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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lectionary Leanings- Light and oil...

From a man born blind,  a prophet who is told that we do not see as God sees, to a passage on being in the light, there is a real emphasis on sight in these passages. A challenge to look below the surface not just within ourselves but also in others to see the true person not the outer projection...

And then there is oil, oil for anointing a king, and oil for our own heads, oil overflowing- a great symbol of restoration and healing becomes a symbol of calling...

How do we connect these? Is it by the river of anointing oil that we travel to the way of light?

Are we challenged as Samuel was to see strength in weakness, to recognise the hand of God upon an unlikely servant? 

Are we challenged as the Disciples were to recognise God at work, or as the Pharisees were to think outside of the box of their rules and laws?

How will you preach this week, which are the themes that stand out for you? Where are you preaching how will you enable these texts to speak?

Or are you looking at some different themes/ texts?

Let us know in the comments....

Before I go I'd like to point you to two excellent reflections on Ephesians and John over at Visual Theology.


  1. hmm, being a visual person I have just spotted how similar the image I have selected of oil is to last weeks image of water...

    Off to reflect on that I think.

  2. I LOVE these questions.

    I'm not preaching this week, but I am teaching the confirmation class at my home church and the subject is: Why join the church? (Already discussed a little in my blog.)

    Perhaps to learn to see as God sees?

  3. No clue yet as to where I am going. I introduced the gospel of John and the story of the woman last week. Do I stay with John now, or bring in Ephesians? Such decisions...

  4. My congregation is going through some transition. Much of it is due to deaths of 3 elders in the past year and a bit and failing health of others. On the other hand we've welcomed myself (just over 2 years), and nearly 10 new families. All good stuff, but this is a congregation that has been slowly losing members for the past 10 or so years.

    So, (thanks to Sermon Brainwave), I'm going to do something creative with the Gospel and focus on the attention of the blind man as he gets kicked out of the temple, Jesus' seeming absence and his reappearance. I'm going to connect it in to Psalm 23. Not sure how it will all work out.

  5. Whew! This coming Sunday got 2 blog posts out of me. Short and sweet ones, but my fingers got itchy to write a (very) little, so I did. I cannot preach on the gospel. That's without debate.

    So, I think I'm going to look at 1 Samuel, basketball, and princesses.

  6. I'm playing with Walter Brueggemann's poem "Marked by Ashes" and exploring the ways God Easter's us through the Lenten days of life.

    Also intrigued by a book title, "Alleluia is the Song of the Desert".

    Am seeing Eastering in the Samaritan Woman and Eastering in the man blind from birth.

    Don't know where I'll go with this.

  7. I have two all-age sermons to do and will go with the gospel (somewhat edited, too...41 verses is crazy long!). I think I'm going to start by passing out some different optical illusions and talking about how what we see can change. Those in this gospel certainly get seen in more than one way!

  8. Thankfully I am on holidays this week---I am never sure how to preach on teh man born blind. So many potential times for unhelpful theology to pop up

  9. I agree, Gord. All that stuff about whose fault and the implication that any illness is caused by sin is hard to preach and hard to ignore. Alas, there is no one else to preach this Sunday so I'll have to figure out something.
    Today will start sermon prep in earnest (Wed.), a little later than usual but at least it isn't Saturday yet. :-) I'll go with John.

  10. I have always loved these A-year lessons from John. It's these personal encounters with Jesus that show the incredible grace and love of our Lord. Failing eyesight is a lament I hear often from my elder parishioners. Yet, I have found some of the most faithful witnesses to what is means to "see" Jesus as Lord and have a personal relationship with him to be these same elders. Their spiritual "sight" is so very clear.

  11. I'm really wrestling with how to approach this one. We're definitely doing a whole-congregation reading of the gospel lesson, as I mentioned in our Monday conversation. I have it formatted both for legal and letter-sized paper, let me know if you would like to have it. It's just the text, but divided out among the characters in the story.
    After that, and given it's a Communion Sunday, I have to keep it short-ish, which feels hard when there is so much to address.
    I had a great exchange with folks on Twitter today about my issues with John 9:3, which left me wishing I had taken Greek. Any insights?

  12. Songbird I would love a peek at your congregational reading of the text. Letter size works for me. My email is

    I am considering breaking up the reading and mix in verses of Amazing Grace. First part of the reading will be with Children, and may get a "mud mask" facial to use with them. They want to act that part out... of course will put around eyes and not in them...

  13. interesting stuff, y' gave me food for thought. I've been thinking about how gray and cold it has been here this week, and how far away the warmth and light of Easter Sunday feel. How do we fix our vision not on the immediate grayness, but on the distant light? How do we recognize what we see? How do we wake up our "inner eye" as our Hindu and Buddhist brothers and sisters call it, or the eye that sees as the Lord sees it, as we read in Samuel? That warmth and light may not be immediately apparent (just as David's fate was not immediately apparent to Samuel)but somehow we sense the warmth, the presence of God, and we are unfolded into the light.

    Preliminary thoughts right now. We shall see where they go by Sunday.

  14. a little late to this party. thanks for the insights! I'm preaching on the Ephesians passage. It's a baptismal text, calling those early followers of Christ to see their identity springing from their baptism where they are claimed as children of's who they are, and that can't be changed or earned. it's also confirmation Sunday, so I'm going to point to our baptismal identity that can't be earned, but is God's gracious gift ala Will Willimon and Gordon Mikoski...still working on where to land. writing today.


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