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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Month End Edition

ANother week another sermon comes. And then I'll be on vacation until Labour Day!

But in the meantime there is a week of work. As we prepare for the week, let us pray: (prayer source)
In the darkest moments
of our lives, Intriguing God,
we have struggled with you,
believing that if we were to beat you,
you would have to give us whatever we want,
not realizing you have already blessed us
with everything we need in life.

When our hunger for hope
overwhelms us, Gentle Jesus,
you fill us with your presence;
when our need for more and more
would pull us further and further
away from you,
you heal us of our desires;
when we look away from those in need,
your tears of compassion
cleanse our hearts.

We would leave our pain behind us,
and run through your streams of
living waters, Spirit of God,
that we might embrace
our sisters and brothers in peace,
knowing that our broken relationships
have been made whole.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our prayers to you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,

The lectionary readings for this week are posted here

AS we continue working through the Genesis stories we have Jacob returning home, worried about how Esau will react. The night before they meet he has another encounter with the holy. He wrestles with a stranger all night, demands a blessing, and gets a new name.

Or we continue in Romans, but since I am not working with Romans I have not taken time to figure out what Paul is trying to say here.  (I get lost in Paul's rhetoric much o0f the time.  Is this hope here?  Is it commitment to the community? Who is part of the community??? Maybe others could weigh in...

And then there is the Matthew account of the feeding of the multitudes. One could preach on Jesus' willingness to interrupt his grief work (this follows immediately on Matthew's account of the death of John the Baptist) to respond to the needs of others. Or one could preach on the "what really happened" aspect of the story. OR one could highlight Jesus' first instructions--give them something to eat. Or is there another angle you would want to take?

And then there is the question of what (if any) impact the events in Norway has on our worship planning this week....

What questions do these passages raise for you this week? Or have you found an alternative to the lectionary for the summer?  Let us know in the comments.  Have you found an article or link that you find apt or helpful?  Post it too!  Blogged about what shape worship is taking?  Leave a link!
(If you need help posting a link you can find step-by-step instructions here)

Image Sources:
Jacob and the Angel
Feeding the Multitudes Drawing


  1. I am of two minds today. One wants to talk about Isaiah and MT since both lessons remind us that God will give us what we need - highly relevant in these tense financial times. The other wants to take on Romans and Isaiah, both of which expand our narrow view of "us" to include "them." I may have already done this one enough, though, and I am intrigued by the challenge of taking on the national debt and living simply.

    Thank you for that really lovely prayer!

  2. I could use some help. I'm preaching on Matthew and the inward-outward journey - there is Jesus, going off to pray and then called back to heal and feed. The timing is perfect since I'm just back from a week of silence at a Jesuit retreat center, and I find that people are always curious about what that entails. Jesuits are known as contemplatives in action, and Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C. is famous for its focus on the inward and outward.

    What I need are some quotes/resources/examples about the same subject from other traditions, especially -- ahem -- my own Presby one. Anybody got anything? Thanks!

  3. I'm kinda sorta off lectionary this week --- continuing Romans 8:31-39 after doing Romans 8:26-30 last week (there was just too much in there to do in one week!).

    And then *next* week I'm going to tackle Romans 9 & 11 together, since I didn't see a way to split up Paul's argument. Specifically, I'm going to use these verses in a two-person dramatic reading (e.g. Person 1 asks a question, and Person 2 responds "By no means!" this to illustrate that Paul is rhetorically talking to himself): Romans 9:1-6, 14-16; 11:1-2a, 5-8, 11-24, 29-32.

    Margaret, thanks for your line "expand their narrow view from 'us' to include 'them'" -- that is totally what I'm going for next week but I am nervous about it! I'm afraid that I will tip my hand as a full-fledged universalist liberal, and I haven't been at these churches very long...

    Robyn, all of the resources I have are Catholic (both contemplatives like Nouwen/Merton and "actives" like Gutierrez's "We Drink from Our Own Wells").

  4. I'm looking at the gospel reading and deeply pondering the idea of scarcity and abundance. I found a wonderful essay by Walter Bruggeman. For me this theme also ties in with the idea of expanding our view from "us" to include "them"--which ties in to the terrible shooting in Norway.

    Robin, you may already know about this, but Church of the Savior has an inward/outward blog that has quotes, etc. from various traditions.

  5. I'm behind already this week, due to an out of town conference and a council meeting on the same day. So I haven't gotten to really sit with the texts for the week yet.

    But I picked Lukes version of the feeding story for my ordination gospel, because it reminded me of a mantra in my home congregation that one of the ladies who does a lot of the meals uses: loaves and fishes. She states that there has always been enough, regardless of how much food was prepared ahead of time, regardless that the 'carry-in' offerings were small, regardless that many more people showed up than expected.

    So I think I may be preaching on 'loaves and fishes' and abundance, scarcity and faith.

  6. Wow so busy already!

    I too am going with the Gospel (paired with the Isaiah). And thus far it appears that it is going to become a stewardship sermon. Or at least that is where I was headed yesterday

  7. Thanks, SP; yes, I had already been to inward outward looking for quotes for the bulletin.

    I would so appreciate prayers for serenity and mutual discernment. On Sunday half of a search committee is coming to hear me preach; the other half is going to hear someone else they apparently like a lot. I have had so many disappointments that I don't want to get my hopes up, but up they are, in spite of myself.

  8. I am preaching Matthew, and mine may also be a bit of a stewardship sermon. I like the notion (I think I read this in Feasting on the Word) that the disciples are the ones who actually did the feeding, empowered by Jesus. (Ugh, I was reading while I had breakfast this morning,and had some good thoughts and failed to write them down...they are not all coming back to me now.)

    Prayers, Robin, that things will go well. It's hard NOT to get your hopes up; now may they not be dashed!

  9. Prayers winging your way Robin!

    I think I'm going with the Romans reading. I found the articles in Feasting on the Word helpful in this respect, especially in the area of inclusion. I think that Romans 9 has been misused sometimes, so I'd like to do some preaching that presents an alternative point of view.... In spite of our inability to open ourselves to new ways of understanding God, to be open to new things and new revelations of God's love; this does not limit God's love....there is nothing that can keep us from the love of God found in Christ I'll probably be referring back to last weeks reading, which is OK since I preached on Matthew last Sunday.

  10. Robin, prayers for serenity and mutual discernment already on their way.

    Check out this. A retreat center hosted by a Presbyterian church.

    Also this. Daniel Wolpert is a PCUSA teaching elder. He also has written two books on spiritual disciplines/practices for leadership in the church.

  11. WEll it took longer than I had hoped but I have the bulletin don. Some liturgy pieces I wrote this week can be found here

    Lots of good stuff so far. I would love to hear what folks do with Jesus choosing to interrupt his time away to meet the needs of the corwd. After all, it doesn't sound like great self-care does it?

  12. Purple, thanks for those great links!

    And Gord, I liked what you said in the original post about Jesus' willingness to interrupt his "grief work" (how I hate that term!). I think some of the best advice I got for self-care was to start caring for others. I resisted it mightily, but thank God there were people who resisted my resistance.

  13. Yes, Jesus did interrupt his self care to show compassion to the crowds; however, he didn't do it alone. I find it interesting that even the Saviour didn't attempt to do it all by himself asked for help from others.

  14. Nobody else tackling Genesis? Hm.

    I think I'm saving the Matthew reading for next week, so I can coordinate it with communion.

    I'm at the same supply congregation for the next two Sundays, so I can mess around with the lectionary if it only affects me! After that, a blessed break of a few weeks.

    Prayers, indeed, Robin.

  15. Robin- put in both Genesis and Matthew - wish I'd saved Matthew for next week! Anybody thinking about next week yet?

  16. I know I'm saying something about Genesis because it's probably my 2nd-fave story, after Naaman the leper. Well, ok, maybe 3rd fave, Jonah ranks pretty high there too. "I will not let you go until you bless me." Wow. Now THAT'S prayer.

  17. Having a tough week shaking off a really stinky cold (haven't had one for over a year so my immune system is in deep shock!). Also feel that I have to tackle 'tragedy' - not just Norway & other news stuff, but a local death where I live, and it's a baptism - so at the risk of sounding like the wicked fairy godmother at Sleeping Beauty's christening I think I want to contrast the seemingly 'easy' route of baptism with Jacob wrestling for his blessing - and tie them both to the boundless grace of God shown in the feeding of the 5000, which is nevertheless not cheap grace. I realise this may not be making sense.. yet.

  18. Ruth, I think the Jacob story works well with tragedy; the only time I've preached it was at a funeral for a baby. I should definitely revisit it under happier circumstances sometime.

    Robin, prayers are with you.

    Gord, thanks for the liturgy resources. I'm working with the theme of God's abundance (Matthew and Isaiah passages) and have posted a call to worship and benediction here.


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