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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "Sweet Smell of Devotion" Edition

Sunday's texts can be found here .

This morning at our house we were having a conversation about the "spiritual versus religious" discussion going on in society these days, and that we RevGals discussed here and on our own blogs last week. And for some reason that phrase stuck in my mind thinking about Sunday's Gospel lesson, where Mary engages in a dramatic act of love and devotion toward Jesus...and immediately gets lectured by Judas about what she didn't get right.

Maybe there's a lesson there.

Or maybe it's somewhere else; in another aspect of this text; or in Paul's less dramatic but equally heartfelt affirmation of God's transformative grace in his life...or in our Old Testament lesson's promise that God is going to "make a way" through whatever it is in this world that hinders God's will being done.

What way are you being led as you ponder the Scriptures this week? As always, share your questions and insights here.


  1. No foot anointing here. I am goig with Isaiah and the new thing God is doing. Which was advantageous planning given that I am making a significant announcement after the service.

    My early thoughts are here

  2. In my reflection this week, I went with the new creation imagery, because I found this in all four readings.

    Love and blessings to all!
    Sister Hedwyg

  3. Gord, thanks. I was all set to go with the gospel simply because i love that text. But your comment made me realise how appropriate the Isaiah reading is for the congregation I'll be preaching in on sunday - their minister has just left. So I look forward to reflecting on that. Also look forward to hearing more about your announcement when the time is right.

  4. Wow. Are lots of you having an Passion Play or something? Not much activity here!
    I'm going with the Philippians myself, and hoping to build on the thoughts I found here:
    The Gospel, with Mary's beautiful and extravagant gift also fits with this idea about desiring union with Christ, I think.

  5. the lent "cantata" is this Sunday so we are reading Isaiah and having the choir present the message via "St. Francis in the Americas: a Caribbean Mass"....with two choirs, steel drums, two marimbas, and a variety of other percussion it should be an interesting and awesome day that will perfectly fit our Lent theme of coming together/reconciliation! :-) And, bonus, no preaching for me. yay! Add in a potluck and no early service and we've got ourselves an awesome Sunday coming up...

  6. Teri,

    That sounds like a terrific day!

    I"m going with the annointing. I'm thinking about intimacy (have you ever touched anyone's feet with your hair? me either. LOVE this picture, btw, so thanks for it!). Also, loving the stuff in Feasting on the Word about what it really means to GIVE as an act of worship.

    Also, how about talking about the new thing? Not sure yet....

    Childrens time ideas? Looking for them....

  7. just back from a funeral, so haven't looked at Sunday's readings this week. Before Lent I looked at all the readings and my plan for this week is the gospel and Isaiah - something about praising God I think. O well maybe I'll remember what I was thinking of, or maybe the Spirit will bring something new. that is for another time - answer some e-mails and an evening off.

    the wife of the deceased [who is a member of the congregation I am in ministry with] told me someone commented to her that they wished their denomination had women ministers, so she took the opportunity to invite them to our church!

  8. Re: Children's Message
    Monday is World Water Day so I'm planning to talk about the blessings of water from the God who gives "water in the wilderness and rivers in the desert". (Our congregation has been financing wells in Ethiopia for some time now so this is a natural.)A bottle of water as a prop and we'll be off and running. . .

  9. For those who might want an alternative, I've got a monologue from Martha's point of view. It's posted on my old blog, here. Let me know if you would like to use it,

  10. Going with the oil, annointing, abundance....
    The past few days, my mind has been stuck on the movie 'Chocolat' - specifically the abundant generosity Vianne offers to all in town, especially the outcast.
    In our current global recession, there is an understandable fear of scarcity among humans; yet, God offers us abundant and generous grace. How might we understand and live in that abundant grace?

  11. Still in the early stages on Sunday's sermon, but it will be on the Gospel. Something about Jesus' extravagant gift of love for us almost demanding an extravagant gift of love from us. If Jesus is willing to die for us, are we willing to get down on our hands and feet and wipe the dust off Jesus' feet with our hair? Are we willing to spend the food money for the month on precious ointments? Thinking there's a tie here to medical costs, and the choices folks have to make to care for those they love, but that's still floating untethered to anything yet.

  12. I like the idea of the "new thing" from Isaiah. What keeps coming to mind is when my dad gave me a (teeny screen) Compaq computer after I was ordained, 23 years ago. I appreciated the gift, but knew that there was no way I would ever use it for writing sermons; I was certain the only way my mind could work through that process was with paper and pen...the old familiar way, not this totally new thing. Obviously, I have long since eaten my words on that one! What other gifts do we reject, not even seen, or accept reluctantly, when they really represent the abundance of God's love and care for us?

  13. was chatting the other night about doing a 'scratch 'n sniff' sermon, lol. In the gospel passage what are the smells that are happening in the background/ foreground?
    There's the scent of the perfume, which pretty much overpowers the house [the smell of death hanging over the house in which Lazarus has just emerged from death... and Jesus is about to face death]; Martha is doing her hospitality thang in the background - must be the smell of bread baking and other food cooking ... a lamb perhaps?
    What does Lazarus smell like - has he washed since emerging from that tomb?!!
    So some very random, unformed and 'smelly' thoughts wafting about! :)

  14. I only preach every few months and that's for a very small congregation of women who refuse to let their church close its doors. With everything else going on this week, I'm just getting to look at the readings. Since I don't know the congregation well, it's hard to choose a direction that would be most appropriate. I'm thinking the Isaiah route makes a good tie in with the earthquakes, health care debate, etc. but for Lent would really like to do something more spiritual but not trite. *sigh* I'm still working it through.

  15. hey mandy,
    cant hardly think of a better scipture for the group you describe than the isaiah text for this week! your gentle invitation to see what new thing god is bringing forth for them might be just the thing, dont you think?

  16. I've been watching this several times this week... Everything's alright


  17. Great point LMM!!! Love the smells, Nik
    Still looking for children's sermon with Gospel text. Any ideas out there>
    I had thought about a monologue from Mary's point of view and her observations of how others reacted.
    Still not sure....


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