Lectionary 20 C

Well, there's no insights here for the semicontinuous readings or the challenges presented by the gospel reading, but you Scandinavians have reason to draw on your heritage this week.

Jeremiah 23:23-29

Verse 29 is partly quoted in Smalcald Articles, Part 3, Section 3: Concerning Repentance (SA 3.3.2) and gives you freedom to pull out the Scandinavian Lutheran classic The Hammer of God. Should you be so inclined. The image of the hammer of God, taken from this verse, is the image of encountering God's righteous judgment that creates "true affliction of heart, suffering, and the pain of death" (SA 3.3.2), driving us to repentance and amendment of life. This judgment is a hard thing to hear: "You must all become something different from what you are now and act in a different way, no matter who you are now and what you do" (SA 3.3.3).

Psalm 82

Verse 6 is quoted in Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 21: The Invocation of the Saints (AP 21.44) to encourage the Emperor to defend the reformers. The connection is made between God calling kings gods and the duty of civic rulers "to defend those who teach rightly" (AP 21.44) regarding God and faith. More than a little self-serving.


Do not forget the point of the hammer of God. The law-gospel tension is very present in the texts this week, but don't stop with the law. The point is amendment of life made possible because of the good news, not from fear of divine retribution. Be careful to not twist these readings to self-serving ends, despite Melanchthon having done so here.

  • How is the hammer of God connected to Jesus' promise/threat of division?
  • How does the hammer of God fall on the other gods?
  • How might the race metaphor help unpack the law-gospel tension?