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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, NRSV)

It's the Third Sunday of Lent, The One with the Fig Tree, and it's time to talk about when bad things happen to good people, and how limited our thinking can tend to be when we try to make sense of things and tie them up in a neat package for our own peace of mind.

That's my sermon; what's yours?




Okay, maybe it's not, but that's what's on my mind this early Tuesday morning! Let's discuss what we're thinking toward this coming Sunday. Join in whether you're on lectionary or not!


  1. No sermon again this week as I'm going to Arizona to perform a marriage. However, I am to be "The Protestant" on an interfaith panel set up to address recent outbreaks of intolerance and racism at my Alma Mater. The title of the panel discussion is "Many Paths to One Summit" aka religion and contemporary issues. Hmm. Not ready yet but hey, I've got till Thursday.

    Blessings on all you preacher!

  2. I was rather excited when I read the Gospel text. Afterall, how often does a pastor get to say, "Manure" from the pulpit?
    See NRSV of Luke 13:31-35.
    But, more seriously, I think I am leaning towards how limited we are in our understanding, the incredible goodness and grace of God towards us (ie. 2nd chance) Hopefully push towards our need to be reconcilled towards one another, give each other a 2nd chance and to help fertilize each other and cultivate Christian growth. Maybe not by piling s--t around each other, but you get the ieda!

  3. A gardening preacher in my lectionary group reminded us that the digging cuts roots in order to spur new growth. That's a potent image for any church, but particularly for one in an interim period. I'm glad we had a gardener among us, for I am a famous plant killer and wouldn't have known this.

  4. I'm attempting to squish together last week (which didn't get done because I was doing the week before, because that had been canceled due to weather--got it?) and this week.

    Since I'm doing a series on the Psalms, I'm doing that by using Psalm 63 as the reading and Psalm 27 for the call to worship. ANd preaching, I think, on both.

    I just looked at the word verification, and I'm laughing. Someone is trying to cheer me up--it's FEELJPYR. I guess I should feel chipper, eh?

  5. interesting what you learnt (and shared) about digging spurring growth and why it happens. I'm no gardener either.

    I'm thinking of going to a different church this weekend - out of town - followed by fellowship on the ski slopes. Think it would be good for my spirit and soul - not sure about my body though.

  6. IN my sermon series we move on to the topic of witness and testimony--things we really don't talk about often in the UCCan.

    What does it mean to be evangelical? How do we witness/share our testimony?

    I am sure that doing so isn't optional, but then we don't want to be seen as the same as "those evangelicals" either. See my opening thoughts here

  7. Doing lectionary but not the gospel text - it's all about Isaiah and 1 Corinthians (with a few additional verses on the end) for me.

    Since both texts talk about food, the best kind, I'm going to use it as a platform to talk about fasting vs feasting... I think.

  8. I am exploring the virtue of God is steadfast and how we too are to be steadfast. It seems we have forgotten this particular vurtue in much of our dealings with one another.

    Being steadfast may mean stading in disagreement...but in hope. It is not denial. It is not "sucking it up" or "taking one for the team." It is not the willingness to being abused. Far from it.

    It is the discipline of recognising hope when find it.

  9. Well, for a start, a good sermon title might be "Holy Crap!"

    Okay, maybe not so much...

    I just got back from a text study group and while I won't be preaching, I can't stop thinking about this:

    For the average person in the pew, they read the Gospel and come away with the idea that the fig tree is the primary actor here. "Produce or die," if you will.

    In reality though, isn't the gardener the one doing all the work? He's the one who's going to do the digging and the manure-laying and the tending and all. The tree? It's going to respond (or not) to what the gardener is doing for it.

    So if Christ is our gardener, and if Luther calls us "Little Christs" are we not then called to take that next step and become "Little Gardeners" for the trees in our midst?

  10. I'm thinking about the Isaiah text this week. As I am apparently a 12 year old, I keep getting the giggles when I read "Ho, come to the waters" Manure and ho all on one Sunday may be too much for me to handle!

    What caught my attention was the verses Songbird quoted. God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and God's ways are not our ways. Where to go from there? Still pondering.

  11. lutheran husker - loved what you wrote :)

    It opened up the text to me in a new way.

    Forgot to say that our pastor is continuing preaching on why God is NOT a god of love. Maybe that explains why I want to skip town this weekend ... sigh

  12. Or, maybe we are the gardeners and it is our faith life, our spirituality that is the fig tree...

  13. The idea of a gardener nurturing the tree, being willing to spend time with it and help it grow into its potential, reminds me of my Anglican friends' "I was saved; I am being saved; I will be saved." Unfortunately, I think we live in a religious pop culture where salvation is often portrayed not only as a one-shot deal, but with the onus of the responsibility on the individual to "get saved." What this parable says to me is that God is the saving agent -- not me -- and that God is going to do whatever it takes to grow me in a Godward direction. That's good news!

  14. I was thinking of going with what it means to be the Fig tree- seeing this as a call to be rather than to do

  15. Esperanza, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has to resist the giggles at the beginning of the Isaiah text. All I can think of is the old "Thundercats" cartoon...


    Oh dear. I need to grow up.

  16. Hey! I got it!
    Since soem of us are preaching about manure....Let's all wear our hip boats and have our shovels
    in the pulpit!
    Seriously, anybody got a hymn or two?

  17. Lorna, tell me it ain't so! Sounds like your pastor is preaching the God I grew up with, which is why I left the church at 18 and stayed away for 25 years. Go ski, fer sure.

  18. esperanza, I'm with you and I know if Cheesehead were here she would be with you too!

    By the way, I find it quite mean that you all burst my sermon bubble so early in the week. I mean how rude to remind me that another one is due even before the last one is fully graded.

  19. I know this is late, but I am doing a little bible study over at my place addressing the Isaiah text. It's all about water for me: water, that holds us up, give us a hint of the infinite, but whose power is also terrifying.

    Peace, Mags

  20. 1-4 Grace,

    Hymns involving manure...

    Well, actually on a serious note, the first one that springs to mind is "Lord Let My Heart Be Good Soil" by Handt Hanson (WOV#713). It kind of mixes metaphors a little, but speaks of soil and seeds and growing.

    Another great one (and one of my favorites) is "You Are The Seed" by Cesareo Gabarain (WOV#753). The tune is beautiful and not too difficult, and the text is wonderfully missional.

  21. As a sending hymn then...
    Shall we gather at the River?

  22. L.H.
    I don't know either of these. I need to branch out.
    And Backwoods Rev.- I have actually just been listening to that very hymn. i have a new CD with acapella hymns. I had not heard that in forever though.

  23. No manure in this hymn, but "You Are the Seed" (753 in the ELCA's With One Voice) uses horticultural allusions to speak of discipleship.

  24. CD is by Anonymous 4 called American Angels. It is varying arrangments of hymns, shape note singing. They harmonize beautifully togetther.


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