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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Good Thing/Bad Thing Edition

The texts for this coming Sunday are here.

Is the "day of the Lord" a good thing or a bad thing?

Something to think about this week as we ponder Sunday's lectionary readings. What are you thinking about as you prepare your sermon/service?


  1. IMO -- it is always "the day of the Lord" -- so the bridesmaids are a sign to us of being ready - whether awake or asleep. I don't think this is about after life but life here and now. So my questions and sermon are about tending the flame of our lives and keeping it fed with the "oil" of worship, prayer, and community.

  2. sounds like a great start ann. i'm going with joshua and considering the age old question of "who will we serve?" will God have priority, or merely be a leftover for Sundays?

  3. I'm struggling to concentrate on the Scripture instead of the election. Not working out so well.

    I chose the bridesmaids parable...thinking about judgment and being ready and some other stuff. I don't really like this parable; it makes me squirm. That makes me figure there's something God's trying to tell me there.

  4. I am preaching on the Gospel text and love your thoguths Ann!!!
    My biggest worry is making sure I pronounce "oil" correctly. Two syllables, not one as I have grown up saying.
    "oy-yal"...not "ol."
    You northern, western and easterners have it so easy!
    I want even start with those of you across the pond!
    I have to practice...oy-yal

  5. I have to admit, I'm skipping lectionary this week. We start our stewardship series and we are using some fantastic resources that come with art and poetry for worship... and the readings just don't fit. We are using Genesis 28:10-22 instead, since we didn't hit on the Genesis readings this summer.

    I have been pondering however what would happen if Jesus came back as we all were watching the election results tonight. Would we, like the bridesmaids, be too engaged in what is going on to be prepared?

  6. I was going to go with Joshua back when this was going to be our final pledge-dedication day in the stewardship push. It helped that I already had a sermon written from a previous "guest speaker" deal a few years ago.

    However, things changed in the schedule and long story short, I'm changing things up to go off lectionary.

    We're going to do two weeks with the OTHER Joshua and stone story. We're going back to Joshua 4, one of my favorite stories that gets skipped in the semi-continuous reading of the lectionary.

    This week I'm going to continue talking about being witnesses to the grace of God - like the Israelites set up a memorial for all that God had done to get them to the promised land, not just this second river parting, but the whole exodus, wilderness, entering the land bit. I touched on "witnesses" in worship this week when we talked about All Saints Day and the cloud of witnesses.

    I'm sure I'll talk about contributing to the church as a way to bear witness to our own experiences of God's grace.

    Next week I'm gone, but we're going to use the same Scripture in a contemplative service with a focus on gratitude. It'll be a more participatory service of prayers and readings, with no real traditional sermon per se. The folks will get small river rocks and have the opportunity to write simple, one word or phrase prayers of gratitude. Then we will build our memorial of gratitude like the Israelites built a memorial for their crossing of the Jordan with the ark.

    That's the plan. Now I need a bulletin!

  7. Found this picture for kids' to color...
    Uh, it is just a teeny bit creepy!
    May still try and use it...or find a Microsoft picture of an oil lamp!

  8. I am going wiht Joshua. ANd I hope to tie in a bit of a stewardship angle. 2 thoughts:

    1) It strikes me that JOshua is dubious about the people's ability to live up to the pledge of loyalty they make. And of course the story shows this dubiousness to be well-founded.
    2)what would we say if given the Joshua challenge? What answer would our actions show? If actions count as much (or more) than words then what actions do we need to change?

    More at the church blog (you'll need to scroll down a bit).

  9. (off topic - I was just looking at some of the pictures from the US elections - and many of the polling stations are in churches. That doesn't happen over here so I was a bit shocked!)

    be blessed whereever you are )

    now back to the lectionary

  10. Yes, Seethrough,
    Churches, schools and fire stations are popular spots in the Southern US. I first voted at a UMC and then went to fire stations (x3).
    In south america, folks had to have all campaign signs, billboards, etc removed 24 hrs prior to election.
    Does not happen here, the signs will be poluting our earth for weeks to come. wishing folks would be responsible.

  11. I am preaching the Bridesmaids, but with a stewardship lens. I think I'll treat the Oil as spiritual discipline -- the thing that cannot be shared, which is daily, ongoing, which must be replenished. Stewardship is part of our discipline. Whaddayathink? Am I twisting anything or this legit?

  12. I'm with Ruth. I'm going the stewardship direction on this one. Adding that faithfulness in preparation (stewardship) is one means by which our Savior will recognize his followers.

  13. Off topic, too - - I've always known churches as polling places. I've voted in churches myself both where I live now (Wisconsin) and where I grew up (Florida). In Georgia (Atlanta metro area) my polling site was literally the store room of a grocery store - right straight back through the dairy section. I couldn't be believe it. In Nebraska I voted at an elementary school, but the church where I worked was a polling site and so was the one where my kids were in daycare.

  14. wow, I like what Ann said.

    I am trying to figure out how to talk about racism with my congregation.

    and, do the parable too.

    maybe too tall an order?

  15. oh off topic too but we have churches as some polling places too. my husband's church is a polling place for two precincts.

    my church in SD was a polling place.

  16. Wow, Ruth, as my homiletics professor used to say, "That will preach." You're not twisting it at all! I simply wish I was preaching this week so I could use your slant on this, but the bishop is coming for confirmations and will be preaching. It's next week that I'll need to talk stewardship. Rev Jude

  17. Here's something potentially helpful for those preaching Matthew by Vicky Balabansky and found in this week's Seasons of the Spirit curriculum:

    When the early church retold parables of Jesus, the original
    – often polemical – context in which Jesus had spoken these sto-
    ries changed. What had originally been a means of surprising
    and confronting Jesus’ opponents became a means for build-
    ing up Christian communities. Consequently, it’s likely that the
    emphasis of some of the parables may have shifted, often in the
    direction of heightened symbolism.
    In the case of this parable, the original hearers may not
    have assumed that the bridegroom was to be identified with
    Jesus. The story of a group of wise and foolish young women
    may have seemed to a male audience initially to be a comic tale.
    The shock would then come when the male host, with whom
    they had identified until that point, behaves in an ungenerous
    way and rejects the foolish girls. The story would have been a
    disturbing one, and they may have been surprised into identi-
    fying with the “foolish” young women and found themselves
    questioning whether they were really “insiders.”

  18. I love the end of the Amos passage, "Let justice roll down" --really fits this week for me, but can't preach that--not in so many words, anyway.

    The bridesmaids parable to me is notice to live each day fully and intentionally, and to keep our priorities straight.

    I have lots of swirling thoughts about all this that need to come together quickly b/c I have to write TOMORROW instead of Saturday when I'll be at diocesan convention all day.

  19. Brian Stoffregen quotes another commentator to suggest that "Keep awake" is not a great translation - that "Be prepared" would be better.

    It is tempting to think of going with a Boy Scout angle, of course, but I never got past first class, myself, so I wouldn't know what I was talking about.

    Instead, due to my campus ministry call, I'm comparing the parable to cramming for the tests that will soon be upon us. Title: "More Useless Cramming."

  20. BTW, Stoffregen is a great resource for lectionary preachers. Here's this week's notes:

  21. Continuing the off-topic polling place thread, our church was a polling place and we decided to serve dinner to anybody who wanted to come from 5-8 pm. We put up flyers and the neighborhood association promoted it. It was a great way to serve and connect with our neighbors.


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