Visit our new site at

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings:back in the saddle edition


I'm back in the pulpit on Sunday after eight days away on study leave. While I was away from the office I planned the liturgies, scriptures, sermon titles, and hymns for the rest of the calendar year. Now I just hope I can remember what I planned for this Sunday!

Ah yes, I seem to remember the passage from Jeremiah that is part of this week's lectionary. I'm fascinated by this story of the purchase of a piece of land( the field of Anathoth) that was by all accounts worthless, and for the care taken to make sure the deed is preserved for the future.

Sometimes it seems as if all our best efforts are worthless deeds stored up in earthenware jars for a better day and a better time. At the same time, there can be tremendous hope in this--what if God's work in us is a promise for another day?

I'm thinking of the quote: "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson"

Isn't that what a church is--a community planting seeds, the harvest of which they may not see?

That's what is swirling around in my head--what about you?


  1. My goodness, first to post? I am so thankful to have a set of lessons I can preach on! Last week was all too awful. We do Amos and it goes well with Dives and Lazarus.

    I think it might be time to address what it means to be a Dives nation with all too many Lazarus nations at our gates. But there are no nations who will come to our brothers.

    The Timothy reading seems to sum up the other two readings, putting the emphasis on the action that is necessary to address the temptation to greed.

  2. This is going to be a different sort of Sunday for us. A 78-year-old woman I baptized Easter 2006 passed away unexpectedly in late August. The family had no desire to have a religious service for her, so we, as her Christian Family, are holding a celebration during our usual 5th Sunday Celebration of members worship.

    The very amazing thing is we were planning to use the scripture and she was reading in The Daily Word the day before she died during the service. That scripture turns out to be Psalm 91! - one of the lectionary readings for this week.

    So, no sermon but definitely a "coincidence" to consider. God is good.

  3. Like Muthah+, we have Amos and Lazarus ... actually thinking about the Great Chasm, and how we make it ourselves, but not seeing and reaching out to our brothers and sisters here and now.

  4. Is that a Freudian slip in the title? :)

  5. I'm focusing on I Timothy here. We are using Season's of the Spirit this year and this week's focus is I Tim. It works great in only a way God could set up in that we are struggling with the purchase of a van for our child care center and the church to use. The great debate is whether to try to "get by" with a lesser model or go for what is needed and really required by the liscensing agencies. There really is no choice if we want to continue to care for 90 children each day. The real question is buy the van/bus that meets the requirements or close the child care center. Period!

    The sad thing to me is that probably any one person seated around the Session table discussing this issue could purchase the vehicle outright without flinching.

    My mother said this morning in an email "The good news is that we have all the money we need. The bad news is that it is still in everybody's pockets." Greed. Unwillingness to share - basic Sunday School 101. No concern for those less fortunate than we . . .

    I'm thankful for the opportunity to tie all this together somehow. This is my challenge. TO make the point, but not offend or anger. Well, why not offend and anger. Pastors are suppose to step on toes from time to time, right?

    That is what I'm working on.

  6. Jeremiah here....I'm working on the not-so-original idea of investing in hope, putting your money where your mouth is, being workers while trusting the master builder, etc etc etc.
    Part of me wants to talk about testimony and what it has to do with one's life, a la Anna Carter Florence's book and the phrase "the witness seals her life to the testimony she gives"--the idea that we act in accordance with what we preach and that is what gives our testimony validity. I don't know if I can get there with my people, but I might try. We'll see....

  7. I have a complex set of issues I will be dealing with one Sunday. One, we will be working in the 9:00 hour with a Diocesan program called, "Keeping God's People Safe." (KGPS). It's intent is to teach us about the real facts of child abuse and then we are to discuss what we will do as a congregation to keep our people safe. It includes a DVD presentation with child predators talking about how they "work" and kids who have been abused and their parents. It's well done, but upsetting. So. that's one issue.

    The second is, in Oct we will have a series of guest preachers, lay members of the parish, who will preach "testimonies" on their faith and how our parish is an important part of their lives...all this leading up to our Celebration Sunday the end of Oct.

    And. usually we have a pet blessing on a Sunday morning in Oct. but due to the guest preachers it will be this Sat. afternoon. So, I have to address that.

    My homily, and it will be brief given the context of the morning, will use St. Francis of Assisi as the illustration and look at ways in which we are addressing the MDG's, one of which includes this program on KGPS...I will briefly connect this to our readings and end with the prayer attributed to St. Francis: Lord, make us instruments of your peace....which is found in our Book of Common Prayer.

    It's a lot of stuff to address in one short homily on a day when I think we will have some raw emotions.

  8. Oh. and this is the last Sunday I will preach until November...

  9. I am asking the question "Why are we here?" Not the existential one (though it is that too) but the missional one. Pulling on Amos, Timothy AND Luke as well as some of the wonderful things from the MDG Conference. At least that is the plan on Tuesday.

  10. I am also leaning toward and on Timothy. We have a baptism, as well as new members joining, and I am thinking about what it means to give our lives to God. Parents and new members and congregants will make pledges to each other and to God. How do we live out those promises? Here is what 1 Timothy has to say. Something like that.

  11. "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."

    What a lovely thought ...

  12. I love the trees quote as I just spent the day planting trees in the community. I will be going with Dives and Lazarus, with the reading from Timothy to complement. My sermon title is "Right Under Our Noses"...and to address the chasm of paying attention to what is right in front of Dives was not....not sure what else is going on there...but will be back Saturday hopefully with more!

  13. revdari, I love your mother's quote, "THe good news is we people with a lot of money, the bad news - it' still in their pockets..."

    I want to save that for just the right occasion!

    muthah, I like where you are going with the idea of living in a "Dives" nation with too many Lazarus' at our gates....

    Maria - go for it, sounds like a great way for your congregation to celebrate her life.

    SB - your Sunday coming up reminds me of mine last week - trying to squeeze baptismal theology in with these readings....

    and diane, you could go a long with the chasm image....

    good stuff here. I really appreciate, and look forward too, our Tuesday conversations on the readings. It's the only resource I have to dialogue about the readings for Sunday....wish I could get a local group going...

  14. I'm going with Luke and these ideas: that the rich man knew Lazarus'name but still ignored him, and what's going on outside our gates- using economic forces and people that are invisible to us. The Sunday school kids are learning about Moses so I am thinking of tying in the idea that he grew up with slaves and one day realized they were his brothers.

  15. THis Sunday UCCan congregations are encouraged to mention the United Church of Canada Foundation. It would tie in really well with the JEremiah reading and the idea of planting a tree for others to enjoy.

  16. Our youth pastor (and sig part of youth leadership are away) so I have been left in charge of the service! ARGH! And suggested at the planning meeting that we shold do prayer stations. This was agreed upon by all, however am now having to come up with the content.

    Am thinking of doing it based around the Lords Prayer with each station being a different reflection on a different aspect of the Lords Prayer.

  17. Our pericope group tossed these reading around today. One told me about a website in which you can enter in your income and see where you rank in the world's economy. Anyone know what that website is?

  18. muthah+
    I remember doing that some tmie ago. I might have posted about it, I'll go check.

  19. it's interesting that we feel the need to give the rich man a name. I think it's on purpose that the scripture leaves him anonymous and gives the POOR man a name. usually it's the poor who are anonymous (and women) because they don't matter. but Luke turns the tables by making the rich man nameless.

    for those who are rich, it is our refusal to identify with and reach out to the poor among us that creates the chasm that dams us.

  20. btw, we have a Lazarus nation just to the south of us. and seems a not button issue with immigration etc such an issue right now. we had an immigration raid in my city last thursday.

  21. So, a whole day late. (I sincerely popped over here thinking it was Tuesday. Not good.)

    For anyone preaching on Jeremiah, years ago I read a book on Benedictine spirituality. This story was told in the book; this is how I recall it.

    A journalist went to interview a small group of nuns who were "planting" a new monastery. He asked one woman, a nun of about 60, how long it would take until they knew whether their efforts had yielded a success. She replied, "Oh, about 50 years." The reporter blurted out, "But you'll be dead by then!" The nun replied, "The only things worth working on are the things that are bigger than our own little lives."

    FWIW. Happy Wedndesday.


  22. BTW, I'm preaching on the Psalm. Yes! The Psalm. Gotta every once in a while. I'm talking about Sanctuary.

  23. Thanks, Gord! I want to be able to pass that on to my folks. I like what Diane said. Dives is either the Latin or Greek word for Rich man. It is the way that we get the name. If my 50 year old Latin serves--I think it is Latin.

  24. Someone asked Martin Luther, "If Christ were coming tomorrow, what would you do?"
    His answer: "Plant an apple tree."

  25. I'm not preaching this week, at least not as of today. However, I did post an old sermon on these texts that I still like after 6 years.



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.