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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Mea Culpa Edition

Friends, If I was a good little RGBP do-bee I would have arranged for a sub his week, since I am not actually preaching this coming Sunday. Instead I will be unpacking/doing laundry/repacking while my Parish Associate(God bless his soul) fill in for me. Later this week I am taking a whirlwind trip the the Synod office for a Synod Permanent Judicial Commission training event. (Never mind that I've been a member of the PJC for almost three year and they are just now training me. Ahem.)

Then Monday I leave for Festival of Homies !!!

Anywho...I wonder if any of you are preaching Ascension this week?

The very first"complaint" I got at St Stoic was from a member who wondered when Presbyterians stopped celebrating Ascension. (Bear in mind, it was several weeks past Ascension when he made this complaint to me.) I listened thoughtfully, reflected pastorally, (As well as I could three days after my ordination) then after he left the office,I whipped out my calendar to see when Ascension was. It's just not part of my tradition. I would love to know more about it from those of you who practice this tradition.

If I were in the pulpit this Sunday, I would be sticking with the Easter 7 texts.

What about you?

Note: I have tried to correct the font on this post about ten times. I have to move on to other things. Sorry it is wonky. I'm not really shouting.


  1. CHeesehead,
    I figured you were adjusting the font size for those who are differently-sighted :)

    I am going with JOhn. THe UCCan chose its motto from John 17 )Ut Omnes Unum Sint (That All May Be One--or should that be Maybe one?)

    My opening thoughts (which are certainly only opening and look nothing like a preachable sermon) are posted at the church blog

    On another note. WE now have a one year-old in the house!

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  3. I am preaching the Ephesians 1:15-23 text--but not at my church. I have been asked to deliver the sermon during the alumnae reunion worship service at my undergraduate alma mater.

    I have been reflecting on the writer of Ephesians references to wisdom and power. I think that it will work for this audience because although wisdom and knowledge are not quite synonymous, there is some wisdom that is gained from the college experience. And hopefully the alumnae are using that wisdom to have the power to change the world.


    I'm leading our local text study group tomorrow, so I'll be looking forward to seeing your thoughts today. Will comment later after I do some exegesis.

  5. I'll be preaching both from the John text as the seventh Sunday after Easter and from the Acts text for Ascension. Somehow, I'm going to link being 'one' with 'why do you stand looking at the sky?' My gist will be that better to look at each other and get on with the business of being one than look at the sky. It's coming together in my head - just not in my typing.

  6. Paul and Silas and earthquakes and spirits - sound like fun to me - faith in the midst of oppression - stories of brothers and sisters around the world today who stand firm through so much - that's what sounds good today, but who knows what will shake out by Sunday?

  7. oh, Chilly Fingers - Folk/Christian songwriter Fran McKendree has a great song along those lines, called "Maria Diaz" - its about an orphan in Nicaragua, but part of the lyrics are:
    "Don't look for God up in the skies, You can't see God with those eyes. They must open to the wounds that ache below and see that they too have the chance, the chance to live, a chance to dance, a chance to dream in colors bright with freedom's glow".

    Anyway, thought I 'd toss it your way, since I'm nowhere with my sermon! We do Ascension Day on Thursday, not transferred to Sunday, so I'm working with EAster 7.

  8. Not preaching this week, which is a good thing since I broke my toe yesterday and won't be vertical much for a while. I always see Ascension and Pentecost as two sides of the same coin. Not so much about watching Jesus' feet as they fly out of sight, but the consummation of the Easter season and transition to the way we experience the risen Christ: not through concrete appearances like the early disciples in those forty days, but through the Spirit dwelling within and among us and the world. The John readings for the last several Easter Sundays, including the VIIth one in between Ascension and Pentecost, all kind of get at that same reality.

    I am giving some email feedback/assistance, though, to a sister-priest who is preaching the Ascension readings and is a bit anxious. Please pray for her, and for me to be of use as she writes and we converse....

    Happy exegesis and writing, everyone.

    Oh, and happy first birthday to the little one!

  9. Usually I have been in churches that transfer Ascension to the last Sunday of Easter. Personally I have found it to be a bear to preach, so I tend to pull for Easter 7.

    We are compromising this year and doing the readings from Easter 7 (which fit really well with my synod mission statement theme) and singing Ascension-themed hymns.

    In our series we are on "walk together", which I think works well with the whole unity thread of John. That's about as far as I am right now...long way to go by Sunday, clearly.

  10. The church I serve now always does Ascension rather than 7 Easter. We also extinguish the Paschal candle during the reading from Acts 1 when Jesus disappears from their sight. I miss having the light through Pentecost, but kind of like the drama of pausing in the reading while the light is blown out. Also, it does kind of make sense to read Acts 1 and then Acts 2 the next week for Pentecost (what goes up must come down).

  11. oh, it's also confirmation -- to throw another matter in. I personally like the Ascension text from Ephesians: particularly the phrase about "seeing with the eyes of the heart".

  12. Yep--preaching Ascension on Sunday, and also preaching for the first time since Advent! I did check out the Easter 7 pericopes, but Ascendancy compels me so much more...

  13. First, Cheese please stop yelling (heh, heh, heh...)

    Second, in Year of Bible we are in Isaiah (and will for the forseeable future), I & II Timothy and a couple of songs. Makes me long for the days (last week) when I got to preach on Song of Solomon and use the word 'lover' over and over again without fear of major reprecussions.

  14. Not going to the Festival of Homeletics. sigh. Just finished my sermon for the funeral tomorrow. Now beginning to ponder sermon for Sunday...not doing Ascension, Easter 7, John 17. Thinking I'll connect the opening of John, "in the beginning was the Word," with "because you loved me before the foundation of the world...and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them..."

    Then, somehow I will consider the ways in which God's love resides in us and we therefore become the living presence of God's love in the world.

    Or something like that...?

  15. Diane, I love your "what goes up must come down line".

    Rev Scott you made me laugh out loud!

    Sounds as if the crowd is split:
    Ascension: 2
    Easter 7: 2

    Sem-Fem and Chilly Fingers straddling the fence,

    and WS out there in a land all by herself, homiletically speaking, that is.

  16. Oh, Leah, you're preaching! Yayy and prayers!

    When and where? (Probably can't come in my present gimpy state but just in case).

  17. Ascension here. I've been threatening to hang a pair of birkenstocks from the ceiling. How do you think the historical society would react?

  18. I liked the don't look up in the clouds but stay focused here idea. The I and my Father are one and the body of Christ need to be one body in Christ the risen Saviour that chilly fingers suggested. Thanks for the idea. I'm going to see what I can to with that. I started posting my sermons on a blog site I added to my origonal site News From the Wilderness, it is called Smoky Quartz Crystal. I am a very rookie sermon writer. This will be sermon number five for my whole entire life. Guess you have to start somewhere but it makes me nuts until I get it done.

  19. Yeah, you have to start somewhere. Who knows where you'll end up. Look forward to reading the results.

  20. I'm off lectionary here this week. at the 9.00 service we're praying-and-actioning RE Colombia, and commissioning one of our members who is about to leave as an accompanier. At 11 we are confirming 20 youth. the text is from 1 John.

    The bad news is that I basically need two sermons. The first is titled "love in action" and focuses on the line inf 1 John 3 that says "let us love not in word or speech but in truth and action." The second is titled "the Adventure Continues" (coincidentally also the title of the confirmation class's weekly homework assignments...) and focuses on the line (also in 1 John 3) that says "beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed."

    Plus in both I'll pick up on the baptismal imagery and the whole "in this is love, not that we loved God but that God loved us" from chapter 4.

    We'll see how it goes. Luckily, did the bulletins last week (admin out this week for emergency, HoS also out for conference in Florida, musician also out on vacation...)!!

  21. Gals and Pals, I've been at a boundary training all day, but here are some quick first thoughts.
    I'm preaching Easter 7. We'll be commissioning the search committee for the new settled pastor, and I am using the Acts story tied into other moments of truth in our faith commitment. We'll have a skit in between the scripture reading and the sermon, using some of the search committee members as readers, saying how glad they are no one asked them to do what Paul and Silas had to do, then realizing they really *have* agreed to something deep and challenging.
    Then at 2 I'll be preaching at another RevGal's installation, using the text from John in which Peter puts his clothes "on" to swim and the Mark Doty poem "Fish R Us." We think of ourself as the fishers, but I want to suggest we are the fish and in the net, together.
    It's a busy week.

  22. Two sermons in one day?? Wow. I have a wedding saturday and i was thinking 2 in one weekend was a pain!

  23. Chalk up another for Easter 7 - in my whole life I can't ever remember an Ascension celebration. Wasn't even on my radar, I'll confess. Silly Lutherans, we are.

    Four years ago the Metro New York Synod bishop spoke at our synod assembly and addressed the Acts 16 text, and it was so striking I wrote it down in my Bible: "what happened to Paul and Silas is what happens when the church crosses swords with those who seek unjust systems in place." Others have noted that those who seem to be free (the girl's 'owners', the judge & jailer) are in fact slaves, and those who appear to be in bondage (the girl, Paul & Silas) are in fact the ones who are free or being freed. You know us Lutherans - always focused on freedom.

    The Birkenstocks Idea is a great one - AND it brought to mind that camp song classic, "Bernie's Big Black Birkenstock" Thanks for the memories!

  24. Diane, I love the candle idea! I think I will incorporate both readings on Pentecost Sunday, take one candle out, then later bring in a red candle and change the cloth on the communion table. Thanks for the inspiration!

  25. I'm doing a "Preach & Run" thing on Sunday. I'm preaching the service and then high-tailing to the airport because I'M GOING TO THE FESTIVAL OF HOMIES!!!!!!

    Sermon content??? Unsure at this point, but I do know this much - it will be short, sweet and to the point. I'VE GOT A PLANE TO CATCH BECAUSE I'M GOING TO THE FESTIVAL OF HOMIES!!!


  26. I re-read what I posted earlier and wondered to myself, "how can I think preaching Ascension is a bear when I've never done it before and I've only been ordained for a year?"

    Nevertheless, Easter 7 it is (for the preaching--Ascension for the hymns). I'm such a fence-sitter.

  27. yeah, more friends coming to town for the homie festival!

  28. speak up! I can't hear you!

  29. Interesting, how things change...when I was a kidlet Ascension Sunday was a Big Deal at my church. These days not so much...but my pastor is fond of the "Why do you stand looking up in the sky?" theme.

  30. We are celebrating Ascension this weekend. It is also our "Children and Youth Sunday." It should be a fun mix centering upon the nature of discipleship.

    I wish I could go to the Festival this year. I have not been since it was in DC. I love it greatly.

  31. I've not written before, and just discovered this site a few weeks back. But my "inspiration" is so fun, I have to share. Will do the Ascension passage - as one of the "men" in white. Actually, I'll wear different duds - other than white - so as to stretch the imagination. So it'll be a first-person narrative with instruction on what ascension is, and what it means for us - to get out with the message. I've been waiting to use my angel halo and catcher's mitt. (Can hide sermon notes in the mitt.) Who ever said sermons have to be boring!

  32. I preach on the Ascension every year since it is my congregation's namesake. In years past, I think I have too often moralized this text, focusing on what we should do, rather than the moment itself. This is a great scene that should be savored and celebrated! It is a festival Sunday. It's like the ending of E.T., when he speeds off in his spaceship into the heavens; or the scene when the good guys ride off on their horses into the sunset. There is a certain satisfaction and rightness to it all. All is well, Christ has risen and ascended, and the good news is we are riding his coat-tails!


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