Visit our new site at

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

Well, last night was meeting #2 of my lectionary discussion group, and I'm happy to report that we had three new people show up, doubling the number of people over last week! Hooray! Thanks be to God!

This weeks passages that I'm especially looking at are Exodus 20:1-17 better known as the Ten Commandments, and John 2:13-22 better known as "Jesus tears up the Temple".

Onw important point that was brought up last night is that there are commandments regarding things about which we are very clear are wrong: lying, stealing, killing...but how many of us worry about neglecting the Sabbath? This turned into a long-winded discussion about how society does not honor sabbath-keeping in any form. Employees are seldom encouraged to use all their vacation, except in the punitive "Use it or lose it" sense. How important must it be to God that we set a side time to honor the Sabbath, if it ended up being one of the Creator's "Top Ten" ways to honor God?

In the John passage, folks were fascinated by the discussion that the sellers of cattle, sheep and doves were in fact part of the system that made Temple worship work--that folks could show up empty-handed, and purchase what they needed to sacrifice appropriately. I was left wowdnering if Jesus was overwhelmed by the fact that he would soon be the sacrifice, and that this is what caused him to react so strongly to what he saw going on.

Trying to tie the passages together (which I warned the group wasn't always feasible in the light of the events of a single week) people were left with a 'Grace vs Law' thought that I'm sure will end up somewhere in the sermon.

What are you thinking this week, homiletically-speaking?


  1. Not much, just yet. I am interested in what it felt like to be there and see him scattering things all over the place: one way for his friends and another for the people in the Temple. And what people are we in this scenario? If we're sitting in church, we are very likely to be thinking about what makes the church work. I know I'm relieved when someone knows how to change the lightbulbs high above the Sanctuary, for instance, or someone else shovels the front walk after a snowstorm. But I look at the seats that might be filled by the thirtysomethings who show up when there is a family baptism or funeral, and not at other times, and I wonder what we have made of God's house if it is so safe or dull that they can't think of a good reason to show up on the average Sunday? Did people who heard about Jesus' trip to the Temple start showing up to see what might happen next?

  2. if nothing else it would be a fun sunday for dramatic reinactment! sorry...i'm a little punchy today!

    i am intrigued by your thought regarding jesus thinking about him being the one soon sacrificed and hence the outburst.

    this is why i love hearing/reading other's takes on "old stories" there is always something left out and new to consider. thanks!

  3. not sermon stuff but a while back God showed me that because I'm active in church - Sunday isnt a day of rest - and so I dug deep into our Jewish roots and revivied the Sabbath saturday. I don't do housework then - and we try to eat together as a family on Friday night. We usually end it with a sauna on Sat night and DD and I watching the dectective together.

    As I said not sermon material but I do think it's good to have a day of rest. with Him. I like to read then and NOT study.

    I don't always stick to this ofcourse but it's been a general rule of thumb since last autumn and it's been good for us as a family and for me personally too.

  4. Good thoughts. Your post had some fresh nuggets to think about just when I was making a firm commitment to never preach through the lectionary in Lent again.

    Sometimes I have taken a look at what is NOT in the 'Top Ten' (that phrase puts Casey Kasem in my head). For instance, no mention of sexuality, gender, $/stuff and other earthly things that we use to judge people (although the covet piece could work there). Not sure if that is the way to go here though.

    Lorna, good point about the Sabbath.

  5. What are the practices that feel more important to us than prayer? That has been on my mind last night and this morning. It isn't uncommon in churches for people to complain when there is too much silent prayer, for instance. What do we think we are gathering to do? What is our equivalent in terms of interest to the ancient sacrificing of doves?
    More questions...

  6. What made Jesus words about raising the temple stick so firmly in the minds of his followers that they remembered them after the resurrection and were able to put two and two together?

    I know that the Holy Spirit was at work here but they must have wondered what on earth he was talking about,

    why so much passion over necessary sacrifices? Why did he turn the tables? Do we have an equivalent in the whole Christian marketing scene today... e.g. do we need tu-tone Bibles etc or are we simply being ripped off by unscrupulous marketers?

    What would Jesus disrupt in our cosy religious practices today?

    Lots of questions...

  7. some great thoughts here

    (not mine -but oh I wish -laughing)

  8. I've been thinking a lot this week about spirituality and worship, and about how too often church doesn't feel like "worship" to me; it seems that no one is focused, that it's all about the social stuff, that I'm the only one who seems to . One week when the church was packed and I wound up sitting in one of the back rows, there were two older women behind me talking -- loudly, street volume -- and sharing photographs back and forth during the Eucharist. Oy gevult. It's so frustrating that people don't seem to understand the idea of sacred space. I mean, Why are you here if not to worship????? No wonder Jesus got angry.

    I think that sometimes, in an effort to not "frighten" potential members away, we are too inclined to informalize our places of worship to the point where they may as well be a clubhouse or a gym, instead of helping create a place different than our everyday experience, a place that elicits some respect and even awe. My Orthodox friends seem to understand this. Actually, my pagan friends seem to have a better grip on "creating sacred space" than a lot of Christians. That's pretty sad. [/rant]

  9. good for you in the rant dept LC. I get irritated by the nattering after communion and the absolute lack of respect for those who are still waiting or want a little quiet time with God. Grrr (but I haven't yet seen a photo swap!)

  10. Wow, LC. That would leave me steaming!
    I think I'm heading in the direction of facing the challenges to keeping the Sabbath in our contemporary milieu. How do we find the time to connect with God? It's every bit as important as any of the other things were supposed to do, but it's the thing we most often give short shrift. (Yes, me too.)


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.