Good Wednesday Morning!
I'm a little off schedulewith this feature. Because there wasn't a Lectionary Leanings post yesterday, and there haven't been any nominations for today's Wednesday Festival, I've elected to "transfer" LL to today. :) Perhaps some of you have already established your sermon directions and can share them with us in the comments. Please do!
The lectionary texts for this week, Epiphany 3C, can be found here. They point to the importance of unity in the body of Christ and the necessity of each part of that body acting together and in harmony.
In an article at The Christian Century, John Stendahl points to the Nehemiah passage as "a great national liturgy," the sort that we do not often see in modern days (perhaps properly so). I wonder how our world's riveted attention to Haiti for the past week, and the many efforts to assist her people in large and small ways, might fit in with this?
Psalm 19's beautiful and singing words are described in context of this lectionary by Howard Wallace of the Theological Hall of the Uniting Church, Melbourne, Australia: In the way this psalm is used we see an illustration of the very thing today’s reading from Nehemiah indicates, that God’s word is open to new and different contexts and speaks to them in life-giving ways.
The First Corinthans reading reminds that we are all part of one body...which could be taken in so many directions. We are all part of the human family and of supplying to others that which we have and they do not; that which they need and do not have. And there are a variety of gifts ... but the same Spirit.
And, in Luke's Gospel, Jesus reads the words of Isaiah to the synagogue at Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” This is a conversation stopper; all eyes are fixed on him. "Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Has that scripture still been fulfilled, is it being fulfilled, in our hearing, in the hearing of our people? How? I look forward to reading about how you will bring it!