Proper 17 Year A—
The burning bush



(Continuing to present both Tracks of the Lectionary)

The lesson from the Book of Exodus is ripe with imagery—a bush that burns, holy ground, name of I AM, resistance to God’s call, God’s constant presence. The most powerful is God’s constant presence—that God would protect the bush from consumption even when it is burning; that God would direct the words to come from Moses’ mouth; that God believes in each of us; that God directs our path (if we listen). How do you see it? And God says he is called “I AM THAT I AM”. Seems a bit cryptic but think about it. God is—period, full stop. There are no qualifiers, adjectives, modifiers—I AM THAT I AM. All powerful—included. All knowing—included All encompassing—included. Your thoughts?  Post your thoughts on our website.

Exodus 3:1-15

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” . . . Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; . . . So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I . . . ” He [God] said, “I will be with you; . . . He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

From “God called Moses from a burning bush to get his attention and talk to him. . . . he gave Moses important instructions. Just like God spoke to Moses, God speaks to us, too.”

Scripture: August 30, 2020—Jeremiah 15:15-21 (image); Psalm 26:1-8 (image); Romans 12:9-21 (image); and Matthew 16:21-28 (image). Illuminating the scripture, an image and audio journey. Track 1 lesson and psalm are Exodus 3:1-15 (image) and Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c (image). From the editor: Click on “image” following each appointed scripture for an illumination of that passage.  

Collect: Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Reflection: How can your life include a faithful response to Jesus’ charge that his followers must “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24)?  [from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion]

Saint Focus: The saints recognized on August 30 were martyred because they were protecting Roman Catholic priests during the time when their lives were in jeopardy during the reign of Elizabeth I. Ward and Line were both hanged while Clitherow was crushed to death. We think so little about the trials that have beset others. The link below gives a little more detail [from several sources. Click the link to see which calendar was used].

This week, the saints under consideration were:


Eye Candy: “Moses on Mount Sinai” (~1210), illumination from the Psalter of Ingeburg of Denmark; “Moses and the burning bush” (~250), fresco in Syria;  “Burning bush” (2009), long exposure photograph by artist earsaregood

Ear Worm: “The burning bush“, instrumental interpretation by Stephen Schwartz for The Prince of Egypt; “O splendor of God’s glory bright“, congregational singing; “Guide me O thou great Jehovah“, as only Aretha Franklin (RIP) can sing it

Brain Food: commentary“Who do you say that I am?” by David Lose

Contemporary Parables: “The Phantom Menace“(1999), is Anakin the Moses figure? “Concussion” (2015), a quest; “Hotel Rwanda” (2004), sanctuary during genocide



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




activity; bulletin games; craft




:  activity; bulletin games; craft



In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he is, in essence, providing operating instructions for those who will bear the cross. That’s a good thing. Some of us require specifics about how to live as a follower day in and day out. We do it better in community, so looking at Paul’s writing provides a helpful framework for what this might look like. But that was then, and this is now! What “operating instructions” would you suggest for being a cross bearer? If you write some of these down, then review them in 2 weeks, what will you have learned? Anything? How will you change your instructions? (excerpted from “Getting crossways with Jesus” at the Stewardship of Life website.

If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.


Beginning with today’s Gospel reading, the ministry of Jesus is directed toward his approaching death and resurrection and his preparing the disciples for that event. Peter, who moments before expressed his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, now recoils at the thought of Jesus’ death. Jesus begins to explain that the way into the Kingdom of God is sacrifice. His death and resurrection will be the model for that way.

Track 1. Last Sunday, we heard of the birth of Moses into slavery, and his adoption by the daughter of the Egyptian king. Now as a young man, he has fled Egypt to escape punishment for killing an Egyptian who was mistreating a Hebrew slave. At Horeb, also called Mount Sinai, God revealed himself and sent Moses to set the people of Israel free from their slavery.

Track 2. Jeremiah’s reflection upon his experience of rejection and persecution, his hope of redemption through God’s love, is read today as foreshadowing Jesus’ greater work.

Today’s passage from the Epistle to the Romans deals with the characteristics of Christian living. Note that we are called to love each other and to recognize that our lives are completely bound up in the lives of our brothers and sisters.

In the Eucharist, we find both of the scriptural themes for today. We are given many and varied ways of ministering and the Eucharist is a model of our ministry in caring for others and the world. In the Eucharist, by remembering Christ’s dying and rising, we become participants in God’s redemptive action. Our own lives are filled with meaning because we share in his life, death, and resurrection.

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