Proper 21 (Year C)

Sunday between September 25 and October 1 inclusive

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet Amos writes: Those with idle and comfortable lives will be first to go into exile (Amos 6:1a, 4–7). The psalmist sings: Do not put your trust in princes; God does justice for the oppressed (Psalm 146). The apostle Paul writes: The love of money is the root of evil; be rich in good works instead (1 Timothy 6:6–19). In Luke, Jesus tells the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Hades (Luke 16:19–31).

Lectionary Readings

Amos 6:1a, 4–7

1 Alas for those who are at ease in Zion,
and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
the notables of the first of the nations,
to whom the house of Israel resorts!

4 Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory,
and lounge on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock,
and calves from the stall;
5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
and like David improvise on instruments of music;
6 who drink wine from bowls,
and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
7 Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile,
and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away.

Psalm 146

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

3 Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
4 When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
7     who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8     the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

1 Timothy 6:6–19

6 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16 It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Luke 16:19–31

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 146:1-2, 10

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Amos 6:1, 6; Psalm 146:3-7; 1 Timothy 6:18-19

Holy God,
may our hope be only in you.
Forgive us when we become complacent
and forget your power, your might,
and your heart for those in need.
You are the one who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them.
You keep your promises forever;
you execute justice for the oppressed;
and you give food to the hungry.
Help us to be vessels of your grace,
not setting our hearts on the uncertainty of wealth,
but seeking the riches of good works and generosity,
that we may take hold of that which is truly life.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 1 Timothy 6:6-8, 10-11, 18-19

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning godliness and contentment?

We believe there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment;
for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it;
but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 

We believe the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil;
thus, we are to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 

We believe we are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 
thus storing up for ourselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future,
so that we may take hold of the life that really is life.

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