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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Sabbath edition

This week's lectionary offers us a couple of ways of looking at sabbath. I find myself not preaching about sabbath very often, because I have difficulty with practicing it myself, and shouldn't we be careful about practicing what we preach? (Or is it preaching what we practice?)

I'm looking at the Isaiah 58 alternative passage and the gospel lesson and finding all of the juxtapositions of the idea of sabbath. After all, Jesus was famous for doing some of his best work on that day. On the other hand, the practice of not observing the sabbath really ticked off the God of Israel! I'm also wondering what possible relevance the idea of a day set apart for worship and renewal is in this culture of "do more, be more, have more".

What are you wondering about this week?

26 comments:

  1. I'm looking at Jeremiah and how being called doesn't have an age requirement. That's as far as I've gotten so far.

    Cool to be the first comment!

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  2. What! It's Tuesday already? I need to find those readings and start a sermon...did I have a day off yesterday? (Oh, no I didn't)...sigh

    I have to exercise first and go to the hospital to see someone about to have surgery, then, maybe I'll have time to look at the readings and get a grip on what I may need to say...and it occurs to me, just now, that I need to have the sermon done by Thursday because I'll be at a conference Friday and Sat...

    Blessed ponderings to those of you can and do this day.

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  3. praying that you all will ponder lectionary and modeling obedience to honoring the Sabbath (one of the BIG 10)

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  4. If I remember right, Mary Hinkle Shore argues that this text is more about how you observe the Sabbath and less about purity laws and such. The Isaiah 58 text (Lutheran lectionary) is a clarion call to Sabbath and the benefits that flow from it.

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  5. I am going to have a whirlwind week with a flight Thursday to the big D and then two days worth of driving back to east tenn. Hubby is preaching the am service AGAIN, he's using Luke. We are having our church camp day, where everyone packs a picnic and heads to the church camp 45 mins out of town. I am planning a short meditation on Jeremiah followed by communion during a vespers service at camp. Also planning on lots of bug spray!
    Blessings to y'all!

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  6. I am choosing Luke but not Sabbath. I am sticking with the healing and the fact that this is about freedom. I have a couple of reflections that will work their way into sermon. One is at my place (includes a story of being bent over). The other is on the church blog

    Also, if I can be forgiven for saying it, Christmas is only 4 months away. While avoiding other work I posted a drama from last Christmas Eve in case anyone wants to borrow it.

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  7. This is the last Sunday for our retiring organist, who does not want to be fussed over. What a great example of someone who works to make it Sabbath for others and is now going to be able to take one himself. I'm headed in that direction--how do we observe Sabbath, especially those whose commitment to church means working on those days (and that applies to volunteers, too). Can we feel the Sabbath even in the work, as Jesus did? That's what I'm playing around with, probably using the gospel lesson.

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  8. I'm working on the "buts" this week in Jeremiah and Luke - "but I'm too young, but it's the Sabbath, but she's been that way for so long why bother..."

    I could righteously point out many more buts in our midst today, but I will try to open the invitation to see beyond the buts to a new way of but-less living where impossibilities are possible. And I will seek to not be quite so silly in the actual sermon.

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  9. I'm not preaching this week, but taking a Sabbath is one of my favorite soapboxes. (And THANK GOD indeed for the Jeremiah passage.)

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  10. I'm not up this week (dh is, and he's doing Jeremiah), but Songbird I really like your thought about bringing Sabbath to the work itself. Though I believe in practicing Sabbath, and though I am pretty strict about not doing church work on my day off, I also find myself unable to ever practice that day off as a pure Sabbath b/c of household duties, parenting responsibilities, and the like. I'm sure that some people find ways to deal with such things in a way that makes their day off a true Sabbath, but I'm not there yet.

    In the meantime, I am attracted to the idea of somehow bringing Sabbath to the work, finding rest and renewal in the work of baking, cooking, cleaning, running errands, tending to small children. Not a strict Sabbath, I realize, but something that feels life-giving to me, and within my grasp.

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  11. There's a nice illustration at the Calvin Seminary Institute for Excellence in Preaching (under "illustration idea") that has me thinking about wholeness and that our identity is about our relationship to God (or 'daughter of Abraham in the text) rather than what we or others would label us. I'd like to explore this text in the connections between our wholeness as people, wholeness and holiness in relationship to God, and the need for Sabbath for this wholeness. Yikes! That's a whole lot of stuff. I'm sure it will narrow throughout the week.

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  12. I have been itching for a chance to be a little bit missional and I am feeling it coming on...there's been this title playing in my head: "Be About Your Mission or What's a Sabbath For? with themes about the sabbath being for not only rest but worship and community to fill yourself up so you can go be the church in the world. but then, it is only Tuesday!

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  13. Rev. Zookeeper - Have you seen the "Buttprints in the Sand" spook on the Footprints poem? Quite hilarious!

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  14. Love the ponderings ... "remember the Sabbath to keep it holy" Jesus healed on the Sabbath ... nothing holier than that ...

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  15. Ok. I'm just going to come hear ALL of you preach this Sunday! Some really great ideas floating around from each of you...I'm still floundering. At least I've had some time to READ the scripture and do some exegesis, and ponder a few directions.

    Now, I'm going to walk our dogs and finish getting things ready for my son to start school tomorrow. Probably won't get back to the sermon until tomorrow afternoon...

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  16. Oh, and Songbird, btw...I'm still singing, in my head, a conflated version of "Can I Get a Witness" and "Rise and Shine.." (Can I get a witness, Children of the Lord...Rise and Shine, Can I get a Witness...) (hee hee)

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  17. Mmmmm... this is not my original thought. it comes from a colleague who is focusing on the woman's silence. she did not stand up and asked to be healed. she did not make a big show of her ailment. but Jesus healed her. how many silent sufferers are there in the pews every week?

    isn't there something rich and deep and hopeful to give them this week beyond legalities of keeping sabbath? i think so...

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  18. I'm not a biblical scholar, so I got person and posted some reflections on how Sabbath has affected this mixed marriage of Jewish and Christian.

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  19. Love the thoughts zookeeper!

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  20. I am preaching this week. I've decided on the Luke text and focusing how Jesus freed this women of what had been burdening her then rolling it over into what burdens do we need let Jesus loosen us from.

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  21. HotCup, I may not go in the same direction as you ie Sabbath legalities v/s Jesus healing us of our unspoken ailments - BUT your thoughts are interesting and relevant, I think!

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  22. Ooh, Songbird, finding Sabbath in the work...what a great way of articulating what Jesus was about. Instead of "breaking" the Sabbath, Jesus calls us to fulfill it...and sometimes that means that my Sabbath might not be Sundays, for the purpose of making them Sabbath time for others. I'm also reminded of the Benedictine motto, "Ora et labora," pray and work, and the notion that both can be sacred, both can be worship.

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  23. great thread over at RM's place on intentional sabbath. Love it.

    go check it out here

    http://reverendmother.org/2007-08-21/ministry-idea#comments

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  24. Late to the party.

    I'm going to focus on the repeated use of binding and loosing in the Luke story. Twice Jesus talks about the woman being set free from her ailment and also uses the analogy of untying your donkey to give it water. From there I'll say something about how the Sabbath isn't about a series of "don't"s as it is about being set free to live whole in God's reality.

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  25. Sabbath is how God is telling us to be sure to look after ourselves. He took a rest too!

    Balance is so important. If we are too caught up in the doing, etc. of this world we forget who we are.

    Sabbath is a reminder that God allows for rest, relaxation, a change from the regular, perhaps a chance to breathe, to assess our lives enjoy them....it is we who made all sorts of rules for Sabbath..not God!

    Jesus says that the Sabbath was made for us..not us for the Sabbath. So he caught the meaning alright.

    It's a way to remind us to look after our souls ..and bodies.

    God made us with both! They go together. Enjoy, but take care of who we are for God needs us at our best.

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  26. I can't help but look at the Hebrews passage that ends with authentic worship and God being an all consuming fire. So many in our pews come to worship to be be entertained, filled, inspired. But the true in tention of worship is to direct ourselves to God as an offering of ourselves. If we come to consume, where is the offering and outpouring of self in that?

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