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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: summer's over edition

Hi friends,

It's back to the routine now, isn't it? Sunday School resumes this week at the church I serve, many congregations will be starting up the program year, and for many of us that means bigger crowds in worship. Time to really bring the preaching A-game right?

That last question was facetious. I know that each and every one of us brings the A-game every week!

This week's lectionary passages feature a text I have never preached--Philemon. I am intrigued by this story of restoration and of redemption. What word of grace might this letter be for our congregations?

Or maybe you are going with the Potters wheel, the promises of Deuteronomy, or that heavy cross to carry. What are you pondering this week?


  1. Yay! I'm back on lectionary after a whole summer preaching a series on James. It is soooo good to be back - a chaplain in my congregation is happy too, as she likes to hear what I do with the lectionary before she writes the sermon for her afternoon service. :-)

    I'm looking at Luke, but y'know I'm wondering about that whole "heavy cross to bear" thing. For some people I know that the cross they bear is a blessing, and not heavy at all. Sort of the Boystown "He ain't heavy Father, he's my brother" attitude. So I think maybe I'll be looking at the joy and blessings of bearing the cross of Christian faith.

    And then again, it's only Tuesday morning. Who knows what the rest of the week might bring?

  2. Oh yeah, and I'm looking for the Sister Act version of "I Will Follow Him" to download and use. Couldn't find it on iTunes . . . :-)

  3. hmm, we are doing the potter here. "God's not done with us yet--new creation is always possible" is the kind of idea I think...Good for kick-off-sunday I suppose.
    So glad I don't have to preach it though. I have to do something with playdoh AND hand out Bibles to third graders during children's time though...that should be exciting.

  4. I'm going with Philemon and how Paul put himself right in the middle and took steps to assume responsibility for someone else's fractured relationship. Sometimes, in my church, people gossip about situations instead of stepping in as a source of healing. So, that's the direction I'm going.

  5. I so enjoy reading Paul..."I say nothing about your owing me..."
    He had a great way of telling people how to feel and behave...kind of like my very-Old-South grandmother.
    I am not preaching this week, but I will be reading along.
    I preached the Jeremiah text with the "broken vessels" passage from 2 Cor 4 several years ago, and the entire time I was preaching I was playing with clay. I'd make a little bowl, look at it for flaws, and then ball it up and start over. I think it made the biggest impact on some of the folks of any sermon I preached at that church. Somehow I kept with the "remade/recreate in God's image theme without dwelling on how that sometimes hurts, but that may work a little better if you use both Jeremiah and Luke this time.
    Looking forward to following the conversation...and pondering reprising this sermon for my next Sunday night service...

  6. I'm going to preach the passage from Psalm 139.

    I have yet to be inspired, but I feel that it is coming. I need to get out my ironing board and wait for the Spirit to speak. It usually speaks when I am ironing for some reason.

  7. Well I'm going with Luke. Mostly because I think I need to work this out myself. This whole thing about hating parents and sibs and so on... It's tough. So it's as much for me as it is the congregation...and what else is new?

  8. I'm not preaching this week, our deacon is. Woohoo. Good thing too 'cuz I'm up to my eyeballs with program stuff as we prepare to start our new year...will check in and hope that you all are doing well.

  9. I am not preaching (still exegeting my little seminary socks off) but I would love to get my hands on the Philemon passage. There are far too many people who are afraid to come back to church... or afraid to reconnect with their families. The phrase that comes to my mind as I read this is the book title "Families where grace is the place" (Jeff VanVonderen and a great parenting book BTW).

    Seems to me we need to have more churches which are "grace places."

    Just my free-ranging thoughts...


  10. Like you Cheesehead I'm going to look at Philemon- the story intrigues me- Paul's emphasis is all on relationships and restoration, in a sense he is asking bi=oth Philemon and Onesimous to view one another in a new way, to show respect and recieve one another....

    It is quite a challenge I think- but a good message for a fractured world.

  11. a.lin -
    Will the Spirit speak to ME if you come and do my ironing?? I think it's worth a try! ;)


  12. Deb- I really like your thoughts :-)

  13. I am doing pulpit supply for a congregation whose pastor left at this summer. I think I'm going to go with Jeremiah. I like your idea, RevAnne!

    Anyway, I think that I may be submitting my application for this church when the times comes, so I really don't want to preach a dud.

  14. Prayers for your preaching Iris

  15. I am going with Psalm 139 and JEremiah. I think there is something fearful about being as fully known as the psalm describes. The hope comes in the Od who keeps working the clay to get the best result. At least that is where I think I am going.

    ANy chance the Ghost pottery scene would be relevant? OR was that one really about pottery anyhow?

  16. Oh and there is a COnfeession/Assurance and a Commissioning up at my place

    They aren't great but they are available to those who want em.

  17. I'm off lectionary this week --may be for awhile. Looking at challenging my people with the concepts of legacy, values and mission --what is the difference that we as individuals desire to make in the world and how can the church live that out [if it can live that out.] I'm thinking of using the story from the gospels about the woman who anointed Jesus' feet and how the story of her deed has outlived her to this day.

  18. I'm on Deut and Philomon this week - it's my first sermon at my new call (woohoo!) so lots to say about being free from what enslaved us before, about choosing life over death, and about fresh starts. And about God's will in all of that. Yeah, lots to say but none of it said, yet, and a few other things to do too (unpacking boxes, still...)

  19. Hi CH
    for those of us who don't follow the lectionary - it would be great if you could include a link each week :)

    I'm not preaching and not even sure if I'll go to church this week - I'm involved in something on Friday night and a wedding guest on Saturday - dancing until the wee hours

    blessings as you wrestle with the texts this week

  20. forgot to say IF I were preaching I'd take the Philemon passage- it's where I am at right now - learning that it's all about relationships and restoration.

  21. Lorna, if you click on the word "lectionary" does it go to the Vanderbilt site? That's the link I put in every week.

  22. I'm not up this week (we have a guest - Gary Dorrien, professor of Social Ethics at Union Seminary - coming to lecture on "Militaristic Illusions: Iraq, Empire and the Ethics of Resistance" and he will be preaching as well. I'm excited!

    I love, love, love the Psalm 139 text. I remember that Howard Thurman has some great stuff to say about this text (though I can't currently remember what or where). Might be helpful to someone out there.

    As for me, I'm already feeling behind for the new program year. Bleh....

  23. Well I don't get to preach (except maybe once a year, which sucks BTW)
    But if I was preaching on Sunday, I'd be all over the Philemon letter. With just a little bit of research into the story behind the letter, you'd discover a beautiful portrait of a life transformed by the Gospel. And the letter is undisputed Paul. Intimate correspondance from a man who was IMHO, a master pastor.

    Look, you have this escaped slave Onesimus. As he is running, he hears the Gospel preached by Paul and his life is transformed. Now he is returning to the man who has been his master. the man who owns him in some non-eternal sense. Paul reminds Philemon that the man he has known as a slave, now returns as a brother, a fellow citizen of the eternal reign of God. He has to move from ownership to fellowship with Onesimus. Material like this preaches itself.

    Also, it would be easy to tie in Jesus' teaching about bearing the cross. Is Onesimus bearing his cross by returning to be reconcilled to Philemon? Philemon is being called by Paul to accept his former slave as a brother because the Cross has made all things new. It redefines every human relationship.

    I can't go any further. Honest to God, it's too painful. If I were preaching this Sunday, I'd be the happiest Christian in a pulpit. Please don't ever take what you do for granted. That is all I can say.

  24. I'll be working with Jeremiah; the grace of being reshaped, reworked.
    I've already cut up some modeling clay blocks and each will receive a piece of clay to work and rework in their hands during the sermon.
    The card on the little bag of clay will feature a quote from Irenaeus and a short prayer.
    "It is not you who shapes God; it is God who shapes you. If then you are the work of God, who does all things in due season, offer him your heart soft and tractable and keep the form in which the Artist has fashioned you. Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of the Potter's fingers."

  25. Hi friends, sorry I was mostly absent yesterday. I meant to do a bunch of commenting but pastoral duties got in the way.

    I love that so many of us are doing different texts!

    Rev Maria: I used that song a few weeks ago. I just sang it as part of my sermon!

    Gord, I used that scene from "Ghost" three years ago--kinda. I pointed out that it wasn't really about pottery! It got a good laugh.

    Juniper--woohoo! First week at the new place!

    teacher lori: it does suck when you have a message to share, but no place to do it. Thank you for your passionate look at Philemon!

  26. I can't seem to leave either Philemon or Jeremiah alone, so I'm going to talk about them both, and use the Potter image to talk about God remaking Philemon and Onesimus, and us.

  27. I'm going with Luke - don't start unless you can finish. Kind of a smack down for the first Sunday with everyone back - but where the rub is is where I find the sermon. I am hoping to soften it with Jeremiah. God will change us and make us into people who can hear this message.

  28. When the pastor at my former church preached the Jeremiah text 1 1/2 years ago, he had one of the women in our congregation who was particularly good at ceramics to make a bowl during both of the morning services. They are in the vestibule now. Very nice bowls they are, too.

  29. We are off the lectionary the next few weeks. So, yeah.


    September 9
    Sermon Title: "Simplicity: A Gift From God"
    Scripture: Deuteronomy 8:7-18, Matthew 6:25-34

    September 16
    Sermon Title: "Simplicity: God's Caring"
    Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46

    September 23
    Sermon Title: "Simplicity: Don't Forget to Share"
    Scripture: Luke 12:13-21

    September 30
    Sermon Title: "Simplicity: Seek the Kingdom"
    Scripture: Luke 12: 22-34

  30. "Tis the gift to be simple,
    'tis the gift to be free
    'tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
    and when we are in a place just right
    'twill be in a valley of love and delight ..."

  31. TO follow on from rdq:
    when true simplicity is gained
    to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed
    to turn and to turn will be our delight
    till by turning, turning we come out right

    I used to know a simple circle dance to that one

  32. I'm preaching Jeremiah this time. There's a story called "The Cracked pot" that I think is kinda hokey but makes a great point about God using us even when we think we are "less than" or not fully capable. You can find it on my blog

  33. Since I switched last week's texts with this week's, I did Luke and carrying the cross last week. I ended up preaching Luke again Luke: focusing on this idea of what is impossible, and then pointing out how Luke's gospel is about how only God can make the impossible possible.

    So I'm on food, meals, tables, and hospitality for this week. No real thoughts yet (been away and just got back) but I'm sure I'll tie it into our combined worship, combined picnic/potluck, combined service project for the animal shelter, etc. It just seemed to fit so well with a Sunday filled with eating and fellowship.

  34. Oops. I meant to say, "preaching Luke AGAINST Luke."

  35. On my blog there is a sermon on Psalm 129 titled "Coming to the end."


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