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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Maximizing Our Prophets

Sunday's lessons can be found here.
Choices abound this week when it comes to sermon texts. We have Isaiah's wonderful image of the Righteous Ruler springing up from the root of Jesse, setting wrongs aright and bringing peace and justice to the nations.

We have Paul pointing the church in Rome to these ancient prophecies, telling the Gentiles who've been drawn to Jesus (which, by extension includes most of us)  ":Look -- these words are for you too."

And then there's the Gospel account of John the Baptist,  preparer of the way, afflicting the spiritually comfortable while comforting the afflicted with the promise of the Messiah.

(How) do these texts speak to you this week? Or will you be going off the lectionary? As always, we look forward to hearing about your insights and conundrums as you pray and plan your way to Sunday.


  1. Really appreciated the Retreats posted yesterday. Huge thanks to all involved. Now feel ready to launch into Advent - the first sunday, we traditionally have an all age celebration at church so it's only this week that we begin to really make something of the texts.
    a funny story: I preached for one of my calls the second Sunday in advent - at a clergy lunch earlier that week, one of my colleagues quipped: "Don't suppose you'll be using the lectionary gospel then?" (Are you the one who is to come or should we look for another?) Of course I used it - and made light of it - and went on to have a rich and fulfilling ministry with that parish.
    This year, though, I'm really drawn to Isaiah with that beautiful language and the images it conjures up. Unusually, I have a few hours today to simply sit with the text - soaking it up to see what emerges.
    Wonder if I could do a similar thing with congregation - simply post images and let them sit with those for a time - a kind of visual Lectio divina?
    Mmmm - possibilities.

  2. I think I'll be preaching the Indiana Jones Memorial Sermon -- SNAKES! WHY MUST THERE ALWAYS BE SNAKES!
    (the word verification is "slizesse" which sounds pretty snaky too)

  3. I am doing a series this year
    Last week: The Christmas Story according to Isaiah and used Isaiah 11 and 9

    This week: The Christmas Story according to Mark, which is JBap without vipers.

  4. Hee hee, snakes. You could riff on "Snakes on a Plane" too.

    LC, I'm dying to know the source for that first piece of art. Can you share it?

  5. I don't care for snakes.
    And I preached about them last year.
    I think I'll gloss over the snakes and do an inside/outside reflection on the things that keep us from finding peace and the things we need to confess as go to the table, since it's Communion for us. I must admit I'm grateful it's a meditation Sunday rather than a sermon Sunday.
    I'll be reading "Where the Wild Things Are" to the children, to set the stage a bit, and including Wendell Berry's poem "The Peace of Wild Things" as a reading. It occurs to me that it's probably easier to accomplish peace amongst all those conflicting animals than it is to get it with people, even (especially?) in church.

  6. Happy Advent to the RevGals! I'm happy to have recently opened The Advent Door for another season of new art and reflections. The latest post is on the text from Matthew, which got me thinking about way-making and how John the Baptist reminds us that the invitation of Advent is to travel a path made not by sheer effort but rather by what we let go of. Would be delighted for you to stop by for a visit: The Advent Door.

  7. Liz, I LOVE your idea of a visual lectio divina. That is a really fantastic thought!

    I am preaching Isaiah this week. I love the imagery of the text and it's been 9 years since I last preached it, so I'm looking forward to it. My husband I wrote two of the Feasting on the Word pieces on this text, so I'm feeling grateful to my former self for already having done a lot of my research for me! :)

  8. SB, I love that you are going to read Where the Wild Things Are. Cool! (also love that Berry poem)

    And yay for the Advent Door being open once again!

  9. I am going with the Isaiah for this week and next week and talking about life and growth in the midst of death and desolation. A shoot from a stump, blossoms in the desert, life where there was death. Ties the Christmas story to the rest of the Christian story.

    In my early thoughts I referenced three novels about wizards. But likely only the first two will make it into the sermon (the third is a bit more of a stretch). I am also thinking of some gardening stories about cutting something down only to have it come back next spring.

  10. I too am grateful for yesterday's Advent Retreat, many thanks!
    I'm using Isaiah this week. Since we have the lion and lamb image, the worship team "commissioned" a puppet play with animals who don't show up in the nativity story. It's sort of the Unlikely...
    I think I'll preach how unlikely the combination are in Isaiah and how much of a change it takes for that kind of peace to arrive. I may use some of Peter Steinke's article from last Ch. Century "Buckle Up" on change and talk about how hard it is for us to accept change. Perhaps as hard as having unusual animals in our nativity scene... I've got some stories that will go with it. Here's hoping my voice makes a comeback by then.

  11. The first image is "O Root of Jesse" by Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ.

  12. My sermon title from 3 years ago was Where the Wild Things Are - it was based on the Isaiah text and on how the animals there were still wild, but they chose to be there together.

    Much like we are called to make the choice to be together even when it would be easier to roar our terrible roars, gnash our terrible teeth and roll our terrible eyes.

    This time around I'm not so sure. Isaiah and Matthew again most likely, but thinking about doing something with active hope.

  13. Hi and Happy Advent! Thanks for the great thoughts. I am thinking about Isaiah, too, and Romans as well. Our theme is Peace (the 2nd candle of the wreath), so I like the image of the peaceable kingdom. The picture of the wolf and the lamb together (and so on)may not be just an idea of what is to come, but one we are called to live now. The wolf has to give up his power and control, the lamb has to give up fear - we have to live against our natural instincts (cultural and human) to live in this kind of harmony. How do we live this way with other cultures around us and other nations and welcome the Gentiles, as Paul says? The Messiah who makes it possible and came to save all nations, descends from a genealogy of "nations" through Tamar, Rahab and Ruth. If all this fits together somehow, who knows? :)

  14. I thought I put name to the post above - it's me, Linda Anderson-Little, St. Louis :)

  15. I'm coming a little late to the party this week, but I love reading all your ideas for visuals and wild things.

    No one else is focusing on Romans? We reversed the order of the Advent candles--peace last week with Isaiah 2, and hope this week with Romans 15. I have a lot of thoughts and ideas here, but I've got to keep it short thanks to communion and the commissioning of our capital campaign team. There is much to hope for, though...


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