Visit our new site at

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: better late than never edition

Dear friends, I started to post this earlier, then my laptop died, so here I am once again.

Boldness. That's what leaps off the page at me when I read the Ephesians passage for this Sunday. The author asks for boldness to speak the mystery of the gospel.

We see so many outrageous claims made every day by the culture: "Buy this (car, beer, cologne, lipstick) and it'll make you irresitable to whomever you're trying to attract!" I remember back in high school, when the kid running for Student Council President promised pizza for lunch every day, and a soda machine that dispensed Mountain Dew for free--anything to get elected.

The culture has become immune to outrageous claims. How then are we to make the bold and outrageous claim of the gospel?

This is the question I am pondering as I prepare for the coming Sunday. How about you?


  1. I'm also preaching on Ephesians, going at the angle of what happens when we are too eager to literalize a metaphor. In this age of insecurity and obsession with protection, the image of armor feels powerful and saving. But it is an image, not a call to suit up and kill people, rather a call to confront the foes of spirit--which are not always the foes of body.
    Sound bold enough?

  2. Well I am with you all on doing the Ephesians passage. Just haven't come up with what I am going to focus on yet. I did a retreat based on the armour of God.

    I thought on Sunday night I would do a series breaking down the parts of the armor of God. Heard a series once where that was done, went well.

  3. I'm not an ordained minister, but I've written several lay sermons on my blog. I "preached" on Ephesians this week if you'd like to take a look.

  4. I wonder if the armor we need varies from time to time. Today, my understanding isn't necessarily something hard and shiny. I have a friend who is in a new position where she is being loved and nurtured by the congregation and staff. Let's just say it is a nice change from past situations. It is wonderful to see her immersed in love and healthy interactions. I am hoping that when she leaves this short term position, she will carry with her a coating of balm or salve of the knowledge that she is a loveable and loved child of God. I can imagine something between the consistency of vaseline and chapstick. It won't keep her from experiencing painful situations in the future, but hopefully it will slow down any barbs that are flung her way. They won't penetrate so deep and the balm will be there to help her heal. That way she can go on offering her ministry using the many gifts God has given her.

    I realize this doesn't take into account any Pauline theology or contextual understanding. It is just what I hear and see when I read it today. Tomorrow may be different.

  5. Well, I'm wrapping up David/Solomon (finALLY!) with Solomon's prayer in the temple.

    I'm planning to talk about prayer and the "foreigners" coming to the Temple to pray to God who hears their prayers as clearly as the prayers of the Israelites.

    It will give me a lead to next week when I'm going off-lectionary for a couple months. I'll be blogging about that and why tomorrow!

    Good night all--Cheesehead, be very very good to yourself this week...

  6. Seems like I'm the only one who likes the Gospel text. I'm struck by how it resonates with the Old Testament passage, "Choose this day whom you will serve," "Do you also wish to go away?" I don't want to make it into a decision theology thing, but how do we respond to God's initiative of grace? It's also about the first commandment. What other gods do we have? Where else do we go looking for words of eternal life? I don't generally preach on two texts, but this weeks really seems to invite it.

  7. When researching my sermon on Eph, I found this.

    Pick my jaw up off the floor, I'm speechless.

    Oh, the tackiness of it all.

  8. Those pjs are everywhere this week. My husband wanted to know if I was going to order a pair?

  9. Hi I saw those pjs too. I bet spider boy would love to have a pair if he saw them. Nah they are not spider man.

    There was a woman from a previous church that for a halloween costume for her little boy decorated him in the armor of God

  10. Hi all - I'm new and desperately happy to know you're here - don't have the energy to think up a clever name for myself right now - would love to have a deeply powerful blog and join your so-cool crew but for now must lurk - ministry and motherhood are rather complicated at the moment.

    Figured I should dive in though and comment - I love the Ephesians passage - used to shiver at it and feel I was going to be drafted for the fight - ugh (and those pjs?!) - but found a lovely reflection many years ago that focused on the shoes - for shoes you need to choose whatever will help you proclaim the gospel of peace - and talked about what kind of shoes we need to wear today to proclaim the gospel of peace, etc. - anyway, I've had fun with that in the past.

    BUT this week instead I'm doing a whole thing on holy spaces - where we place God, where we find God - using Psalm 84 and Solomon's prayer - hoping to do powerpoint of sacred spaces, telling stories about different kinds of churches/holy spaces through the ages, etc. (once upon a time I was an art history major) And I'm hoping to pull in the prayer/invitation for foreigners/outsiders part, and even the sparrow finding a place in God's house. Maybe I'll put a bird house on the altar. However, I always have much grander ideas early in the week - and then some staff member will surely have a crisis I have to deal with, or one of my children will get sick, or something will happen. My desk is way overflowing with all the unfiled meeting notes and junk mail. Ah, well. I'll be very ready for the snacks with you on Saturday. Peace, all. I'm grateful you're here. -RevP

  11. I think one of the boldest, most outrageous proclamations we can proclaim is that of God's love and grace that saves us and claims us independent of our own merit.

    I've been in an extremely fruitless circular online discussion with several Christians who just don't get this, who think that the "good news" is all about choosing the right answers on the Cosmic Multiple-Choice Test, and it's extremely frustrating. The "powers and principalities" have us conditioned to exist in meritocracies. So we really are "surprised by grace"...and, frankly, suspicious of it.

  12. Picking up the sacred places idea, I have thought about being "in sanctuary" and being a "sanctuary". The song "Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I'll be a living sanctuary for you..."The with thanksgiving part resonates to me with "enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise." Sometimes being in the sanctuary of the church is really not a place of sanctuary because of a lack of corporate reverence and sometimes when I separate myself through sin, I cease to be a sanctuary. Keeping the armor on to me is like keeping the watch on the walls of the city so that the enemy cannot creep in. If we have the armor on, we keep certain things in and other things out. Hope that makes sense.


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.