Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "Let's Get Small" Edition
The coming Sunday's lectionary readings can be found here .
I'm old enough to remember the days when Steve Martin, pre-comic-intelligentsia days, was one wild and crazy guy who invited his standup audiences, Let's get smaaaaaall!
Interestingly, that phrase came to mind when I read this Sunday's lectionary.
In the Ezekiel passage, which I'll be hearing at my own church, Ezekiel tells it like it is to the people -- that, in the midst of their troubles, the right response isn't to blame their fate on big, collective intergenerational circumstances beyond their control, but to "get small," as small as their own lives and hearts, and make the changes that need to be made to mend the broken places in themselves and in their society. (And isn't it also a part of "getting small" to embrace the disciplines that support us in loving and serving God and our neighbors?) The Exodus reading describes God's chosen people lapsing -- and, to be fair, understandably -- into smallness of faith and vision, in the midst of their deliverance from bondage, as they once again experience want out in the wilderness.
Our Epistle lesson is one of my very favorite texts -- Paul's kenosis hymn in the letter to the Philippians. How can we wrap our heads around the concept of a God who stoops to conquer; whose power is made manifest in smallness, in servitude, in weakness, in "nobodyhood"?
And in our Gospel lesson Jesus points to the most notorious sinners in town, the moral nobodies of his day, as the little people who ultimately "get" the metanoia message when the highfalutin' holy folks do not; perhaps because they have no illusions of moral superiority that they must protect, that get in the way of getting real with God and with one another?
Big, meaty texts here -- isn't that ironic? And which of them speak to you and your people most powerfully right now? Or are you preaching on other texts? As always, share your moodlings here!