife, and need.
Lifting our voices with all creation, let us offer ourselves and one another to the living God through Christ. To you, O Lord.
God of all creation, to whom the living and the dead are all alive, hear the prayers we offer this day and direct our hearts to love and steadfastness, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U. S. A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
[1] Marvin H. Pope, Job: Introduction, Translation, and Notes. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1965, p. 134; The Harper Collins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version (ed. by Wayne A. Meeks et al). HarperCollins Publishers, 1993, p. 771, note on 19:24.
[2] Norman C. Habel, The Book of Job. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1985, p. 306.
[3] E. Kautsch (ed.), Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, Second English Edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1920, 86g.
[4] R. C. Dentan, “Apple of the Eye,” The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (ed. by George Arthur Buttrick et al.). Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962, vol. 1, p. 176.
[5] Hans-Joachim Kraus, Psalms 1-59: A Commentary. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1988, p. 248.
[6] Abraham J. Malherbe, The Letters to the Thessalonians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New York: Doubleday, 2000, p. 420
[7] Gerd Lüdemann, Jesus after Two Thousand Years: What he really said and did. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2001, p. 388.
[8] Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke (X-XXIV): Introduction, Translation, and Notes. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1985, pp. 1301, 1306-1307.