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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings - walk the talk edition

Blessed as I am with colleagues, August has been a very gentle month for me in terms of preaching - and this weekend I'll be on the receiving end once more, at the ever wonderful Greenbelt Festival...All of which is really unhelpful to those of you who are called to preach the word this Sunday.
The readings, here are quite a mixed bag -and I think I might struggle to avoid something of a rant if I launched into the it may be a mercy for all concerned that I won't be in a pulpit anywhere this week!

That said, many Church of England parishes are preparing for Back to Church Sunday, an annual event at the end of September when the congregation is encouraged to invite friends and neighbours who might have drifted away from church back for a special I guess my approach might be to invite my congregations to consider why their guests might even consider coming, to take a long hard look at themselves and consider whether or not their faith makes a distinctive difference to their daily priorities. Are they hearers or doers?
I might roll out the well worn rhyme
You’re writing a gospel, a chapter each day…
By the deeds that you do, by the words that you say…

People read what you write, whether faithless or true
Say, what is the gospel according to you?”

Or Gandhi's "If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today!"

I might invite them to ponder the whole question of living life "inside out" so that the truth of who (and indeed whose) we are is both evident and attractive.

Having preached on the Song of Solomon passage only last Saturday at a wedding, I might also want to engage with invitations - those which we find irresistable and those which it is all too easy to ignore...What might God be inviting us to do if we "arise and come away" in response to God's call?

Not sure if any of that would actually preach - but it's where I am this Tuesday morning. Blessings on those who have to turn thoughts into words...


  1. I ended up quite taken with the garden imagery in James, and being able to weave in the opposites of "evil intentions" and "all good gifts" between the gospel and the epistle.

    If you'd like to take a walk through the garden of your heart, I had sort of a guided meditation in the middle of my reflection here.

    Blessings to all!
    Sr. Hedwyg

  2. Way back in June I put a title to this sermon (my first after returning from holidays). It is Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall.....

    NOw the question is, was I referring to James/Mark with talking to teh man in the mirror or to Song of SOlomon and "who's the fairest of them all"????????

    Since Monday is our anniversary maybe I'll go with the latter and talk about love/marriage

    THen again, as I look at the hymns I think I might have been thinking "man in the mirror".....

  3. I'm a little stumped this morning. Had planned to begin 5 weeks with James this Sunday but my son had emergency surgery (appendix-he's doing great)this past Sunday and my youth director used this week's James text to preach from. Mind you, I am grateful that he was able to pull something together to preach at the last minute on a Sunday morning! Just not sure where to go this week...

    Would welcome any suggestions on how I might get back on track! Should I simply be a week ahead on lectionary? Or slip something else in this week and pick up James next Sunday?

  4. RevSis, glad your son is doing well and how nice to have someone jump in and cover for you.
    If you know the direction he went, maybe there is another way for you to take it that will link up to the rest of your sermons. Or you could just do what you had planned and see if anyone notices similarities between last week's sermon and this week's! Odds are good that the change of voice will make it different for the hearer.

    I've looked at an old sermon from this Sunday and I think I can use some of it even though it was done pre-RCL. Gord, your title is the direction I will go with the gospel. Are we so different from the Pharisees? Are we as afraid of change/reinterpretation as they were? Since I may well lose about 12 people from my congregation because they believe the Episcopal Church has approved same-sex blessings, this is a live issue here. A parishioner told me last week that it is a combination of homophobia and fear of change. The latter is something I run up against all the time. So holding up a mirror works for me.

  5. RevSis--glad to hear that your son is doing well, blessings for the rest of his recovery.

    Kathryn--i think those quotes you listed will definately preach!

    This is my first time ever working with the Song of Solomon! I'm not sure where I'm going with it but my plan is to stick with the Hebrew Testament until Advent. I love that it's all about the Wisdom Lit.

    If anyone has suggestions for some good resources for the Song of Solomon please post them! Thanks!

  6. It strikes me that both Song of Solomon and the gospel are quite body-positive. Anybody going that direction?

  7. revhipchick, check out Eugene Peterson's "The Message" version of the Song of Solomon passage. Sometimes his version leans toward great creativity. revdi

  8. Revsis - so glad your son is better!

    RevHip - I read a reference to a Brueggeman book called Solomon: Israel's Ironic Icon of Human Acheivement
    but havent seen the book itself. Might be worth checking out.

    I am going with SOS and James. I like that mirror imagery, too, Gord. I'm going with something about The Big Circle Of Creation - how our relationships to God/others/nature each rely on the other. This is to set up some conversation about a community garden we've been approached about having on our property - very very very exciting! So I'm hoping I"ll be able to write pretty quick today and have somethign like a sermon by the end of the day. I'm not usually a Tuesday writer (to say the LEAST), so we'll see :)

  9. Thanks for the post. It helped me to change directions. I'm going to title it "Living Life Inside Out." We'll see where it goes.

  10. I had similar thoughts as hedwyg, but looking at where things come from.
    Evil from within and all the good acts, gifts are from God
    I think my title is" Where Did that Come From?"

  11. Thanks for all the well wishes for my son -- just picked him up from school and all went well (he loved all the sympathy he got!).

    Thanks also for your suggestions to my quandry. I think I'm going to do a blend of what I had for last week and my take on the James passage to set us up for the rest of the series. Like Margaret and another friend said, they probably won't notice and odds are I won't approach it the same way he did.

    Ruth, BBT has some great body positive insights in An Altar in the World, Ch 3, that might be helpful if you go that direction.

    Blessings on all in your prep for this week!

  12. Thanks to all for comments--they help to kick start the pondering process. Although I am very partial to James, I am leaning towards the gospel and distinguishing between human tradition and God's commandments...Like Margaret though that could take me into rough waters with recent conflict over same gender issues. I am wondering where else in our lives as a community does this have meaning and insight.....

  13. Oh, how I think I could really go at a sermon on the healthcare reform debate with James this week, but, being my fifth Sunday at my new call, I'm not sure that would be the right approach. I think I'm going to hone in one that line "welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls." We have a healing service, so this might be especially pertinent. We'll see...I'm about to start a rough draft....

  14. I'm late to this "party," but have known I will play with James this week for quite a while. It's my first week back on the lectionary after messing aroud with the order of it or skipping it all together for much of the summer. It feels good to be back in sync with folks.

    That said, I probably won't be doing a more traditional sermon. I've done three weeks in a series on aspects of sustainability, and they have been three very theoretical weeks. I guess you could say I've done a lot of "apologetics" in a way, but not a whole lot of applications. So this week, with the whole "hearers and doers" theme, I want to break this all open. If God calls us to act a certain way in relationship to economics, environment, and society, what should we DO, very practically, personally and as a congregation, to heed that call, to not just hear the word of God, but DO the word of God.

    I was craving the chance to work with Song of Solomon, and I think, Kathryn, you may have given me a way to work it. I love what you said about invitations. I might be able to make that work as I invite people to make some real suggestions about places where they are invited into the doing.

    I plan to keep my thoughts to a short meditation then ask people to brainstorm alone or in small groups, we will collect the results and somehow read them, maybe this is where the invitations come back in, and pray over them in some way. Not sure. I feel like I'm close to being on to something now, though....


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