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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Not Doing What I Want Edition

We Pray: (Prayer from here)
We give you thanks, O God of compassion,
for the salvation you have revealed to the little ones
through Christ Jesus, our wisdom and strength.
Teach us to take up his gentle yoke
and find rest from our burdens and cares. Amen.

You can read the passages for this week on this page

So what does this week bring....

Genesis: A love story, or at least a mating story. But of course this reading is only part of the story. Maybe to deal with it fully you could read all of Genesis 24 and get the whole story?
PSalm 45: a wedding psalm it seems, or maybe you'd prefer to pair Genesis with the Song of Songs passage?

Zechariah: The passage Matthew uses in telling his Palm Sunday story; the coming of the king and the results thereof

Romans: Paul wrestles with his own nature. An opening to talk about human nature? Maybe to explore why we seem to do things when we "know better"?

Matthew: Jesus comments on people who are never satisfied, and their apparent intelligence. Then offers some apparently contradictory advice about burdens. How can the same man who exhorts his friends to take up their cross and follow him say that his yoke is easy and his burden is light?

And of course we can't forget that this weekend is Long.  Friday is Canada Day, when we became a country through and Act of Parliament, Monday is Independence Day, when the US launched itself into becoming a country through less peaceful means.  How, if at all, will these holidays shape your worship?  Are you able to ignore them completely or do they have to be acknowledged in your context?  OTOH, does the Long Weekend mean you will have a much emptier sanctuary?

Let us know in the comments how worship is shaping this early in the week.

Image Credits:
Yoke from here

Rebbecca at the Well from here


  1. After a very fruitful wrestle with Abraham & Isaac last week it doesn't seem 'fair' to stay with Isaac. Instead I feel I should tackle Romans - yet what I know I ought to do & what I do are two!

    Struggling with not launching into a whole spiel about Paul's theology (zzzzz) but can't deny that he hits the nail on the head:
    the law shows us what is right
    our will is to do the right thing
    but we fail!
    - only Christ living in us can help us.
    & can't help seeing a useful link between that and the gospel image of being 'yoked'.

    Will keep thinking...

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  3. I am excited about going with Genesis as long as possible this summer. This is my favorite ordinary time of the lectionary. Three years ago was my first year preaching weekly, and my first year in my new church. I made myself work through Matthew most of the summer. It was good, but I've just been waiting for this stuff to all come back around.

    I didn't do the sacrifice of Isaac last week since we had a different service, but I'm going to just jump in with the story here. I'll probably do a quick "catch-up" summary to bring everyone up to speed.

    Not sure yet what I'm going to do with it, though. I really want to teach it more than preach it, if that makes sense. I MIGHT try my hand at something outside of my usual style, and go line by line or chunk by chunk to tell some of the inside hints at reading these COOL narratives. The hints that we don't necessarily hear - - that Rebekah was the perfect match for Isaac geneaologically, that a well or spring was the equivalent to going to the local singles' bar (THE place to meet your match), all sorts of little tidbits. Then I'll wrap it up by pulling together a theological point somehow. Not sure of what that point will be yet, but I'll get there. It's not a style I have ever done, but I remember the last time I preached my way through some of the OT I felt like I had more I wanted to share to get people intrigued and excited about reading the stories.

    I might go explore a little the servant, and his statements of faith about these real life situations. To some extent he illustrates that everyone is a theologian that way he observed life around him (Abraham and Sarah, birth of Isaac, etc) and drew theological conclusions about what he saw. Also there's an element of how God works through our real lives, the human stuff we go through and experience regularly. What I don't want to do is affirm that "God gave me that great parking spot." A balancing act if I go that direction.

  4. She Rev -- maybe if you could preach "God gave me that great parking spot IN ORDER THAT I COULD SERVE HIM BY DOING SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED which I would never even have seen if I had had to park elsewhere???"

    No, huh?

    But I hear your concern. Sometimes it helps me to think about everything that happens in terms of 'foresight' and 'hindsight'...

  5. I am being foolish or wise enough to tackle Romans. SOmetimes I don't find Paul helpful AT ALL. But here I agree with Ruth--he has hit the nail squarely. I am going with the sermon title The Devil Made Me Do It???. Mind you there is so much in a discussion of human nature that trying to limit it to one sermon may be a challenge...

    My early thoughts are here

  6. SheREv,
    I have tried to follow the OT readings through the summer at least 3 times. It gets challenging when you are gone for a month in the middle is what I found.

    However my clearest experience of this story is when my final year clas ni seminary made a dramatic reading out of it--the whole chapter--for worship at a ConEd event at the college. It was quite fun

  7. I understand being gone and missing the story. I'll be here for 4 straight weeks now, so I think I'll do it. I was going to take one Sunday at some point in the summer to do something with the KJV (or celebration of scripture in general), but I think I'll move that to August instead of July like I thought I would. That will give me these 4 consecutive weeks to do Genesis.

    The drama sounds fun! I really wanted to do the whole Jacob/Joseph cycle last summer when the local theater was doing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for the summer musical, but unfortunately (well fortunately) I was on maternity leave. Another time!

  8. well, I get back from my two week vacation Saturday at 5:00 after flying for 12 hours. I guess I should carve out some time at the beach and write a little sermon. I am planning on communion, so that whacks things down a bit.....I had started something, but, long ago.
    I will be checking back......

  9. Hello, all! I've commented here a few times before (during internships and such), but this week is big because it's my first Sunday of my first appointment! I moved in yesterday and am surrounded by boxes...

    Anyway, as I begin my ministry with these churches, I've selected Psalm 45, using an allegorical interpretation. Who are we as the church, the bride of Christ? How are we going forward together? I was surprised when I felt God's nudging toward this royal wedding psalm because I typically dislike the gendered imagery, but I am now having a lot of fun with it... we'll see how it goes!

  10. I've got a vaguely revolutionary idea (get it?) that might allow for addressing how people interpret things differently and how far off Jesus' point we seem to get ourselves. But I'm dissatisfied with the gospel pericope. I sort of feel like reading all of chapter 11. We missed some of the important context due to the weeks left out of the cycle, and I HATE glossing over the interior verses of the chapter. Jesus is ticked! He's been performing miracles, and he's still being questioned by John the B's disciples and no one gets him. Aargh!!! (Or "woe to you!!!") Do I dare read a whole chapter?
    The other day I watched part of this documentary, The Most Hated Family in America, linked to by our own Questing Parson. It starts with young members of the Westboro Baptist "Church" family singing Lee Greenwood's famous song, but ending the chorus with a spirited line change, "God hates the U.S.A." Talk about missing the point! Not that God loves the U.S.A. either. But Jesus brings us back to the point that it's all about believing in his love, not about setting up competing systems in order to win out over one another. I'm tempted to use the song line as my sermon title. If nothing else, it will get people's attention, yes?

  11. I am not sure where I will go with the text, but chances are I will do something along the lines of SheRev - a teaching sermon on Genesis and the RCL - since I do not think this congregation really understands the rotation of scripture and why and what...I like to anchor us in the process while at the same time reflecting on the particular reading. I may also tie it all into Matthew.

    Then again, it could all change. I am doing little 5 minute homilies for the summer, without a text, so what ever I do it has to be something I can easily do off the top of my head....even though I still write it out so that the parts flow and I know what my beginning, middle, and end will be.

  12. Hi there,
    I decided to come here BEFORE looking at hte texts to see if you all might lead me in a direction I wouldnt go myself at first glance, so now you have me looking at Romans, which I usually wouldnt do at all. For sure something with MAtthew too. Which, as it's the last day before a week of vacation, might sound a little suspiciously like something The Pastor Needs as much as anyone.

    SB - so intrigued by movie link, but trying really hard not to get distracted from bulletin prep.

  13. Those services are great fun to do Purple. In my last charge I did one every 2 or 3 years.

  14. Diane left a comment on my blog as to what this might "look" like.

    I've posted What A Singing Sermon Might Look Like.

  15. I tried out an 'antiphonal reading of Romans' at a meeting today & one of the comments was 'it helped me see Paul as genuinely in turmoil & more human - so I'm definitely going to try it on Sunday - still need to write the sermon to go with it & link to Jesus' yoke - but feel like I'm getting somewhere.
    I've posted it on my blog 'Sunday's coming!'.

  16. Feeling a tug towards the story of Rebekah and the marriage, since I tackled the Akedah last week, but I'm also intrigued with the juxtaposition of July 4th and Matthew...Jesus is so not about triumphalism and chauvinism. I'm putting a piece in our announcement sheet re separation of church and state that may well cause a ruckus around here (it can be found here: ). So maybe I take a bye on Matthew and focus on Rebekah and the odd ways that marriage has been described in the Scripture. Not that THAT would be controversial, eh?

  17. I'm starting to move in slightly different directions with Genesis. It's not hugely different, but we'll see. One of the things I started to remember was a comment by a rabbi once about Isaac being sort of a nobody in the story. He served a purpose as a sign of the blessing/promise, but then his biggest purpose after that is just continuing the line until the story gets "good" again with Jacob/Joseph. He doesn't do much in the narrative other than that. But on the other hand without him there wouldn't be more narrative, right?

    So anyway, I'm thinking about how God works through the everyday as much as (or even more often than) the extraordinary and how God's vision for promises and promise-keeping is so much bigger than ours. The promise to Abraham that he would be a blessing and have many descendents, etc, couldn't be accomplished in a day. Sometimes it feels like God isn't doing anything, but maybe we're part of a bigger story we can't see. Yet even within that bigger story there are little signs of God's presence and providence - God's activity in our families, our communities, our relationships, especially God's activity through us in these situations.

    Not sure, but I think something's coming together.

  18. Ruth, I'm intrigued by your antiphonal reading of Romans. Would you share the details? My attempts at it did not produce clarity, but clarity would certainly help. I'd bet your reading would be easier for the children to keep up with Pauls complex writing.


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