Visit our new site at

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "People Get Ready" Edition

Texts for Sunday can be found here .

How odd it is, in the midst of the building secular holiday madness, to be thinking about the second coming of the Son of Man...but that's Advent for you; at least the first week. But also in our texts we hear that broader eschatological longing for a time whe God will decisively intervene in our history to mend our broken condition.

For those of us preaching or worship-planning this Sunday -- what are these texts saying to us? How do they touch on the fears and longings of our people? In a world where Christmas is principally about "stuff," and is already ramping up to full-tilt-boogie mode weeks before Christmas Day -- what needed, divinely subversive counterpoint are we hearing in the lessons?

As always, we welcome your ideas and comments. And to get you in that preparatory frame of mind, here is the late Eva Cassiday's wonderful cover of a familiar song about "getting ready."


  1. I'm finding it challenging to get ready to talk about getting ready when I'm frantically trying to get ready for company for Thanksgiving! For me, Advent can be such a lovely contemplative oasis in this crazy time of the year, if I allow it to be. So maybe on Black Friday, while others are scooping up deals, I'll ponder the second coming instead. Or I'll just pass out from exhaustion and turkey. We'll see!

  2. When I was starting to look at this week the Romans passage jumped out at me. The time is now. Day is near. Wake up!

    As we prepare to tell again the story of God breaking into the world as a baby, what does it mean to wake up and live as if day is dawning?

  3. With the new church year, I'm returning to the lectionary after a multi-year departure. I'm excited to be able to participate more fully in the RevGals conversations as a result!

    I'm looking at the classic themes of Advent--peace, hope, love and joy--and challenging us to dig deeper with them. First up: peace, with Isaiah & Psalm 122.

    More thoughts here.

  4. Oh yeah, it is also a baptism Sunday so I may do something with the "clothe yourself in Christ" image...

  5. I am preaching from Isaiah for all four weeks of Advent, and focusing this week on waiting for peace. I'll dip back into chapter 1 a bit to look at the judgment which Judah was under (neglecting the oppressed), and then in repentance the nations stream to Zion for her example. God's judgment (arbitration) brings peace.

  6. we are doing a psalm series here, praying our way through advent. This Sunday I'm preaching psalm 122, sort of. In the sense that Psalm 122 will be read. As will Isaiah. The theme of the week is "peace" so I'm preaching on BEING peace (sort of working off the end of the homiletical perspective in FOTW)...sort of playing on the "peace be within you" line in the psalm.
    At least, that's the plan. I wrote the sermon on Saturday night, late, and I'm about to go read it through right now and see what editing needs to be done.

    Hymns this week: Gather Us In, O Day of Peace, and Comfort Comfort! :-)

  7. I am partly off lectionary this advent. we will be reading the Isaiah passage each week, and possibly the psalm. the Gospel this week is Elizabeth and Zechariah, next week John the Baptist, then Mary, and week 4 is Joseph. looking at these passages and Isaiah in terms of the coming Kingdom, and what part did these characters play in the coming kingdom; what part do we play in the coming kingdom. Hope, peace, joy and love.

    a busy few days ahead, so hope to get a lot done this morning [Wednesday]

    here in Australia Christmas is in all the shops, and Santa has arrived in many places ready for photos with the children.

    BTW what is Black Friday?

  8. I love Advent. Hands down it's my favorite time of year. I think because I love it so much I get nervous about whether I'm communicating it well enough for others to love. Weird.

    Anyway, a little bit out of the fear and a little bit out of a need to change it up a little, I'm (imagine this) off lectionary. This is really strange for me to do this this many months, but it's felt good, so I'm going to do it a little longer. I think I'll stick with the lectionary in ordinary time after Christmas. We'll see.

    That said, this week I'm even off from what I originally planned. Last week we had a NASTY ice/snow storm on Saturday night and many of the roads were undrivable on Sunday morning. We had less than 60 people in worship on what was supposed to be my big stewardship push. I decided about 15 minutes before worship that I wouldn't preach it after all and we'd do a sharing time/hymn sing around the theme of Thanksgiving instead. It worked well.

    So, this week last week's sermon is up. It was already a retweak from a sermon from my last church 7 years ago. Now I feel the need to retweak it again to see if I can change the Christ the King tweaks I put in last week into Advent tweaks for this week. Holy cow this thing is losing almost any connection to the text it once had.

    This week was supposed to be about the prophets' role in preparing for Christ. We'll still run with that in our Advent candle lighting and some parts of the liturgy. I have selected a portion of Isaiah for the first reading (the sermon is still based mostly on 1 Peter), so tht is a loose connection to the idea of prophets even though the reading is not so much really and Advent text. You gotta do what you gotta do.

    Good news - - This means my sermon is pretty much done. This helps since I'm also preaching the community Thanksgiving service tomorrow night and a funeral on Monday morning (my 3rd death in 19 days).

  9. Pearl - - Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US, Friday this week. It's a HUGE shopping day, and the day many retailers hope to sell enough to stay "in the black," in accounting terms. (Does that phrase translate? I never know which one are specific to US English.) More and more each year stores are joining in the MADNESS that is Black Friday and offering special deals at ungodly hours. This year I've already seen some ads for early bird "doorbusters" that start at 3:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Actually some places are even opening up at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday (the holiday) night. it is absolute madness and the epitome of consumerism. (All that said, I have gone shopping on almost all the Black Fridays I can remember. I don't go out in the morning for the crazy deals, but I do join in just to see all the people. A lot of times I don't even buy anything anymore, just people watch.)

    I'm also doing the "characters" of Christmas/Advent. I'll read the Matthew version of the nativity each week and work through the 4 characters in it - - Isaiah, Joseph, Mary, and the Angel - - talking about what they teach us about the coming of Christ, and particularly how we can prepare. Although usually mixing the two gospel stories is against my religion I will probably do it this time to inform us more about the character. So for example, for Mary's week I will probably end up working with the Magnificat. We will add a person/piece to the nativity at the front of the sanctuary each week. I'm going to use just the stable piece this first week for Isaiah saying something about how Isaiah sets the stage for what is to come like the stable sets the stage for the rest of the story. Or something to that effect.

    OK. I'll go. I'm sorry I'm hogging space!

  10. thanks She Rev,

    yes ' in the black' does translate. it sounds like Boxing Day sales [or post Christmas sales] here - the day after Christmas is a public holiday in lots of places, but some stores open, and people queue to be the first in for the best deals.

  11. thanks She Rev,

    yes ' in the black' does translate. it sounds like Boxing Day sales [or post Christmas sales] here - the day after Christmas is a public holiday in lots of places, but some stores open, and people queue to be the first in for the best deals.

  12. I'm so glad the lectionary is back to Matthew, my favorite gospel. The challenge is to not just repeat what I said three years ago even though it's a different parish. That year was the year I felt like I really found my preaching voice, so the temptation to look back is great.

    That said, I'm not preaching this Sunday b/c my seminarian intern is, which gives me a bit more time to enjoy a family thanksgiving. But I am preaching tomorrow night at our Thanksgiving service, and I've been struggling with that for the last couple of hours. I just have to decide which of the three sermons I've started :( I want to actually go with, and I need to hurry up about it b/c in addition to work tomorrow I have to get my hair cut and shop for my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner.

  13. I think I will be contrasting my desire for order--charts and checklists make my heart go pitter-patter, and much of the congregation knows that!--with the uncertainty and messiness of faith. If the day is near, I'd like to know exactly when so that I can make a "to do" list...and God is not working with that same agenda. Just a starting point, so I'll see where it goes.

  14. I am just now looking at the lessons as our 10:30 service will be Lessons and Carols with no sermon. But I do have to preach at 8:00. I knew it was an apocalyptic reading so I was going to rest on the laurels of what I said last Thursday night at a home communion.
    But it is Matthew's "one will be left and one will be taken" reading which I truly loathe. So, I'm with Gord on Romans. It will mean more study than I had planned this week - company, big dinner, picking up new car and a little football - but I do like researching Romans. And the psalm is one of my favorites - C. Hubert Parry, anyone?

  15. Beyond the commercialism of Christmas, beyond the excesses of the season, we are called to live as Christ lived. To live as models of love, peace, hope and joy. As the world hustles and bustles around you this Christmas Season, be still. Show others the joy you have in Christ by taking the time to live out the promise of Christ’s coming into this world.
    Even those most cynical toward Christianity get that there is more joy in giving than getting. Show the world that the REAL JOY of Christmas comes from both getting and giving. From getting Christ’s love and giving Christ’s love. Real Joy comes from welcoming Christ into the world and into your life and then sharing the gift of Christ with others.


  16. I'm focusing (in my fourth sermon this week) on walking int he light and what it might look like. That's as far as I've gotten. Drat.


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.