Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

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Pastor's Reflections

Starting with the last two Sundays of June, continuing through the summer and well into fall, liturgically we experience what is known as Ordinary Time.  I should emphasize that this isn’t ordinary in the sense of “ho-hum.” It’s not like the “Just OK is not OK,” ads that are on TV these days saying, for example, that you don’t want your surgeon to be “just OK.”  Relative to the church year, it is OK to have about half the year considered “ordinary” because in this case, Ordinary Time simply refers to the non-festival half of the church year. The festival half begins with Advent and goes through Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter, concluding with Ascension and Pentecost.  Then, following Trinity Sunday which kind of stands by itself, we settle into “Sundays after Pentecost” or Ordinary Time.

Ordinary Time is a season marked by the color green, green associated with growth like the growth we see in the abundance of the early summer vegetation all around us. In church it’s seen as a time to grow in faith and in knowledge of the Bible as we gain a greater understanding of how we as Lutherans interpret the various texts.

This year, except for the psalm, all the Sunday readings during Ordinary Time will be of the “semi-continuous” variety.  That’s always the case with the Gospel and the second reading as the readings for a given Sunday more or less pick up where the previous week’s readings ended.   For the third year in a row, this will also be true of the first readings from the Old Testament.

When the Revised Common Lectionary was developed back in the mid-90s, it included two options for Old Testament readings during the season after Pentecost.  The semi-continuous option was considered Track 1 with the intent of giving the Old Testament a stronger voice. Over the course of the three year lectionary cycle Track 1 includes readings from a much larger portion of the Old Testament.  Track 2 was the “complementary” option, with the First Reading thematically connecting in some way to the Gospel lesson. In practice, Track 2 has been most frequently used meaning that in many cases the Old Testament has continued to be neglected.

What I’ve opted to do is to alternate between the two tracks: Track 1 for three years; Track 2 for three years.  In my study of the Bible, more and more I’ve come to see the New Testament as another layer of interpretation of the Old Testament; in other words, the story of Jesus is told through the lens of the Old Testament. For that reason, it’s important to know the stories, themes and images of the Old Testament in order to better understand what the biblical authors are saying.  The semi-continuous readings provide a greater opportunity to make sense of the Bible as a whole.

While I won’t be preaching on the first reading every Sunday, I suspect that you will find that some sermons will have more of a Bible study feel to them.  My hope is that it helps you to grow in your faith and in your understanding of the Bible throughout this Ordinary Time.

Pastor Geier


Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor

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one such child in my name
welcomes me, and whoever
welcomes me welcomes
not me
but the
one who
sent me.”


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