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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings -- Who has Authority? Edition

Agnus Day
Greetings to all!  Another Sunday cometh, and for those of us who are not going cruising that means another sermon is due in a few days.  The readings for Epiphany 4B can be found here.

It always seems to me that the best worship preparation is begun with prayer {prayer source}:
O God,
we puff ourselves up with accumulated knowledge,
but without love for you we have no wisdom.
We take advantage of the liberty you give us through grace,
and become bad examples to our sisters and brothers.
We alternate between fear of your authority
and denial of your authority.
We dread to face our demons,
and we are faithless in the presence of your power over them.
Save us Lord from the sins we know,
save us Lord from the sins we hide.
(pause for reflection and self-examination) 
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, has come into our world with authority. The authority to destroy the demons that haunt us: our past, or weakness, our sin, our grief, our loss, our frailty, our mortal nature. Through Christ’s faithfulness our loving God grants us the forgiveness of all our sins and the promise of eternal life. Through faith offered by the Holy Spirit we may count on God’s intervening power, and live redeemed lives in the name of the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit.

 A lot about authority this week.  Where does authority come from?  Who has it?  How do we respond?  Oh and along the way, what makes a true prophet?

Are you drawn to the Jewish longing for a prophet like Moses? Or maybe there are a few "prophets" you would like to experience the promise at the end of the Deuteronomy reading (yes, wishing such a thing is not "proper" but if we are honest...).

Jesus Teaching in the Temple
Or maybe you find yourself drawn to Paul and meat.  And it is a puzzling question about how we interact with the culture around us.  What would you say are the equivalent issues in our world today?  How would you respond if you were asked the same question?

And then we have Jesus, and the authority issue.  Not like the scribes.  And even the unclean spirits listen to him.  What sort of authority is this?  Something new is happening?

Where is worship taking you this week?  Is there an article or blog post that you want to share with the rest of us?  Maybe you aren't preaching but have a great thought about what you would do "if only".  Share in the comments so we can all learn together...


  1. ah, authority. And how often it's confused with power/bullying. And it's the farthest thing from it, really.
    This is what I love about the Patristic exegetes and preachers -- that they did, from the unfathomoable riches of a formed HEART, "make stuff up." And we've been quoting them ever since. (Cuz we're all in this big conversation, see...)
    I have to go to bed, I'm not NEARLY packed.

  2. Remember us as you have fun in the sun. Blessings on all who 'cruise'.

  3. If only.... I were going on the cruise! Have a fantastic time!

  4. I am greatly inspired by David Lose's column (in the sidebar at about the demons that possess us. This week is our annual meeting and my message to the congregation is going to be one of challenge...including naming and calling out the demons that stop us from doing what God calls us to do and be.

    At least that's the plan for now :)

    And I wish I were going cruising! Color me green...

  5. The question that came to my mind out of the Deuteronomy and Mark passages (having preached on Corinthians last week) was "how do we know?"

    In a world where there are so many voices claiming to have a word to share, often claiming that it is a word from God, how do we know which ones we should listen to? How do we determine who speaks with authority, whose teaching is valid?

  6. I'm not doing too much with authority, but instead concentrating on boy the declaration of the man with the unclean spirit "I know who you are, and the Holy One of God" and then also the report that his fame began to spread. My Epiphany sermon series "God is on the loose" will be "God ...loose and who can keep silent?"

    The message, I think, will continue the line of thinking I started Sunday about what following Jesus means, what going where he went, doing what he did, is all about - - that we can't keep silent in the face of things that are opposing God.

    I think.

  7. Thanks for the tip Rev Dr Mom - - I think I need to go read David's column. I haven't done that yet.

  8. I wonder if Jesus' casting out of the unclean spirit is an acted parable?

  9. Sorry to be anonymous. I read your blogs here regularly, and wasn't sure about including my name. I will here.

  10. Named or Anonymous all are welcome to add to the discussion Mary!

    What would it mean as an acted parable?

  11. Hmm, well I wasn't considering Corin at all, but your column, Gord, got me interested in it. Did a test run with by Bible Study group yesterday, though, and got a LOT of blank stares - not sure I'm up for it the week before I go on vacation (not on the cruise, alas...)

    So, I'm back to the gospel. I read pretty widely yesterday and can't remember where this came from - but someone said that Jesus is teaching in the temple, but we don't hear any of the teaching, just see him do the healing. Which seems to me like its own kind of teaching - doing/not speaking. So that's kind of where I'm headed but my thought doesn't really feel sermon-sized yet....

    Oh, and looking for good childrns time ideas. I was saved last week by the Worshipping with children blog. Do you have any ideas?

  12. enacted parable? so what!

    Here are a couple of thoughts. Jesus taught. He astounded his hearers. He had authority.

    We don't know what he said.
    He acted with authority, and amazed his hearers. Maybe his actions were his teaching? Though the few words Jesus said in rebuke of the unclean spirit had power. He was already called astounding before we hear what he said.

  13. Dave says:
    I am going down the lines of prophet esp in reference to this next week is Mohammeds birthday/deathday. Looking at prophet authority (and fact that muslims say Jesus was a great prophet). Trying to see how this reflects in our daily lives today.Trying to piece the sermon together...struggling

  14. Dave - Great stuff. We are offering an adult ed class right now on Islam and its connections to Christianity, and it would be wonderful to make this link in worship. Can you direct me to any resources on Mohammed's birth/deathday and the significance of this day or maybe how it is celebrated/honored?

  15. The gospel lection this week has me thinking about how a blessing--receiving it, offering it--is not always a cozy thing. When it involves stepping into chaos in order to confront and to call forth change, as Jesus does in this passage, it can be intensely uncomfortable--and powerfully freeing.

    So where do we feel bound, or see this happening in others? What blessing might we need to offer or receive in order for release to begin? More reflecting on this at my latest post at The Painted Prayerbook: Epiphany 4: Blessing in the Chaos.

    Blessings to you! And traveling mercies and a fantastic time to those who will be cruising.


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