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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Treasure Hunt

This coming Sunday's lessons can be found here .

I'd gladly lose me to find you
I'd gladly give up all I had
To find you I'd suffer anything and be glad

I'd pay any price just to get you
I'd work all my life and I will
To win you I'd stand naked, stoned and stabbed

I'd call that a bargain
The best I ever had
The best I ever had -- The Who

What's your idea of a priceless treasure? The perfect life partner? A discerning mind and listening heart? Or maybe it's the Reign of God as described by Jesus -- a treasure often hidden in that which seems humble and insignificant, but that, in the words of Paul makes us, despite our weaknesses and hardships, "more than conquerers"?

Great lectionary texts this week, people -- let's discuss!


  1. Great photo, and great lyrics as well....good way to start off my reflection on the texts...

    last week I thought I was going to preach on Jacob and the ladder but ended up preaching on Matthew...this week I think I'm going to preach on Romans - it is one of my favorite, significant readings...but who knows? Once I start to read, research, reflect and write? We'll see.....but first off to the shower and work...

  2. Ooooooo - the photo and lyrics were stunning! In my reflection this week I ended up going in a little different direction. After reading that glorious passage from Romans, I read each of the analogies in the gospel for this week as "The love of God is like..." rather than "The kingdom of heaven is like..." And I think these really are the same, but tweaking the words in that way really made this gospel sing for me in a way it hadn't ever before.

    So I hope everyone here finds the mustard seed of God's love, and that it will grow into a mighty tree in which many can take shelter.

  3. hedwyg - - Check out this website/blog about your "love of God" thoughts. He talks about using different language for "kingdom of God" or "kingdom of heaven" in his ministry. I found Larry Patten's site through textweek a few months ago and like his lectionary "and yet" thoughts.

  4. love the lyrics. really cool...
    Also, "love of God" is much better fro me too!
    I am sticking with Matthew and hoping for a eginning with a little something "extra" and trying to find a beginning.
    Trying soemthign new with children.Last week i brought in a treasure chest for them...but said I will tell you about it later..."a teaser"
    This week i am tying in the seeds, pearl and treasure idea...
    Next week the yare going to start takign turns bringing an item to fit in chest. This item will be the beginning of their message each week.
    Not sure if I am brave or stupid...
    i have seen this done with youth. They had to have item fit in a paper lunch sack. Person doing devotional had to come up with it on the spot. A challenge indeed, but youth responded well.
    ...but first a sermon for this week...

  5. All of my messing around with the lectionary this month as been so I could use both the parable and the Genesis lections from last week in two different sermons. I kept the three parable weeks together, and I'm now going to pick up the Genesis story from last week for this week's worship.

    I plan to use it as a springing off point for talking about stewardship. I will talk about giving out of gratitude for our encounters with God and/or our blessings. I'll spend more time in study today. I also want to do a little bit of talk about the spiritual discipline of proportional giving. Ugh. This is my first "money" sermon ever, and I don't want it to be a plea, but an invitation to the blessing of giving and giving in thanksgiving. Oh yeah - - I'm reading all the way to the end of the chapter.

    I'm preaching one "stewardship" sermon each month between now October, but this is the ONLY one about financial life. The rest will be about covenants of personal life, community life, and public life. The idea and supporting resources are from a free set of resources from the PC(USA) about 15 years ago, but I like the theology and application.

  6. Great stuff from Larry Patten, SR!
    I love the tennis ball analogy.

  7. Also through Text Week, I read Beverly Gaventa's piece from Christian Century about the last verse of the MT reading. I'd never though much about that but her discussion of the old and the new is now percolating in my thinking. I don't really want to preach about the Laban/Jacob contract and I'm not inclined to do all of the parables in one sermon - did that three years ago and I'm not sure it really worked. I can see the Romans text working into something about combining the old and new to realize the love of God - also like that idea, hedwyg.

  8. I am going with MAtthew. I am firmly convinced that we get distracted looking for the "next big thing" whereas GOd's inbreaking into the world is more like aweed seed, or yeast conaminating the dough, or the small pearl that makes the field valuable.

    GOd's small stuff changes the whole nature of what it "infects". SO maybe transformation is that growth of the infection?

    My early thoughts are here

  9. Hi,

    I am preaching this week and I'll probably concentrate on the Matthew text.

    The thing that will not leave my head is something I heard at a Jesus seminar workshop, the mustard bush was a weed. One seed could choke a field. Jesus used parables to shock and disturb. I am wondering how I can get this one to preach.

  10. Here is a post I wrote when I preached on this Matthew passage 3 years ago. I think it touches on what you mention God_Guuuuurl. (and is close to where I am headed this week too)

  11. the one thing i noticed this morning, is that these 2 passages is that they are both "classics." they are texts that people often cling to and take comfort in.

    both are beautiful--i espeically love the "shocking" elements of the parables. i had a sermon on the mustard seed a few years ago that touched on the "shock" value--it was against Jewish law to simply plant a mustard seed in the field. love the way Jesus often used "dirty" things to represent God (mustard seed/a woman, leavening/etc).

    looking forward to following your links and getting more help. i too love those lyrics--they might be really fun to use as a call to worship and see how many folks recognize it. once a friend of mine used some of Nirvana's lyrics from Come As You Are and it was great!

  12. I've decided to preach on Jacob for the next two weeks, as part of a loosely organized summer theme: The Narratives of Our Faith. This one is- A Story of Deceit.

    I'd like to say that God is scandalous in who God chooses to carry the promise. Jacob, in this instance, Jesus, in another. And that even though God is absent in the story, God is never absent, especially not in places of conflict. Hopefully I'll strengthen this point with the Romans passage.

    Isn't there comfort in knowing that God is not looking for the most morally righteous, perfect humans to carry God's message of promise and love? God even chooses the underdog and the trickster.

  13. I'm picking and choosing, using just the mustard seed verses. I love the idea of the tree, which of course would never result from a mustard seed. How does that inspire and challenge us when we are engaged in negative or limited thinking? I'll use a few verses from Roman, as well. I love the Laban story, but I don't think that's what is called for this week in my setting.

  14. I am going with the treasure and pearl parables - the passionate pursuit of the priceless. I loved the photo in the opening post - and the lyrics were priceless! :)

    The Mastercard Commercials (that I truly hate) come to mind - may try tweaking that in some way...

  15. Thanks Gord! I think I'm going to go with the theme on change beginning small. I am contemplating using the saying by Margeret Mead "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

  16. Thanks all for the ideas. I plan to go with Matthew and have been struggling to find a way for the parables to shock like they would in Jesus' day. Nowadays the Mustard Seed is only thought of as the parable so it feels tame to me.

  17. Eugene Peterson uses a pine nut instead of the mustard seed, which does grow into a large tree!

  18. And that's why Peterson's paraphrase troubles me! Where's the miracle in a pine tree? But a mustard tree, well, that would be a sight, indeed. :-)

  19. What great thoughts about the texts! I think I'm heading for a framing of the Jacob-Laban text in the words of in, the kingdom of heaven is like a pearl (which starts as an irritating grain of sand in a non-kosher organism), a mustard seed (insidious and weedy), and yeast (not considered a sign of purity)...and God's promise rested on Jacob...certainly a mustard seed or a grain of sand if there ever was one. And yet Jacob was transformed into Israel and the fulfillment of the promise, the same way all three things in Matthew are transformed.

    Or something like that. I miss the help of the Saturday preacher party--computer is still broken--but it has taken away one of my major means of procrastination. :)

  20. Missing preaching. Missing all of you. Healing slowly. One of the last sermons I preached before the broken ankle was on the Mustard seed from Mark, and so I posted it on my new blog today for those of you who missed it the first time.

    here it is

    I have some yummy PB&J toast and non-fair trade cinnamon coffee. Mom can't get fair trade here!

  21. and one of these days I will figure out the html to make the link work. Until I do, its at


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