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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lectionary Leanings: Home Office Edition

While others are jetting off to exciting lands, you can find me here this week at the home office. I am not preaching, but offer a link to the Lectionary texts for those who are.

Have fun!


  1. I guess I'm not the only one not diggin the lectionary choices this week!
    Hubbie is going with Luke and the shrewd manager. I'm leaning towards Amos but adding all of ch8 and the end of ch9. Not really sure. It is still early and we may have a funeral this week so things will change, no surpirse there! Grace and peace.

  2. Cheesehead, if that's really your home office in the photo, I am impressed.

    [[thump]]. This is the sound of RDQ dropping back and punting on the gospel lesson this week.

    Oh wait! Maybe she'll run for a first down with Amos instead ...

    Film at 11.

  3. I have a baptism this Sunday. Complicated story - the grandparents of the baby were members until the whole "issue" erupted in the ECUSA and now they go to another church that allows them to live in their neo-conservative comfort zone. However the grown daughter wants me to baptize her son, so that means they will all be back in church on Sunday....and I have to go to the reception at the grandparents home. It is especially painful because I worked so hard with them before they left. Really. sigh.

    So. I have a lot of emotion packed into this day. I am thrilled to baptize the grandson, excited to see the daughter, and anxious about seeing the my former parishioners. (Who will be well behaved, but still)...

    Leaves me feeling like this sermon needs to be a dynamo...we'll see what the Spirit gives me.

    Oh, and then there are the readings, blech....

  4. Going with stewardship and how many masters here.

    Mind you I find that the steward in the story is hardly a model to lift up.

    ALso I wrote a responsive reading based on Psalm 113 and some prayers about sttewards and masters. You can find those at my place.

  5. Oh and in case the week wasn't full already, I was encouraged to transcribe last Sunday's sermon on atheism and faith.

  6. I'm actually writing mine early this week, as I have: a local clergy breakfast, a panel to be on at the U, and an evening meeting plus a pajama party with RDQ (the reward for surviving the day) on Thursday, a lunch with my regional elder and a wedding rehearsal on Friday, the wedding itself on Saturday afternoon, and Monsieur's birthday party in the evening.

    So I'd like to have the sermon for Sunday done by Wednesday night. Yeah, I can hear the laughter from here...

    Anyway, I'm using Luke. Why, I'm not sure. It looked good a couple weeks ago.

    Dylan's blog looked good when I surfed through yesterday, so I'm going back there in hopes in inspiration.

    Oh and Music Man, who gives me words to use in my sermons gave me a tough one this week. "Tuckerbox."* Yes, he's Australian. This may be the one to defeat me.

    Enough prcrastinating. Time to write.

    Any inspirational thoughts? Pass them around, OK?

    *Tuckerbox" = lunchbox.

  7. These texts are HARD! Ugh. My lectionary group read through them this morning and we all agreed that every one of them is problematic. I've got nuthin', a bad thing in a busy week.

  8. RDQ would like to report that the opposing team was penalized when she was about to punt the gospel, so we're starting at the line of scrimmage with the Luke passage, 1st down and 10 ... Coach Sarah Dylan Breuer has sent in an interesting play from the sidelines.

    So what if the dishonest steward in the parable is Jesus himself, since, way back in Luke 15:2, the religious authorities are muttering that Jesus "welcomes sinners and eats with them," perceiving that he too is "dishonest."

    What if the rich man is God, whom the religious authorities would perceive and portray as someone who was very unhappy with Jesus? [I'm sure the religious authorities were telling God all sorts of stuff about this crazy Jesus person.] The rich man/God is one to whom people owe many debts, which is why people participate in a temple system that charges them exhorbitant prices for ritual sacrifice animals ...

    The debts of those who owe the master are at least partially forgiven, evoking a response of gratitude on the part of those who were forgiven to both the steward and the master ... and he is commended by the master for doing what he has done, because the master is now better honored by those who serve him.

    The religious authorities, those who enrich themselves in various ways on the offerings of the pious, alienate them from the very God who is calling to them --they have not been faithful with what God has entrusted to them.

    Dylan's blog on this passage is remarkable, although I'd have to ask her why, if her thesis is true, the steward in the parable didn't wipe the slates of those who owed the master totally clean?

  9. I came here to whine about the lectionary, blech, utterly uninspired by it. And wouldn't you know it RDQ in a hail mary play puts an entirely new spin on things.

    RDQ I like that take, interesting thought that gives me a new way to chew on this text.

    I am not planning on preaching this Sunday but I hadn't planned on preaching last Sunday either, so I think I'll be wise as a serpent and make myself write something on Luke, it'll be a good exercise in discipline! ;)

    -Tandaina (glad its only Tuesday)

  10. Huh. That's an interesting take on it, but I'm not sure it gets me there.

  11. Hey RP! Try this is your sermon:

    "So the steward, taking along his tuckerbox to share during his business lunch with the Master's debtors ..."

    What a fun game to play, words to use during a sermon.

    Think you could use "antidisestablishmentarianism?"

    I think that was what the Pharisees were practicing, but I am not sure ;)

  12. 16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, THEY may welcome you into the eternal homes.

    Nothing I've read would suggest that I am correct about what I am proposing. But here goes. Could Jesus' tone of voice been REALLY sarcastic when he said this? If you put that spin on it, what happens?

  13. here we are off lectionary, reading Leviticus 25 and worshipping outside! Something about the gift of creation and our responsibility and call to be good stewards of it...can you tell this has not come together yet? Good times. All I know is that we're singing "Morning Has Broken" and "All Creatures of Our God and King" and "The Trees of the Field" (shall clap their hands {clap clap}...).

    oh my. it's going to be a long week, especially with my field trip to nearby-fake-resort-town tomorrow morning to scope out the retreat center we are going to in 6 weeks!

  14. I tell you what...I sure am glad I'm not preaching on this Gospel. It makes my head hurt.

    I'm over here thinking supportive thoughts, encouraging of great wisdom, toward all y'all.

    And, I have kiwi-strawberry Crystal Light in case anyone needs a refreshing beverage!

  15. I have read and researched and thought and had contemplative moment (or was that a nap)...and I still have nuthin'....


    except all this self imposed pressure to have an especially good sermon - just one good story is all I need to anchor this, I can do the rest....

    maybe I'll "ignore" the texts and just preach on baptism...that might work...

  16. Okay, I'm trying not to gloat here, but I am deeply grateful that I'm not preaching this week. I might be preaching Sunday night, but that's off-the-lectionary-map, so I can safely avoid these troublesome passages.
    I do like the idea of sarcasm/irony from Jesus; I read that into last week's gospel so I can get behind doing it here, and it helps make the text more palatable.
    Safiyah Fosua at suggests that the gospel is about people, power, and money, and I think you can make a straight up case for it. I think you can also make a case that sometimes even wrongdoing can serve a good purpose (but you've got to be so careful with that one!).
    Senior pastor illustrates this parable with the story of how his family acquired "Annie", their second cat: one day two little boys rang the doorbell and said, "we found this kitty in the yard and she looks sick. We think she might be yours."
    What he later found out was that the cat, clearly malnourished and maltreated, was actually found down on the side of a busy highway where she'd been abandoned. The boys were told by their parents not to go over there and not to touch the cat. But if they hadn't, Annie would have died. So even in their disobedience, they did something that served the greater good.
    The problem is how to use the complication. There are lots of other stories in the Bible to support this though...depends on how hard you want to work and how comfortable you are splitting hairs, I guess.

  17. I agree that the gospel is about money and power and abuse of them. It sounds like businesses today and too many church boards. the rbuke is in v8 "for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light" We should be children of light and NOT follow this example-- the end does not justify the means. Are we street wise or are we God's definition of wise. But I'm not preaching... And I heard an AWESOME meditation on the foolishness of the cross "cross logic" this morning that still has me thinking upside down.

  18. Sounds like a sermon of our excesses of the Bs...
    Bigger (as in keeping up with the Jonses)
    Booze (as in what we do to dull the pain that God would heal)
    Boobs (um.. yeah. as in sex in place of God.. can you tell I've been reading "Sex God" by Rob Bell?)
    Broccoli (getting into health, the environment, organic foods, whatever in devotion that replaces God)

    Anyway. The Four Bs. Notice the order. Carefully.



  19. But Deb, can you put that on the sign in front of the church? ;-)

  20. Sorry I missed the discussion yesterday but I had a small crisis or two to handle. A couple who have been extremely involved in all stuff Church came yesterday to tell me they wouldn't be back. They weren't thrilled when we became Open and Affirming (3 years before I got here) but they became friends with the openly gay pastor "Love the sinner, hate the sin". But the two new couples who have arrived in the last couple of months were just too much for then to accept . . . (previous pastor and other gay members were all single and/or didn't stay long, so the coupleness is too "in your face"?) So sad. I've been sort of expecting it but still . . .

    Anyway - am I the only one who fell in love with Timothy this week?

  21. I am going with Luke. And I like to think Jesus isn't being sarcastic in v.9 I want Jesus to make me uncomfortable, and this passage certainly does. Doesn't our desire to clean it up speak to our need to make all "good people" look good. Maybe this bad guy is a good guy and the lesson is to look at the bad guy in a new light. Make friends by dishonest use of money because money is temporary and friends are forever. I don't know.

  22. my worship team looked at these passages with me a few weeks ago and begged me to go off lectionary. so i'm preaching genesis 1- the first story our kids will be studying this year... and what one of our adult bible studies will be getting to soon.

    still... not really sure where i'm going with it.

    blessings for all on lectionary.

  23. oh, i meant to say how grateful i was in that moment to have a worship team to give me permission to let these go.

  24. Can I just vent here?

    Looked at the bulletin for Sunday--apparently I chose the Timothy passage and not Luke. So all the sweat and pain expended on Luke is for *naught*!

    And I'm back to where I usually am on Wednesday, which is to say, I have the scripture and not much else. The problem is that I have much less time between now and Sunday than I normally do...

    Come, Holy Spirit!

    (said very reverently and fervently)

  25. RP, just cause the scripture reading says Luke do you HAVE to stick with what's written on paper? My congregation sometimes show up on Sunday to hear the first words of my sermon are "As I studied these passages, my heart turned more and more toward (whatever I've changed to). So hear these words from . . . " :-)

  26. RevMaria, no, I don't always stick with what's in the bulletin. I just am not sure about leaving them with that confusing and obscure passage from Timothy...with no discussion or anything.

    I may try to integrate Timothy and Luke--now there's a project!

    I'll let you know how it shakes out!

    Off to write a wedding homily...

  27. When we started this, I wasn't preaching on Sunday. Now I have a last minute gig! I went back to look at old notes and Richard Neill Donovan had this to say.

    All of Jesus' parables are challenging, but this is surely the most challenging. However, if we study it carefully, it will reward us with important spiritual insights.

    This parable is bracketed by two other money parables, the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. In all three parables, money is a problem:

    -- The prodigal son gets into trouble after spending money foolishly.

    -- The manager gets into trouble for squandering the rich man's property (16:1-2).

    -- The rich man will suffer eternal torment, because he enjoyed riches selfishly without helping Lazarus who was suffering at his doorstep.

    There are other parallels among these three parables:

    -- Variants of the same verb, diaskorpizein, are used to speak of the squandering of the prodigal and the squandering of the manager in this week's Gospel lesson.

    -- The prodigal's father embraces the son and gives him a party, while the master commends the dishonest manager because he has acted shrewdly.

    -- Jesus begins both this parable and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus with the words, "There was a rich man."

    -- This parable shows that money can be used for gain, while the other two show that money can lead to ruin. The last two parables imply (but do not explicitly state) that compassion for the poor in this life leads to eternal rewards.


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