Proper 12 Year A—
Of what value



(Continuing to present both Tracks of the Lectionary)

What has value for you? Jesus certainly describes a number of “valuable” things in his lessons prescribed for this week. Note that value is/can be found in many different things—growth, nurture, jewel, sustenance. And as “scribes trained for the kingdom”, we have the task of finding the value that becomes the treasure, both old and new. Fortunately, it is not one size treasure fits all. Look at the Old Testament readings too. What “treasure” did Solomon long for (and God granted to him)? A wise and discerning mind. Also from Genesis, what “treasure” did Jacob seek? A “graceful and beautiful” life companion. So an abundantly rich lectionary for Sunday. So many things to think about. Post your thoughts on our website.

Matthew 13:31-33,44-52

Jesus put before the crowds another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed . . . is like yeast . . . is like treasure hidden in a field . . . is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value . . . is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind. . . Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

From “You may be small, but like the mustard seed and the yeast, you are important in the kingdom of heaven.”

Scripture: July 26, 2020—1 Kings 3:5-12Psalm 119:129-136Romans 8:26-39; and Matthew 13:31-33,44-52. Illuminating the scripture, an image and audio journey. Track 1 lesson and psalm are Genesis 29:15-28 and Psalm 105:1-11, 45b.

Collect: O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Reflection: God asks “what can I give you?” to Solomon. Solomon does not ask for longevity or wealth, but for the wisdom to discern what is right. What is the one think that you would ask of God? What does God’s response to Solomon reveal about the desires of our hearts and what is ultimate and lasting in God’s eyes?

Saint Focus: Three great composers are remembered on July 28. Their commemoration harks to a time when young men were almost apprenticed into service in the church. Bach was born into a German family of musicians, was Lutheran, and his music reflects his deep religious conviction. Handel is celebrated on the same day as Bach (and Purcell). Also German, Handel first studied law then began his music studies and affection, finding his way to England. Handel’s renowned work The Messiah is based upon scripture. Purcell was an English citizen who wrote not only for the church but also for popular entertainment. He was a singer, composer, and organist. Be sure to follow the link below for more details. Note also the recognition of the first ordination of women to the priesthood. [most from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]

This week, the saints under consideration were:


Eye Candy: “Jacob, Rachael, Leah“, contemporary statue in the Ratner Museum (Bethesda, Maryland); “The Pearl of Great Price”, by Daniel Bonnell, contemporary; “A Little Leaven“, James B. Janknegt; “The Hidden Treasure“, from Jesus Mafa

Ear Worm: “Seek ye first” sung by Patti LaBelle with Spellman College and Howard University choirs; “God is working his purpose out”, virtual hymn and quasi-Caribbean beat

Brain Food: “Parables that do things“, commentary by David Lose; commentary  by Bob Eldan;

“The pearl” by Gene Stecher

The surprise within and / the systematic search among.
The subject of the surprise, / the subject of the searching.
Pearls and treasures come / from either direction. Better
stay alert for the knock! / or maybe we’re talking about JOY!
The joy of the surprise, / the joy of priceless discovery,
the joy of paying the full value. / A pearl in a field? Hard to find!
After you rush to buy the field, / the joy of walking barefoot
through luscious HJ grass. / But you have to pay the full value, everything you have!

©Gene Stecher, Chambersburg, Pa.

Contemporary Parables: “The Family Man” (2000), family deciding what is important; “American Beauty” (1999), satire on the American dream; “The Truman Show” (1998), quixotic tale of yearnings

image downloaded on 072210 from “7 things you didn’t know about pearls


: Study guide, group activity, snacks, kid video.




activity; bulletin games; craft




:  activity; bulletin games; craft



What does the reign of God mean to you? Consider writing it in a simile: “The reign of God here and now is like…” For the next round, use metaphors. “The reign of God is…” Create a word cloud of the results. Share.  [based on “Have you understood all this” from Stewardship of Life website]

If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.


As we did last Sunday, today we hear parables of Jesus concerning God’s Kingdom. The Kingdom is characterized as hidden, yet being revealed; as small now but destined to grow large; as so precious that those who discover it will give all in order to attain it; as open to all who will accept it.

Track 1. As we continue the story of our forebears, Jacob, living with his uncle Laban, asks for the hand of Rachel, whom he loves. Laban tricks him (trickery ran in the family, perhaps) and marries him to his older daughter, Leah. After a time, however, Jacob is allowed to marry Rachel, as well. From these two women came the twelve sons of Jacob and the twelve tribes of Israel.

Track 2. The first reading from 1 Kings is Solomon’s prayer asking God for wisdom. It was Solomon’s desire for wisdom rather than riches and power, which revealed him as a righteous king. This is a prefiguring of God’s Kingdom in which all of God’s people are a royal priesthood, enlightened by the spirit and wisdom of God.

Our continued reading of the Epistle to the Romans leads us to Paul’s great outburst of praise and assurance of the certainty of God’s love for us. Here Paul is certain that even our weakest and most elementary striving towards God is proof that God is leading us and has destined us for glory.

The Church is not the Kingdom of God. It is, in the words of Alexander Schmemann, the world in the process of becoming the Kingdom. When we gather to celebrate, our movement toward the Kingdom is revealed. In the Eucharist God reconstitutes us as the Church and we discover ourselves growing toward the Kingdom.

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