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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Thanksgiving and Advent I

For those of you not frolicking on vacation somewhere away from home - there are still sermons to preach!

Yes, sermonS. Thanksgiving Day and Advent I, and you'll find the lectionaries for each linked in this sentence. '

There was a lot of Thanksgiving sermon talk at the Eleventh Hour Preacher Party on Saturday, so maybe you are all done and dusted with that one. If not, you might check it out for inspiration! (or commiseration, as needed).

I love the Gospel for Sunday: Mark 13:24-37. It speaks much to me of the place where I am: working intentionally on practicing a holy Advent. It's difficult to do, now; what with the Christmas Machine everywhere; Black Friday coming; political bickering that will. not. stop. - The last line of the Gospel reminds me to be vigilant against the tide that would take me away from where I need to be:

"And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake."
What are you pondering for sermon or sermons this week? Please share in the comments. We look forward to reading you!


  1. MB, thanks for posting here! I have two sermons DRAFTED already. So, sue me! I got started early because in theory I'm on vacation, although that vacation includes preaching tomorrow night at the community service and showing up for church on Sunday, also to preach.
    For those who need a day free, I have a four voice reading for Advent 1B, based on the Isaiah reading and the Psalm, and I am happy to share it. Just email me at It can be an intro to the service, or take the place of the sermon. You light the first candle on the Advent wreath at the end.

  2. I'm here, frantically trying to write a sermon before our family takes off for the Mitten State for Thanksgiving with in-laws. We return Friday, and I preach Saturday night and twice on Sunday. I don't usually preach Sunday, and there are a large number of retired pastors in that congregation, so I am feeling a bit of pressure!

    I am focusing on the Isaiah text, Come On Down is my title, and I want to talk about how we want God to show up in earthquake and fire, but God doesn't do that any more. That is what the Israelites wanted, too, and they got a little baby, many years later, instead. It is coming together, but very slowly!

  3. MumPastor - I laughed out loud at the term Mitten State. I realized that live in Mitten Country!

  4. HAs anyone bought the new commentary by BBT and someone else I can't remember? I have only begun reading the stuff for Sunday's lessons but it's interesting. Sermon for tomorrow's joint service with cross town Episcopal Church is done, tho, so I only have Sunday left. When I finish reading, I'll let you all know where I'm headed.

  5. I've got a couple things rattling around in my head....right now I'm leaning toward the grace that is contained in Jesus' coming. Wife, Mother, Pastor is my spot.

  6. Margaret - yes, I have that one ("Feasting on the Word") - BBT and David Bartlett, editors. I'm excited to use it but, sadly, had completely forgotten I had it until your post! Thanks for the reminder.

    I'm thinking about 'beginning at the end' as a direction for the sermon. But then again, it's only Tuesday.

  7. From the peanut gallery:

    1) Beth, your links to your blog are not working in the comments. I've noticed it before. Please refer to the end of a Friday Five posting for the formulation that will work - we want to enjoy your contributions! and let me know if you have questions.

    Here's a link to Beth's post for now.

    2) See-Through Faith, BBT refers to "Barbara Brown Taylor."


  8. "there are a large number of retired pastors in that congregation"

    mumpastor, remember we long-in-tooth pastors need to hear your freshness to keep our faith alive. We too were young pastors and can really remember the ones that we crashed and burned on. Don't fear us, use us. There is nothing like a little "been there, done that" prayer to take the edge off.

  9. I've got T'giving done. Used an old story of mine of someone who taught me the humility to be thankful.

    Am wondering what to do with the little apocolypse of Mk. I did a paper on that passage years ago and I still don't know what God is saying to us today.

  10. i am opting out of preaching for sunday and we're doing a "lessons & carols for advent"... with a long, extended children's sermon. we will use the letters ADVENT - and each one will teach us something about the season.

    Thanksgiving worship... been pondering all day, but I like Muthah's idea of telling a personal story of thankfulness.

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  12. That was me, posting under the wrong name...I should not post from work, obviously.

    I've just got to get my head out of Matthew mode and into Mark I don't know what I'm preaching Sunday.

    No sermon for Thanksgiving, but must give a "dedication of the offering" at the ecumenical service--that is so not Episcopalian--can someone clue me in--should it be long? Short? Focused on where the offering is going? I mean, we'd just sing something here, or say "All things come of thee, O Lord..."

  13. Of course, now that I have spent months planning the entire Advent season (or maybe because I spent that much time) I have no desire to preach what I planned. Can't change because we've organized our chrismon tree around it, our children's times, our written Advent devotionals, etc etc.


    I'm doing Isaiah, and I still think it'll be OK and all. It's just that all of the sudden I have the courage to try Mark that I didn't think I'd have. Oh well.

    What I also didn't realize (this being my first Advent) is that the children's program and choir cantata that are planned are pretty much in place of sermons on those weeks. So, with 2 weeks of Advent not really preaching, communion on another and a baptism on still another. I barely have two Advent sermons to preach anyway. I don't know the last time I sort of complained about NOT preaching.

    Anyway...the over-arching plan is answering the question "Who are we waiting for?" with basically attributes or characteristics of God who comes in Jesus as the theme/answer each week. This week I'm working from the Isaiah text and talking about God who is both powerful (tears open heavens, mountains quake, etc.) and tender (works with the care of a potter). My devotional that was written for the booklet we put together talked about this as a paradox, essentially the paradox of the incarnation, the divine coming as a human. Maybe I'll just expand on that! Maybe I've got a title here, too? "Power Paradox" Ultimately, God is truly powerful because God can work these big huge things and teeny, tiny things. I don't know yet.

    Not too sure what else I'm doing from there, but in all reality even the two Advent sermons I get to preach are going to have to be more like meditations because of the sacraments on the same weeks. My major theme and season development work will probably actually happen in the children's times/Advent wreath lighting sections.

  14. Oh yeah - - our Advent "chrismon" symbol for this week is the "hand of God." With the kids the leader will talk about all the different things hands can do - huge things like build skyscrapers and launch rockets, and tiny things like put on a Band-Aid or pat a friend. (We'll just do good things hands can do I think.) Then it'll be about all the things God can do on these ends of the spectrum, the huge world/global things (creation type things) and small personal things (comfort us when we're sad, forgive us when we've sinned type things).

    Advent tie - - Jesus' human hands were also God's divine hands on earth. In Isaiah's time the world waited for a Savior to be God's hands on earth. Or something like this. Everything is really rough so far.

  15. I am going with the theme of God coming into the darkness of our world rather than the joyful world we create at Christmas time. Trying to get my congregation to understand the darkness of Isaiah and Mark this Sunday even though they are all ready for the joy of Christmas.

  16. Rev Dr Mom - short. If you know where it's going I'd say include that. That helps, but on a regular Sunday ours is usually just a couple of sentences - All these gifts are really yours anyway, God. Bless them to your purposes, and help us do your will Amen.

    OK, that was a little tongue-in-cheek, but not too far off base!

  17. RDM, I agree. The Invitation is more likely to name the places the gifts are going.

  18. Muthah+ - thanks for your encouragement. I am too often intimidated, when I have never heard anything negative from any of the retirees. Mitten country - what a neat idea, Sue, and true...blessings to all as you continue to prepare!

  19. I am essentially off-lectionary for Advent.

    This week the theme is Be Not Afraid, a new world is coming. I am using Rev 21 and Isa 65 in conjunction with the MArk passage. Trying to link in with how Christmas isn't about a birth 200 years ago but about what is being born here and now. What are we waiting for today?

    ANd since it is communion and there is teh Advent candle to be lit and a pot-luck/tree-trimming party after church it should likely be short.

    However I wil have limited time to work on it until Saturday. Out of town from tomorrow noonish to Friday suppertimeish.

  20. I preached at our Interfaith Thanksgiving Service sunday evening...I don't know if there's anything useful to those of you who are preaching tomorrow, but you can find it at my place. I sort of used some stuff from Paul, sort of not (it was Interfaith after all...).

    I don't get to preach until Advent 4...something of a rude awakening after all the preaching I did while waiting for the interim to arrive! I'm a little with SheRev, wondering if I can complain about NOT preaching too much!

  21. I posted some thoughts here... I've been working on advent already since I got the opportunity to write sermon starters for the United Methodist Publishing House for Advent. Most weeks, it will probably be exactly what can be found here but I may make updates on my blog here

    I'm using the UCC resources, for advent wreath liturgy that I found on - I had something else planned entirely, but I really like their use of communal confession as a part of the lighting of the candle.

    My sermon is focusing on staying awake to all of the little signs of God that are around us everyday. "Eyes Wide Open" is my title... but that's all that is on the manuscript so far.

  22. Lectionary Leaning is more like a tipping this week.
    FIRST, I'm thrilled to be on lectionary so I can keep time with you all.
    SECOND, we are preaching from the Epistle texts this Advent. My co-pastor has been at this 30 years and wanted the challenge of the unusual text and this is my first Advent, so I'm up for anything.
    THIRD, as to my tipping, I'm planning on using the Isaiah text to describe the typical mixture of emotions we feel as we wait. Waiting can be overwhelming and confusing BUT the I Corinthians 1 text reminds us that, it is while we are waiting that God crafts and shapes us into the people we will need to be when the Kingdom finally comes in all its splendor! I also have the opportunity to interview a new-er member of our congregation who has a wonderful story of how God finally got through to him during the waiting time of his incarceration.
    Hopefully, I'll have this done except for tweaks by tomorrow evening!

  23. Meg, that also works for next week and the Peter text... about God's time and our time and how he is just be as patient as possible with us so that we might all be saved.

  24. My go-to Advent outline is usually something like this, in four movements:

    Advent 1: God Is Coming!
    Advent 2: God is Coming, Look Busy!
    Advent 3: God Is Coming to Save Us. Hooray!
    Advent 4: God, Is Coming, And Surprisingly, God Looks Just Like Us!

  25. Don't I wish I could hear all these sermons!

    In my tradition, we don't list, advertise, pre-plan sermon titles (that I have ever seen) so I would give a pretty penny to see Cheese's sermon titles on a marquee! :) THAT'D blog.

  26. Cheesehead, I love your Advent outline! :-D

    Shalom, for this Sunday, I ended up in a similar place to where you're starting, that we always begin the church year at the end, the eschaton.

    I blogged a reflection for Thanksgiving here, and one for Advent I here.

    Hope you enjoy, and going to read y'all's work so far now...

  27. Mary Beth, being of your same tradition, I agree. And I can't imagine coming up with an outline or titles so far in advance!!

  28. cheese, your outline crackes me up.

    katie z - I really liked that advent thing too, but it seemed a little too heavy duty for Sunday morning, so I'm doing it for our longest night service - we light ALL the candles that night and it will be just the thing.

    whoever asked: that feasting on the word book is so very good. already, only one week into it, it is making a big difference in my prep and writing.

  29. I LOVE and will use the "pastoral" comments for the gospel lesson... found in Year B, Volume 4 of Feasting on the Word. If the remainder of these commentaries are this good... I'm fixing to spend some moolah!

  30. I have found myself coming back to this blog week after week... comments here are always helpful. Even those weeks when I go a different direction, it's great to read the myriad of thoughts and different takes on the readings and season...

    I'm with Pastor Heather this week - I'm talking about the darkness, particularly with the situation in Mumbai on people's minds (my father's from Mumbai, so my congregation is particularly focused on what's going on, and getting in touch to make sure that my family members are okay, etc.). and hope and new possibility springing from that darkness, light that scatters darkness... and our ability to be that light in the darkness for others.
    At least that's where I am today!


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