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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: early morning edition


In the past few weeks I've been letting the TLL slide until the afternoon. But not today! Today I'm up and at 'em early, so here goes.

When I took a peek at the lectionary passages briefly a month or so ago in order to plan the worship calendar for the newsletter, I took a look at 1Timothy and thought of what I then thought was the best sermon title ever: Transformers--Christians in Disguise. (I love it when I can torture a movie or song title for my own amusement!) Of course, things happen in a month, and I'm not so sure of using that anymore. But hey, if any of you can use it, feel free!

I remember six years ago, when it was the first Sunday after 9/11. I had just ended my internship the week before in a wonderful and touching litany. I was actually considering taking the Sunday "off" from church and sleeping in. But of course, by Tuesday of that week I knew I could not. I found myself sliding into a very crowded pew, in a very crowded church, wondering what the preacher would have to say. I knew the preacher very well--I had shared a chancel with him for 15 months--but still I did not know what the Word that day would be.

The text that day was Jeremiah 4. Spooky. With its birdless cities lying in ruins, its trembling mountains and shaking hills, its mourning. And yet the Word that day was hope, the great "yet" of 4:27:

For thus says the LORD: The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.

It's been a tough couple of weeks at my little country church. I think we could all use a little hope.

What about you?


  1. Wow, first one.

    Well, I'm not sure where I'm headed. I'm using the first part of the Luke reading--the coin and the sheep--since I used the Prodigal off-lectionary not long ago.

    What I'm saying is probably going to start from the observation that the lost coin is still a coin; the lost sheep is still one of the sheep. That which is misplaced or strayed does not become alien to the rest of the flock--we know that because they are looked for and restored.

    Now how do we treat people who return to "the flock" whether in the literal sense of members who haven't attended in a while or in a more general sense of people who haven't been comfortable in church and are venturing in?

    That's where I am so far.

  2. Yesterday morning I sat looking at the passages trying to find a hook that drew me in. What hit me was the first line of the Psalm. THe sermon title that came out was The God Delusion. NOw I just have to figure out what that will be...

    It is one of those weeks I really wish I had had my brainstorm a month ago, but I did get a copy of Dawkins book (since I was stealing his title I thought I should at least look at it) and read chapter 1 last night. VEry polemical.

    If anyone wants to join me in this foolish approach, there are some prayers at my place

  3. I am probably going along the same lines as RB, using Luke. But I think I am going to spin it around "What is sin?" and "What is wholeness?" Looking at sin as broken relationship in all its forms and Jesus as the one who seeks reconciliation, who calls us to turn away from sin and become whole. A lot of finger pointing has gone on in the ECUSA these last few years - see that's sin - and I'm going to suggest that we begin by looking at the sin in our lives rather than pointing a finger at someone else. How are we contributing to broken relationships in our lives? And who might we be the one who goes looking to restore the wholeness?

    I may tie it in to Psalm 51, the Psalm appointed for Ash Wed....

    Well, those are my initial thoughts. I have to go exercise and get to church for a meeting. I'll be back to ponder more this afternoon...

  4. Good Morning!

    It's so nice to be back on lectionary! My sermon is stemming from a re-run of Exteme Makeover:Home Edition that ran on Sunday. The crew built a new home for Jason Thomas, an ex-Marine who went to help with the rescue efforts on 9/11 and is personally responsible for digging the last two living victims out of the wreckage. If this one man went to such lengths to save 2 people he'd never met, how much more will our God work to reach one of us, God's children? I'm basing it in Luke's lost sheep and lost coin, but also going to 1 Timothy to use Paul as another illustration of God's insistent love.

    RP, I like your question of how we treat those who are found, and who find us in our congregations. Our most recent "new" folks include a PK who is gay and unwelcome in his father's church. Hope I can find the nerve to preach about the sheep who aren't so much lost as driven away. . .We don't make great shepherds all the time, do we?

  5. I'm preaching the Luke text as well, with the title, "The Company We Keep". My premise is that God looks for the least likely among us, and that means Christ often looks like the least likely among us: stinky shepherds and presumptuous women, oh my.
    Like your thoughs as well, Rainbow...think I'll borrow them.

  6. I'm going with the Luke reading mostly, with references to Jeremiah. Our little church has been talking about the environment and our care of the earth, so I'm going to work in the themes of stewardship of the earth and our hospitality toward Mother Earth.

    We are not so far gone that we have no more birds singing and the land is laid to waste, but we're getting there. It's like the earth is the lost coin, and we must bring it back into our hearts and ministry.

    that's all i've got for now...

  7. yes. hope.

    My first dip into the lectionary pool in a year and I am actually looking forward to it.

  8. I have started an open comment thread for prayers regarding the 9/11 anniversary at the church blog

    Feel free to post there.

  9. Well my opening thoughts are up. ANd my oh my but I have a long way to go to make them ito a sermon....

    This seemed like a good idea yesterday. Really it did!

  10. I am planning to go with Luke. Title is "Come to the Party" or something. I am thinking of how we react with something less than joy when we hear about the salvation, inclusion, of others. Especially those who are known sinners. We'll see . . . its only Tuesday.

  11. Pastor Heather,
    If you have access to the September 4th edition of "The Christian Century," there is a great meditation on the Luke text entitled "God's party time" that would work great for your sermon!

    I was thinking about the idea of "one"--what is it like to be the one who is lost and found? I then thought of a passage I just read out of "The Gospel According to Starbucks" where Sweet says, "...think of the power of one without God. Think of Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao...It only take one. Small is the new large." (pg. 10). Just some food for thought.

  12. I really like the idea of God repenting in the Exodus text this week, so I might pull that into the text from Luke... who are we willing to go to bat for? Jesus was willing to go to bat for the least and the lost. So was Moses.

  13. 'Hope I can find the nerve to preach about the sheep who aren't so much lost as driven away. . .We don't make great shepherds all the time, do we? '

    Atta girl, Maria!

    I am toying with the OT reading and God changing HIS mind. And then working on Luke's lost. But in many way the epistle provides the link, doesn't it?

  14. I have a title "Search and Rescue". I am preaching at my home church where they are having their annual meeting. There will be an emphasis on celebrating the past year and looking forward to the movement of the Spirit in the coming year.

  15. Any Children's sermon ideas for Gospel passage?
    This is hard when we have stories about abducted children and such on tv. Many lost and never found, sadly.
    Also, trying to get he concept across. The leap form a lost sheep and a lsot coin to humanity is toguh for little ones to grasp.

  16. 1-4 grace, I did this children's sermons a long time ago for "lost" sheep. I "planted" a lost person in the congregation (a youth wearing a corsage), and had a couple of the children go out on a search mission in the congregation to find her. then when they brought the "lost" person back, that person told how it felt to be found. And tied it up with a little on going out and finding people...

  17. One of the major thrusts for this church in the transition period is hospitality. I'm going to use the gospel lesson and talk about being lost and being found, with a slant toward welcome. (And the other big thrust is identity, so I'll work that in, too.)

  18. I shamelessly stole your title, cheesehead, and I thought I knew where I was going with it at the time, but now I have no idea. This is what I get for my thievery.


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