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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Peace and Joy Edition

Lessons for this coming Sunday can be found here .

Peace and joy. Joy and peace. Those words, and their connotations, can be found throughout our readings. No matter how bad things have been, or are -- it's not the end of the story. That's Jesus' message to his frightened, uncomprehending friends. It's the message Peter proclaims to his listeners in the reading from Acts. And it's the message of the Epistle lesson as well.

Perhaps I'm in an unseasonably pensive mood this morning, but I experienced a bit of cognitive dissonance visiting the lessons after first skimming through a contentious online Christian forum I frequent where the atmosphere is anything but peaceful and joyful, even in the glorious wake of Easter Sunday.

Why is it so hard for us to live into Christ's peace? Do we even understand what peace means? Why do the "Easter people" often seem to be the least joyful of all?

What would our faith communities look and sound like if we truly let ourselves believe that Christ's resurrection gives us reason to be peaceful and joyful right here, right now?

As always, please post your thoughts and ideas and questions here.


  1. Hi All,

    I don't have a blog, just a church website ( but I've been skulking around here for a few months now and drinking in the warmth, good will, and inspiration you all have to offer, so thank you. "Peace" as defined by Frederich Beuchner in Wishful Thinking "is not the absence of struggle, but the presence of love." The full definition is worth a read. blessings and thanks,

  2. I'll just be totally frank... I'm not thinking about the lectionary this week. I'm at the beach.

    I've posted a sermon at my place... about the gospel text this week.

    Prayers don't stop during vacation... so my prayers are with each of you this week.

  3. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one have a post-Easter slump. I didn't even have TOO much to do during Holy Week, but I got SICK SICK SICK over the weekend. I almost had to call someone up to finish reading my sermon on Sunday because I kept stopping to hack away at a cough in the middle of preaching. It was horrible.

    Anyway, yesterday was spent mostly in bed and today feels better, but I'm having an energy drought today and have little to no desire to look forward. Ugh.

    So, all that said, I'm going to continue with the John 20 passage this week, since I started it last week. Last week was my much more personal/individual oriented sermon about resurrection hope. This week is the community-as-hearer Easter sermon about resurrection as responsibility. Jesus breathes on and commissions the disciples that they will minister in his name, and that their life as the church will bless others who can not see, yet will believe.

    That's the nutshell version - - the responsibility of the faithful. I'll blog more about it today and post the link later. I haven't done that in way too long.

  4. I am struck with scars looking at todays readings. A friend said recently that in order to be a good pastor one must have scars. I think she is right. Jesus showed people his scars.

    I am also looking at the Jewish understanding of repentance. Granted we have had a great deal of repentance throughout Lent, but it is interesting that the Acts readings demand that the beginnings of Easter faith have to do with repent and believe.

  5. I am struck with scars looking at today's readings. A friend said recently that in order to be a good pastor one must have scars. I think she is right. Jesus showed people his scars.

    I am also looking at the Jewish understanding of repentance. Granted we have had a great deal of repentance throughout Lent, but it is interesting that the Acts readings demand that the beginnings of Easter faith have to do with repent and believe.

  6. Sherev, do mess with this sickness going around. I was out the whole of the week last week with it. I don't think I have been this sick in a long time. Prayers coming!

    Sorry about the double post. My connection is being wierd

  7. I am moving sort of off lectionary for the next couple of weeks. I thought I'd take time to explore some resurrection images in more detail. BOth weeks we will read 1 Cor 15 on resurrection (same passage both times, it could use a double hearing).

    THis week will be the image of a seed, using "unless a seed falls into the ground" (John 12:24)as the scripture referent. What does it mean to talk about the EAster moment as a seed or bulb growing?

    Next week will look at butterflies, resurrection as transformation.

    I may wish I was talking about Thomas...

  8. Welcome Sarah!

    Sherev - I hope you feel better soon.

    I'm off lectionary this week as we're celebrating Laughter Sunday. It promises to be much fun, but I am SO not inspired to think about a sermon right now. The post-Easter energy drought has hit with a vengeance. I'm glad it is still early in the week!

  9. Welcome Sarah,
    Enjoy the beach PK,
    Prayers for healing Sherev

    I usually preach on faith and doubt from the John passage, but this week I think I am ging concentrate on the way Jesus breathed life upon them commanding that they recieve the Holy Spirit...

  10. This is one of the very rare Sundays I don't have to preach, so I'm looking forward to hearing a sermon, instead of preaching one. At text study today (went anyway, didn't want to miss the camaraderie!) we focused on the aspects of forgiving and retaining sins. What happens to us in forgiveness? What happens when we don't allow forgiveness to happen in our lives and in the lives of others? If I were preaching, I think I would spend time considering that aspect of the lectionary Gospel.

  11. I'm with Muthah+ this week - scars are weighing heavily on my mind. We just got done with our local text study group and I've already got a potential sermon title: "The Scars Remain."

    I'm thinking of forgiveness as a spiritual practice and what it means that John includes "These things are written that you may come to believe" in this chapter of the gospel. Could it be that we don't come to believe without understanding forgiveness? One of our group suggested that perhaps we should look at our own hands for scars and signs of the life we live. I thought that forgiveness and resurrection mean living life in the risky bits - out in the world where it's possible we could be scarred by the living of life. Anyway, those are just some thoughts - a blessed week to you all!

  12. I like the little discussion of scars going on here: juxtapose with joy. How do the scars and the easter joy go together?

    prayers for she rev...

    and thanks for opening up the discussion.

    I'm always struck by the difference between the christian story and our popular stories i.e. The Terminator comes back to get Revenge, but Jesus comes back to bring reconciliation.


  13. One year my pastor read The Velveteen Rabbit in conjunction with the Thomas story, to talk about what it means to truly "become real."

  14. Hi all,

    Welcome rev sarah b.

    So sorry for those who have been sick, hope wellness comes your way,she rev.

    pk, have fun at the beach.

    muthah+ interesting thinking on the scars.

    I am switching my preaching to do a thing on Easter people. I am using the John passage this week. Not sure where I am headed with this yet, but that's the theme I have. I had thought I would do a thing on resurrection power, but the thing on living as Easter people seemed to click. I may use some of your thoughts. Maybe I can work the scars thing in here as well.

  15. Youth Sunday this week! Yea!!
    Not only because I don't preach - our youth are worth more than a few cheers:)
    Although not preaching is nice, too.

  16. Okay, better late than never! Easter exhaustion and administrative issues that have been put off until "after Easter" meant I didn't get to Sunday till now. I wish I were heading for the boat with the revgals!

    Instead, I'm pondering how in John we are sent by Christ, just as he was sent by God. What is our mission? (our church is rewriting ours, so this seems appropriate)
    I'm using I Peter too - and I like the promise in both to future generations that we all get "equal access to Jesus" (thanks, NIB) whether we were there or not.

  17. So, it's been a non-stop week and I'm finally getting around to actually sitting down to write. I think I'm going to work the text so to speak. I really like the idea of focusing on Jesus speaking a word of peace into our brokenness, with that idea that was shared (thanks rev sarah b!) from Beuchner that peace "is not the absence of struggle, but the presence of love." Craig Kocher on "Blogging Toward Sunday" wrote that Easter doesn't fill Jesus' wounds with rainbows and bunnies (not exact quote). The wounds are sill there as is the brokenness. Into our brokenness Jesus speaks a word of peace and calls them not to hide but go out and live into their brokenness by speaking a word of hope and promise to the world in Christ's name that this brokenness (death) will not be our undoing or our end.


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