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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings -- Sheep and Goats and Turkeys? Oh My! Edition

from here

So this week some of us have a choice.  Is it the Sunday to celebrate Thanksgiving?  Or is it the Sunday to proclaim the Reign of Christ?  Or maybe to do both?  (OTOH some of us celebrated Thanksgiving a month ago where is belongs but that is another debate).

Thanksgiving Readings can be found here.  When I prepared to preach on them it struck me that a theme was about forgetting and remembering.  Is our issue with giving thanks a memory problem?
The Last Judgement

Reign of Christ Readings are found here.  Sheep everywhere we look!  Whether it is Ezekiel talking about good (and not so good) shepherds or Matthew's Jesus separating sheep from the goats livestock predominates.

Those we minister with...
What does it mean to talk about the Reign of Christ or Christ the King in today's world?  Is there a memory issue at play here too?  I am thinking that Matthew describes how we act if we truly believe that the Kin-dom of God is real among us.  But then this Matthew passage is one of my favourites in all of Scripture (even with the judgment and condemnation that is a big part of the vision/parable)

Or then I know some people have decided to start Advent a week early which means that this is Advent 1...  Then again, isn't Advent also about the Reign of Christ?

Where is worship taking you this week?  LEt us know in the comments...


  1. sorry folks! somehow the status on this one changed from "scheduled" to "draft"

  2. We'll be celebrating Thanksgiving Sunday, and that will include dedicating our pledges for 2012. I have to work that in as a separate thing from the offering, and I am struggling with where. Do I preach yet another stewardship themed sermon? Yes, because we're using 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 as our Stewardship drive text, so it's right there. So then do I call for the pledges *after* the sermon, say maybe during the hymn that follows? Then we have Joys and Concerns and the Pastoral Prayer, followed by the regularly scheduled offering. It just feels choppy to me. I like things to flow.
    If anyone has suggestions on this topic, feel free to chime in!

  3. After thinking we were going to do a whole service on the Lord's Prayer (and idea the music director and I came up with a few months), I'm suddenly making the switch to Christ the King/Reign of Christ. It's not one of my favorite observances, so I didn't feel that I HAD to do it, especially since the liturgical year is starting so random this year for our congregation. I think my Christology is way lower than the "required" Christology for Christ the King Sunday. Reign of Christ is easier for me to swallow, but not much.

    However, I was totally and inexplicably drawn to the Ephesians text. Shocking to me. You can probably count on one hand the number of times I have chosen the epistle for my sermon. I really like how it gets started with giving thanks to God for one another. I might have a nod toward Thanksgiving here. I'm not exactly sure where I will be going from here. I MIGHT do a more extended expository preaching/teaching section up front in the sermon, then sum it up with the application piece. It's not at all my usual style, but then it's not all often that I preach a passage that is 9 verses, but 4 sentences. Paul and his grammar! Oy!!!

    I love the talk from the Working Preacher commentator about the theology of doxology. And the singing of this passage. It really helped me read it in a different way. It's like Paul's prayers and thanksgiving and belief and trust is just coming pouring out of his mouth/pen so fast he can't control it, like a young child telling a story "and then...and then...and then..." Or in my house "Then guess what...then guess what...then guess what..."

  4. Songbird: For what it's worth, our offering was moved to before the sermon last week--seemed really normal for once to this SBC refugee--and then the pledge cards happened at more or less the regular offering time.

    I've been teaching a lectionary-based adult church school class (curriculum from the Feasting in the Word folks) and our progressive class (the conservative group has a different bible study option--seriously) really struggled with the last couple passages. Me too. I'm looking forward to this week, but also wondering how to go beyond just congratulating ourselves for the things we already do because this is a group that does the social justice thing really well. But I'm thinking there's something more to say, and I'm not sure where to go with that. Just thinking...

  5. Wendy, that's me, too! Great suggestion. I could use it as a teaching opportunity for the kids, too, before they go to Sunday School. Brilliant!

  6. SB, sounds like you already have your plan, but thought I'd chime in with what we did last week for our Dedication of the Pledges. We received them with the regular offering, after the sermon, then in place of our usual Prayer of Dedication (of the offering) we had our litany of the Dedication of the Pledges. It went great - except that I made the decision to hold the offering plate full of pledges up while the Stewardship Chair led the litany - and oy! I realized within the first sentence that that was a mistake! I somehow managed to keep holding it up through the whole litany - but never again! My arms were screaming.

    I am preaching Matthew, a text I have always loved but haven't preached in 10 years. I'm trying to read it fresh this week and see where it might lead me.

    I love Christ the King Sunday but it always feels a bit hard to preach in my congregation - I think my Christology is a good bit higher than theirs. I love how the Matthew text, though, has him both high *and* low! :)

  7. earthchick, I absolutely remain open to suggestion and persuasion. :-)
    But it's true that the Stewardship Committee told me they didn't like the way we did it last time, which was to put the pledges in the plate with the offering.
    So keep the thoughts coming, anyone!

  8. Ha! Our Stewardship person liked it, but it did make our Treasurers testy.

  9. Songbird, we turned in our cards as the very last act of worship...and then went to eat lunch in the fellowship hall. We've been using the New Consecration Sunday stewardship suggestions for six years, and it has been very helpful to us.

  10. I want to try every idea I read. Plus, kathrynzj just gave me another one on the phone. So confused. I'm at my Tuesday afternoon Starbucks, and I'm going to dig into the bulletin right now.

  11. Sheep and Goats for me. With a twist. Each year this congregation does an Advent Outreach blitz. WE talk to our partner agencies and get lists of things that they need, then we ask the congregation for them. THrough these gifts and cash disbursements from unspent monies in the Outreach Fund (which is built through a 2nd Offering the first Sunday of each month--monthly averaging $400+) this blitz amounts to 1000's of dollars. This year we are using part of the sermon time to launch the Advent blitz because it fits SO well with the Matthew passage.

  12. SB, can you just pass a separate basket or plate at the offertory so that pledges can be offered distinctly? That's what we did a few weeks ago and it seemed to work okay

  13. It's the desire of the Stewardship Committee to have people bring pledges forward physically. kathrynzj's church had people come forward with *both* pledge cards and the day's offering, so even if you only had a dollar to put in the plate, everyone had the chance to come forward. I'm pondering that strategy.

  14. Oh and here is my Thanksgiving sermon from last month, in case it helps any of you who are doing Thanksgiving a month late ;)

  15. I'm overwhelmed by this Sunday because we're doing the Women of the ELCA Thankoffering service (celebrating the service of women in the church), Christ the King/Reign of Christ AND having a First Communion. Maybe someone will stand up and want to be baptized. Who knows?

    Because we're using the Narrative Lectionary, which I'm really liking, the scripture passages are from Isaiah. I've actually diverted from the NL suggestions and we're reading 4 passages from Isaiah and talking about whether the prophecies are for 1) Jesus, 2) Hezekiah and Cyrus or 3) both... (Nothing like skipping down a theological tightrope.)

    We don't have Stewardship Sunday (not my choice), so it all sounds good (!) to me.

  16. SB--We had members of the Vestry come to the altar rail with their pledge cards. Leaders lead, after all! The rest of the congregation was invited to put their pledge cards in the offering plate. That way, our gifts were presented at the altar, as part of the entire offering. After the service, we held our annual meeting and had lunch. Very festive

  17. Okay, I am doing Christ the King and focusing on the sheep and goats.
    1. We believe that Christ died for our sins and for the sins of the whole world.
    2. We believe that Jesus is Lord/Christ is King over all that there is.
    3. Sheep and goats were pastured together but had to be separated at the end of the day cuz goats need to be inside for warmth and sheep have all that thick wool. Not because goats are worse or sheep are better. The shepherd takes care of them equally and provides for their needs equally, too.
    4. The correct response to Jesus is not works but faith. When we are faithful, works follow naturally without too much thought and with no patting of self on the back.
    5. We are all a combination of sheep and goat because we all fall out of faith or put ourselves ahead of others, sometimes for very good reasons - if you are in chemo, you probably shouldn't work in the soup kitchen, for instance. So when we stand before Christ the King at judgment, Christ will separate out from us our "goatness" and cast it away. But where does it go? Well, since Jesus is Lord over all, it doesn't go far from Jesus, does it?

    For me, this is similar to the wheat and the tares parable. Strange as it sounds, I look forward to being stripped of the unfaithful parts of my life.

    Now here's the last part. I think this can happen long before the last trumpet sounds. If we confess our sins in faith, vow to repent in faith, then we can feel the relief that comes from having our sins set aside right now.

    Okay, that's all I have. It might be a very short sermon!

  18. Anyone? Is anyone else preaching from Ephesians? Have I gone completely off my rocker? Why can't I just be comfortable preaching the sermon from three years ago on Matthew? I totally loved that one! In three more years, baby, I'm pulling it back out!

  19. i'm on the gospel (sorry sherev, although if you are sharing, would love to see your good sermon from last time!) and although its a little late in the week, I was having the same difficulty with what to do with the pledging stuff. I like the during/around childrens time idea, so thanks!

    Getting into sermon writing today, but also fiddling a little with the pageant which, because of the funny schedule this year, we opted to do the FIRST sunday of advent! Yikes! that's comign right up!

  20. SheRev, you're not off your rocker - it's a great text! I preached it the last time it came up for Ascension or else I might consider it this time.

    I'm theoretically getting major sermon work done today. Except not.

  21. I am waiting to hear if I preach or not. The HoS has been ill and may not be up to preaching.
    So, I am to be ready just in case.
    Preaching on the Gospel text and talking about the grey area between being a sheep and a goat.
    Also, focusing on the commitment sunday part and we shall sing a couple of Thanksgiving hymns for the upcoming day.
    This is in the event of necessity.


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