Visit our new site at

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings~~A Voice in the Wilderness, Take 2

Here we are at Advent 3, beginning the downhill side of the season--can it really be that close to Christmas? In some traditions, the third Sunday of Advent is known as "stir-up" Sunday, a time to begin preparations for the traditional Christmas puddings and mince pies. And in others, it is "Gaudette" (or rejoice) Sunday--some of us will be wearing rose vestments and lighting the rose candle in the Advent wreath.

The lectionary readings for this week can be found here, and we have lots to choose from. Our gospel once again features John the Baptist, this time from the perspective of the Gospel of John...only he's not "the baptist" here. He's also quick to tell us that he's not Elijah and not the who is this mysterious fellow, and what message does he bring us this week? If you preached on John last week, does this passage shed new light on his cry to "make straight the way of the Lord?"

In our reading from Hebrew scripture we hear from another Advent perennial, Isaiah. Whenever I read this passage I think of Jesus quoting it as a sort of "mission statement" as he begins his ministry in Luke's gospel, but even without that connection, it is full of powerful imagery of God's justice.

If you are observing "Gaudette" or rose Sunday, the reading from the letter to the Thessalonians fits right in: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" might be just what we need to hear as we move headlong into the hectic days leading to Christmas.

Or perhaps you are going with the Magnificat from Luke. Mary's beautiful song of praise to God upon learning of her (quite unexpected) pregnancy is a testimony to the kind of faith most of us aspire to. And what can we learn from her calm acceptance of news that could only be shocking?

Some of you may be off lectionary, perhaps doing an Advent series...what texts will you use this week, and what direction will you be taking as we continue to "prepare the way of the Lord?" I look forward to reading your ideas in the comments.


  1. First, everybody welcome Rev Dr Mom, who is new to our Lectionary Leanings team! Thanks for being a part of RevGalBlogPals!!!
    I'm preaching the Magnificat, possibly alongside 1 Thessalonians. Last week I attended an Advent retreat drawing from Borg and Crossan's First Christmas, and there was a reference to Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and I think I'll be using these texts alongside a brief excerpt or retelling in a sermon entitled "The Ghost of Christmas Future." If we were to face a similar reckoning (as individuals and the church), would we be able to defend ourselves, our actions and our practices?
    (P.S. There's good news in the end for Scrooge. All he has to do is repent.)
    I'm also preaching, a great honor, at a treasured friend's ordination on Saturday, and for that I'm contemplating the dry bones and Paul at the Areopagus. I'm going to try and start on that one today.

  2. We just finished 4 weeks of Advent Conspiracy. I think it did open a few eyes (and hopefully hearts) to experience Advent in a more meaningful way.

    I am still off-lectionary this Sunday with Zechariah. Working title, "The Zechariah Syndrome".

  3. GOing with MAry and her song here. My early thoughts will be found here

    Now the challenge is to say something different than I did when I preached the Magnificat last year....

  4. SB, I like that idea. It would have been a great tie in on last Sunday when I preached JBap and prophets calling us to do that examination of our selves and society.

  5. Welcome Rev. Dr. Mom! In THIS congregation it is the Sunday that the music department takes over worship. Some pastors hate this - I'm ok with it. It's a beautiful service.

    I may switch texts - LOVE the Magnificat - so I'm paying attention to the stream of thoughts here and elsewhere.

  6. I touched on JtB last week so I don't really want to preach on John...I'm leaning towards Isaiah at this point, but it's early in the week still (so glad I don't have to come up with a title ahead of time like many of you do.) Saving Mary and the Magnificat for next week!

    I will be donning rose vestments this Sunday...a gift to the parish from a member who REALLY wanted us to have them. This parishioner died last summer and left his estate to the church, but I will always remember him in connection with these vestments, which he got to see in use only once or twice.

    SB, I meant to check out that Borg book--must put it on my list to read in the coming year.

    Kzj, I would love it we had a music department capable of taking over worship...sounds wonderful!

  7. Well, I was going to go with Isaiah and John, but I think I will be adding Luke. This week in our "Journey to Christmas" we are all about crisis--an unwed mother! a long journey in the last stages of pregnancy! no where to sleep! repent now!--and Luke provides the perfect summary--celebration at God's action in our lives, even when it doesn't look like there's anything to celebrate. And of course there's all kinds of other illustrations I can pull in there, both from my own experience with the congregation, news stories, etc.
    And I am on a short time-leash this week--we have hosting a chorus from Sister City for a concert Saturday night, which means I will need to be at the church from about 4 pm to whenever on Saturday--not much time for sermon writing on Saturday, which is always my fallback position. I am very much looking forward to the concert, though--the chorus is just amazing, lovely voices and imaginative arrangements.

  8. I am going with Luke, Mary's song. not sure where yet, but a YouTube of people singing form the Hallelujah chorus in a food court has me wondering where do we sing praise to God - only at church or throughout our lives?

  9. While preparing for tonight's study group at noon I had an idea. I may use "Do You Hear the People Sing" from Les Mis in the sermon this week "We will live again in freedom in hte garden of the Lord, we will walk behind the plowshare we will put away the sword" or the version sung in Act 1 which is the call to revolution "come join in the fight that will give you the right to be FREE"

  10. if you like the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah, sojourners has one for each day from now to Christmas. Today it is from a town in Alaska.

  11. I love the prayers of Christmas, which is what I have been preaching on this advent. Here is my post on Mary's Song. Barbara Brown Taylor has a great sermon that sparked my ideas. Mary's Song

  12. Last week I preached on preparation for Christ's coming, using Mark's John the Baptist. This week, John's John the Baptist is focused on pointing to Christ (testifying). So my sermon will most likely be a rewritten version of the one I used last time. It's based on the carol "Do you hear what I hear."

    That's what I came up with to handle 2 weeks of the Baptizer, but I won't do it again. Next year I may nix him altogether!

  13. Gord, any sermon that uses Les Mis is going to be a good one :-)

    Beautiful Day Rev, your link goes back to this same page instead of yours.

    I am going off-lectionary this week to decorate a Jesse tree during worship and tell the stories of the ancestors of Jesus. I'm excited about it but also worried about time. I designed the service to have seven stories (to go along with seven verses of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," which we are learning for the first time this Advent -- the church hadn't really celebrated Advent before)... but now that I time myself telling the stories, it will be much too long! There is just so much good stuff to do/tell! If I had my inspiration a month ago, I would've spread this out to be a multi-week series. Grr. Oh well. We're ending the service with Joseph being visited by the angel. Next week is Mary week and back on the lectionary train!

  14. I'm going with Guadalupe and Mary's song. Fitting for a bi-lingual congregation in the southwest. Hoping I'm not alone.


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.