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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Last Day of Winter Edition

Tomorrow is the vernal equinox, the day many of us in the snow belt wait for, hope for, long for.

It's been a long winter, folks. For many of us it has been a very long Lent. This is about the time in the liturgical season when I start getting antsy, ready for a new thing-- the kind of new thing that is talked about in this week's lectionary passages.

This week is also a convergence of a sort for me. I have been preaching a relatively short time (about three years every week, and off and on for three years before that), but this lectionary group has four texts that I have preached before! Too bad I'm still off lectionary, continuing the sermon series instead.

What are you working on this last day of winter? What word will you bring this first Lord's Day of Spring?


  1. Because small church has not yet moved to the Revised Common Lectionary we have Luke 20:9-19, the tenants of the vineyard who kill the son...but this is such a rich story I may decide to switch us...not sure where I will go with either one...but that is my task for this morning.

  2. I haven't picked out my selection from our Year of the Bible readings yet but by golly I will!


  3. last day of winter - oh that sounds good!

  4. I'm actually working ahead this morning, trying to get Palm/Passion Sunday planned. I am leaving town (on personal retreat!!) this Thursday and will be gone for a week (O blessed time away!) so will miss out on worship planning and sermon writing this week. But once I return I need to hit the ground running, b/c I'm up for Palm/Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter (as well as doing Tenebrae meditations, but dh will write those - I'll just stand and deliver).

    When it's my turn to do Palm/Passion, I always do a service of lessons and hymns, walking through the Passion story (preceded by a very brief meditation). Does anyone else do that? DH and I have a difference of opinion on it - he thinks it preempts Good Friday's Tenebrae service, but I think the 65% of the congregation that doesn't come to Tenebrae ought to hear the Passion tale (and that it doesn't hurt the rest of us to hear it more than once during Holy Week).

  5. Oh yeah, and happy last day of winter!

    And thanks for the warm welcome into the blogring!

  6. Our congregational retreat theme was "I will do a new thing for you" Picking a passage this week is a no-brainer - Isaiah. :-)

    Earthchick I'm impressed that you're working ahead. I'm lucky to have gotten tenebrae and the good friday prayer vigil on the calendar, never mind planning for them yet. Luckily (?) Palm/Passion Sunday is always the Choir's Cantada which brings us all the way through the passion to the celebration of resurrection a week early. Sigh.

  7. I don't know yet exactly where I am going with it, but I plan to explore the Isaiah passage. It is the one that shouted out to me the loudest as I read through the lectionary passages last night.

    Maybe on what it means to 'forget' the former things, in light of a faith that calls on us to remember what God has done.

    Maybe on opening our eyes to see what new thing God may be doing in our midst - in our lives and in our church.

    Maybe on finding streams in the desert rather than expecting to be rescued from the desert.

    Maybe all of the above. It's still early!

  8. Hi earthchick! I always, always do both Palm and Passion on that Sunday. Mostly because we do not do Good Friday here, and because our attendance at Maundy Thursday (when most years we do the Tenebrae) is so dicey that many would not get the Passion at all if I didn't.

    But I do not preach the Passion story. I read it and let the text have the last word. Some years I have done a dramatic reading, but I haven't decided yet this year.

    Good for you for working ahead!

  9. preacher mom: If I was preaching lectionary, it would be Isaiah all the way!

  10. Earthchick, in the Episcopal Church we hear the passion story twice during Holy Week, once on Palm/Passion Sunday and again on Good Friday. The key for me is how to tell it so it isn't the exact same looooong "reading" each time..oh and on Palm Sunday we use the reading from the lectionary year (so this year, Luke) and on Good Friday we use, go for it!

    This year our kids have written their own meditation and prayers for the Stations of the Cross. On Palm Sunday the kids will take the congregation in small groups through the Stations, we will walk the way of the cross, with our kids as our guides, meditating on their writings and drawings or creations of the stations. That will be our Palm Sunday reading of the Passion story and it will also take the place of any homily...then on Good Friday we will do a series of dramatic readings and reflections...

  11. we used this week lectionary for this past sunday i used the john passage the sermon is posted on my blog

  12. We are discussing fasting this, I am not sure how I will use the lectionary...or venture from it.

  13. Gail O'day has some good stuff on Gospel text for this Sudnay.
    She gives three points of what Mary's act of anointing does.
    1. It aniticpates Jesus's death, yet she chosses to do this as he lvies. Later men will anoint him but in private, when nobody will see them
    2. Anticiptes foot washing. This is done to show service and d'ship, but also by particapting in foot wahsing, one particiaptes in suffering nad eath of jesus.
    3. By the anoitng Mary is the first to live out jesus' comandment to love one another, as i have loved you.
    Mary modesl what it means to be a disciple: to serve, to lvoe each other and to particpate in Jesus suffering and death.

  14. Sorry for all the typos!
    Gail o'Day's stuff is in Women's Bible Commentary.
    Several other great poitns are made too.
    Good stuff

  15. I'm not preaching this Sunday (a Saturday off!), but I'm trying to get a start on Palm/Passion Sunday. I'm putting two mini-services together for that--the palm readings with a meditation, then a hymn, and communion, then the passion readings and a meditation, ending in silence.

    Landlord church and I have put togther what I think will be an amazing Good Friday service, based on the stations of the cross, with a meditation by the centurion at each one, followed by prayers (including one each from Jewish tradition and the Koran) and a few hymn verses. We have a soloist who will be singing "Were You There?" a verse at a time as appropriate, ending after a litany of the seven lsat words with the first lines of the last verse..."Where you there when they laid him in the tomb..." trailing off into silence and the end of the service.

    I think that will be really powerful.

    Now if we could get some people there for it...

  16. RP.
    This soudns so darn cool. Just advertise the heck out of it.
    I am finding more and more how folsk will say, they "didn't know aobut it."
    I do postcards, e-mials, phone calls, bulletin and newsletter announcments.etc to be sure.
    Oh and the newest one...I was on retreat and discoverd that the lady at one place puts flyers on door of bathroom stall at "eye level" (think sititng postion eue level!).Not sure if she does the men's room the same way or not!

  17. I wrote a dramatic monologue three years ago telling the John story from Martha's perspective, in which she looks back from the post-Resurrection period to that night at her family's home. Since I'm in a new setting I'm thinking of using it again. But if I decided not to, which may happen when I look it over again closely, I'll preach on John and the snippet of Isaiah about doing a new thing, with the theme that it is never too late to change or to learn something new.
    If anyone is interested in the monologue I'm happy to share it.
    Re: Palm/Passion Sunday, we are doing an intergenerational dramatic reading adapted from something in Seasons of the Spirits three years ago. I like to make some reference to the Passion on Palm Sunday for exactly the reason mentioned above: relatively few people attend Holy Week services, and I don't like to let people jump from "Hosanna!" to "Alleluia!" without touching down at the Crucifixion along the way...

  18. I love the Isaiah passage- new things for Spring- though I'm not preaching this weekend- but do have a big interview about Ordination-penultimate hoop of 5 for Methodist Ministry here in the UK!

  19. Songbird, I wrote that same story in a monologue form from Mary's point of view in seminary! If I wasn't stuck with ths preaching series I would have used it Sunday.

    Great minds think alike.

  20. I began writing the sermon like a mystery novel b/c really it is a bit of a mystery. Why is Mary the only one paying attention? We'll see how it goes...

  21. cheesehead, no wonder I took on the Busy Bee while you adopted the persona of the better sister...

  22. no better sisters- just choices...

  23. I am going to use the RCL reading from John instead of Luke...and I'm going to begin with an illustration from the new TV show The Riches. I am going to use the scene where Eddie Izzard's character, Wayne, is standing over the bodies of the car crash victims and ponders what to do next...then proceeds to steal their identities. I'm going to speak about choices we make in life and the consequences of our decisions, good or not so good...then connect this idea to the choices made by Judas (hidden, secretive, hurtful) and Mary (open, public anointing, helpful). We are doing dialogue sermons so we can talk about the kinds of decisions we make in life...

  24. SPeaking of Judas - I'm going tomorrow night to hear Elaine Pagels and Marvin Meyer talk about the Gospel of Judas. (Marv's the one with the great voice from the National Geographic tv special when the Judas translation was released to the public.) Timely, huh? Wish you all could come. :-)

  25. I am concluding teh sermonseries this week. ANd using the John story to do it--talking about wealth and poverty.

    THe constant problem I have with this passage is that I tend to agree with Judas (and I doubt that was the writer's intention). ANd Jesus' words are a convenient excuse for doing nothing about poverty. But when you go to the source verse in Deuteronomy then not so much of an excuse.

    My opening thoughts are posted here

  26. I love Tuesdays lectionary thoughts - they are so inspiring and I love how each church does different things -diversity in unity.

    Heard that in the Lutheran church here inFinland they celebrate Marian day - so will have a play with the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary.

    Is it just me - but I find that so strange - in lent.

    Oh and in our church we have our annual charge conference (aka AGM) instead of a worship service. I think there will be a short sermon from the DS and a song/hymn or two - hope so :)

    all business is too tough on all of us!

    It's at this meeting it will be ratified that I'm no longer a lay speaker or a candidate for ordination - and naturally my emotions are everywhere. Prayers really appreciated for me -and for our church.


  27. I'm on deck for assisting this Sunday, so my big assignment is composing the Prayers of the Day...I like to incorporate bits of all the lessons into the Prayers, but I'm with everyone who finds the Isaiah passage especially evocative. I want to weave a theme of "doing a new thing" into the prayers.

  28. I'm on sabbatical until Palm Sunday so I'm thinking of other things like reading The Message rather than my familiar NRSV.

    What an odd winter! One day is flip flop wearing temps, the next is put on wool socks weather.

    Another winter where I did not see snow IRL.


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