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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Come, Lord Jesus

This Thursday, as we sit around our dinner tables and thank God for the blessings of food, family and friends, some of us might do so in the words of the beloved table grace, "Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest..."

But who is this Lord Jesus? In the coming Sunday's lectionary readings we find Christ praised as the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last...the one who is and who was and who is to come...the Almighty. Yet we also see him, in our Gospel lesson, as a Lord who puts his Lordship aside to stand by us and suffer with us in our pain, weakness and vulnerability.

As I write this, I'm looking at a reproduction of the Sinai Christ Pantocrator on my home altar. The Lord of All's luminous image extends a kingly benediction, as he looks out on us with triumph, wisdom and resolve. Yet his eyes -- his eyes -- are the eyes of a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

What are your thoughts on our paradoxical Lord, our Savior who stoops to conquer, this week as you plan your sermons and prayers? How do you approach the concept of Christ's sovereignty in a contemporary world where monarchy is often associated with despotism on one hand, frivolity or irrelevance on the other? Or are you planning your worship around other texts? As always, share your insights here and on your blogs!

14 comments:

  1. I am planning to use the text from Revelation, but right this minute I don't really have a clue where I'm going with it. Hopefully the Christian Century that arrived today will help - or you all will!

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  2. I am going with THe Kingdom of Truth as my title. I expanded the John reading to include Pilate's question "what is truth" (I will never understand why the lectionary gods left that out anyway).

    What is truth anyway? Are there absolute truths?

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  3. I'm preaching on revlations as of right now.. but I have no idea of what to do with in in the context of christ the king sunday... right now it sounds like an advent sermon :-/

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  4. I am preaching the John passage and like Gord have added on Pilate's question.

    I'm thinking about power and truth right now. But as I start to think about the sermon I'm also feeling, like Kristen, that it is quite advent like.

    We'll see what happens.

    Dancing with God

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  5. The Gospel text will be my choice, with a bit of beginning and end I would imagine.

    The images of light and dark seem to be prominent in this for me. Pilate never stays in one place..in and out...perhaps we also "put one foot into truth" and then take it back out.

    I also cannot help but think of Les Miserables and the great gift of truth that Jean ValJean and the truth that Javert could not face.

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  6. Good thougths Gord! I also stretched the rather frail rubber band known as the Lectioanry and included the question. Sermon title is Can We Handle the Truth?
    And yes, movie fans I will make a refereence to Ole' Jack's courtroom drama from A Few Good men.
    Speaking a lot about what this "truth" calls us to do/be/live and how it shakes up our lives and how Pilot's understanding of truth was shaken as well.

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  7. Way to go Emily! You also are stretching that cracked, dried up rubber band.

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  8. SOme of my thoughts will be based on the devotional for November 29, some will also be based on discussions held in WonderCafe since it launched 2 weeks ago.

    For my early thoughts check out the church blog

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  9. Well, fudge. Bligger appears to have eaten my (long) comment.

    I'm working with the John reading, expanding it as Gord is, and pulling in some Revelation (just to give it that pre-Advent flavour).

    We've started doing a "spotlight on the Word," i.e. a children's sermon that isn't really a children's sermon, since the young'uns that attend are ten and up--too old for a "children's sermon." I'm thinking of using the fable of the six blind people and the elephant as a parable about truth. That's the one where each person had part of the elephant--the one with the truck thought an elephant was like a snake, the one with the elephant's leg thought it was like a tree, etc. The idea being that none of us have a grasp of all of the truth, only parts.

    Any other ideas? I have such a hard time with children's stories...

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  10. I keep coming back to Jesus standing in the middle of a swirling political and religious tornado. He's not on the politician's side nor on the side of "religion" but has placed himself between the two and speaks of a kingdom that has nothing to do with all this earthly stuff.

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  11. I'm a bit of a geek, and am presently infatuated with imagining what was going on inside Pope Pius XI's head, in 1925, when he started a Feast of Christ the King (which later became X the King Sunday).

    So many of our traditions go back to the early church, and I know that I am guilty of setting their origins in "once upon a time" histories.

    Even the political struggle between Pilate and Jesus at that trial gets put into abstract terms in my head.

    But in 1925, the origin of X the King Sunday was tied up in tricky politics that seem a bit more concrete, across Europe and especially with the new national leader, Mussolini. So I imagine him making a hopeful attempt to remind us what our priorities are--hoping the reminder would have real implications, soon!

    Of course, it didn't turn out that way--Mussolini got worse, Hitler rose to power, Stalin too.

    I'm thinking I'll preach X the King as a call--not to a faith that has us accept ideas or beliefs, but to a faith is really seeking to do these things, here and now. Not for us as individuals, but for our world.

    Who knows...

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  12. I too am preaching John (and a little Samuel), with the question added.
    I am focusing on what kings are like and what Jesus is like, and how that is a model for service (not at all original, I know, but unfortunately the sermon needs to lead to the Angel-Giving-Tree...). I posted the first draft already over at my internet house. Comments/thoughts/questions/corrections/suggestions solicited and welcomed heartily. Before Saturday at 5. :-)

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  13. We're doing a journey through the liturgical year with nine readings and reflections. My student and a church member discerning a call to ministry will each present three, and I have three, too: Epiphany, Holy Week and Ordinary Time. For the first two I was able to adapt from prior writings. For Ordinary Time I'm writing a new piece about the Great Commandment as a foundation for living through the long season of no celebrations and holidays. I may compare it to Mud Season in Maine!
    And don't worry, 11th hour types, I'm sure I'll be writing that one on Saturday...

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  14. Okay, I'll be honest. I am not preaching the lectionary for this Sunday. I am using another passage, and an old sermon that I will be reworking for this congregation. I'll be doing Jesus and the "Last Judgement" from Matthew 25. It just seemed to fit where this congregation is right now. And I am in a bit of a bind time wise with charge conference, sermon, and travel for thanksgiving. I'll let you know what happens.

    I am with Molly about the Christ the King feast day thing too.

    And we don't do "Come Lord Jesus be our guest" at our table. When we were growing up prayers over the meals were sermons from my father. Now its "God our father once again..."

    Happy thanksgiving and safe travels.

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