Those of us preaching/worship planning this coming week have the opportunity to shed light on much "salty" commentary focused on how we live our way into our faith. Isaiah wields a stick of warning regarding religious hypocrisy while holding out the promise of God's blessing on those who do right (an idea echoed in our Psalm); Paul continues his thoughts on the wisdom of God being foolishness to unenlightened human minds; and Jesus challenges his listeners to boldly season the world with the flavor of the Reign of God.
What are some of your thoughts on the lessons as you pray and plan this week? Are you feeling, like me, some creative tension between the lessons and between our popular culture -- a culture where even "good church folk" increasingly seem to disavow any responsibility for the welfare of other people on ideological principle? How do we unpack Jesus' comments on a righteousness "exceeding that of the Pharisees" for hearers who may have internalized a message that the Pharisees were twirly-mustachioed villains in the Jesus story, and/or who have been taught to be wary of "works-righteousness"? And how do we translate those big-picture Reign-of-God values like "justice" into images that connect with the everyday experiences of people in the pew.
Big ideas. Big issues. But these are great texts. What are you thinking about as you read them?
And is anyone going to observe the Presentation/Candlemas this week? What does that look like, in your church?
As always, please share your lectionary insights and general ponderances here this week.