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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings - So! Many! Great! Choices! Edition

Welcome back, preachers! Whether you took the week off or not, it's time to put one foot in front of the other into as we head solidly into Eastertide. Luckily, whatever road you choose to walk down, you cannot go wrong this week.

You might choose the Acts passage. Are you doing a series on Acts? No matter, you can dip just for the day into what a friend of mine used to call The Bible's Big Comic Book (I think for all the action! There's a reason it's called Acts! and not Sits Around!). If you have the kind of church where you can project slides, you'll find lots of lovely paintings of Saul's conversion on-line. Take this one by Michelangelo, for example. He imagines the scene more packed with spectators than I've ever really imagined. Also, that animal is rather majestic for a donkey, imho. However, it certainly is compelling.

On the other hand, if you are looking for images of Jesus on the beach to illustrate the passage from John, you might find those a little harder to come by. I tried googling it several ways ("john 21:1-19" "feed my sheep" and even "jesus cooks breakfast"), and found just a very few. Like this one, for example, but you've probably already seen it at Textweek.

I wonder why the Saul conversion has generated so much art, and the John passage so little. The scene at the beach, while it lacks the drama of the opened eyes of Saul/Paul in a Hollywood kind of way, has lots of drama in a family-gathering kind of way. There's that splashing out of the boat business. And, what is lovelier to paint than a beach at sunrise, even if you don't care anything about the story?

But, I digress. In both of these stories, followers of Christ get their eyes opened to what it really means to follow the Resurrected One. Which might be the start of an interesting conversation about discipleship.

Or, maybe your Revelations series is in full swing? How's that going?

At my church, we are celebrating Earth Day and Creation Sunday with a blessing of the pets, so there will be animals in the building, which really makes any sermon I'm preaching somewhat beside the point. Anyone else heading that direction? I cant decide if I should stay on lectionary or not. Although if I do, "feed my sheep" takes on a whole new meaning in this context.

Whatever you are up to this Sunday, let us know in the comments.

You can find links to the texts for this week here.


  1. I don't know why I'm up this late, and I'm not even preaching this week, but I've got to say, I adore Michelangelo's cast of thousands!

  2. In terms of images for the gospel - in Palestine (Israel), at the site that is traditionally linked with the feeding and the instruction to "feed my sheep", there is a very striking statue of Peter & Jesus. I found an image here:
    Perhaps someone will find that inspiring!

  3. Too many possibilities for this week!

    Our new rector will be installed Sunday afternoon, so there's the temptation to provide an intro by talking about new things and radical resurrection change.

    On the other hand, I loved the thought I read in one of the Text Week articles wondering what Jesus was doing hanging out on the beach stirring up breakfast; didn't he have more important things to do?...and maybe not, if he is to be part of our every day lives.

    And just for sheer curiosity--the comic book version--what's up with Peter being naked and jumping into his clothes to go in the water?

    Whatever direction I go, I'll need it to come together easily (ha!) as I am busy most of Saturday, my usual writing time.

  4. I'll be preaching these lessons twice, once for the congregation and once for preachers. After yesterday's reading, I'm really tempted to try doing both Paul and Peter even though both of those stories deserve their own sermon. It really is a rich week. I liked what Bill Brosend said about the psalm in FOTW and then there's those wonderful hymns of praise in Revelation. Maybe I can fit one of those in too!

  5. I'm thinking about the beach breakfast barbecue - very Aussie of me :)
    Thinking about 'following' and have annoyingly now got the song from Wiz of Oz in my head 'follow the yellow brick road' argh.
    If I were to break the thing into 3 bite-sized traditional parts, I think the sermon might look something like this:
    John 21: 1-19 - disciples were:
    1/Given some guidance – how to find the fish
    2/Given some food – fish breakfast
    3/Given a command – follow me

    Have that quote in my head about 'give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Show a person how to fish and you feed them for life'...
    Was thinking that Jesus didn't expect the disciples to follow with empty stomachs - he fed them first. They were nourished.
    And also thinking about who are they/ we following [linking with the Ps and Rev passages]? And the nature of following.
    And maybe Dorothy and her little dog Toto may even turn up too :)

  6. I have always been struck by the 180 degree turn that resurrection causes people to make in their lives. So that is my sermon title this week

  7. Acts for me...all the way to Pentecost. This week looking at ways this particular church has been on the Damascus path, who helped removed the scales, and how we can begin to move forward.

  8. so much here! not sure what the focus of my sermon will be yet, but it will be on the beach breakfast text.

  9. hey Nik, way to go! my head was all over the place and you've given me a direction. thanks. (guess I'm following the "yellow nik road," eh? har har! still punchy after easter, alas..)

    parodie _ I went looking for that link and couldnt follow it. Is this the one you were talking about? If so, you are right. Lots of good energy there. And let us know if you want help posting a link in the comments - songbird is the best at explaining how to do that.

    Betsy - I know what you mean. this story gives me the giggles, too, esp peter :)

    gord - interesting to talk about the 180 idea. one thing we noticed in my church's bible study today was how quickly the disciples slipped back into business as usual (lets go fishing) and had to be called back to the Way by Christ again. It's like it's more like spinning than going aroudn once - you turn toward Christ and then you turn away and then you get turned toward again.

  10. @ Juniper... oh dear... I'm sure you can get tablets for that!! *grins*

  11. As a lay person I agree that I would really appreciate some exegesis of Peter's decision to get dressed for a swim...

  12. It is my last weekend in my current call, so that will shape my preaching. That's what I know today. I think, though, that I may go with something along these lines--that we are all like Peter. Jesus asks if we love and when we say yes, we are called to care for the sheep. I'm called to that in one way--and now in a new place; they are called to it as well--here in this place.

    I also have a children's time idea! I'm going to talk about how "goodbye" comes from "God be with you" so that even though I say "goodbye" I'm praying for God's presence to be with them.

  13. parodie, I've seen that statue in person. It is truly striking.

    I'll be preaching on the gospel passage. The April 6 Christian Century has a very good reflection on the Gospel passage.

    I also like this this quote from
    "The River Why", by David James Duncan, a novel which tells the story of fly-fisherman Gus Orviston. From the chapter titled "Concerning Statistics": "Like gamblers, baseball fans, and television networks, fishermen are enamored of statistics. The adoration of statistics is a trait so deeply embedded in their nature that even those rarefied anglers, the disciples of Jesus couldn't resist backing their yarns with arithmetic: when the resurrected Christ appears on the morning shore of the Sea of Galilee and we learn that the net contained not 'a boatload' of fish, nor 'about one hundred and a half,' nor 'over a gross,' but precisely 'one hundred and fifty and three.' This is, it seems to me, one of the most remarkable statistics ever computed. Consider the circumstances: this is after the Crucifixion and the Resurrection; Jesus is standing on the beach newly risen from the dead, and it is only the third time the disciples have seen him since the nightmare of Calvary. And yet we learn that in the net there were 'great fishes', numbering precisely "an hundred and fifty and three.' How was this digit discovered? Mustn't it have happened thus: upon hauling the net to shore, the disciples squatted down by that immense, writing fish pile and started tossing them into a second pile, painstakingly counting 'one, two, three, four, five, six, seven . . .' all of the way up to a hundred and fifty and three, while the newly risen Lord of Creation, the Sustainer of their beings, He who died for them, stood waiting, ignored, till the heap of fish was quantified."

    Sorry for the long post, I just really like that quote, and the image of Jesus sitting on the shore, waiting for the disicples to come share a meal with him.

  14. I'm one of those doing an Acts series in Easter, so I've got Saul's/Paul's conversion. However, I'm looking at Ananias instead of the main character. OK, actually, I'm recycling an old confirmation sermon from my last congregation that does all of this, but oh does it feel good after the creative struggle it was writing last week. I think my sermon writing brain is already winding down for my summer off. It is fizzling out little by little.

    Anyway, I'm looking at Ananias as the one many of us (more of us, most of us) in our congregation can related to - - not so much the blinding mid-life conversion, but the go-to guys/gals God taps when someone is needed to cover a ministry opportunity. My title is from the Lord's command "Get Up and Go" and ultimately the sermon calls us to active involvement in the mission of God. We are kicking off a 4 week effort to get our congregation to commit to involvement in various ministries of our church, some continuing, some new, as we make our ministry plan for enacting our newly discerned vision and purpose.

  15. GREAT quote, Rev Kim. Thanks!

  16. This Sunday two boys are getting confirmed, or as we say now affirming their baptisms. They are writing statements of faith which they will read during sermon time. I will also speak - about statements of faith from the 3 texts. I'll include Jesus' statement of faith in us - feed/tend my sheep. I like what someone wrote about it being the ACTS of the apostles not the SITTING AROUND of the apostles. Probably do something with that too.

  17. For those of you doing Acts and Saul/Paul this week,
    Found this on
    "The lasting mark of conversion is not one date circled in red on the calendar, but the whole story of one’s life."
    Heidi A. Peterson, The Christian Century, 2001. Religion Online.
    Having grown up in a denomination that places importance on the one moment and time you were "saved," it is signifiacnat to know that our process of becoming Christians is not a one day event, but rather an ongoing process.

  18. You all are not helping me narrow down my thinking at all! Too many great ideas here :-)

    To add to it, the rector showed me today one of her chasubles...which is white lined in sea blue, with 153 little fish embroidered around the edge! How can I not take advantage of that?

    In college, I went to a movie one time on the topic of garlic (funnier and more interesting than you might think). Throughout, we all thought the film was so powerful that we could practically smell the garlic. Only afterward did we discover that one of the professors had a small toaster oven with him and was making garlic bread! So in some corner of my mind I'm wondering about the [modern equivalent] smell of bacon and eggs on the grill in the background here... Hasn't someone mentioned doing this with bread before?

  19. Betsy,
    I once went to the sanctuary really early and set the breadmaker going so that, by the time folk began to arrive there was a wonderful smell of baking bread - and it was ready just before children's time. That wonderful smell is still talked about - it was a communion sunday.
    The good news is that this week, I have a student taking the service. I have to be there but only get back into the country the day before, so will be glad to take a back seat. Though I love these readings.

  20. I thought I knew where I was going until I read Tom Troeger in FOTW yesterday afternoon. He's onto something and I think I remember the professor who taught John saying much the same thing. The idea is that chapter 21 turns us back to the beginning of the Gospel.

  21. I have not had an opportunity to preach a sermon in over a year, this Sunday is my Sunday, it will be the Acts scripture. I was looking at the body of Christ who spoke truth to Paul, nurtured him, stuck by him, laid hands on him, healed him after his vision. These were strangers that became sisters, brothers, friends. His ministry could not have been what is was with out them.


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