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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Back Home Edition

Good morning friends! I'm back at it, and thankful for the assistance of my sister Songbird last week with the Tuesday post. Since I turned out to be largely sans computer, 'twas fortuitous indeed that she planned to fill in.

The choice this week seems to be Epiphany or Baptism of the Lord? I will be focusing on the latter liturgical celebration.

I was listening to NPR commentary this morning, while the casket of Gerald Ford was being taken to National Cathedral for his state funeral. There seems to be some discussion of whether or not he was an "accidental President", as apparently someone has said. The other commentator was pointing out that Gerald Ford actually had served his country and the Sate of Michigan for over 25 years before he was tapped to be the Vice President under Nixon after the resignation of Spiro Agnew amidst a scandal. Then, this accidental Vice President, who (as far as anyone knows) had no aspirations to be President of anything, became the most powerful man in America.

As I was standing at my kitchen sink, and hearing someone say that Gerald Ford never dreamed of being in that position, I started thinking about call, and about how if someone had asked me 10 or 12 years ago about my ending up in ordained ministry, I might have laughed at them, albeit nervously. I started thinking about how "some people are born to greatness, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them", as Shakespeare might say.

And then I started thinking about baptism, that moment when we all are called to something greater than ourselves--discipleship.

This is the particular rabbit hole I am going down today in search of sermon wisdom. What about you?


  1. wow, cheesehead--that sounds really great, actually. While listening to NPR's coverage of the funeral from the car, what I thought of was more along the lines of "why do they use all that thee/thine language in the most public christian things, reinforcing the idea that we're all outdated and out of touch? ooh...St. Columba (The King of Love My Shepherd Is)...oh, I'm here."

    I wish I was preaching this week so I could borrow your thoughts. But a) we are doing Epiphany and b) SP is preaching.

    Good luck, all! I'll be back to mine your ideas for my prayers of the people!

  2. I'm using the baptism scriptures, although I'll focus on Isaish. THe hymn that uses these verses is going through my head..."Through through the deep waters/I call you to go/I'll never, no never/desert you to your foes" or something like that (the last line is totally wrong, but you get the idea).

    Right now I'm looking at the new year idea idea--start fresh, God is with each of us and loves us, carry that through the new year.

    By the way, the rolling up the old year and freeing ourselves from the regrets of the past worked very well. Only hitch was that it was pouring rain, so we couldn't go out to the parking lot as I had intended to burn them. Instead we used the "Holy Shredder." Not as nice a visual, to be sure, but our wonderful musician played music to cover the racket. I will definitely do this again next year.

  3. Isaish...LOL I love it. Would that be Second Isaiah?

  4. R.P.
    What music does one's organist play to go along with Holy Shredding?

  5. EPiphany here (we did Baptism last year and not Epiphany since we cancelled service on Jan 1 so reversing things this year).

    I am going with a look at how GOd is revealed in our lives, not with an exploration of the Magi story. What does an Epiphany look like today?

    AS we are celebrating communion there is a nice link available

  6. per Teri's comment - that was Rite One of the Episcopal burial service, which is (IMHO) infinitely more beautiful and moving than the more common Rite Two.

    It is also much closer to the language President and Mrs. Ford would have used for most of their lives, because we only got the current Book of Common Prayer in 1982 (really 1979 but you know how that goes.)

    I loved it and responded right along. But interesting to hear it from another perspective!

    Happy Sermonizing all!

  7. 1-4 Grace,
    He used the closing hymn--Hymn of Promise--"In the bulb there is a blossom, in the seed an apple tree, in cocoons a hidden promise, butterflies will sone be free/In the snow nad cold of winter, there's a spring that waits to be/Unrevealed until its season/Something God alone can see." Very simple (almost simplistic) tune, but I love it--it works for memorials (we used it for my stepfather's service) as well as new things beginning.

    It actually worked! I was very unhappy about using the shredder, believe me--I just didn't want to set off the smoke alarms!

  8. LOL on the Holy Shredder!

    Cheesehead, I love that idea and though I am but a student, will keep it in my "hmmmm...." file (actually have one named that...


  9. Oh, and the hymn I had an earworm for? "How Firm a Foundation" (or, as one irreverent choir member calls it, the Playtex hymn). However, it really will work well for this Sunday.

  10. ah, I was wondering if it was the older Episcopal service. I didn't catch the whole thing (I only live ten minutes from church) so my reaction was based mainly on the opening few minutes.

    How Firm a Foundation is a hymn that is so strong...until the last verse. and then i nearly laugh out loud every time. "never, no never, no, really, never!!" hehe!

  11. Oh. I love the Hymn of Promise. Sadly it is not in our hymnal.
    It is great for funeral/ memorials and new beginnings. I would like it for our graduate recognition Sunday.
    New rule of thumb for RGBPs- When in doubt, don't do anything that might set off smoke alarm.

  12. I thought the last hymn was "For all the Saints" - did I miss something?

    I, too, was with Mary Beth, responding. Those words of the Book of Common Prayer are so firmly embedded in my being.....

  13. RP: "Playtex Hymn" Tee hee!

    That one made me giggle while trying to hang up the phone from a call from this super-evangelical person trying to get me to drive the five teenagers in the church to Motor City for a "Battle Cry" conference. thanks.

    Deb: A "Hmmmm...file". Really? Hmmmm... :)

  14. cheesehead, you get an A and a seat at the front of the class for that newspaper in one hand, bible in another observation! I would like to hear that sermon!

  15. OK Cheesehead, just for you I posted about the Hmmmmm file! Look here!



  16. Okay, not preachign Sudnay, but I am leaning wa-aa-ay into Lent. I need soem cool ideas for Lenten resources to use with children (3yrs- 5th grade. Wide span, but i am looking for all ages.
    I need arts/craft ideas, game type activity stuff, music,drama or skit and maybe even food stuff.
    Post stuff here or on my blog.

  17. Today is reverendmother's birthday! Go visit her!

  18. I love those thoughts, Cheesehead. We have Epiphany on Saturday night (followed by "seasonal refreshements" in the hope that this will encourage people to actually turn out on the proper day) then Baptism of Christ on Sunday...But I'm not preaching till Evensong, and haven't even looked at the readings being my day off, I'm not about to now, either ;-)
    Will drop by later and see what's cooking.

  19. My pastor, in preaching on Epiphany, always talks about how God makes Godsself known to the stranger, the outsider...a pack of Gentile astronomers, instead of self-perceived religious insiders.

  20. Sheesh. I'm off the internet for 36 hours, and you're making fun of my favorite hymn? Honestly! What's a gal to do?
    I'm going with the Baptism texts. This is my last Sunday at Small Church, and I want to make the point that although we will not be together anymore, we are each called in baptism and never forsaken (really, never) by God, no matter how uncertain or transitional our circumstances may seem.
    I expect the floods to be of tears, possibly mine.

  21. This year, I really, really, really want to challenge my congregations to embrace their discipleship, to be the priesthood of believers, to cultivate a deeper relationship with God and among themselves, to mature in their faith ...

    I notice that Jesus' baptism and the transfiguration [waaay ahead on Feb 18] form a set of bookends [the fancy-pants theological term is "inclusio"]where Jesus is told that he is the Beloved.

    Because Jesus is the beloved, by virtue of our own baptism we are the beloved. What does it mean to be a part of the community of the Beloved ...? I'm thinking of doing a sermon series on this issue, since the texts for ordinary time before Lent appear at this point to lend themselves to exploring that.

    The series would shift its shape when Transfiguration, as it leads us into Lent and a more difficult exploration of the cost of discipleship, sets up the question "Do we really want to be a part of the Beloved Community, if being a part of that means going to [and through] a cross?"

    Easter, I suppose, would be the joy, the culmination, of being among the Beloved ... Pentecost the Beloved community empowered ...

    I have no idea how far I am going to take this at this point. I may have just succeeded in planning out six months of worship --or not. And wasn't it Howard Thurman who wrote so much about the beloved community?

    As always, I am grateful for the beloved community known as RGBP

  22. 1-4 G:
    Hymn of Promise isn't in the blue hymnal but is licensed under OneLicense, so if you can find it and if you have a OneLicense number, you can still use it. (sometimes it's titled in a hymnal under its first line: In the Bulb There is a Flower.)

    Just in case....

  23. RDQ: Wow. I'm impressed. Go for it!

  24. I know this is Wednesday, but was on the road all day. I am doing Epiphany this week. I am saving the Baptism until next week and doing a rememberance of your Baptism. This week is communion. It would have been too much.

    I have titled my sermon "Vision Quest".

  25. Another good hymn is, I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry, oh and Baptized in Water. Don't know if they're covered by OneLicense or not.
    I'll be doing baptism and giving out those clear gems to everyone as a reminder of their baptism and being beloved of God.

  26. I'm wondering, how many different ways can we remember our baptisms?

    Curious, St. Inuksuk, about what little clear gems you're talking about? That sounds pretty cool.

    I also thought about getting those little plastic vials from a florist, you know the ones they put on single roses to keep them fresh, and filling them with water and passing them out.

    One year, I used an evergreen branch dipped in water and liberally splashed everybody. The poor man who was first really got a lot of water --so he was the one who got to splash me at the end. He gave as good as he got!

    Aw shucks, cheesehead ... it's just a twinkle in my eye so far, not yet a full-fledged thought!


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