flannelgraph proper 18b, Sunday closest to Sept 7

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flannelgraph / Year B

After blogging the lectionary for years, I’m retooling this blog to be a resource for people in the pews. Each week I’ll provide a short piece on both tracks of the Old Testament Lessons, the New Testament Lesson, and the Gospel Lesson. Then I’ll offer some discussion questions and intergenerational challenges based on the lessons. It will be in blog form, so you could copy+paste into a bulletin, and in half-sheet PDF, so you could print and include as a bulletin insert. Feel free to use, amend, etc. — just please use simple attribution: (c) 2015, rickmorley.com

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Here is the PDF, ready to be printed, front and back and then sliced down the middle. Enjoy!

“Be opened.” Those two little words are spoken by Jesus to the ears of the deaf man (Mark 7:24-37). But, they are always God’s words spoken to us. Our constant call is to be opened. Open to the movement of God, to the word of God, the hope of God, the salvation of God. Open to being fed at God’s table, forgiven of our trespasses, and recipients of Grace.

In the Epistle lesson (James 2:1-14) we see James, the “brother of the Lord,” speaking to his community about not closing themselves off to the discriminations of the world. They are tempted to favor the rich and influential, but James asks them to be open to seeing everyone who walks through their doors as a beloved child of God – a neighbor.

(Track 1, RCL) The lesson from Proverbs (Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23) seeks to break down the same walls as James, asking us to be open to seeing that everyone is made by God, regardless of our bank accounts, and that those who share what they have with those less fortunate will be blessed.

(Track 2, RCL) The lesson from Isaiah (Isaiah 35:4-7a) is a plea to those who are scared to be open to the wonder working power of God. When you’re at your lowest, it’s hard to be hopeful, but the story of God is a story of victory after defeat, healing after injury, and life after death.

If only we are open.


Wherever I am closed, Lord, open me. Peel me back. Dig me out. Help me bloom. Let me be open to the hope that is in you, and the Life that you planted deep within me on the day of my baptism. Amen.

Household faith activity

Have everyone go around the home and find something that is closed. (A jewelry box. A walnut. A flower that hasn’t yet bloomed…) Bring everyone together with their found objects and talk about how this closed thing can sometimes remind of themselves . Have everyone talk about what they tend to be “closed” to. (Perhaps it’s taking time off. Or listening to someone else. Or owning up to being wrong. Or forgiving another person.) Then talk about what ti would look like if everyone could be opened. What would the household look like if everyone was more open? Pray the prayer together.

Social Media Flannelgraph

Post a picture of something that has opened, something beautiful, something in full bloom. Share how God is opening you in the same way.


The Author

follower of Jesus, father of two, husband of one, Episcopal priest, with one book down, one blog up...surrounded by empty jars of nutella

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