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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "Take Up Your Cross" Edition

Texts for the coming Sunday may be found here.

It may be the "green and growing season," liturgically speaking, but the Gospel lesson for the coming Sunday points us back to Lent, and the centrality of the Cross in the Christian story.

What does it mean -- really mean -- to take up our crosses and follow Jesus? How does taking up our cross differ from enduring the routine pain and misfortune common to all? Is that a theme you intend to address in your worship and message in the coming week, or do you find a different focal point in the text?

Or...are you preaching on the Gospel lesson at all? The Old Testament lectionary offers a choice between Lady Wisdom's beckoning in the Book of Proverbs and a portrait of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah. In the Epistle lesson James expounds on a sin that we Christians tend to gloss over lightly, as sins go...the sin of unmindful, unbridled, hurtful speech. Is that a preachworthy message in these incendiary times?

Or perhaps you're preaching on a different theme altogether.

In any event, please share your ponderings and insights as you blog, plan, pray and preach your way to Sunday.


  1. I have put myself a week behind on the lectionary this month. Ah well.

    Next week when I take on this Mark passage I willl take it as a time to talk about expressing our faith. Especially relevant since there is a remit (church wide vote) about the faith statment in the UCCan Constitution coming out this year.

    This week I am with Jesus calling the woman a dog. TO see what I am doing with that click here

  2. I'm preaching the Mark passage and am still a little unfocused. Will probably concentrate on the question, "Who do YOU..." and develop some scenarios where the question is not simple to answer. Hoping as always for inspiration from y'all.

  3. I am continuing my work on James. It has been interesting for me and has broadened my undersanding.
    Kind of wished I had mroe to go on than Gossiping though!
    Time to dig deeper.

  4. My first Sunday at this parish, I preached about being honest with each other and reconciliation. Well, one woman took me at my word. There was a conflict (still is) betwen her family and another so she went to speak to the wife who promptly turned around and spewed invective. The first woman hasn't been back since and now the second one is considering leaving for reasons she has not told me because, God knows, the last person you tell is the preacher! All I hear is kind words.
    So I am with Liz when it comes to talking about these lessons. How do we be honest without making things worse? I am about to call the second woman and ask for a meeting but who knows whether she will be straight with me and whether I can hold my own tongue.

  5. I'm preaching the James lection and posted my current thoughts in the other Lectionary Leaning post.

  6. 1-4, I'm right there with you in James. As I was jotting notes yesterday, I wrote, "there has to be more to this than just 'don't gossip'."

    I'm thinking of talking some about how words shape our faith, and in the process shape us, and perhaps using our worship service as an example, where we have forgiveness, grace, and peace spoken to us, and where we learn how to speak the the words ourselves. It's still rolling around in my head, obviously!

  7. I am working with the gospel this week...the sermon title i chose weeks ago is "out loud" and I think I was planning to head in a direction about both saying and living out loud...but I don't remember exactly. Time to break out the notes!!

  8. I'm supply preaching this week and am going with the Gospel lesson. Right now I am playing with the idea that we all have ideas of who we say Jesus is. Years ago Martin Copenhaven wrote about this in Christian Century and how instead of a theological answer to who Jesus is, pastors should share their devotional answer. Who do I say Jesus is? What does that mean for me and my ministry? Who is Jesus for you? What does that say about you and your ministry?

    Just ideas....

  9. Teri - One of our local radio stations uses the tag line "Living life out loud." Actually a seminary classmate of mine, and possibly also yours, I can't remember when he graduated, has the morning talk show with his wife. Was Ian Punnett still around when you were there?

  10. tourguide - I like that idea of being devotional rather than theological. I'm afraid that's going to be the temptation for me, talking this one in circles.

    I'm not sure where I'm going yet. I'm drawn to Mark and the talk about the Psalm that isn't in my Presby planning calendar, Ps. 116. I guess it's the one that goes with Isaiah and the PC(USA) calendar is printing the wisdom track. Anyway, doesn't matter. I like the testimony theme that the brainwave" folks pulled out of the Psalm and Mark together. I really worked hard on the risk of discipleship with Mark earlier in the year, so the cross-bearing piece isn't jumping at me in the same way.

    I'm taking the session on a retreat in a couple of weeks so maybe the confession of faith as it draws us into our mission is something I can work with. I need to do some processing still. That connection was just coming to me as I was typing here. I'll be back if I figure more out!

  11. Don't you think that the flipside of the negative take on the "tongue" i.e., gossip, slander, and the like, is the positive? Think of what it feels like to be around people who have constructive, helpful things to say. And it fits so well with Peter's confession--"Who do you SAY that I am?" Obviously, the heart has to say it before the tongue can, but it is the tongue which becomes the means by which Jesus is proclaimed! Indeed, someone's tongue sang me "Jesus Loves Me" when I was a tot; someone's tongue tells me I am loved in sermons and in my personal life; someone's tongue helps me to know I am appreciated when I do something good...etc. etc.

  12. Hi all. I'm thinking about 'freedom of speech' which has become an icon of modern political and social debate - what do we mean by it, when is it right not to spout our particular view?

    Tomorrow is Racial Justice Sunday in UK churches - there is a debate going on at the moment about whether the right-wing facistic British National Party should be invited to send a rep to 'Question Time' (a political TV institution where politicians and people with a significant public profile form a panel and answer questions from members of the public).

    How do we balance freedom of speech with the need for truth - this is more than a matter of individual piety and church relationships - it has a massive implication for the way we build God's Kingdom in the world.

    Not sure how to shape this into a sermon mind you!

  13. my sermon title cooked up while on vacation is
    -identity crisis- who do you say. ANd just how do your
    actions speak. to that question? I also like the idea
    of self revealing christology. As an interim this is always a question befor individuals an as congregati


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