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Monday, August 25, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings- We're Rich! Sunday

For Sunday, August 31, 2008

Exodus 3:1-15

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c

Romans 12:9-21

Matthew 16:21-28

Wow. This is a terrible week to preach lectionary. How do you choose between these texts? I know some preachers weave the lessons together, but I’ve found that to be more than I can handle- When I try that, I spend more time connecting than exegeting the texts.

This week, how to choose? These are FABULOUS texts!

In Exodus we have the burning bush account. Holy Ground. I Am who I Am. Moses is called to his very special, very particular task.
There are moments when God calls us to particular and spectacular tasks. We cannot plan for these moments. We are not told when they are coming. But when they arrive we have the opportunity to serve God and be who God created us to be. If we are lucky, we will rise to the challenge of these moments. If we are lucky, these moments will arrive once or twice in our lives.
Moses is worth remembering because when he is called his is Not ready. He is Not willing. God equips him. God supports him. And finally, Moses is willing to go and learn along the way.
How have you responded in the past? Is this a good Sunday to tell a call story? It is the beginning of the school year…

In Romans, we are given a list of things to do. An amazing list. Among it is the instruction to bless those who persecute you. Anyone willing to go here? In the country in which I live I don’t believe we do a good job of this. How do we begin to talk about? Live it?
I think you can also talk about Womanist Theology here and faith’s relationship to suffering. Chosen? Imposed? What’s the difference?

And then the gospel, with Simon Peter being called Satan. These are harsh words for a man who, admittedly, is a bumbling idiot much of the time, but loves Jesus with a devotion that few of us can reach. Are you a Simon Peter fan? Is he really this idiotic in the gospels or is he simply drawn that way? Why is Jesus so harsh with his beloved? Or are we just to soft- am I suggesting that we should follow a "Buddy Jesus?"

What are you thinking? What a lectionary week...


  1. Regarding Jesus and Peter, I'm coming to believe this summer as we work through these gospel readings, that these statements that sound so harsh to us probably weren't, when they happened. I think Jesus was teasing Peter, the way good friends do who know each other thoroughly. I am coming to believe that these things are probably said with a twinkle in Jesus' eye, maybe even a smile and a wink. Poor Peter could never do anything right, and Jesus LOVED him for this - I just know it, just the way Jesus loves ME, when I can never do anything right. It's like a fond parent or aunt or uncle or older cousin, who nudges us and laughs WITH us when we bumble again in our clumsiness.

    Anyway, my reflection for this week focused on the collect we get in the Episcopal Church, with connections to the Exodus and Romans readings. The idea that came to me is that we are called to be the burning bush - aflame with God's love, but never being consumed and burning out (using words from the translation of the Romans passage from The Message).

    I thought that the reading from Romans needed more line breaks, so that it would look like a psalm or a poem, and so that we would pay more attention to each statement in it. It really is amazing. In fact, the clergy at my parish use several of those statements in the blessing at the end of our Sunday services, and I've always found it beautiful and inspiring.

    Peace be with y'all this week - can't wait to hear everyone else's ideas!
    hedwyg / warriormare

  2. I'm beginning a sort of series at the church - each week is one way that we are called to be the church.

    I'm tying in very loosly "I Am who I am" with "Who do you say that I am" from last week and the fact that although Peter gets that Jesus is the Messiah, he doesn't fully understand what it means.

    Our word this week is "Accept" - it's not enough to have the right answer to the question, we have to live out our belief that Jesus is the Messiah and that the God who wouldn't even give us a name is the one who tenderly holds our lives in the palm of her hand.

    Living it out is a lot different than just saying it. I think that's why Peter had such a hard time... he wanted to follow a Messiah who would save him here and now, who would elevate him, who would give them liberty without the struggle. And to be honest, that's how we have painted Jesus in our culture today - just say these simple words and believe.

    But Romans tells us how we have to live - what embodying and truly accepting "You are the Messiah" means for our lives.

    Last night, Michelle Obama said these words in her speech: "They’ll tell them how this time we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming." It's a different context, but I think the words apply. We have to stop being afraid of what will happen to us if we truly follow Christ and we have to have hope that if we truly follow Christ, amazing things will happen and the world will be transformed.

    That's where I'm going... and I'm posting more thoughts throughout the week here.

  3. This Sunday I spoke of the nature of vision and how "sticky" and difficult following a vision can be. I think that Peter struggles with this as does Moses. God always calls the unready...or, perhaps, we are never ready when God calls. That's simply the nature of call. We become ready (Is that possible?) as we live into the Call.

  4. I'm doing something with the Exodus story...I'm not sure what yet. maybe something about being willing to turn aside to heed our call, and then twisting that into our call to be the burning bush for others? (that was part of the premise of the Blaze, a conference for youth workers that I went to last January--part of Project Burning Bush which exists to empower youth to think about their call.)

    Anyway, I don't think I'm preaching a traditional sermon this week--I think I am going to write and lead a guided meditation-type reflection instead. We're having a hymn sing this week so things are already a little wacky, so I think it might be do-able. I might even be able to do it in sections, interspersed with songs and liturgical pieces. we'll creativity will have to flow significantly before I can decide so I can make the bulletin by tomorrow!!

  5. I am heading down the Romans path. A great list to work with, but also part of the message will be how do we get there. It seems Nike's theme of "just do it" just does not do it.

    Want to tie in the last of Romans 8 that nothing...not one thing...can separate us from God's love.

  6. I'm also doing...something...with Exodus. I originally was thinking about exploring God's name and what that means for our relationship with God/God's relationship with us. But a couple of weeks ago a church member asked me to tell my call story sometime, and this might be a good scripture to use. If only my call story were more interesting.

  7. I'm re-thinking church. And not preaching.


  8. esperanza ... I think it's great that s/he asked about your call. shows interest and our stories are important. "If only my call story were more interesting." I expect we all think that - but still our testimonies are worth giving and I know my faith always increases when I hear how others have been called.


  9. We will have all of our youth in church for the entire service and also participating in the service as lay readers, prayers of the people and, I will probably preach a shorter homily type reflection that will speak to the kids and the adults. Not sure what text I will use...

  10. esperananza -
    i think it's reassuring if your call story is mundane - we dont all get a burning bush after all, and that might be just the word your congregation needs to hear.

    I'm going with Moses, too, as we are following him and the rest of the gang for the next month or so. We are also concluding our series on the psalms with good ol 139. (lectionary jump, there) So I'm going to talk about God working and moving in our life no matter WHAT we do. I'll tie it into labor day and talk about honoring all work, I think.

  11. I don't preach on Sundays, just listen. Living in the deep South, SEC football references are going to be aplenty for the next few months. I'd go with the Exodus text and build on the idea of rising up to meet a challenge.

  12. Juniper, Labor Day! Thanks, that's perfect. Yeah, I'm just going with the call story; been pondering how to tell it all day, without equating myself to Moses, of course.

  13. E - glad to help.

    Now if anyone has a good childrens time.....
    I would love to light somethign on fire. Not sure what the MESSAGE is in that, but this gang of kids loves a good flame. Hmm, who doesnt?


  14. We are moving through some significant transition where I serve, and I am working on a 5 week series exploring what it means to be church. I'm digging into several of the "one anothers" in the NT - we will have three weeks of them in Romans alone.
    Any insights on this idea would be gratefully received+

  15. I'm a day late getting here, but thought I'd post my initial thoughts. I probably won't get back to thinking about them until Saturday (not my wish this week, but an interesting/difficult funeral popped up so it is what it is - - kinda like I am what I am).

    Anyway, I'm going with Exodus and Moses' call. In my unadvertised monthly focus on different aspects of stewardship this sermon will work with the stewardship covenant of public life. I'll talk about how Moses is called to a purpose and a cause beyond himself, a cause that is for the greater good of God's people. Our faith is meant to be lived out in the public arena, not just in the quiet of our homes or heads or hearts.


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