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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Three-In-One Edition

Read Sunday's texts here.

Ahhh...Trinity Sunday...that annual opportunity to explain/review the mystery of the Godhead in 20 minutes or less!

So how are you going to approach this topic? Or are you at all? Will apples, eggs, water in its various permutations and/or the Athanasian Creed be involved?

Seriously: Which of this coming Sunday's texts speak to you, and why, as you plan your sermons, prayers and worship in general? Please share your thoughts, questions and conundrums.


  1. I'm going with Genesis, but I have a dilemma. I'm trying to sort whether it will be a taking care of creation theme or a gender theme (in contrast to the second creation story immediately following the lectionary text where women are created second--but doesn't that mean better,not worse than men? after all humans are created after animals, but no one would suggest that means that animals have a higher hierarchical position than humans--this is pointed at a young parishioner who has been caught up in some evangelical college outreach folks who do not believe that women should either preach or teach men)

    I am fascinated with the statement that God has created grass for all the animals to eat. And contrast that with my son's cats who keep bringing in animals. What sort of nonviolent earth did God have in mind?

    I hope the Spirit (or someone) speaks to me soon!

  2. In a burst of foolishness, bravery, or idiocy I have decided to preach the creation story with a sermon titled Creation? Evolution? Imagination?.

    Admittedly the title and topic is in part a response to the creationist speaker the local Lutheran church brought in last year where the title of the talk was "Were there Dinosaurs on Noah's Ark?" I thought it was time for a different take on origins, one that takes seriously both the witness of faith and the witness of science -- and tries to show they are not exclusive.

    My (very) early thoughts can be found here.


  3. All I've got is my annual Trinity Sunday joke:

    Jesus said, Who do men say that I am?

    And his disciples answered and said, Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elias, or other of the old prophets.

    And Jesus answered and said, But whom do you say that I am?

    Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Logos, existing in the Father as His rationality and then, by an act of His will, being generated, in consideration of the various functions by which God is related to his creation, but only on the fact that Scripture speaks of a Father, and a Son, and a Holy Spirit, each member of the Trinity being coequal with every other member, and each acting inseparably with and interpenetrating every other member, with only an economic subordination within God, but causing no division which would make the substance no longer simple."

    And Jesus answering, said, "What?"

  4. I'm new to the blogging community but have been a longtime lurker of the RevGals site. Yall have been a huge source of inspiration and many sermon ideas these past four months since I took a new call. Many many thanks.

    I'm also going with Genesis...tired of Jesus and the Spirit. I was thinking of a more belated Earth Day approach that deals with stewardship of the earth not worship of it. But I like the science and faith approach too...

  5. I'm UCC, and the big call/request/encouragement from our national office is for preachers to somehow center their sermons around racial issues this Sunday in response to the Jeremiah Wright media frenzy.

    I myself don't believe that I will be taking that route. I have a baptism, and the Matthew text offers itself perfectly for a Trinity/baptism tie-in. I'm talking about how the Trinity is less about trying to solve a logic problem and more about an experience of God's transcendence (Creator) and God's immanence (Holy Spirit) and particularly revealed in Christ, and how in baptism the water shows that God is immanent while the global church helps show that God is transcendent, and that we are baptized specifically as Christ's disciples. Something like that.

    Part of me feels a little guilty about not participating in this "sacred conversation on race," and the other part of me says, "You'll be preaching in a moment focused on things other than racial tensions this week, and such a 'sacred conversation' has not come with a lot of context that your people may understand or appreciate."

    So yeah, baptism and the Trinity. Matthew 28.

  6. LOL at rev dave. Beyond that, nothing.

  7. I'm with Genesis also...title is "In God's Image." That's pretty much all I've got. I wasn't intending to do a gender sermon, but joan's thoughts are intriguing. Glad to see I'm not alone in the Old Testament this week.

  8. I just spent the whole time the air conditioning repair guy was here figuring out how to embed a visual representation of the Trinity in my blog. I borrowed it from my Methodist husband. Someone please tell me if they can view it, so I know if I put the code in right! Trinity (Plus, I think it's helpful.)

  9. TBTG - I don't have to preach! But I wrote my weekly lectionary reflection here, and I was surprised by the direction it took. I didn't sum it up in quite this way, but what I came out with was: the Trinity is God's identity, and these readings reveal to us our identity this week.

    Of course, I seem to be surprised by the direction the readings take me every week. At some point, you'd think I'd ceased to be surprised, and yet... I never am.

    Blessings to you!

  10. :) Rev Dave. I love Jesus' response -makes me feel a whole lot better

    it reminds me of another joke

    a little kid asks their mum "where did I come from"

    she goes into a lengthy explanation of sperm, eggs and the rest ...

    to which s/he responds

    Oh ... my friend said he was from Manchester :)

  11. Well, I will probably talk about relationships, how God relates to creation and to us through creation; how Father and Son and Spirit relate in the crucifixion/resurrection (see Moltmann at Text This Week) and how we relate to one another. What else will occur between now and Saturday is anyone's guess.
    Does anyone else in this group preach without notes/text? I'd be interested in chatting elsewhere with those folks.

  12. Newbie here to the site. Also UCC and yes, participating in this 'sacred conversation' noted previously by coffeepastor.

    Am going with Genesis and Psalm 8, preaching on race in the context of American empire vs. God's kingdom. Plus, a little Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On?", and using it as the sermon title.

    I don't have a regular gig; I'm supply preaching this Sunday. Some poor hapless congregation gets to listen to what needs to be said.

  13. I'm not preaching this weekend, but I'm intrigued by the "in God's image" idea of Genesis. I think I'd go with that, if I were. Especially, since this is Confirmation Sunday in my church. Think of all of those young people, created in God's image. For that matter, consider our changing neighborhoods -- all people created in God's image.

  14. For the children's sermon I'm going to read the book "In the Beginning", which is the creation story retold by Steve Turner, illustrations by Jill Newton. I did this at my former church, and the kids (and adults) really responded to the pictures, and found that the story of creation is told in such a way that it is accessable for all. I'm going to emphasize the delight in creation, sort of a belated earth day emphasis. We're actually getting rain in our drought prone area, so some creation celebration is due!

    For my sermon I'm less sure. I'm going to work with the Matthew text, but am not sure whether I will work with vs. 17, that some doubted, or with the "all"s - all authority, all nations, all I have commanded you, always be with you. (I got that last idea from the site).

    And somewhere in there I suppose I really should emphasize the Trinity. Or can singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" as the Gathering Hymn count as enough?

  15. I think I'm headed in roughly this direction: Genesis 1 brings up all kinds of questions about creation and evolution, the kind of stuff people will go to the mat for; what are the things in the life of the church we would go to the mat for? and is it possible we're looking at the whole thing the wrong way in the first place? I want to begin opening some dialogue between different constituencies in the church I'm serving as we prepare for cottage meetings over the summer. (This is an Interim call, for those who don't know.) There are definitely two schools of thought in the congregation about what the future "ought" to hold. What if they're both wrong? Then what? And to tie in with Genesis, is it wrong to say it's either literally true or it's a primitive understanding of reality? Isn't it possible it's philosophical and poetic and TRUE?
    Or something like that...

  16. I'm going to jump off of Pentecost where we talked of God's exaltation of Christ resulting in not only Him receiving His glory but ultimately pouring that out upon all the earth. His ascension not being Christ leaving earth but rather Christ, through His perfection in suffering and conquest of death, drawing all of creation into Himself.

    So now we'll go to Genesis and see God in the beginning, the Spirit hovering over the waters, and the Word being spoken to give creation form and purpose.

    I'll probably tie that in with the intention of the Godhead being perfect communion as seen in the benediction of 2 Corinthians and the famous line from John 3.

    I love Trinity Sunday being the kick-off for Ordinary Time--the season of growth and new life. It is fitting to begin this with a look at the new life to which we have been called.

  17. Margaret, I can't access your blog. If you see this, I preach without notes (at least I used to). Email me at It's my anonymous email and I don't check it all the time

  18. Margaret
    As the TOTAL noob - I preached without notes, just an outline for the 3rd time Sunday. Got thumbs up from my mentors. And also got a list of things to work on... hopefully I can remember them when I get another opportunity.

    I'm at vaughntrapp verizon net (just put at and dot in the right place) and you can find me there!


  19. Good thoughts going on. I don't feel motivated to preach the trinity at all. And I am not preaching this Sunday anyway. I already preached on the Genesis passage at the beginning of the year. It actually went better than I thought it would.

    Welcome to all the newbies.

    You can check out what you want the link to my preaching blog for thoughts and questions for this week's lectionary passage.

  20. I have been leaning toward the Matthew 28 text and using Rublev's icon of the Trinity. If you are not familiar with it, google it. It's thought to be Rublev's idea of the three angels who visit with Abraham and Sarah, but Nouwen and others have looked to it as an image of the Trinity. The powerful thing about the image, is that as the three sit around the table, there is room at the table for the view of the image as well. My working title is "In Need of a Fourth".

  21. I'm also going with the genesis text and the idea that we are made in the image of God... and what that means if we believe in a triune God.

    basically, I'm going to talk about how we are beings in relationship. God is not God alone. God is full of relations... between the three faces/persons/aspects of the trinity - Father Son and Holy Spirit - AND with us. God desired a relationship with the world and so created it.

    And she has set us up for relations as well. It is Peace and Justice Sunday in the United Methodist Church, so if the primary way that we are God's image is that we are supposed to be in relationship with God and others, what does that say for our actions toward the poor, the creatures of this earth, the creation.

    I'm pretty excited about the whole thing!

  22. I preach without a text - sometimes have a few notes of things I want to include. A book - Without a Net: preaching in the paperless pulpit, is excellent.
    Re: Trinity - not preaching this week but love the concept of Perichoresis - dancing about - in thinking about the Trinity - here are my thoughts.

  23. Little late getting here since I had a WAY TOO LATE AND LONG presbytery meeting yesterday. My plans from Monday morning to Monday evening changed dramatically when I got the call that a very pivotal and faithful woman in the congregation died Monday afternoon.

    Sunday will end up being a sort of continuation of the funeral on Saturday since I expect the whole congregation to be there on Saturday. The Trinity piece will probably get left behind a bit, but I'll stick with the Great Commission, Matthew passage.

    The woman who died was a "go out-er" for sure and she most certainly taught, obeyed (kept), and lived Jesus' commandment to love and serve God and neighbor. I will preach that, giving honor to God and to her.

    Now back to my funeral planning. The Sunday stuff will just have to wait!

    (This is not a good day for the secretary to come in late. The phone is ringing off the hook!)

  24. Hi all - my first time to the site, and am enjoying the blog. Rev Dave - my I use your story?!?

  25. Nutella, did you say you were "tired of Jesus and the Spirit"? 4 months into a call? Wanna tell us more about that?

    One of the kids in my church doesn't understand who made God. So I am working with the Genesis passage, and the concept of Time adn Eternity. That one of the things God created was Time itself. Using a Dr. Who clip (from the "Blink" episode). Thought a time traveler might help get at the concept that each of the three parts of the Trinity exists outside of time.

  26. Welcome all newbies. I wish I preached without notes, at leat sometimes. I do give SHORT sermons without notes (I call it Jazz Preaching).

  27. Jazx preaching! I like that idea. I've been doing short sermons without notes for midweek services pretty much since I started this vocation six years ago but it was scary to take it to Sunday. When we have two services in the summer, the first one gets the rough cut and the 10:30 crowd gets a smoother version. During the rest of the year, there's only one shot and I'm not sure it's always that good. I did get a squirrel to listen one Sunday!

  28. I'm hoping to work in some good stewardship discussion, focusing on God's creating through the creation. "God said "let the earth bring forth... Let the waters bring forth" Then again later Jesus saying, "Go and make disciples." God uses what God created to do the Holy work. We then should use what God has created and given us to continue God's work.

  29. I'm going with witnessing (ala Matthew 28) but I think I'd like to add a connection with hedwyg's (aka warriormare) explication of identity. That will give me something to play with on Saturday morning. Thanks! (a first-time reader)

  30. I think I am going with the thought process that we might not truly understand the Trinity, bt it serves greatly in modeling our basis for relationships. Using the Matthew and Corinthians passages and Paul' closing words of grace, love and communion as the basis for true discipleship relationships.


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