Visit our new site at

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "Dance with the one that brung you" Edition

This is a quick edition of today's feature, written in the wee hours before I catch a flight to Atlanta for the RGBP board meeting.

The gospel lesson this week is Luke's account of the Good Samaritan story. It struck me, when looking at this story, that Jesus seems to remind the lawyer who is testing him that he (the lawyer) already knows what the answers to his own questions are.

Jesus does not seem to be breaking forth new earth-shattering truth in this episode, but reminding us all that we already know what to do. The command is to do what we know:live out the truth that is already within us, lean on the faith that has brought us this far, dance with the one that brung us.

I will be offline for a day or so,while in Atlanta, then traveling home, then taking care of some church business as soon as a get back. Please carry on without me; I look forward to seeing what you all are pondering this week!


  1. Wow, it's easy to make the first comment when you're in England (just got to the University of Leeds and there's lots of computer access, yayy)

    I wrote and posted my Good Sam sermon for Sally's place :-) this Sunday before leaving, but wanted to say hi and offer prayers and good wishes for everyone beginning to work on theirs....and for the meetup meetup of course.

  2. I'm going with the Amos text (Amos 7:7-17). I'm beginning a series on prophetic images. Somehow, the image of the plumb line just struck me. When I began a co-op job as a surveyor with the Frisco Railroad in the early 80's, the first day of work I was issued a folding ruler and a plumb bob. That was my first real job outside of retail, and it is where I learned much of what I carry with me today about work.

  3. Kim, I thought hard abut using the Amos passage. My seminary's social justice group was called the Plumb Line, from this verse.

    However, I'm going with the Good Sam. Not sure what direction, exactly. I've thought about looking at it from the wounded person's viewpoint, or the innkeeper's, as well as the Goosd Sam's.

    Preliminary thoughts for today!

    Also, check out my blog for a photo! Sorry don't have the energy to put in a link...too early in the morning.

  4. Already finished my draft, I went a slightly different route, highlighting the messiness involved.

  5. right now I'm pondering whether to have an ice-cream or not.

    is that what you wanted to know :)

  6. FOr those working on AMos you should read this essay

    Actually everyone should read it,including our national politicians. IT almost made me rethink preaching on AMos but I am staying with Good Sam. More on that later.

  7. I too am drwan in by the Amos reading, but opting for good samaritan. I just got back from vacation and need a shovel for all the stuff to do and weed through!
    SO, the Luke is easier to add to my pile 'o stuff. But I truly am just starting --picking hymns right now...QP

  8. Gord, I wish I worked for a parish where I could preach a sermon grounded in that article. It certainly reflects my heart. And I am really drawn to Amos. May preach on it anyway and just draw a gentle connection - after all I am trying the move them to a place where they see the importance of have a policial religious voice that isn't just the current status quo.

    Otherwise, I may go with Good Sam...don't know yet.

    Mostly I'm just counting three more sermons, three more Sunday's and then to get through?

  9. I'm still off lectionary continuing my series on The Christian Life from James, but I wanted to drop in and say Good Morning. This time next week I'll be busy packing and double checking everything before heading to Texas for a brief vacation followed by our General Assembly.

    Glad you arrived safely Mother Laura. It was wonderful to meet you on Sunday!

  10. Wow, Gord! Thanks for sharing that article! I may preach on Amos...pondering.

  11. I'm working with Amos and the Gospel... In the NT reality, the plumb line for our lives becomes how well we maintain right relationships with God and with others.
    I'm working on it from the vantage point of stewardship, just for kicks. How much of God's love are we hanging onto and storing up within the church, and how much of it are we sharing with our neighbor?
    Using part of the Colossians verse for a charge/benediction.

    Liturgy question... has anyone ever gone the route of using a portion of the Brief Statement of Faith in the service? The segment on the Holy Spirit is perfect for affirming our work as people of God, but we've only ever used the Apostle's or Nicene creeds....

  12. We use a portion of the Brief Statement of Faith on a fairly regular basis. I especially love the Holy Spirit part. My one suggestion would be to try to mimick some of the structure in the printed bulletin if you can. Otherwise it becomes one large paragraph and it can be difficult for a group to say it together that way. We've had better unison reading with a format/arrangement closer to the BSF.

    Hope that helps, ellbee.

  13. i am doing the good samaritan here too....the sermon title is "Street Smart" and, at least right now, I'm leaning toward how each person in the story (within the parable, I mean) demonstrates (or doesn't) street smarts. the idea being something like "everyone knows the road from Jerusalem to Jericho is dangerous...everyone knows Samaritans are dirty and bad and corrupt....everyone knows you shouldn't walk down a dark street alone at night....everyone knows groups of pale-skinned teenagers wearing dark clothes and carrying skateboards are not to be trusted....everyone knows the Middle East is dangerous....everyone knows homeless people just use the money you give them for alcohol....everyone knows people on welfare are using the system....everyone knows you should avoid x corner because that's where the bad kids hang's just common sense, street smarts. But the people in Jesus' story didn't seem to use their common sense much. Maybe "kingdom sense" is more important?

    I wish I knew where this was going, but I just don't yet....

  14. I think I may title my sermon,"The Reward is in the Doing." Rather than get caught up debating whether or not something should be done (leaning into a blog conversation elsewhere on congregatinal "Vision") how about just doing. Go for it. Care for others before you can talk yourself out of Teri says, "Everyone knows they just..." (which can sometimes just give us the perfect excuse to be like the lawyer)...well. thankfully it's only Tuesday...

  15. teri

    I LOVE your everyone knows ... you can really wake people up with that approach -- just like Jesus did when He challenged the way people thought.


    tell us more!

  16. Totally stoked here! I completed a draft of my sermon yesterday afternoon. Hooray!! Today I'm a bit bored, actually. So, I'm out and about visiting members and letting myself be seen around town. This latter part seems important to my presbyterians for some not too clear to me reason. But, hey, roaming around doing random things and talking to folks I wouldn't otherwise see is cool.

    Backk to the lectionary . . . I am preaching on Good Sam. This was the text for my very first sermon 6 years ago. What nostalgia. What growth. I wouldn't dream of preaching the sermon I prepared all those years ago. It is good to reflect back and realize positive growth has occurred.

    I focused upon the wounded traveler and our need to identify with him rather than being so quick to identify ourself with the Samaritan. We need to be open to receiving the compassion from God and others as well as being willing to act/give compassion(ately).

    Thats what I have!

  17. I am convinced there are two miracles in the Good Samaritan story. One is that themercy was offered. THe other is that it was accepted.

    After all, how many of Jesus' original hearers would have wanted be helped (and touched by a Samaritan, a disgusting, unlcean Samartian).

    And after all, parables are rarely as simple as they appear on the surface.

    The sermon? Mercy For and From an Outsider

  18. 6 years ago when I also preached on Good Sam I fcoussed on why not stop. There was a study done (I read an interview with Malcolm Gladwell where he talked about it) with seminary students crossing campus. IT showed that feeling rushed was a powerful determinant in whether they would stop to help someone in trouble.

    (last post was me too, forgot how I was signed in)

  19. hey gord love the idea of 2 miracles :)

    two for the price of one :)

  20. Dropped in to say hi, and partially out of habit, but I made it to vacation time at last! Mother Laura, I'll be not far from you shortly...heading to England, my good friend there lives in Beverley.

    Although that last point from Gord makes me want to preach Luke. Need to note it for the summer of 2010! I love Malcolm Gladwell too, so bonus. Didn't he use that example in The Tipping Point? (I just read Blink, so may be confusing the two.)

  21. Well, I haven't made up my mind yet between Good Sam and the Plumb Line. Since I have a memorial service to conduct, probably this Saturday, I'd better make my mind up fast. I have to get started earlier than usual.

    The idea of a plumb line in the "center" of our public discourse, our "media" town, measuring the truth or righteousness of what we say is intriguing ... I'll have to look at the link, Gord. Thank you for sharing it.

  22. Am being a Lutheran again so we don't have the plumbline. I think I am going to bring together a piece from the Boston Globe that quotes Bonhoeffer,"The time of words is over," he wrote. "Our being a Christian today will be limited to two things: prayer and righteous action." and the last verse of the Good Sam reading. "Go and do likewise."\

    Hopefully soon I will know how to link.

    Please pray for me tonight. I have an second interview with the council of a small Lutheran church in my area.

  23. Cool, semfem--safe travels and have a great time with your friend. I am dopey-tired after a nice little visit to York Minster and am heading for dinner and a bath and hopefully a good night's sleep.

  24. How bout the title, "Would you be my neighbor" Takes me back to my childhood....

  25. I also want to get to the miracle of the man accepting help from a Samaritan...I hope I can! My other potential sermon title was "Why *him*???" (meaning the Samaritan).

    But I just sent the bulletin in for printing. LOL!

  26. grcgrl--love the title and the nod to the departed Fred Rogers. His neighborhood was inclusive and someone would always have stopped to help...maybe there's something to that idea from Gladwell. Maybe "stop and smell the roses" isn't a platitude but a life-choice that helps us see our neighbor in need under our noses rather than staring blindly up toward heaven. There's something to be said for engaging in the Kingdom right here on earth instead of relgating it to some far-off fact, I think Jesus said some stuff about that. Now I want to preach...but as a lowly associate, it's not my turn.

  27. Good Sam for me, wondering as a new preacher how to bring something new to a text so well known.

    Thinking also about tying it to immigration issues...maybe economic policy is creating wounded people, what is our response?

  28. Some reflections I have written over the last few years for the Daily Office when GS came around. I see, to always relate to the wounded person. Not sure what that says. More later at my blog.

    In the ditch
    of my life
    I watch.
    You move
    to the other side
    offended by
    my blood and tears.

    Who will be neighbor to me?
    Lying in the ditches of life
    Fine words and pure rituals
    cannot touch the bruises
    of my being.

    Will we allow a Samaritan stranger
    to pull us out
    of the ditch of death
    heal our wounds
    And put us on the road to life?

    Battered and bruised
    in the ditches of life
    looking up into the faces
    of strangers and friends
    the alien and the familiar
    who will show mercy?

  29. Ann, love your reflection. Towanda, yes.I like the idea of relating it to the immigration issue. I do a lot of work with refugees, similar connection. Some good thoughts going on here today.

  30. I like Brian Stoffregen's take on the Good Sam story--what if God's the Samaritan and we're the ones beaten up in the ditch?

    "We are the ones in the ditch and the Samaritan represent God -- God who is both enemy and helper. Our sin makes God our enemy. Yet, in the parable, the "enemy" gives new life to the man in the ditch. The "enemy" expends his resources (apparently unlimited) for the care of the half-dead man.

    The problems with the lawyer is that he couldn't see God as his enemy. He hadn't recognized the depth of his own sinfulness. (He wants to justify himself and probably had a bit of pride that comes along with that.) He was too strong and healthy. He assumes that he has the ability to do something to inherit eternal life. He assumes that he can do something to justify himself. He is not helpless in the ditch. He doesn't need God's grace."

    Earlier, quoting Funk in "Parables and Presence", he writes:

    the parable of the Good Samaritan may be reduced to two propositions:

    1) In the Kingdom of God mercy comes only to those who have no right to expect it and who cannot resist it when it comes.

    2)Mercy always comes from the quarter from which one does not and cannot expect it.

    An enterprising theologian might attempt to reduce these two sentences to one:

    In the kingdom mercy is always a surprise.

  31. I'm not sure that the Good Samaritan as God is original -- I think some of the church fathers wrote on that but it's still good... also the question at the question at the beginning is different than at the end... lawyer asks "who is my neighbor?" (who am I responsible for?.. in a legal way.. how for does it extend).. and of course, who's in the center? the lawyer. Question at the end is who is the neighbor? the one who helps... puts the needy person in the center, the helper (us) at the periphery. reorients us. who's in the center of your world?

  32. It's VBS week here, and we are doing a week of the Gospel according to Charlotte's Web. Great fun - and over 100 children, so the joint is jumping. Anyway, the children and I are preaching on Good Sam - "Spiders and Samaritans and other odd Saints". Should be fun ;)

  33. GIven my theory that many of Jesus' listeners would have been horrified at teh idea of recieving help from a Samaritan, and wondering how the story would have looked had teh victim said "Get away from me!" I am looking for stories of people in need rejecting help because they didn't like the source.

    ANyone got one from experience or news coverage?

  34. Gord, I don't have any stories right in mind, which is why I ended up leaving that strand of thought. But at textweek the poem "beyond the good samaritan" or something like that is pretty good. Also, the movie crash was recommended to me as somehow relating to your idea. I'm planning to watch it tonight so if I see anything particularly relevant, I'll let you know.

  35. re: stories of people rejecting help because of the source - Uganda and Nigeria Anglican churches won't take Episcopal Relief and Development funds because it comes from unrepentant "homosexuals" and their allies.

  36. there are two scenes from Crash that are relevant, though they would require a bit of set up. First there's the one where the woman in the car crash is being rescued by the cop who felt her up the night before--she initially rejects his help, but ultimately takes it. Good thing, since her car explodes about 15 seconds after he pulls her out.
    Second is the scene near the end where Sandra Bullock realizes that her hispanic housekeeper, with whom she has been crabby until this point, is the best friend she has. The housekeeper is the one who finds her when she fell down the stairs and takes her to the ER when none of her friends can be bothered to help.
    I don't know if I can use a specific scene, but I might mention the movie in the sermon.


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.