Visit our new site at

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "Bring Out Your Dead" Edition

Revised Standard Lectionary texts for the coming Sunday

We may be in the depths of Lent -- of pain, defeat and death -- but the coming Sunday's lessons give us a glimpse of the life to come. We see dry bones coming to life; we hear the Psalmist praying for new life in the midst of despair; we hear Paul's observations on what a life alive in Christ looks like,as well as the alternative; and, in our Gospel lesson, we see Jesus -- on the eve of his own death -- demonstrating God's saving, transformative power in bringing his friend Lazarus back to life.

How are you -- or are you -- going to approach these texts in your preaching, praying and general worship planning? Discuss!

Artwork: Resurrexit, Gisele Bauche


  1. Well, right now my thoughts are on paper instead of on "blog" so I'll come back in a while and post a link when I get one up. I'm preaching from the Psalm - - my last one from this series through. Whew, this has been the Lenten discipline I didn't realize I was taking on. Anyway, I'm excited about the opportunity to preach hope and promise. I'm 99% sure I'll also read Ezekiel and tie the two together. I might try to get someone to do a sort of reader's theater with me - - the voice of God coming over the speakers and I'll read Ezekiel and the rest. More on all that in the blog later.

    For now, you've got to see this GREAT mini preaching course I found yesterday. Good stuff!

  2. Of course, NOW all I am thinking about is Monty Python's search for the Holy Grail!

  3. Haha, yeah, good reference.

    All I've got so far is Jesus' conversation with Martha. I think I want to touch on both her disappointment and confession, along with Jesus' statement about being the Resurrection. I'm going to make this sermon the lead-in to Palm Sunday and Holy Week, since on Palm Sunday we'll just hear the entire Matthean passion narrative.

  4. I know that not everyone is going to like hearing this, but around here we're thinking spring. It's in the 70's here today and daffodils are everywhere.
    So, while I'm reading these texts that talk about restoring life out of death, I'm thinking about my garden. I'm not enough of a gardener to think that my plants live by anything but the grace of God. With the breath of God in the form of rain and sunshine, life springs forth from the dead earth.
    That's as far as I've gotten.

  5. Tee hee on the title -- in my clergy lectionary study yesterday, one woman decided to name her sermon Day Of the Living Dead (in case you are needing another movie reference, WS).

    There is so MUCH here, it's feeling a little overwhelming to me.

    We are focussing on diff issues of social justice each week in Lent, and this week the theme is prison reform and I'm sure Lazarus has something to say about that.

    Also, I've been looking for some commentary taht acknowledges that all this knitting together of bone and flesh, and walking dead people is a little, um, creepy. Maybe those who know more than I can say if it is wise to make a nod to that in a sermon context, or better to just go right for the Good News?

  6. I have a title: Unbind those Bones.

    Right now looking at hope. The hope that dryness can hold life and using both the Ezekiel and John passage.

    There are some great lines about hope in "The Shawshank Redemption" which I am hoping I'll be able to use.

    Need to write early in the week as I will be gone the later part of the week.

  7. Here's one! "I See Dead People!"

  8. sounds as though everyone's biorhythms have perked right up this morning!

  9. Thanks for the nod toward Shawshank, ps. I'm all over hope with Psalm 130 and Ezekiel. I am looking at time in relation to hope - - in particular how past faithfulness (of God), leads one to make a profession of faith (v. 5 of psalm) in the present yuckiness, which is, in essence, hope for the future. That's not as clear in writing as it is in my head. I need to fix it.

  10. "In the present yuckiness." Yes. Not a bad title for a sermon in itself!

  11. I always end up thinking of "The Last Temptation of Christ" when Lazarus pulls back on Jesus hand.

    Then for the really strange, the latest episode of "Dr. Who" had a character named Lazarus who found a way to make himself younger, but then turned into a monster. Flesh eating monster. Made me wonder what life was like for our Lazarus after things that day. In "Lamb" the author suggests that Lazarus did not smell good....

    Hmmm... I got nuthin!

  12. I am kind of working on "Unbind him". "What is death" Like the blind man--who is living and who is not.

    I am interested in the Social Commentary on John. Anybody know who wrote it?

  13. I'm using a worship drama about Mary, Martha and Lazarus that I wrote three years ago. I'm hopeful it will get across the point that the story is about the mystery and wonder of God becoming human, and about what that means for all of us who feel called to and by Jesus.
    I'm once again happy to share, but this is not just a reading of the text, though it contains a good bit of the text.

  14. I am a little excited about these texts just because they are fun to read. The ghost story of the valley of dry bones...I'm just jealous the assistant will get to read it. Lazarus rising from the tomb...what always speaks to me is Martha's words, which sound to me like ANGRY words: "Where the hell were you, Jesus? You could have kept him alive!"

    Now, do I have a sermon idea? Not really. But the element for this week is "stone", as in, the stone that was rolled away, and so I'll be handing out rocks and perhaps pondering the difference between our stones and the rock that is Jesus.

  15. Ooh,I am so glad to see this back up, after Blogger sent it back to draft status or the night of the living blogger. TLL had its own resurrection.
    Love the different movie comments.
    I like these passages, but am not preaching on them. I am preaching on Deut 4:1-9 as I continue working my way through the Bible. I am focusing on verse 9.
    Martha would love to see your drama, I can imagine it does get across the mystery of God.

  16. Martha avoids her pain by being in the past, "If only things had been different." Mary avoids her pain by looking to the future, "There will be the resurrection on the last day." Jesus stays in the moment with his grief. How is God present to us here and now.

  17. I see now that both are Martha.


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.