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Monday, January 12, 2009

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "God Calling" Edition

Lessons for the coming Sunday can be found here .

What is God's call like?

Our lessons suggest that it may come from assorted and sometimes surprising places: a voice in the night; the grandeur of God's creation; an itinerant preacher from the Galilean toolie-weeds.

And the call may come to surprising people as well.

And how do we respond to such a call?

As always, share your preaching/praying/worship planning ponderings here.


  1. It's still Monday, but I'm up!

    Since I'm hitting Mark hard this year with the lectionary and the gospel this week is John, I'm thinking I'll probably scrap it and go with the them text for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I've never done it before, and it sounds cool. (How's that for the Spirit moving?) Geez, I sound so enthusiastic!

    Really, I'm more fired up about it than I sound, but hey, it's bedtime on Monday night. The text is from Ezekiel and I think I might wrap a little Martin Luther King, Jr. into it too - - a little bit of what can happen when Christians across traditions can join together.

    Maybe I'll have more thoughts tomorrow.

  2. Rather than write my annual report (which just means I HAVE to do it tomorrow--since the deadline was yesterday) I did my opening sermon thoughts. I am going with the second part of the Samuel reading (11-20) with the homiletical question we all ask at some point You Want ME to Say WHAT?

  3. It's 2 in the morning, I wish I weren't awake, but hey--since I am, let's think about Sunday's sermon.

    Going with Samuel's call (all 20 verses of it!) and continuing with the "voice of God" theme I started last week. I really love this passage, which typically means it will be a difficult sermon to write. Anyhow, I'm thinking of how we hear God's voice and how we speak God's words (similar to Gord's title there).

    Sounds like the baby might be back to sleep, so I'll check back in the morning.

  4. We're on the Confession of St. Peter, and my initial thoughts are here.

  5. Anybody preaching on the Epistle?

  6. I'm going with John while holding the Psalm up in the background. I had decided to start the year lifting up one of our four focus areas (mission, spiritual formation, hospitality, and worship) each week as we will meet at the end of the month to dream and vision and plan.

    This week's focus is on hospitality -- welcoming and connecting our guests plus inviting new guests. The Psalmist tells us that not only are we wonderfully made but so is everyone else. God knows me and loves me as fully as God knows you and you and you (and you get the idea!) John describes how readily those whom Jesus calls bring others to him, even those who are a bit suspicious.

    Can we let go of our anxiety for what others may think of us and focus on sharing the good news of what God through Christ thinks of each and every person?

  7. Is anyone preaching an "inaugural sermon"? Our church sits about 6 miles from the DC line and we're all going to be shut out of travel that day with bridges closed and bunches of people and portajons filling the streets. I'm thinking of using 1 Sam as a bit of a teaser, and "Come and See" as not being only the beginning if we are to be part of the coming change. I have some initial ideas about God's justice and our participation but have a way to go.
    also have a church retreat to complete before Friday.

  8. SheRev i like your idea about combining MLK Jr and the Christian unity.

    like Esperanza, last week we focused on the voice of God and listening for it, so this week feels like a continuation--hearing both the disciples' call stories in John (i'm backing up to v.35 and going to 51) and Samuel's as well (all 2o there).

    i'm hoping to find MLK's "call story" and how he followed it, so i can then talk about his as well--encouraging people to hear their own call stories.

    that's where i'm at the moment.

    Rev. Fitz--wow! how wonderful to be so close! i'm sure it has both its plus and minuses. i found some rich inaugeration liturgy on the umc worship page:

    we're very far away so i won't be doing the whole service around it, but i do plan on incorporating it--it just feels natural.

    blessings to everyone.

  9. Thanks for the tips on combining the call of MLK with the call of Samuel! I have just begun assistant/team teaching in the 8 to 10 year old room and we are lectionary based, so that sounds like a great focus assuming my partner agrees. I will also bring in the call and faith of Hannah, of course, and perhaps Rosa Parks or Fannie Lou Hamer. Or, hey, Coretta Scott King for that matter....

  10. Tying together John and 1 Samuel over here. Like so many of you, continuing theme of the voice of God - the voice of God claims us and then calls us to follow. How do we respond?

  11. I am in the process of installing a whole new operating system on my formerly limping computer - funny how such little things can excite us!

    I am focusing on Samuel and John - in our lectionary Bible study this week someone answered the question "Why did you first respond to God's call? Why do you keep responding?" - I found that an intriguing angle, and I am running with it! Thanks for reminding me about MLK and the inauguration, sometimes I have my head in the sand. Blessings to all in your preparations!

  12. Gord,
    your homiletical question is a great sermon title!
    I'm working with John, sorta, with MLK/Inaugural emphasis.
    Title is (an MLK quote) "Tied to a Single Garment of Destiny"

  13. Good stuff here.

    I'm finding myself intrigued by the beginning of the I Sam. passage- about the word of Lord being rare and visions not widespread. Don't know where I'm going with that yet, but how many of us feel that way- personally and in our churches? Why is that?

  14. Years ago I was preaching on this and got a phone near the pulpit. Talking about God's call. At the very end I made the phone ring. Picked it up. said...
    It's God,... it's for you....

    You can do that once. this may be the day...

  15. Ok experience 2 with the Samuel passage.
    My name is Bobbie. When the 1st Gulf war started my husband was away and the kids were asleep downstairs and one of the members called me and we talked for an can this war be? what can we do? what does God want from us?
    I remember the CNN broadcast of the rockets and the bombs exploding all over Baghdad. I somehow feel asleep with the TV on. This was one of the first broadcasts with live coverage of the war and there was time delay when they spoke to one another.

    Sound asleep I hear clearly.. Bobbie! Bobbie! Are you there? Let's review, husband gone, children call me mom... did I hear my name? I waited. the Voice came again
    Bobbie Bobbie Are you there? I thought Ok well apparently God wants me to go to Iraq. I hear my name twice now.
    Then another voice. Yes yes this is Cnn's Bobbie Batista (a commentator) Go ahead with your report Jim. and Jim did.... the rockets are everywhere ...

    I was awake. What if that was so clear...and God?
    I think it was... God...
    God abide

  16. i'm hoping that someone can help me. i thought it'd be easy to find MLK Jr's call story. i'm either not looking in the right places or for the wrong things.

    please help if you can!

    i know his father and grandfather were preachers and that he didn't want/intend to become a preacher but something changed his mind--what was it? anybody?


  17. I feel very off-track, reading all of this. I'm on the epistle, 1 Cor 6:12-20 because I want to focus on "Glorify God in your body." Want to have a whole-person approach to how we respond to God -- not just all rationality,, not just all woo-hoo spirituality, but our body as well. You can see I have a long way to go in my thinking.

  18. Hi revcrystalk,

    Saw that you are looking for call info on MLK...perhaps this will help.

  19. oh doesn't look like the link worked. I also left it on yoru blog. i think the comment ended up underneath your bio!

  20. Kudos to those of you tackling the Epistle! I'm running late this week - meetings and a funeral - so I haven't got a focus yet. I talked about barriers last week and Nathanael's comment about Nazareth seems to lead in the same direction. I like Gord's take on Sam's first job for God and may go with something along those lines.
    Thanks to all who reminded me about MLK and the inauguration although I don't know if I'll go there. Politics or anything that smacks of it (unless it's 2,000 years old) is frowned upon here.

  21. For anyone still looking for MLK's call story, you can read (er, skim) through a book called "The Preacher King" by Richard Lischer at Google Books.

    From what I've gathered so far, he was early on willing and ready to be a minister. It was the calling into social justice that was more difficult for him to answer. But like I said, I've just skimmed some.

    "In the quiet recesses of my heart, I am fundamentally a clergyman, a Baptist preacher." (pg 3).

    Hope this helps.

  22. Maybe I spoke too's another quote that might help:
    "My call to the ministry was not a miraculous or supernatural something, on the contrary it was an inner urge calling me to serve humanity." (pg 27)


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