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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: World Communion Sunday

I love World Communion Sunday! I began planning for this service weeks ago. In the congregation which I serve, this is the only Sunday that the session gives over responsibility of preparing communion to the deacon's board, and those deacons do it up right! In fact, the photo that appears at the top of this blog is one I took with the camera on my cell phone of our table last year on World Communion Sunday.

The texts for this week were not easy ones for me to wrap my head around, in terms of a celebratory day. But after thinking about it plenty, I am going with the Luke passage as the main focus of my sermon.

It seems to me that one focus of the Luke text is that our place at the table --God's table--is not one that can be earned, no matter how big our faith is. Grace is and always has been God's domain. Right now there are many situations in my congregation wherein members are asking why certain things are happening in their lives--is it because their faith isn't strong enough? The reminder to embrace that "grace place" that God provides seems timely indeed!


  1. I am not preaching this week. In fact I won't preach again until Nov. due to a month long celebration of our ministries. I have parishioners preaching "testimonials" about their faith and why our church community is important to them. It will culminate in our Celebration Sunday on Oct. 28 when we have our Stewardship day. I pray it goes well. It is a little scarry to give over the pulpit to folks and wonder what they will say and if it will go well. I just have to trust the Spirit with this one...

    Blessings to you all as you ponder the scripture and what you are being called to say to your people.

  2. hmmm...well, 8 weeks ago when I chose texts for this day our lectionary Bible Study discussed Lamentations 3 and 1 Timothy (after introductions). So I guess that's what I'm doing. Something about God's mercies being new every morning everywhere? Or possibly something about the way we pass on our faith and so God's mercies never come to an end? Or God's faithfulness is so great that we are empowered to pass on our faith? (I'm sort of enamored of the grandmother-mother thing right now).

    I have the two texts written out on a sheet of that easel-size post-it paper and stuck up on my wall in hopes that I'll notice something different if the words are bigger. That usually works, right?

  3. Disciples have chosen to bring together world communion sunday and reconciliaton (anti-racism) as we traditionally take the reconciliation offering on world communion sunday. The suggested text for the day is the Lazarus and the rich man so many Revgals struggled with recently.

    I'm not doing either the lectionary or the recommended text. I'm going with 1 Corinthians 11:17-32 and talking about what it means to "discern the body" in communion so that we do not share this meal "unworthily" At least, there's where I am right now.

  4. A just returned Young Adult Volunteer in Mission (from Ghana) is planning our service with our youth and some members of the African Student Association at our nearby university. It will include much African music and the traditional way of presenting the offering by dancing up the aisle. (We'll see how that goes over with an aging white congregation I can't get to clap.)

  5. Thank you cheese, that was a very helpful prompt on where to maybe start with these texts. Any time the lectionary texts include the infamous baby heads on rocks, you know it is going to be a loooong week.

    Two more sermons to go for me and then I am off for 3!!!

  6. I'm going with 1 Timothy and the inheritance from the grandmothers. In the UCC, especially that part from the Congregational heritage,we are non-creedal, but we respect the creeds. In place of them we create our own unofficial creeds around habitual forms.
    I will probably include something personal about how influential my grandmothers were and a concern for my own children who have largely been raised without theirs, and I think that's a pretty good metaphor for the generational dropout in churches, too.
    And on this World Communion Sunday, I will conclude with a reminder to focus on the essentials rather than the non-essentials.
    Sound like something? I hope so!

  7. Good thoughts thus far!
    Hubbie has the morning service this week and i have the evening. He's preaching on Luke and I'm left to rummage through the rest. Appropreate since our annual fall rummage sale is on this weekend at the church. I'm thinking of Lamentations, both readings. I think there is a certain amount of mourning going on for what the church "once was" even though it wasn't really, and "what we had" even though we didn't really. But we need to remember that there is hope and hope gets us through. Early thoughts, but with presbytery on Saturday I might need to be finished earlier than usual.

  8. It is Canadian Thanksgiving this week and so I am using passages from the Thanksgiving readings paired with Psalm 137. THankfully the responsive reading omits the last verse of the Psalm (gee I wonder why). But I might have to mention it anyway.

    THe idea is to talk about finding the way to be thankfull when the world sucks. ANd it turns out even more timely as one of the major employers in town is likely to be forced into receivership or bankruptcy protection by the end of the week. Nice lead in to Thanksgiving right? "Enjoy your turkey, and your EI benefits"

    ANyway, my early thoughts can be found here.

    How do we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? How do we say thanks when our hearts are lamenting?

  9. Oh and some service bits can be found here

  10. I'm off the first two weeks in October, and while I'm going to enjoy the crap out of it, I'll miss World Communion Sunday. It's one of my favorite days of the church calendar, and I'm going to spend it in a van traveling down to New Orleans for a mission trip.

    There is definitely a sermon there, appropriate for World Communion, but also appropriate for the Pharisee and tax collector, which is due up my first Sunday back.

  11. I'm going off-lectionary this week with John 6 and the bread of life. THhs is a busy Sunday--besides World Communion Sunday and of course Thanksgiving for those of us in North American north of the 49th parallel, Thanksgiving--it is also the birthday of MCC, so we are also celebrating Fellowship Sunday.

    Bread of life--that certainly ties the three together.

    And Gord I love your World Communion Sunday Prayer..which I am going to borrow bits and pieces of!

    Question unrelated to the lectionary but one I think the collective wisdom here can answer: is being "jam" good or bad? I was told I was "the jam" by a 20-something yesterday. Is this a good thing?

  12. I think it is good RP, but don't quote me on it.

  13. RP: It is a VERY good thing. Take heart!

    As for the lectionary, I'm going with I Timothy. Not much direction here yet, but mulling things over.

    Our congregation has some issues right now and I'm debating how or if to tie the sermon into the day to day things we are struggling wtih. Last week I sort of laid it on the line to the congregation and am not sure I want to do this again so soon. Although I think the congregation is missing an important message from God ALmighty. It is hard to now when to be prpophetic and when to shut my mouth!!!

    The Holy Spirit really can work without my trying to get in the way!!! . . . I think.

  14. I was willing and ready to give you total credit, Gord!

    Also, as you know, but for clarification...the John reading is actually the thanksgiving reading. So I'm really just rearranging things a bit.

  15. I'm not preaching for a couple of weeks. the intern now gets to take a turn. I would probably go with Luke -- talk about "faith"...not as a commodity, something you can have more or less of...
    anyhoo... I believe Lutherans also have Habakkuk, and that one's always good for us, too.

  16. Revdari--Thanks for clearing that up for me...I wasn't quite sure.

    So it's quite different from being "toast?"

  17. According to the Urban Dictionary, the jam is "Used to describe something that was really fun or cool."

  18. Well I have had my ego stroked for the week! Thanks SB and Revdari!

  19. This is homecoming Sunday for us, and I am going off Lectionary - Matthew 6:24-35. And, if anybody has any good children's sermon ideas for that text or for something related to home, let me know!

    Also, has anyone heard from RevAbi and how her meetings went on Sunday?

  20. Sorry RP , I wasn't clear. My las comment was in relation to being called "the jam"

  21. I think I am going to change my texts, in spite of having published a "plan" (which I made up) for the worship planning and powerpoint people. The gospel is appealing to me more than the Timothy text. I don't know if I can handle all that stuff about suffering and Paul's good teaching...I'd rather have the slaves. Here's the question: can I then still go ahead and reference, perhaps in children's time or by using in liturgy, the whole business of the grandmothers and of the "holy calling" idea?

    This is me thinking out loud....or, out-type, I guess....gotta call the powerpoint guy and break the news that the stuff he's been working on for 2 weeks is out and the gospel is in....

  22. I'm going with the Luke text, I think, but I'm not sure how exactly. I'm still working on how the first part and the second part go together. I've really just started looking at it today.

  23. I am just back from a wonderful vacation and preaching this Sunday using the Luke text. I have made a commitment for at least this first year as interim to stick to the gospel. It's been challenging, but it has been really good discipline!

    I've been thinking alot about faith and it seems to me that faith is about doing what we as Christians need to do - hench the slave/master thing - we're not special because we're children of God, and don't need special treatment - we do what we do in response to God's grace and God's faithfulness to us. Faith is always challenging because I see faith/doubt as two sides of the same coin. You can't really have one without the other! Am I supposed to give folks some kind of answer to their questions of faith? Ain't gonna happen!


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