Visit our new site at

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings -- How Generous? Edition

Some possible questions come to mind this week as I look at the readings for Proper 20A, the 14th After Pentecost. You can read the passages here

The Parable of the Vineyard
I am envisioning how hard it would be to be the union shop steward in the vineyard this week.  Can you imagine the grievance paperwork for this employer's actions?

Jonah Has Pity on Gourd
Or maybe one could see oneself as Jonah, excitedly awaiting the destruction of his enemy (and whining when it doesn't happen, then whining about the tree)?

Or possibly the hungry folk in the desert, sure that Moses has brought them here to starve?

And is the question of fairness behind all the stories?  OR teh question of mercy?  Or simple generosity?  

As we move into our week of sermon preparation let us pray: (prayer from here)
Fresh as each morning
you come to us,
Crafter of manna.
Your grace rests
gently upon us,
waiting to be gathered,
to become the bread of life
we share throughout the day.

Fresh as compassion's justice,
you come to us,
Servant of the poor.
Choosing to give
as you desire,
you show us the last,
so we can make them first
in our hearts and hopes.
Doing no wrong,
you make us right
with God for all time.

Fresh as the water
which turns a desert
into a meadowland of flowers,
Spirit of uninterrupted grace,
you come to us.
When we would grumble,
you give us the gospel to live out;
when we would protest,
you teach us songs of praise;
when we would utter laments,
you fill us with God's laughter.

God in Community, Holy in One,
refresh us with your presence
as we pray as Jesus taught, saying,
Our Father . . .

What are you thinking about these stories?  OR are you going off Lectionary?  Let us know.  ANd do you have an idea for Children's Time to avoid the panic on Saturday regarding the same?  Please share it too!

Edit to Add:
I was short of time earlier and couldn`t find a piece of humour for this week.  But here it is from Agnusday


  1. I am much, much more on the ball than normal - but that is because I'm preaching at a friend's induction into a new job next week & need to clear some mental space for that.
    So my notes are posted here

    and as for intro/children's talk - if using the story of manna I have previously taken a jar of breakfast cereal flakes (Special K works well!) and asked 'what is it?' (=manna) & asked how they might feel if that was all there was to eat (bleagh!) - but how differently they might feel if God provided them by this miracle in the desert...

  2. Since we delayed our usual "Rally Day" stuff (not much anyway compared to many folks) because of Sept 11 last week, this week is that. We're actually calling it Renewal Sunday this year. We'll start the service with a reaffirmation of baptismal covenant, then move toward the word. I think reading the parable in parts helps hear how outrageous it is. I went looking for a pre-written script and found this sort of funny one. I'm HOPING my crew of creative folks will be willing to do this skit. If they won't I will at least find multiple readers to help.

    Anyway, after the sermon we will do a dedication of not just Sunday School teachers like we're used to, but all the ministry activities that are getting restarted for the program year - choir, our Wednesday worship service, women's Bible study, backpack mission program, anything else I can think of (actually probably even year round stuff since otherwise that doesn't get newly dedicated).

    For that reason the sermon will need to be on the short side. I loved David Lose's idea in his Dear Working Preacher article for this week. I'm blatantly snagging the index card activity with a little intro and not TOO much heavy preaching. (Is that at all like heavy breathing?)

    That's the plan. Presbytery meeting tonight that ends up being about 9 hours with the drive included. Funeral tomorrow for which I selected a text that I have never preached. Whose idea was that? Drama in the CE Committee to boot. Excitement abounds!

  3. My early thoughts are posted here I am working with Jonah and Matthew.

    I am thinking of a way to do a drama/game for children's time enacting the Matthew story.

    And for a funeral on Thursday the family wants some selected verses from Ecclesiastes 3 (easy enough) but also for the main Scripture to be something from the Christian testament along the same theme of "to everything there is a time...". Suggestions? None of my 'regular' funeral scriptures seems to meet that need

  4. I am working with the Matthew story this week, highlighting the generous nature of God. The story of the laborers in the vineyard provides a wonderful opportunity for the kickoff of our 21 day challenge to be Complaint-Free. The hope is that the church and their pastor (that would be me:) can stop complaining and put an end to ear pollution! Read more at

  5. Glenda,
    I am intrigued but the URL you gave didn'y get me anywhere! THe idea of challenging ourselves to not complain for 21 days sounds like one whose time has come

  6. Sorry that the link did not come across. I am trying again using the church blog site domain instead of my own. Information about our campaign can be found at There's more information about the pastor who started it all at The idea is that everyone receives a purple bracelet to wear on which is imprinted "A Complaint-Free World." The goal is to go 21 consecutive days without complaining. Needless to say, it can take a LOT longer than 21 days to reach the goal!

  7. RevGord, you didn't mention Philippians in your post! That's where I'm headed...Paul debating whether it is better to die and be with Christ or remain and be with the (spiritually young) faith community, and urging them to remain steadfast in the faith in his absence. I'm going to begin by relating this to the last weeks of a clergy friend's life. As he was confined to home by his illness (prison) he turned to Philippians and Paul's a message to himself and as a comfort to the ones he was leaving behind. The passage is very poignant to me today, nearly 20 years after his death...hope I can find something here that my congregation can latch on to.

  8. We give various Sundays of the church year informal names, and I'm thinking of claiming this one as "Whiner's Sunday." Really, there is a lot of grumbling and complaining going on here (hey, maybe I could link in with that 21 day challenge!). I am contemplating some reflection on why we so often choose that path, and what it would take to get us to take one of appreciating God's incredible abundance and grace instead. I need to get thinking fast, because we have an Australian exchange student arriving for a month on Saturday and I know my usual writing time is going to be filled with starting to get to know him.

    For a children's time, I am pretty sure I've talked before about manna as desert fast food, bringing in a bag from McD's or similar. I can't recall the details, but I'm thinking the basic idea might've come from sermons4kids .

  9. Rev Gord, for what it is worth, check out It is one attempt at a drama/action telling of the parable. If you use it or adapt it, I'd love to hear how it goes.

  10. I am preaching on the Exodus text. Sort of have a sermon series going now.
    Although, I preached it in two different churches.
    Trying to figure out what to say about the complainers in the desert, but realizing that I am one of the biggest of them all. I like to gripe a lot.
    So, preaching to myself, but not sure where to go with it all.
    Look forward to hearing it from you

  11. Hi, I am a bit late this week. I am preaching on Exodus and Matthew, I think!
    Currently thinking about God's outrageous generosity, and how sometimes change is slow, and sometimes it takes a jolt - like manna from heaven.
    hopefully some clearer direction soon, as a busy Friday and Saturday this week.

  12. thanks SheRev for the working preacher link.

  13. I am preaching Exodus this Sunday and have had less time than usual for sermon prep this week, so I'm feeling a little anxious. I've been pondering the quote from St. Augustine, "God is more anxious to bestow His blessings on us than we are to receive them," in relation to this text.

    Aaannnnnddd ... that's about all I've got for now. Yikes!


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.