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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "More Salt, Please" Edition

Lectionary texts for the coming Sunday can be followed here .

Salt -- not only a mineral essential to our lives, but one that makes life taste better.

We have a lot of spiritually salty material in the lectionary this week.

Your people may be hearing the story of Esther this week, and how one of God's faithful "salted" into an alien culture helped save her people. Or they may be hearing about the gift of prophecy sprinkled amidst the restless Israelites.

In our epistle lesson James offers lessons on how the Christian community should season its life together.

And in our Gospel lesson -- echoing the text in Numbers -- Jesus challenges the disciples' expectation that spiritual salt only comes from an "approved" source.

How will you use these texts to season your sermon this week? Or are you preaching off the lectionary? As always, share your ponderings and plans here!


  1. Ahhh, first post :) ....
    I've been pondering on James today, particularly James 5:16 and confession.
    Sort of ties in with my research and also connected ministry conference in which was a session on women and abuse - and the confessing of the sins of others/ reactions of hearers.

  2. I am not sure where I am going with this week's texts--which has no salt in the Catholic lectionary as the Gospel stops just short of those verses. Mostly so far, I have been seeing the contrast/balance in Jesus in the two halves of the Gospel. First half open and welcoming, echoing the Numbers reading; second half tough and confrontive like the reading from James (a bit earlier on for us, about the judgment coming on the rich). Of course he did it as appopriate for each person/situation and that discernment is part of our prophetic call too....

  3. I'm pondering James and prayer this week. Not much else yet ... at least it's only Tuesday.

  4. I have done just enough reading to know that I won't use Esther. I love this story but the piece we have leaves a lot of explaining to be done. Instead, I'll recommend it to folks at the announcements.

    I think it will be a gospel week with maybe a little James thrown in. Beyond that, I haven't a single thought. As DWG said, it is but Tuesday so there's lots more time to think.

  5. I'm using the gospel, but have only vague insider/outsider/body-of-christ/what does it mean to be salty? thoughts. Unfortunately, I also have only 24 more hours to finish the bulletin. (sigh)

    I do like the "pastoral perspective" from Feasting on the Word this week, particularly these two lines: "what would happen if everybody started doing things in the name of Jesus?" and "Preserving the power of his own group was not a priority for Jesus." mm, nice.

  6. Teri I too am wrestling with the gospel. A thought popped into my head many of us have to watch salt/sodium levels in our bodies. Can we ever be to salty in terms of this passage

  7. I've talked it over with my pericope group and wished I'd had a pen last night right before I fell asleep. Something about wanting to be a child, not a preacher who might discount their presence...or maybe that is not it at all. Do we want to be disciples? Disciples with salt and pepper?!

  8. I'm with all of those who are not sure where they're heading! Though I, like Margaret, know that I am not going to be talking about anyone getting hanged in Esther. No, no, no, not right now.

    I'll have to refer to my copy of Feasting on the Word, I like those quotes. And I thought of these lines, which I posted on my blog as seeds.

  9. I'm AMing on Sunday, so my only creative exercise for that day is planning the Prayers of the Church.

    I had a hard time getting hold of our assortment of lessons. After posting Lectionary Leanings, I started thinking about the texts again, and for some reason I remembered how, when I was a child, I often refused to eat other people's food -- how, at church potlucks, I'd only eat food my mom made -- and thought about the people in Numbers and in Mark who didn't want to entertain the thought that God was up to something outside their own circle. I blogged out this just a little, at my place .

  10. I'm preaching James on Sunday and my title is "The Most Practical Word." I'm thinking about how James gives all this really practical, pragmatic instruction, and then his letter ends with these words about prayer. I am thinking about prayer as being his most practical word of all - which is in contrast to how we often think of it. We often feel like we aren't doing anything much at all if all we are doing is praying.

    Don't have much else yet but I hope to have a good start by Friday. I have to take the boys to a birthday party on Saturday so it would be good if I had a little more done by then than usual.

  11. Reflecting on the gospel again, with tongue in cheek. Mark has a way of really hitting home, getting far too close for comfort. My initial ponderings are here

  12. i am going with Esther. not entirely sure where we're headed but Karol Jackowski's article, Holy Disobedence ( has some good thoughts.

    i will be preaching for the annual Home Coming service at the country church so wondering where that ties in as well.

    perhaps focusing on some holy resistance--especially in light of the doors remaining open even though it's a tiny church in a cornfield?

  13. It's Esther for me too,though first I need to get the Veggie Tales version out of my head! I was re-reading the whole book this afternoon; it really is like a comic book with its larger than life characters and their overdone reactions to everything.

    I agree that the passage needs a lot of explaining, but I love stories, and this one is new to our worship with the RCL, has a fascinating woman who risked all with pretty limited reason to think she'd be successful (are we willing to be that daring?), and simply has grabbed me. Revhipchick, I'll have to check out that link!

  14. We are to be salt.. and light, but as salt, we can be acting in ways to help change the world.

    There is a challenge here for your church, or any group. It is about being salt to the world.

    To end poverty is a Godly work.

    We need to let go of what is done and move into even one new way to ease someone's, or a group of somebody's pain.

    Perhaps we need to see everyone as already 'rich' and seeking one or another for inner bounty. Some have got the wrong idea that having money is being 'rich'.

    What does it mean to be rich in love? In giving? In faith? In spirit?

    We are needing salt, needing to be it as well.

  15. My reflections ended up focusing primarily on Esther and the Psalm, but I picked up little bits from the letter of James and from the gospel. I ended up thinking about our helplessness in the face of the powers of this world, and how this Sunday's lessons call us to respond.

    You can find my reflection here.

    Love and blessings,
    Sr. Hedwyg


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