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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "All You Need is Love" Edition

Lessons for the coming Sunday can be found here .

Just the other day at our house we listened to the Indigo Girls' cover of the Youngbloods' "Get Together": Come on people now/smile on your brother/everybody get together/try to love one another right now.

Try to love one another. That sounds about right; because loving people can be hard work. And yet Jesus commands us to love one another. How can one be commanded to love?

I don't know about you, but for me this coming Sunday's lessons raise more questions than answers. What questions -- or answers -- are you pondering this week, in light of the lectionary? Or are you using other lessons for your worship theme and sermon? As always, please share your thoughts!


  1. I'm preaching the gospel lesson and have all kinds of love songs going through my head.

    Right now it's: All you need is love ...

    Pondering what love in action looks like.

  2. I'm preaching on Acts & the Gospel passage, so I've got Love AND Joy to blether on about...and I'm actually pretty joyful about that, really.

    My sermon prompt came from ChoralGirl, who posted a great reflection about intrinsic blessedness. When I re-read the Acts passage in light of her post, the power of the words seemed to blossom.

    (My reading is also coloured by the joy I feel about Maine's passage of Gay Marriage legislation this past week, tho I'm unsure whether or not the Spirit will lead me to mention it from the pulpit.)

    Acts' message of radical inclusion, coupled with John's urging to "abide in love", "complete your joy" and "bear lasting fruit..." Hmmm. I'm leaning towards something about orchards and the joyful vigor that comes when you introduce diverse varieties of trees.

  3. I'm preaching Acts and right now all that I have is envy, as in the words from There is a balm in Gilead. "If you cannot preach like Peter." His sermon lit the congregation on fire. If only . . .

    And it follows nicely on week's treatment of the Ethiopian Eunuch, always a plus.

    Other than that, I've got nothing this morning, but then I've only had one cup of coffee.

  4. The question that came into my head yesterday was "can love be commanded?"

    SO that is what I am exploring this week in a sermon titled Servants of the Big L-O-V-E

  5. It's obviously a week for big questions - I'm still pondering how do you respond to someone who asks 'why should I love God?' 'Why does the God who created everything that is need MY love??' and then 'what does it mean to love God?'.
    Errm... thinking!!

  6. The Gospel In One Word is my title from the camp song:

    Love, love, love, love
    Gospel in one word is love.
    Love each other, as yourself
    For we all are one...

    Anyway, I'm grateful once again for Seasons of the Spirit (so worth it, if you dont get it already - at least the Congregational Life portion) for two moving stories about international encounters with injustice/poverty. So, pulling together the Acts inclusion theme with the John love theme through the lenses of those stories. So far, planning to do 3 short first person monologues based on those stories plus one other, but we'll see if I can pull that off by the end of the week. Lots of other stuff brewing this week, too, natch...

    Blessings all on your study and prep.

  7. I think Gord just gave me an idea for sermon title.
    Now for the sermon part.
    Good thougths on how you command love.
    Reminds me of early childhood days where we had to hug each other and makeup, usually not the most willingly of participants

  8. I, too, have songs swirling in my head after reading the verse, "I do not call you servants any longer....but I have called you friends." It immediately made me think of the Doobie Brothers' song, "Jesus is just alright with me" and the line that goes -- Je-suuus, he's my free-und. He took me by the hand; led me far from this land
    Jesus, hes my friend

    And of course there's that awesomely cheesy song by Sonseed called Jesus is my friend.

    I'm not sure how these are working their way into my sermon, but they're certainly causing me to think about friendship.

  9. Preaching on John--I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends. I'm sure love will work its way in there somewhere, too, as it has been the theme of the last couple of weeks.

  10. Off lectionary for my swan song...using the vine & branches passage from last week's lectionary. So I won't be joining the Tuesday and Saturday parties for the time being. :(

  11. I am doing a family-friendly sermon; it's Open House at our school on Sunday afternoon, and we've specifically tried to tie it in to Sunday's worship, inviting school families. That idea of how/whether one "commands" love gets my brain going for the start at least: move about the congregation commanding people (nicely) to do things--raise your right arm, hum, say "amen" or whatever--and then command someone to love. I can see that working as a starting point...

  12. Ya'll can tell I'm in Texas...I've got Waylon Jennings, "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places" (Urban Cowboy) song running through my mind!

    I'm with the gospel again this week and as I've looked at the translations, I'm noodling on the idea that we are commanded (ordered, charged, etc.) to love (welcome and treat one another with fondness). At the same time, we also need to recognize that this is what we receive from that is welcoming and expresses fondness. I wonder which one is harder for us - to see/treat others this way or to believe that we are seen/treated this way by God?

    And maybe that's helps explain why we look for love is so many wrong places...

  13. I liked the blip from an old Sojourners that I found a few weeks ago for this Sunday, called "An Ethical Love." I'm planning to go with the "laying down his life" portion of the gospel and I think, now that you all are talking about it, the commanding of love. I think love can be commanded because love is not a feeling, love is what we do. "More than feeling" is the song that keeps coming to my mind. From here I want to take it into a justice direction - - working on behalf of others, laying down our lives/interests/priorities to take up the cause for other, is one part of the love we are commanded to love.

  14. I hammered love pretty hard last Sunday. It's got to be Acts this week. I wrote a great sermon yesterday that ended in the middle of nowhere with no connecting road in sight. So that' likely to end up in the trash. I found a great piece by Richard Jensen this morning through Text this Week so I'm going to read that and a few more pieces before coming up with the direction the HS wants to take this sermon.

  15. Riverview United asked the question, "how can we be commanded to love?" I think love that is unconditional can only come from God, and love is a choice not an emotion. Sometimes it is choosing to ask God to give you love for others.

    My sermon title is "Chosen" on the John passage. We are having our Senior Recognition Sunday and we are chosen because we are loved. I want to leave these students and their parents with an overwhelming sense that God loves, with a love greater than ours.


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