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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Follow Me Edition

Yesterday when I began looking at the texts for this week, I couldn't help myself but start singing "I will follow him, follow him whereever he may go...".

Do you remember that moment in the movie "Sister Act" when the choir starts singing that song? Originally a love song about devotion to a boy, suddenly the song took on new meaning.

There is a lot of calling "Follow me" going on in the lectionary this week. For me, to answer a call to follow involved changing my life completely--or at least it felt that way. For some, the changes that must be made to follow faithfully in the path down which God leads might be more subtle.

In the gospel lesson this week, those who are hesitant to follow Jesus 'right this minute' have really good reasons--burying one's parent, saying good buy to one's family--so clearly it is a complicated thing to follow Christ. The urgency that Christ felt, having turned his face towards Jerusalem, was not yet felt by those he had called. This week I am thinking about the reasons--or excuses--we use for not fully following Jesus.

How about you? What are you pondering this week?


While you are pondering following, don't forget to wander down to the Book Pals post from yesterday and continue the discussion about Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler!


  1. I'm just stopping by to say hello and goodbye! I am on VACATION the next two weeks...Blessings on the preaching.
    Peace Out, QP

  2. Cheesehead, like you, I have found that answering a call to follow involved fundamental changes in my life. But the answer wasn't a one and only moment. Maybe maybe I didn't understand it, maybe I didn't answer the call fully and God patiently continues to re-call. Yet another possibility is that all of our calls continues to unfold and manifest themselves as our ears become more able hear and our eyes to see. Any way I look at it though, I am now at the point where I accept that following means being willing for change to be the only constant. I don't think the urgency ever really diminishes, though our capacity to respond may. Nor does my discomfort go away (what? You gotta be kidding God? You mean this isn't what you wanted??????) --yet by grace, I may learn to recognize my discomfort as fear and give it a right place in my life, rather than allow it to paralyze me. But I know for sure that answering the call will take every last bit of the rest of my life...

  3. I always love reading this, though I never preach, because it gives me the opportunity to start considering the scripture early, then see what you are all doing with it. It's like a tapestry developing.

  4. I am pondering using my cell phone as a prop and somehow preaching the whole sermon as half of a phone conversation about "answering the call."

    What? Actual content? Not sure about that yet. Some more pondering in order, for sure...

  5. Not preaching the next two weeks...think I'll forget how?

    Like QP, blessings on all preachers and writers!

    Semfem, having done the cell phone stunt, my reccy is to tell anyone who might be tempted to answer it for you in on the secret. Yes, it backfired on me...

  6. heehee! We are doing Elijah/Elisha this week and I have to admit that "I will follow him" was one of my recommendations during worship planning (many weeks ago now).

    It was rather unceremoniously rejected, but I'm still going to try to get SP to use it in his sermon. That would be awesome.

  7. I really have no idea where to go with the texts this week. Galatians: follow the law or follow faith? Luke: when a "rebuke" is not a criticism but a way to redirect the way we hear our call? It's not that the texts aren't rich in imagery, it's just that I feel dry...Can I go on vacation this week? Do I have to wait until August?

  8. I'm going with the OT E and E story this week. It is just so full of possiblities! My mom is in this week from Texas (she's taking a break from seminary to hang out with me and take her granddaughter back to texas!) She will be singing Deep River. I can't wait.
    Now all I need to do is really work on that sermon thing. After two last week I'm a little tired! Blessings to those of you off for a while. Enjoy!
    Oh well, no rest for the, the rest of us who are not on vacation!

  9. I think anything involving music from Sister Act is worth doing! :-)

    I like that cell phone idea, Semfem. I've seen it done very effectively.

    Happy vacation QP. And no, RP, you won't forget how. :-)

    I'm beginning a summer sermon series "The Christian Life" from the Letter of James, so I'm really just dropping in to say Hi. I will, of course, join all the rest of the procrastinators on Saturday.

    But I invite you all to celebrate with me! I just learned that I will be dedicating a baby on Sunday! Disciples may only baptize adults, but we adore blessing babies!

  10. Semfem: I saw the cell phone thing done very well by one of my seminary colleagues. He was starting to preach on "calling" and his cell phone went off - playing Ode to Joy, and he apologized to the congregations, saying, "I really should take this." He then had a conversation with God, ended with, yeah, "I love you, too." and hung up. Minutes later, "God" called back and told him some other things to be sure and say to those gathered. It was both fun and enlightening.

    I plan to preach on Galatians and "True Freedom" in anticipation of the upcoming Independence Day holiday. Can't say much more than that at this point in time, but my daughter wants me to be sure and use the hymn, This is My Song, because it raises up other countries as having hopes and dreams and beauty just as worthwhile as ours. I have a very bright daughter. :)

  11. I am going with Galatians and fruits. I did manage to avoid giving in to teh temptation to call the sermon God Wants SPiritual Fruit, not REligious Nuts. Instead it is Freedom and Spiritual Fruit

    I think I will use the concept of freedom and talk about how this is a different freedom then "do what you want". ANd I will try to bring in the idea that life could be so much better if we let the Fruits of the SPirit ripen in us.

    Being Canada Day, I will also likely mention how those same fruits could impact our duties as citizens.

    If only I avoid the trap of discussing Paul's terribly dualistic language.

    ANd of ccourse I want to keep it short since there is a Canada Day picnic to get too afterwards.

  12. When I planned worship a few weeks ago, I selected the gospel text and the theme of discipleship/following Christ.

    I'm excited about the Sister Act song ... didn't think of it before but it is so perfect and may be my opening story.

    First time I'm preaching two weeks in a row ... I'll be back on Saturday.

  13. I love the old gospel song that goes with this text "Hold on, hold on..." words were changed to make it a civil rights song. We know it as "keep your eyes on the prize".

    Also, re: putting your hand to the plow and looking back, my husband always says, "the worst thing you can have is a glorious past." He's thinking in terms of music, of course. Since Lutherans have Bach, they aren't always so open to anything new (a glorious musical past.) But it applies to a lot of churches who were growing in 40s and 50s and now aren't. They tend to remember fondly their past, not what God might be calling them to in the future.

  14. Thanks for this post. It echoes perfectly what has been my angst this week...

    And I am following. But, thankfully, not without friends!



  15. For all preaching on Gal. in anticipation of July 4, there's a wonderful essay by Anna Quindlan she wrote a few years ago on the anniversary of 9/11. In it she proposes that 9/11 be made a national holiday, but not just for picnics, a day for volunteering and helping others. I used it to talk about being free (a day off) and how we use our freedom (for others). The essay is called "We are Here for Andrea", and is collected in her book "loud and clear" (article written september of 2003).

  16. Revrosa-
    I love the statement:

    "Following means being willing for change to be the only constant."

    And I might add, and the one we are following too...

    Thanks for that insight.

  17. Nothing! I am pondering nothing. YAY!

    I am off to the Biennial in DC. Y'all preach 'em into Heaven, now.

    May God grant you courage, wisdom and a heart for love.

  18. I am ironically preaching from last week's lectionary, so all your comments from last week are really helpful about silence.... Diane, thanks for the tip on Anna' Quindlen as I begin preparing for next week.

  19. I have a story that you may use. In my parish in DC some years ago I decided to put in a garden. I rented a rototiller to help with the heavy work.

    I was carefully tilling along the fence when a parishioner called to me from over the fence. I looked up to respond and with that the rototiller climbed up the chain link fence and hung there some 4 feet off the ground.

    Since then "one who puts their hand to the plow and looks back will not inherit the kingdom" has a whole existential meaning!!

  20. muthah+ -- I'll bet! Great illustration!

  21. Hey, another ABC-er here! Cool. Hi Tripp!! I am on my way to the Biennial too (tomorrow) and will leave from there for vacation. Wheee!

    Blessings on all you who will be preaching!

  22. I have a pretty good sermon on the gospel lesson from three years ago. Don't you hate it when you look back and find something good and it gets in the way of thinking of anything new?


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