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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Better Late Than Never Edition

Dear Friends, with one congregant's death upon my arrival back home, and the decedent's widow hovering at the threshold herself, I'm a little distracted with determining if I will have one memorial Friday or two. (Actually one service, two caskets.) So, I ask your indugence if my hermeneutic suffers this week. All shall be well by Saturday, but I'm struggling today.

I'm concentrating on the Markan story of the hemorrhaging woman. I'm wondering about the intersection of the woman's suffering with the little girl's. My initial working title to this sermon is "You Go, Girl!

I spent some time at GA in the presence of some remarkable women, including the first woman ordained to Ministry of Word and Sacrament in what later became our denomination. I have a special place in my heart for her because she used to serve at St. Stoic--in fact her retirement was from St Stoic. Hearing the stories of her struggle and rejection--how she was treated as a second-class citizen at the beginning of her ministry, and encouraged to sit out certain meetings with the "Pastor's wives", how she got numerous marriage proposals from men who worried for her salvation (these men assumed she would not go through with ordination if she got married).

I'm contrasting this with the straightforward way Jesus treated women in the Bible.

I'm sure hoping that this jumble of thoughts will be much more formed later in the week. How about y'all?

17 comments:

  1. Cheesehead, on the last day of the Festival of Homiletics, Grace Imathiu preached a fantastic sermon on Jairus and his daughter. It included a story about preaching the text in Kenya and being sharply questioned by a woman who did not believe the story was about a daughter. According to Imathiu, the woman asked if it was the King James Version! Grace said, I have the original Greek, yes, the story is about a little girl, a daughter. Our world is still full of places where a little girl would not matter as much as a little boy.

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  2. I will have to dig out my CD and hear that sermon, thanks!

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  3. I also think about Anna's lecture from Homies (I have it on CD) about testimony, and how the woman gives a testimony--she tells him "the whole truth."

    Also the line from the readers' theater at GA that voiced one of the early criticisms of women in leadership: "The gospel just sounds different in a soprano voice." Think about that woman's experience of the gospel. What does the gospel sound like uttered from her lips?

    Myself, I'm sure I will be pondering these things on Sunday morning, relaxing on the shores of Tiny Lake in Maine.

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  4. loved your thoughts Cheesehead (and your insights Songbird)

    Praying too for you and your parish. A double death may be a blessing (?) but it's surely a fraught time for you dear friend. God with you!

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  5. It sounds like you're having a tough week...prayers ascending.

    My latest blog entry really wasn't inspired by the coming Sunday's Gospel text...well, maybe it was subconsciously...but it has a tangential relationship.

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  6. actually, i just wrote an article for our local paper (i am a contributor in the religious section). anyway, my article focused on pain, and that woman made an appearance. she always moved me with her need to tell about her pain. when she felt the power of jesus, it moved her to tell of her suffering. in the message, it says that she "blurted it out."

    like that woman, our pain cannot stay hidden. we must "blurt it out." i believe that part of the healing comes in our expression.

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  7. I'm cribbing a little from Brian Stoffregen at Crossmarks ...but a common thread between these two healings is the image of "nobodies," in terms of their status in their culture, being strongly affirmed as somebodies by Christ. (I think it's Stoffregen who makes a point of Jesus' use of the word "daughter" when addressing the woman, who for all intents and purposes had been rejected by her social/spiritual "family" because of the ritual implications of her illness.) And there's also a subcontext, I think, of risk in the two stories. The woman with the hemorrhage risked breaking the ritual rules about contact with other people in order to seek healing, while Jairus certainly put his own authority/status in his community on the line by seeking out Jesus' help. And of course inherent in those acts is a challenge to the "establishment" way of doing things.

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  8. And then there's the 4th of July. Are any of you feeling pressured to make some reference to it on Sunday?

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  9. I think I read somewhere that it wasn't just the hem of Jesus' garment that the woman touched, but the fringe, or tzizit, that was especially worn as a reminder of the Jews covenant with God (Numbers 15:38). I wonder if that has any significance?

    As for the 4th ... our summer series this year is titled the Beauty of God and on the 2nd we're looking at the Beauty of God in Freedom. It will be a little campy, but sincere (a fine line to be sure ;-) ).

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  10. Songbird, I'm feeling the pressure big-time, even though I'm not the pastor. I don't want to hijack this discussion, so if you're interested, here's a link to my whine on my blog: http://psaltery.blogspot.com/2006/06/dreading-coming-sunday.html

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  11. Wonderful comments and thoughts. I have been thinking about the thought that these two were in some ways were seen as beyond hope.
    Who are the people today that are beyond hope? How do we treat them today? Hide them behind doors so we don't have to deal with them?
    And how we are now agents of hope (Donald Capps book). What hope does this church, this body of Christ offer to those seen beyond hope.
    And no, I am not feeling pressured to be patriotic. I felt that at the past church and the one before. Boy were they patriotic. But I learned I didn't have to preach patriotism, I could let them sing the songs and they felt patriotic.
    But people who are bound by chronic illnesses, major losses, addictions, etc are not free or don't feel free. The hope is that they can be free, and I think we do have that to offer.

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  12. Anyone preaching on David? I think that image of the full expression of grief can be so healing, too, and needs to be lifted up if we are ministering among the stoic of the world.
    We'll be celebrating Communion, and these texts have me thinking about how our healing comes from his brokenness. Sometimes people who feel they are broken don't realize that there is not only the possibility of healing in them, but their stories may be healing for others. There is a communal affect. I am thinking of gathering my folk around the table instead of having them come forward in a line, to represent the healing connection we have to one another.

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  13. I am preaching on Paul all summer (lucky me). So we will be talking about Stewardship and what prompts us to or not to give -- not only to the church but to other charities. My opening thoughts are on the chruch blog http://riverviewrollson.blogspot.com

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  14. dear friends,

    i need your prayers. jenny, a dear girl that i befriended while doing ministry in south central los angeles, called tonight. we hadn't spoken in about 3 years.

    her mom has kicked her out of the house, and she has no place to go. she is calling all of her friends, but it has been 2 weeks. she told me that she hasn't eaten today, but she will get paid on friday.

    jenny sells shoes in the mall in beverly hills. those people come in to spend $300 on shoes and buy them from the beautiful, hispanic girl behind the counter. no one knows that she is hungry.

    pray for jenny. she is flying here next week to "get her head straight." then, only God knows what is next.

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  15. I'm preaching on Paul this Sunday as well. But the focus is not on stewardship, but on Paul's desire for the church in Corinth to be in solidarity with the church in Jerusalem--a first example of ecumenism. And, solidarity goes beyond expresssions of sympathy (I feel your pain) and actually requires that we give up something.

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  16. (((Caroline)))

    and Songbird - July 4th -what's that? (only joking!!!)

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  17. Thanks for your comments and insights, I am a struggling pastor of 14 years questioning my skills and your words give me encouragement and the word Hope. Actually preaching on Acts and mission outward not inward and action not finanical. Blessings and hope always in your gifts and graces

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