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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: En-lighten-ment

What does God's "great light" of truth and righteousness look like? Is it a divine spotlight that suddenly flicks on, blinding us with its intensity? Or is it more like the fuzzy dawn over the seashore, gradually but persistently breaking through the gloom of night and fog?

This week's Gospel lesson juxtaposes the Old Testament promise of "more light" with the person of Jesus -- God With Us, hanging out with other working folk around the docks, something in his words and bearing so profound, so riveting to some of the people he encounters that they literally leave everything to follow him.

But we also learn that there's something about this gentle, compelling light that others find threatening -- so much so that in our lesson, as seems to happen frequently during Jesus' ministry, Jesus needs to retreat from those who seek to eclipse his presence in the world.

And our Epistle lesson reminds us that even those of us who claim Christ have a disturbing tendency to ignore the inbreaking light of Christ enfolding and embracing us, and instead seek to ground our faith primarily in whatever spark of attraction we see in a particular faction within the Christian community.

What texts do you find particularly enlightening this week? Is there another connective subtext in the lessons that's speaking to you? Or are you preaching on/teaching on/praying something completely different? Share your thoughts here!


  1. Oh Wow! I forgot that the scripture I had chosen for this week is actually lectionary reading, since the first 3 were not. I'm looking for wisdom here. Where is everyone?

  2. I've got Zebedee on my mind, and the things we leave behind, and the parts of ourselves we will have to leave behind to follow. In my context as an Interim, particularly as the interim period winds to a close, it feels important to name the losses and the celebrations of making a change. I've got some thoughts on Zebedee here.

  3. I am headed down the path that is very, very similar to Songbird's!

  4. I'm going with Matthew here and the calling of the disciples. It will sort of wrap up what I've been working on the last two weeks since Jesus' baptism. We talked about who Jesus is, what he does, and now we'll cover the idea that we're called to be a part of that. I'll pull from the themes of the other weeks (particularly our baptismal renewal stuff from Jan 13), and call this one "The Family Business" - - Jesus is God's Son, we're God's children, we're called to be his "apprentices" (that image JUST came to me right now, I need to play with it a little) in shining the light to the nations.

    Nothing too sophisticated, but it ties it all together and seems to be the message from the Spirit as this congregation and I are beginning our ministry together.

  5. I'm focusing on I Corinthians and am mulling over what it means for us to be of "one mind."

    There is a lot of grumbling about the pastor who just left and how everything that is not going well is his fault. So, I'm also looking at what happens when the church becomes a cult of personality, when the church's identity and/or success or failure lies solely on the pastor.

    When the community is of one mind is it harder to place blame. So, how do I say that in a pastoral way?

  6. I am asking what drew Peter et al like Moths to a Flame?

    Not having done much on the "COme and See" part of last week's reading I may do some encouraging of storytelling this week.

    Oh and during Children's Time, something related to the Week of PRayer for Christian Unity

  7. I'm going along the same lines as Iris with I Cor - what does it mean to be of one mind? People are grumbling here about attendance being down, budget woes, not enough volunteers, all the usual that's always been part of the life of the church. It's also our annual meeting. I've been reading Bonhoeffer's "Life Together" and leading a Session study on it, and I'm hoping to draw in some of what he says about being thankful for the small things, because if we can't be thankful for the small things, how will God entrust us with the big things (and I'm really challenged by that)? Also, that it's not our job to continually be taking the spiritual temperature of the congregation, that only God knows that, and what "may appear to be weak and insignificant to us may be great and glorious to God."

  8. I posted some lectionary thoughts over at my place. I'm thinking about discipleship this week. Some say that Matthew 4.18-22 is the beginning of the church. If that's the case, then the church exists to fish for people and follow Christ; the rest is extemporaneous to the central mission. Patently obvious to many of you here, but perhaps not so much to our listeners.

    Blessings, all!

  9. I didn't think I was going to do lectionary this week as we're doing a kind of "stephen ministry" sunday to commission our new stephen leaders and introduce the ministry to the entire congregation. I thought I would just find applicable texts. But after looking at it this morning, and looking at your thoughts, I think these texts will work really well. I'll tie in the call of the disciples (and our need to answer where Jesus is calling us to serve and fish for people.) I will also probably tie in the pieces in Isaiah about taking away their burden and the Psalm for the day will tie in well there's too much to chose from!

  10. Thanks for you thoughts, Kim!
    I hadn't thought about Life Together.

  11. When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, -- going to live by the sea - that is what I would do with a loss like Jesus' -- I wonder about all this -- did Jesus establish a home? Was he living in Nazareth with his family and then move to Capernaum?

  12. I'm with Songbird and Cheese, simply because we're in such a period of transition in our little church. Losses and celebrations are a part of moving forward - so I think I will name that.

    Also, I'm thinking that church folk tend to see themselves as small cogs in a big wheel - they have a hard time naming and articulating the spiritual and personal gifts that they bring. So I thought I would bring in the "ordinary-ness" of Jesus' disciples and try to think of a way to raise up the gifts for ministry that we all possess.

    I was thinking about inserting into everyone's bulletin a little paper that says something affirming like "You are beloved." or "You can make a difference."

    Does that sound too kitchy?

  13. Ann - several of my commentaries note that Matthew is the only gospel in which Jesus appears to actually move to Capernaum from Nazareth. In the others he merely travels to Capernaum.

    Kim - thanks for the thoughts on LT - I might pull in something like that for our community here!

  14. Sue,
    I would love to get a piece of paper like that - but I'm probably kitchy myself. :)

    Gord, I went over and read your post and it reminds me of Life of Pi, in the beginning when he's talking about how we always talk about freedom, but in reality how often does a man lock his store and walk away from his routines? Dont have it here, and not sure if it even matters, but I rmember at the time I read it being really struck by the truth of that.

    It's my installation weekend, so I'm preaching on Mt 4 and Is in the morning, and my friend will preach on Matthew 4 again the in afternoon. I guess I'll probably focus on Isaiah, so it doesnt turn into a sermon contest.

    And, anyway, we really really need to hear about the Light.

  15. she-rev,
    I'm right with you on wrapping up from the last couple of weeks with what do we do about who we are in Jesus and what Jesus does for us? I may pull in Sue's paper insert idea too.


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