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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Mustard Seed Edition

Sunday's texts may be found here .

What does a life of faith look and feel like?

In our Old Testament lessons faith is clinging to hope of God's presence and power despite all evidence to the contrary. In our Epistle lesson Paul, the veteran evangelist and missionary -- who has previously summarized his own experiences and hardships -- exhorts Timothy to build on his own faith foundation as he continues Paul's work of preaching the Gospel. And in our Gospel lesson Jesus seems to be saying...well, what is it that he seems to be saying about faith? Perhaps that instead of wondering about our degree of faith we should simply get out there and engage in faith-ful activity?

Much grist for the sermonizing mill this week in our lectionary readings. Or perhaps you're taking time to observe World Communion Sunday, or recognizing Francis of Assisi this week, or going in a different direction entirely.

Whatever seeds of insight are being planted in your mind by your choice of Sunday Scripture texts, we'd love for you to share them here.


  1. We are starting 4 weeks of "Celebrate Generosity" with a theme of Giving is an Act of Worship. I'm trying to decide whether or not to throw out some of the lectionary or still use it but add some other scriptures in the sermon.

  2. I actually find a lot of grist for the sermon mill in Psalm 137, including the last verse about smashing heads, in conjunction with Lamentations.

    However, this is not only WWComunion Sunday it is the first Communion Sunday since I arrived here so I am going to share some of my thoughts on the role of Communion. See my early thoughts here.

    Also Sunday afternoon will be the covenanting service between myself, the congregation and the Presbytery. FOr the sermon at that service I have revised this dialogue.

  3. I'm lost this week. Not a thought or a plan at all. Gee - - it must be the last Sunday before vacation. It happens every time. I was intrigued by the commentary on the Habakkuk passage at Working Preacher, but I have to admit I haven't actually read the actual Scipture yet. I didn't realize it was the alternate passage (or main depending on your perspective) since my calendar only ever lists one.

    That said, I'm not too sold on it yet. I would like to do a very communion focused sermon for WW Comm Sunday, but haven't figured out what that will be. I'd REALLY love to pull one out from my old church, but I wasn't ever allowed to preach on this occastion I don't think.

    This afternoon I'll go spend some time with Habakkuk. I like the idea of lifting up a passage/book that we don't usually hear. It kind of piggybacks off of my Woman Wisdom from last week.

  4. struggling with choosing a text. this sunday is the anniversary of the loss of a child in the church, and emotions are already running full force for many people. thinking of going with Habakkuk.

  5. Definitely going with Habakkuk now that I have read it. It will work perfectly with a sermon about the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The sacrament being a participatory vision of what God intends and will bring about - - the heavenly banquet. The righteous live by faith in what is to come. The righteous live out God's vision now even if it isn't a part of the reality in which they live.

    This will work! And it's great because our worship planner for our midweek service independently chose Habakkuk 3 for her service a few days later. GREAT SPIRIT STUFF!!!

    (Icky word verification, sounds like a prescription medicine name, among other things: vagizin)

  6. I'm going with Luke but maybe I'm missing something with all of you using Habakkuk. I don't have much inspiration as I'm on vacation but coming back in time to preach. (I don't usually do vacation this way.)

    I trust inspiration to hit eventually and hopefully it will be while its raining as this storm pushes thru FLA.

  7. St. Francis in our church, but I haven't a clue where I'll go with it. I welcome any ideas!

  8. Thinking of doing something different this week. starting with lament and the Lamentations reading and the psalm, as life changes and the world changes how do we remain faithful? then moving to the NT readings. And no singing until after Lamentations and the Psalm and reflection. It is communion this week, though I hadn't heard of WWCS before. It is also the middle weekend of school holidays [2 weeks] and a long weekend [Monday is a public holiday] and I start 4 weeks annual leave on Monday. trying to get a few things in train before I go. We are starting a new creative, family service late November [quarterly at this stage].
    Maybe not the best week to try a different format, but that is where I am going at the moment.

  9. I'll be doing the children's time, based on the Luke passage. Trying to find some mustard seeds.

  10. Pearl, the folks who write our PC(USA) worship resources for WWCS (which is also our Peacemaking Sunday) had a similar idea with the liturgical move beginning with Lamentations and going forward toward the gospel from there. Here's the link. I think your idea about not singing makes the move even more obvious and more dramatic. Great idea!

  11. I've been juggling lectionary passages around, I used Lamentations last week and am off lectionary altogether this week, going with Isa 2:2-4 and Rev 5:6-14 and focusing on the World Wide in WWCS.

    Although after a word verification of midouta, I may start to question myself :)

  12. I'm a couple days late posting. yesterday I found myself drawn by Paul's letter to Timothy where he speaks of Timothy's faith, and how it began with his mother and grandmother and encourages him to rekindle the gift of God that's within him. I find what follows rich as well. This week someone exploring a possible call asked me about mine and I went back to a few of my first blog entries when I was wrestling with the call to ordination. I was able to see how much has happened in 9 years as well as felt I received a gift in revisiting not only the wrestling but the faith and desire and openness to God's movement I expressed. I wondered about how we explore or reflect on what in our faith lives may need rekindling. Some of the discussion at workingpreacher's sermon brainwave podcast around the idea of faith as well as delighting in God (from the psalm) seemed to dovetail with those thoughts... we'll see where it goes.

  13. Well, I'm really late to the party. Here it is on Thursday afternoon, and I too am struggling. I chose Lamentations weeks ago, and the hymns and anthems are in place, so though I really like the idea of no music at the beginning that will have to wait for the next time that cycles through.

    I'm thinking of how Judah wept and was miserable due to forgetting her relationship with God. Then 2 chapters later, remembrance brings hope. Connecting that to Paul's exhortation to remind Timothy of his heritage in the faith...still cooking, but I think maybe it's going somewhere!

  14. Dear All,
    Being in the antipodes, I have well and truly preached on the last verse of Psalm 137, taking it as a 'normal' human response for revenge in the face of disaster beyond our understanding. How would I feel if I was the only one of my family to survive in Rwanda? in the Sudan? in so many situations? Unfortunately, the human urge for revenge became culturally acceptable in middle eastern culture, and we see its cost in the continuing warfare in that region. It became built into our own cultures where we think we have a right for 'justice' - bring back the death penalty, etc. But Jesus says 'forgive' and sadly the lectionary cut the preceding verses from the Luke 17 reading. Surely forgiving real hurt is even harder than moving a mulberry/sycamore tree into the sea? At least it makes sense where the image given is silly. And when we exercise our faith in Christ, our identity as Christ followers and learn to forgive the unforgivable we have done nothing more than Jesus tells us to do. There is no merit or privilege, we are simply being who we are called to be: different people rejecting the values of the world around us for God's ways. After all, in Jesus we are forgiven. reconciled and restored. Can we do any less?
    I have previously avoided psalm 137 as too hard but the conviction that this was the direction to go was very strong. One of the leaders of the congregation came up afterwards and said, 'You preached for me today' and then told me of a personal struggle he is having. I felt so grateful that stepping out of my comfort zone was God's prompting and the words were for someone specific, as well as for myself. Now onto next week's services: an animal blessing in one place and a lectionary based communion service in the other. Life never is boring!
    Christine, Australia


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