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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: "At Last, the Beginning" Edition

Texts for Sunday can be found here .

Well, it's taken a couple of weeks...but we are now in Advent's home stretch, with our Gospel lesson turning toward the events surrounding Jesus' birth.

What are your thoughts as you read this Sunday's lessons? Anything that speaks to you as especially preachable? Do you have a new way to proclaim the beginning of this "old, old story"? As always, we appreciate your sharing your insights and worship plans here.


  1. Hey there LC, thanks for stepping in this morning! Getting a late start, after a late night of christmas baking and on-line shopping.

    In addition, there are lots of parties this week, and now I'm having to do some looking ahead to January, and some planning for next year, so I'm feeling a little distracted and pulled in a lot of directions.

    I'm thinking others may be in the same (or at least a similar) boat, so in thinking toward Sunday I'm considering what distracts us on the way to Bethlehem.

    Scripture is from Mt - about Joseph, so not sure where I'm going with that. On a side note (see! distracted!) yesterday in Bible study we enjoyed spending some time with the geneaology a the beginning at Matthew. Anyone have a good description of who all those folks are? Interpreters Bible hits lots of them, but leaves some gaps.

    Have a great day!

  2. It's on my mind that this Sunday is close to the shortest day of the year and is a time of deep darkness. This is especially true for a longtime ring member, Questing Parson, who writes today about his wife's medical condition. In preparing to preach about Joseph, my thoughts are about love; where is it? Does he practice a detached sort of love in his choices about Mary? Or did the angel in his dream really light something up inside him? The word love, so important to us in our contemporary talk about God and Jesus, does not appear in the passage, but we hear that he is just or righteous.
    A friend wondered this morning if we haven't lost the battle as Christians, but I contend that every time we make a Joseph-like choice, to show that just/righteous love to someone the world rejects, we are serving the One who came into the world to be with us.

  3. songbird, I'm glad you mentioned QP--I was just popping over to link to his post and ask for prayer.

  4. I like songbird's idea of righteous love for those the world rejects. I've been thinking along the lines of how things with God are often not what they look like. An unwed pregnancy is not a scandal, but an honor. A newborn baby is not helpless, but is the Divine.

  5. Joseph, the dreaming man, captured my attention this week. Over at The Advent Door I've offered some art and thoughts about this ordinary and remarkable man who received his own annunciation and who, like Mary, dared to offer his own YES to God's outlandish invitation. Joseph prompts me to ponder my own choices, and where God may be challenging me to place my solidarity.

    In the midst of thinking about Joseph, I'm thinking also of the women--those known and those unknown--who helped make Jesus' story possible. Thoughts on that over at Sanctuary of Women.

    Blessings to all in these deep-into-Advent days!

  6. I'm finishing up a sermon series on the characters of the Nativity and focusing on Joseph. I like your thoughts, Songbird, on linking the choices Joseph made (grace, love, integrity, etc.). But, want to go further into the dream idea. Joseph listened to the angel sent in a dream, in that liminal space he trusted what was seemingly outlandish.

  7. This week I think I am going in a similar direction to a few of you. continuing to look at the coming kingdom and what it might look like - and standing in solidarity with others is this week's sub theme.
    Joseph could have walked away, but he chose to stand by Mary. I also like Jan's idea of Joseph saying yes to God [in his actions]. I might add that in as well.

    Juniper, one year I preached on the genealogy the first Sunday in Advent. the Bible reader for the day was not happy, but people were amazed at what all those names might mean. I took the idea that we are not bound by our history, and God works through all kinds of people and situations.

    A busy week, and I am hoping to also get the carols service for 23Dec sorted - some bits and pieces are there, but to be fair to the children, I probably need to get more done so they know what they are being asked to do.
    But first, I need to get something ready for the retirement village service this afternoon.

  8. I am doing a midrashic monologue as Joseph. I think Joseph will be a frustrated father of a teenaged boy who knows that his birth was special reflecting on that birth.

    I wonder though. What questions would you ask Joseph if you had the chance?

    Some good ones can be found here

  9. Any good family/children's sermon ideas on Joseph? I've told the story before, so this time I'd like to do something a little different...and my mind is a blank.

    Appropriate word verif for that state of mind: noning

  10. Songbird, I love the way you connect Joseph and love. I have been struggling with putting those two together myself, but first I had to do some feminist ranting about Matthew's account of Jesus' birth. Eventually I come around to Joseph's loving obedience. You can read both here.

    I'm not actually preaching this week (Christmas pageant), but I may use some of these reflections for Christmas Eve.

  11. I have to preach a Blue Christmas service on Friday before I get to Sunday but they might end up being tied together. I know I'll preach on Joseph, though, and I like SB's linking Joseph and love. Even if he didn't love Mary as we think of love, he certainly loved the Lord.

  12. I want to use the dream aspect of Jo's story. I'll read your links and look for helpful inspiration. Great resource in Iona's Wild Goose Worship Group, Book is CLoth for the Cradle and the reading is Joseph and Mary's father's diary entries. We'll read it after the scripture and before I do a meditation on following dreams in the real world. But that's all i've got so far.
    Today holds some quick office time for final worship planning then an afternoon taking someone to hospital for surgery who is pretty much alone with a SERIOUS broken ankle.
    Prayers for QP family.

  13. Betsy,

    I used these lectionary texts last week because we are doing something different this Sunday. It's not exactly on Joseph himself, but it seemed to work.

    I invited parents to come up with the kids for the children's sermons and tell how they picked their children's names and what they meant (if they knew). I talked about how sometimes we just pick because we like something or it's a family name or it's in a baby name book or it's meaning. But Joseph (and Mary) know what to name Jesus because God tells them via Joseph's name. And that Jesus' name means something very important--he will save. It seemed to work okay!

  14. Silent, thanks for that idea! That is simple and involves everyone. I came up with one other idea: finding some pictures to tell this story (using PowerPoint and the projector, so they are big), and then inviting them to think/talk about the different characters and what they might be feeling. Honestly, though, your idea is great and a heck of a lot easier, which is a bonus at this time of year :-)


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