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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings, What are we supposed to do edition?

For Sunday, August 24



Exodus 1:8-2:10

Psalm 124:1-8

Romans 12:1-8

Matthew 16:13-20


Were the midwives Hebrew or Egyptian? What gave them the strength to do what they did? They did more than say that God was God, they lived it. They protected Hebrew children and families. They risked their own lives, the lives of their families. They were midwives, there to help something happen, not take it away.

Simon Peter is going to get there-- in Acts he is a hero-- but we’re not there yet. We’re still at the place where Peter says one thing and does another. Says something really good, but does the easy and safe.

What is the difference between one place and another? Does courage come along with spiritual maturity?

Is courage a spiritual gift?

Are we all called to be Midwives?

What are you thinking about for Sunday?

20 comments:

  1. I was quite inspired this week by the psalm, and wrote about how God calls us out of our places of comfort and into places of risk and vulnerability, places that might even feel dangerous to us. So this week's reflection ended up being about those dangerous waters that God calls us to, beginning with the very dangerous waters of baptism.

    Looking forward to reading y'all's initial responses to this week's lections,
    hedwyg / warriormare

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  2. The texts this week for many Lutherans are: Isaiah 51:1-6 (semi-continuous reading); Psalm 138:1-8 (semi-continuous reading); Romans 12:1-8; and Matthew 16:13-20. I’ve read them in the New Revised Standard Version… and I’ve read them in The Message. I think I’m probably going to write my sermon based on the Romans passage from The Message version. I’m familiar with the NRSV lessons… but The Message version seems to grab me this week… because they seem more accessible to the listeners’ ears (and right now… that would be my ears).

    The context of this passage is “how to be the church.” I don’t think… as a pastor or as a member of the body of Christ… I can ever learn enough about what it means to be the church. Church isn’t something we do on Sunday morning (worship). Church isn’t a place we go on Sunday morning (a building if we are lucky). Church is being the people of God 24/7… 365… forever… out in the world in our everyday lives and for the world as servants bearing gifts from God. In this passage… Paul seems to be encouraging us to realize that being the church means we have a peculiar shape... a shape that is different from what the world demands of us… and that shape (what we say and do) separates us from being the world and yet at the same time prepares us to serve the world.

    Given my understanding of Romans 12:1-8… I’m guessing… because I sure don’t have a sermon already written… that I will also include bits and bobs of the Matthew 16:13-20 text as well.

    May your sermons come easily… through the power of the Holy Spirit… and further transform your congregations into the people God. Peace.

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  3. This week is the debut of Mae East, my new camel puppet. A gift of the Sunday school, she will do all the children's homilies - or most of them - this year. I'm going to talk about Exodus lesson, the midwives and how they lied to spare the babies' lives. Talk about lying for ourselves - wrong - and lying for the sake of others. Mostly right now, I am trying to cultivate Mae's accent. Southern and not Hollywood sultry. :-)

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  4. I am going with Exodus, the whole long reading with all 5 women/girls, and I think I might be musing about how God has put the future into the hands of five unlikely women, all of whom behave in unexpected ways.

    Or something. it's not really a formed thought yet...

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  5. There is a very, very tiny seed of something in my mind. I am haunted by the two questions Jesus asks in Matthew, Who do PEOPLE say... and who do YOU say...and making some connection with the "do not be conformed to the world" in Romans. At least that's what is brewing early Tuesday. I'm looking forward to what gets generated here as it's been my saving grace lately!

    Amen, pk. I think I'll go read the Message version for further inspiring.

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  6. Teri, I'm not preaching (on vacation) but those five women are all on my mind as I think about Dara Torres and something she said to NBC's Jim Lampley on Sunday. He asked if she was re-writing the rules for all swimmers or just for herself? And she answered:
    "I'm hoping I rewrote the rules for anyone who wants to do something and thinks they're too old to do it."
    That idea of not being bound by the rules, but pursuing what we're called to do (preserve the baby boys, or preserve the one baby boy, or fill in the blank with your own calling) inspires me this week.

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  7. Teri, I'm on a sort of similar train of thought. Although I found 6 women/girls - 2 midwives, mom, sister, princess, and princess's maid. The last one doesn't get a big role, but she's there. I have a very interesting congregation context this week, some of whom are here for the baptism that will take place. My leaning with this whole long passage is to say something to the effect of "God uses all kinds of people - family, non-family, faithful, different faithed, maybe no faith - to accomplish God's purpose in our lives." I don't know how the atheist father will take it, but I'll find a way to say it without totally saying "Nyah-nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah - God uses you even if you don't believe in God!" but that's sort of what I'm thinking as I prepare to baptize his baby. (Mom's a believing, practicing Christian in case you don't get the chance to go read about all of this at my place

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  8. i haven't really started thinking about the texts for today yet - and I am feeling terrible.

    Prayers for my tummy would be much appreciated! I'll try to stop in later

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  9. I am going with the Romans text. I thught about dividing the text - using vs. 1-2 at the opening of worship to get us thinking about entering into Sunday's service as "living sacrifices." Then I want to "transform" that thought into being living sacrifices 24/7 and what that looks like.

    I will read the second portion of Romans vs. 3-8 later in the service, and like pk, will talk about our gifts and how we are shaped for service. I have a brief gifts inventory I am including in the service.

    Something pk said has given me another idea. I loved when you said we are servants "bearing gifts" for the world. I thought I might get folks to help me make those tiny boxes you can make from greeting cards, and tie them with ribbons... send everyone out with one as a reminder of the gifts the bear out in the world. Thanks pk!!!

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  10. I am continuing my summer theme of "The Narratives of our Faith: Two Stories of Power". Exodus and Matthew give us such great illustrations of power- both God-given and human power. Guess which one ultimately prevails?
    The midwives and Simon Peter receive the power of God's blessing. Clearly, Pharaoh (and later, the Roman Empire) are no match for the power of God worked through folks who are not traditional holders of power.

    I hope I can help the congregation reflect on how we might be empowered by God's blessing to act with wisdom, integrity and compassion, within the life of the Church and out into the world.

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  11. I'm going with the Romans text. I really liked what PK said, and I think I'm going to start my warm-ups by reading around in Romans in the Message.

    I really, really loved Templeamma's little gifts idea. I think you may have given me my Children's Sermon for this week.

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  12. I am using the Matthew text. This week is Youth in the Church and World Sunday for our denominiation. Oour small band of youth folks are doing various parts in the service.
    As it is the beginning of a new school year, we are kicking off by having a Rally Day with the Bee-atitudes theme and complete with sugar cookies that are decorated like bees.
    Okay, anyhow, my title is Here are the Keys and with focus on X's words to Simon Peter.
    Odd thought, as parents give their teenagers the keys to the car the first tiem, it comes with reminders, warnings, and threats(maybe!), as Chirst gave Peter the keys, was it totally trusitng, with some reservtions, a few more reminders? Was it for keeps or just a temp thing?
    okay, logn day at regional denominational meeting, head hurs, tired, a wee bit grumpy.
    Later!
    Oh, any broken "bee" cookies will be brought to 11th hour party!

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  13. I love to imagine those midwives as all wide eyed and innocent before Pharaoh. I want to encourage folks to be subversive in their living out faith - in the knowledge of whose we are and whom we serve. But this is only Tuesday.

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  14. Take a look at all the women in Moses' story: the midwives, his mother, Miriam, and the princess. All of them engage in some form of disobedience -- or what I would consider holy disobedience. They conspire with the Other to save the baby boys -- all of them, a royal daughter even defying her father's decree. And this raises the question for me of what my own holy disobedience ought to be. When do I -- or any of us -- have to defy the powers that be? What kind of courage does it take? And how do you know whether you are responding to a holy command or just doing your own thing?

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  15. There is something great in that story...maybe connections to civil disobedience? Hmmm.

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  16. Holy Disobedience is the sermon title I've been playing with, actually...and what that has to do with us--in what way is God's future in our unlikely hands? Or is it at all? We like to imagine ourselves the unlikely ones but realistically we are the power players...unless somehow we can be Pharaoh's daughter? oy...too many things to think about!

    But I think I have myself a title having seen it here now too!

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  17. Is courage a spiritual gift?

    yes. but it goes hand in hand with wisdom and discernment.

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  18. Wow all! We have so many common threads this week!

    I too am having our fall kick-off (which would normally include giving our 3rd graders bibles, but since we don't have any this year...) and the start of Sunday School again.

    And I am also excited about what it means to be the church and talking about our spiritual gifts.

    Something really important in there is that Jesus says to Peter - I will build my church. You don't do it, the world doesn't do it.... I do it. And how I do it (skipping back to Romans) is by giving you these gifts so that you need one another.

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  19. hi everyone! I always read what you all write but I am finally taking courage in hand and writing a post...and starting a blog. This week, I am focusing on the gifts we have that we don't recognize in ourselves, or that society doesn't recognize in us - looking at the Exodus passage and all the women gave, Peter and how he would have never said he was ready to be the rock of the church, and of course the Romans text. Talking about the missions trip we just went on and how we all learned some new gifts we didn't know we had (for me, using a skilsaw!). Good to be back preaching after 3 weeks off, and in a new "position" at the same church. Thanks to all of you for all of your insights, every week!

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