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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "'Til We Meet Again" Edition

Lessons for the coming Sunday can be found here .

At our place the other Sunday, our recessional hymn was the old favorite "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again." I thought of that while reading Sunday's Gospel lesson, where we find Jesus, on the eve of his arrest, taking care of his friends -- ironically, the same friends who, a few short hours later, will abandon him -- by commending them (and, by extension, us) to the care of his Father.

What does the Gospel lesson have to say to us about living here in that place between the "now" and the "not yet," with Jesus alive and leading the way ahead of us, but out of our sight?

And some of us may be moving Ascension Day lessons and images to this coming Sunday. How will we handle the challenge of making this touchstone in the life of the Church more than what a friend of mine jokingly refers to as, "Beam Me Up, Dad!"?

As always, please share your insights as you work and pray your way to Sunday.


  1. I was going to preach on the Ascension since we don't have a special service for that anymore and I have been reading N.T. Wright's "Surprised by Hope" and he says some great things about the Ascension. But then I got this great prayer about Matthias and that's the first lesson and I'm getting someideas about being chosen by chance...replacing Judas...Here's the prayer
    St. Matthias Prayer

  2. I don't have to preach at all this weekend or next!

    This weekend I will be off to our Conference Annual Meeting and next week our lay rep to that meeting will give his report during the sermon time. (Mind you, since I have been tapped to write the summary of the meeting that will appear on the COnference Website by next Wednesday I suspect several of my phrases will make it into next week's report)

  3. I am likely going with the reading from Acts and talking about church structure. What I will say, how that will look is not even close to being revealed to me yet. Thanks for the prayer, Joelle.

  4. I'm also going with the selection of Judas' replacement and how we select leaders for the church today. Like Margaret, I am not quite sure how that's going to come together. I was really hoping for some direction here. I'll just have to keep checking in.

    Joelle, I love the poem. I didn't know alcoholism and Gary Indiana shared a patron saint. :-)

  5. Good stuff. I learned something about Mathias as well. Really, alcoholism? And he's the guy we never hear from again? Huh.

    I am focusing on the Acts passage as well. I was thinking about how we never hear from Mathias again...that making sure there were 12 apostles was an attempt for the church to go back to where it had been before everything hit the fan when the reality was that they had already changed and could not go back.

    I cannot take credit for that idea. David Flaherty is the one who gave it to me.

  6. I'm going for Acts also, but the Ascension Day text. Got nothing right now and week is looking packed.

    See you on Saturday!

  7. Ooh Tripp, thanks for sharing that good stuff. And so relevant to a congregation that finally figured out it will never be 1965 again.

  8. This week, using mostly Jesus' prayer for the disciples, and particularly the pieces about protection and the way the world hates them, I'm hearing the message of the danger of love. Loving as Jesus loved (particularly actively & inclusively, the topics of the last two sermons) is not easy. It's not always popular. (Maybe this is where justice, acting on behalf of others with an unpopular position, comes in. I tried to do that last week, but just couldn't get it to work in right.) Jesus knew this; he experienced it. He doesn't promise the remove the danger, but prays for the protection the disciples will need as they love/minister in his name.

    I have STRUGGLED preaching from these epistle and discourse passages. I didn't know how tied to narrative I am in my preaching until I tried this on for size. Geez, it is hard for me!!! This is the last week. We also have a baptism, so I am THRILLED I will have that immediately available to work into as illustrative material. The prayer for God's presence coming true in the promise of God's presence in baptism. Whew! That will really help me!!! I think I can also do a Pentecost "teaser" with some of this.

    I saw (after last week) there is an article in the Craft of Preaching section on about working with John's discourses. I'll check that out before I write this week.

    Also, since we use only 2 readings a week, I haven't picked my second reading yet. Not too crazy about the others with the direction I'm going, but might stick with 1 John for consistency. Also, that testimony/testify language might be something I can work with.

  9. Many blessings to all who pray, prepare, and preach this week.
    I am here getting preached too and fed well (spiritually and literally too).
    Sherev, narrative is always so much easier. I applaud you for dipping into Epistle. And someone, I can't anme now, but was a homiletically guru type, once said that even though the epistle is a "letter" there is a narrative (story) behind the letter and the letter points us to it.
    Not sure if that helps or not

  10. I wrote on today's blog this may fit some

    Session tonight... always a maybe?
    Last month it was 35 minutes... but you never know.

    wait.... what did I just write...I forgot so quick

  11. Tripp I love that "trying to go back where they were" approach!

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  13. I'm using the Ascension bit from Acts and the Feed My Sheep bit from John to preach about the 'In the Meantime' church. (Especially important since I'm teaching a class on Revelation this month.)
    I'm very tired of the repetive (and yes, non-narrative) John/First John stuff. Who put this lectionary section together and why did they think we need so many Sundays of that in a row? I did longer selections from Acts 10 last week (and wrote a hymn about it actually, which you can find on my blog). I will be glad when Pentecost gets here.

  14. I'm sticking with John this week and next...

    I'm intrigued by the disciples overhearing Jesus' prayer and trying to figure out how to bring my congregation into the experience. The NIB commentary gave me quite a bit to noodle on.

    We've been moving towards being aware of where God is already at work, seeing ourselves as a community with a communal relationship to God, and I think this week's text will help us see ourselves as "a community for whom Jesus prays." (NIB, 798)

    All I have on the page at this point is the scripture, though...

  15. She Rev- I have a hard time dealing with non-narrative texts as well. Honestly John drives me crazy.

  16. I like John 17:13 that people can take heart in hope--..."I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves." The whole prayer deserves study though; it feels to me maybe second only to the Lord's Prayer and yet I've not heard much made of it.

  17. I'm preaching on the Ascension texts on Thursday for a Deanery Altar Guild meeting and then on John for Sunday. Not sure where I'm going with either yet.

    So I know it's Wednesday and people may not be checking here today, but if you are....have any of you ever done a liturgy for blessing the altar guild? I was thinking about doing that for part of the program and anointing their hands at the conclusion. If you've ever done such a thing or know of resources would you email me at revdrmom(at)gmail(dot)com? Thanks!

  18. RevDrMom: If you have or can get your hands on a Lutheran "Occasional Services" book, there's a brief order for "Recognition of Ministries in the Congregation" that would be quite appropriate.

  19. Just realized that I once again posted from my husband's account, so I've deleted that and am re-posting on my own.

    I will be worshiping Sunday afternoon with 125 parish members on the beach on Catalina Island, where we spend each Memorial Day weekend! I'm thinking I'll skip the appointed propers and use some creation-themed ones.

  20. I'm preaching the Ascension, but for those using Matthias, years ago I read/heard that the selection of Matthias was the first mistake the church made. The commentator suggested that God had chosen Paul, but that the disciples were too impatient to wait on God's time and felt the need to do something. They chose Matthias, who was quickly forgotten. I wish I could remember where I got this thought from....

  21. I was so intrigued by the negative reactions to Matthias that I looked the scene up in a couple of my commentaries, even though I'm preaching on the Ascension. I found a helpful treatment in Justo González's Acts: The Gospel of the Spirit in the comments on this passage.

    In general, I don't think it is necessary (or necessarily warranted) to call Matthias a mistake. The book of Acts shows the Spirit working in a variety of ways, especially when it comes to raising up new leaders for the church. The old models may have been in a process of transition, but that does not necessarily mean that what was done in the interim was wrong.

    Read by itself, this passage gives the impression that the disciples prayerfully went about this process, and they (and, I think, the writer) seem to think Matthias' choosing was directed in some way by God. Peter, who is in charge here, is portrayed in a hugely positive light in chapter 2, which immediately follows. A report of a major bungle seems out of character here (although it would've fit earlier in Luke).

    Paul himself does not appear to condemn "the Twelve" or question their existence as leaders. He doesn't seem to think that he should be one of them, although he does call himself "apostle" (a term that means something very different in Paul than it does here).

    Okay, part of me just feels for poor Matthias. many of us will be as famous as Peter? And how many more will quietly and faithfully go through our lives, and in time be mostly "forgotten"? Maybe it's not a bad thing for us that there's a "forgotten" Apostle!

  22. Rev. Mom, I read in Feasting on the Word the Theological section by Noel Leo Erskine the 'mistake' w/ Mathias but not the mention of Paul.

    I'm preaching that text but not sure about the mistake angle. Thinking more about being chosen or not chosen, those 'left-behind' and those of us who never consider that we're chosen.

    I'm sure glad y'all read and post here on wednesday too. I had a funeral today so spent yesterday on that service. Now its time for Sun.

  23. Well, I got called to do supply just after my graduation last weekend, so I am mulling the text on Judas' replacement. See my ponderings on Considering Blessings and Betrayal at

    Matthias: the patron saint of alcoholics, hm? I don't know if that will play well at the small Baptist church where I'll be preaching.

  24. Love that angle, Sarah. Sorta like the verse from "There is a Balm in Gilead":

    If you cannot preach like Peter,
    If you cannot pray like Paul
    You can tell the love of Jesus
    And say “He died for all.”

    I'd like to preach that Matthias sermon - - bigtime. I might tuck it away for a day when the lectionary just isn't working for me this summer. I guess I can wait 'til it comes up again, but it might fit with some themes I'm pondering for the coming months.


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