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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings - Christ Calling Edition

I talked to my dad, who is also a preacher, on the phone last night, and he mentioned that coming up he is doing a 7 week series on Corinthians. As a week-by-week, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-alb kind of preacher, I admit I sort of panicked. "Wait! Maybe _I_ should be trying to pull together a series for this winter!!"

Luckily, the scriptures today remind me that I am called to be my most authentic self, because (as my friends in recovery say), Jesus loves us just as we are, and loves us way too much to let us stay that way. In this week's scriptures, Christ's loving grace falls equally on that wild and wooly group in Corinth, on The Disciple Formerly Known As Simon, on the most annoying person in your congregation, and on you. It's the kind of grace that says both "I see you and love you just as you are! " and "Come on, you know you are better than that!"

You might also want to check out yesterday's fascinating discussion on preaching and the news, happening here.

So, where you are you headed this week? The comments are open for business. Graphic from here. Texts found here.


  1. I am going with Psalm 40. At first read, it seems to have two messages: 1) God saved me, and 2) God, please don't stop saving me. That made me start to ponder salvation and that it does not end with a walk to the altar. It is ongoing - we are saved to a better, different way of life that we (or maybe it's just me) constantly have to learn. That's where I'm starting.

  2. I'm working on John...I'm not at all sure where I'm going yet (which is making choosing hymns and writing liturgy difficult!) but I think I might head in the direction of the big E word...because the first two disciples follow Jesus because John told them to, and then they tell others to "come and see" they come, see, follow. So instead of the traditional "jesus calls the first disciples" story (which I think comes up next week?) is this story of people telling their that our first calling as disciples? I'm still thinking out loud and trying to figure it out...

    Though can I just say, I have the funniest image in my head of Jesus walking by and then two dudes randomly starting to follow him but not being at all subtle or clandestine about it, and Jesus sensing that someone's slipping from tree to tree behind him so he turns around and says "you're not even a little stealthy!" (for an example of how I'm picturing this, check out the TV show Angel, season 3 episode 16. one character says to another "I know you're better at following people than this." LOL.)

  3. I'm working on reorganizing my office bookshelves and in the process I'm wondering what helpful sermon prep/commentaries are missing from my shelf. This also got me to thinking about web based resources. I use textweek, working preacher, revgal pretty regularly. I would be interested in learning what books/resources you consult on regular basis.

    While I don't have the nature which naturally lends itself to sermon series I am looking forward to delving into Corinthians over coming weeks.

  4. I am using 2 week's worth of Isaiah readings (last and this) and casting the servant songs as a position description. Not for Jesus, as Christian theology often does, but for the community of faith. And so I am wondering: if WE (corporately and individually) are the servant of the Holy One and these passages are our position description, then how would we fare at a performance appraisal?

    My early thoughts (which pretty much say what I have just said) can be found here

  5. preaching Psalm 40 and exploring Lament in the wake of the Tucson shooting, the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, and MLK Jr. Day.

    looking at God's faithfulness in the midst of the pits of life. lots of ideas and no specific direction beyond that at this point in the week.

  6. Someone linked the other day to a page excerpting Dr. King's words about non-violence and I may well incorporate them on Sunday as a connection to the kind of discipleship to which Jesus calls us. He didn't recruit a literal army to fight off the temporal powers.
    I think I've only done a MLK, Jr. Day focus once in worship, five or six years ago, but this may be a good time to bring him into the mix, especially since one of my Trustees asked if we could sing "We Shall Overcome" this week!

  7. I'm going with the John reading and the beginning of Jesus' ministry, the calling of the disciples and all that goes along with that.

    This reading from John is one of my favourites, mostly because it really doesn't make a lot of sense. Jesus asks "What are you looking for?" and the disciples answer with a question of their own, completely unrelated to Jesus' question. Do we do the same? As individuals? As church?

    What *are* we looking for? (I'm tempted to say "The perfect pair of jeans" but that feels a bit irreverant).

    When folks walk into our churches, how would they answer Jesus' question? Are they looking for meaning, purpose, community, a place to sing their praises too God, a place to lean inward after a chaotic "outward" week?

    Just early thoughts for now...

  8. Hi Juniper! Thanks for the starting thoughts. I am going with 1 Corinthians, and I'm not sure I have EVER chosen the epistle on my own. I just love stories way too much. However, we're sort of celebrating the 5th anniversary of being in our new building ("sort of" is too long of a story to through, but in the short version I can say that the way this is being handled is highly annoying), and 1st Corinthians spoke more than the others to the occasion for me. I think more than celebrating bricks and mortar we can celebrate and like Paul give thanks for the grace we have received, for all the ways we have been enriched in Christ, for the strength we have received, and the gifts among us.

    The "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" story of this church makes this fit with the anniversary of the building. When they committed to building a new space, there were 20 in worship and even those 20 could barely get along. They have come a long way by the grace of God and I'd rather celebrate that than a building, although the building is a physical reminder of the complete new life that this congregation experienced.

    Anyway, I'm thinking a little bit about how Paul's letter wasn't to a happy, clappy, everything's fine and dandy church, yet he could still find these gifts in and among them for which to give thanks. I think he gave them the answer about the way forward out of their division from the beginning of his letter - - the way forward is worshiping and serving out of your strengths. Maybe?

    OK, so I don't totally know what I'm going to have my "point" be, but my main plan is to keep it on the shorter side and leave time for celebrating the last 5 years - - how far we have come, how we have been blessed, how we have been a blessing to others, what are gifts and strengths are for the future. I am looking for a visual and participatory way to do this. It will come!

  9. Been a way a while, and back now.

    Not sure at all which way I am going. I was thinking of call originally - "what does God call us to as individuals and as a church?" - but now not sure. Lueckly it's early days, but I'm alittle annoyed that I've misplaced the all important Feasting on the Word. Maybe the trunk of my car? I know I saw it somewhere...

    When is the sermon on Redemption of Lost things?

    oh, and to Sue re jeans: Man, me too!

  10. Juniper, I spend Monday through Friday in one town, house and office, and Friday night through Sunday in another, and I ALWAYS am in the opposite town as the right Feasting on the Word volume.

  11. I can't remember where I read this now (something linked on textweek? Feasting on the Word? an old sermon?? no idea) but someone began their reflection on John by asking what the difference is between "what are you looking for?" and "what do you want?" -- the latter being a common question in our culture, but the former the question asked by those who would follow Jesus.

    It could be an interesting rabbit hole to dive into...

  12. I read quite a bit of the conversation from Monday and though I am not preaching this week, I would be tempted to go back an listen to Jon Stewart's opening comments from Monday night before writing my sermon. I can't stay up late enough to watch him but I do love tivo. He was extremely thoughtful.

    Jon stewart on the shooting Arizona

  13. Seriously, revhrod. He's become a leading voice of our generation, something I wouldn't have expected despite our shared alma mater, William and Mary. Of course, Jefferson went there, too...

  14. I'm with you all on loving Jon Stewart. In a funny way, I feel like he's sort of my minister. I quote him the way some people quote their minister's sermons..."Well Jon says 'there's always gonna be crazy people, might as well be as good as you possibly can.'"

    Suzy - SO GLAD I'm not the only one! Although I dont have the 2 houses excuse...

  15. So with y'all on the Jon Stewart love. After his amazing monologue on the shootings, my husband looked at me and said, "He does what we preachers are supposed to do, only he does it better."

    I'm preaching John but don't have a bead yet on what I'm going to do with it. Just love the story. My title was going to be "A Place to Stay" because of how often the word stay (meno) is used in this pericope. I love how when Jesus asks what they're looking for they ask him where he's staying. But I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with that and am concerned about locking myself in with the title. So I may go with the bland and basic "Come and See." Which is what I titled my sermon on this text the last time I preached it. And the time before that! (this was the text I preached in view of a call for my first congregation, 15 years ago this week!)

  16. I'm preaching on John, focusing on the transformative power of names, and how Jesus renames Simon Cephas, and then doesn't say another danged thing about it - just lets Simon marinate in it while Jesus takes them on walkabout and gathers some more disciples, then goes to the wedding at Cana...I may tie something in about the transformation inherent in our news reports that started out talking about Cong Giffords very formally, but now she seems to be Gabby to us all, and our relationship to her is transformed with the transformation of the name...not sure about that one. We'll see.


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