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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lectionary Leanings~~Lent 2...are we there yet?

God of wilderness and water,
your Son was baptized
and tempted as we are.

Guide us through this season,
that we may not avoid struggle,
but open ourselves to blessing,
through the cleansing depths of repentance
and the heaven-rending words of the Spirit. Amen.

Lent is barely a week old, and already there are comments on FB and elsewhere about feeling burdened by the season's demands; perhaps you are feeling like you are locked in a car with young children for a long trip while they ask over and over again, "Are we there yet?" Or maybe you're taking to the journey with gusto.

As we prepare for the second Sunday in Lent, are you feeling inspired or overwhelmed? Embracing the journey or straying off the path? And how do this week's readings speak to you?

Our Old Testament reading continues with the theme of God's covenant with the people, this time the covenant made with Abram (soon to be Abraham) that he will become the ancestor of nations despite his advanced age. This passage is alluded to in our second reading, Paul's second letter to the church in Corinth, in which Paul encourages Jesus' followers to hold onto their faith -- as Abraham had -- and not be distracted by earthly things meant only to serve as pointers along the way (sort of like adhering so fiercely to our Lenten fast as an end in itself that we forget why we fast.)

The gospel finds Jesus rebuking Peter, "Get behind me, Satan!" when Peter cannot reconcile his nascent understanding of who Jesus is with Jesus' warnings about his suffering to come. How often do we let our own perceptions of how things "ought" to be stand in the way of true understanding?

Where are you headed on your Lenten journey this week, preachers? Share your ideas, inspirations, questions and frustrations -- comments are open!


  1. My frustration is that once again our Southern African lectionary does not tally with RCL. We have the transfiguration this week. Grrr. If I'd realised earlier I'd have changed the readings, but I don't want to miss the transfiguration completely.

  2. Pat, on this site, that's a bonus - you get to look at all the offerings that were here two weeks ago when RCL did T fig - hope that's helpful:)
    Meanwhile, I'm going with the gospel this week - preaching in the morning about our image of God and, in the evening, about Take up your cross.
    Before I can get to those, however, I need to nail the midweek Lent service. In the midweeks we're looking at the previous Sunday's gospel, so back to the wilderness for me!

  3. Edited to fix the link to the readings...which is still a little wonky for reasons I can't discern. But at least it gets you there.

    Pat, the site does list a t-fig alternative but the Episcopal calendar (also RCL) doesn't so I'm not sure how that works. Most of us did tfig for Last Epiphany, so as Liz says you can draw on the ideas and resources posted then.

    I preached on God's unconditional covenant with the people after the flood last week, and I think I might follow that up with something about the covenant God makes with Abram/Abraham and how things come when we least expect them and they seem most unlikely. Or something like that.

  4. I am focusing on the Genesis passage and the new names received by Abram and Sarai. I'm hoping to connect it to how we walk through this Lent living out our name "Christian."

  5. Over on the blog, I'm beginning a conversation on 'who' and 'what'.

    Thinking about the verses preceding the gospel text: a series of questions on identity.
    'who do people say I am?'
    'who do you say I am?'

    Then once they've gone 'Oooh! Messiah!' Jesus can begin to unpack for them what this actually means...

    And then another identity scenario:
    who do we say Jesus is... what does this actually mean with regard to the way we live our lives?

  6. this week I start a series on some passages form Mark's gospel on the final week before the crucifixion, based on the book 'The Last Week' by Borg and Crossan. this week the Palm Sunday reading.

  7. Happy Leap Day, RevGals! Rev Dr Mom, thanks so much for your hospitality and your invitation into the readings.

    At The Painted Prayerbook I have a week's worth of daily reflections and art for the Lent 2 readings. This week's reflections begin with Day 5: I Will Establish My Covenant
    and end with 2nd Sunday in Lent: For the Sake of the Gospel. I'd be delighted for you to come by, take a deep breath, and sit a spell in these Lenten days.

    Blessings and peace to you.

  8. I'm trying to get my sermon written on this glorious snow day. I've got a vague idea about naming and name-calling and hope it doesn't turn into one of those things about whether there would be enough evidence to convict you as a Christian. It's a narrow line to tread.

  9. Hi Martha - I'm a Thursday sermon writer this week, too - should we have a mini-preacher-party here?

    Oooo, Krista Beth- good one! I"ve been avoiding the Genesis, but now maybe I'll start out the sermon with it as a way to lead in. We are singing "Lord I want to be a Christian" just after the sermon, so it would all tie together...

    Also, just read this on the internet somewhere. Greek scholars? True? So hard not to have a joke at the lawyers expense in the sermon if so:

    " In Mark 8:33 Jesus calls Peter “Satan.” He is not saying Peter is evil. “Satan” in the original Greek was a term common in the legal court system referring to the prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney’s job is to prove the person on trial to be wrong. Peter was putting Jesus on trial and accusing him of being wrong."

  10. Huh, Juniper. That's interesting. I just think it's making our lives too easy.
    I've got a solid beginning, and I just remembered, it's got to be short! It's a Communion meditation. I can do this. I can.

  11. in hebrew, actually, ha-satan means "the adversary"--a legal term for the one who presents an opposing case, or a prosecutor. I'll never forget hearing Walter Brueggemann lecture on that my first semester in seminary, spitting every time he said the word "ha-satan" (pronounced suh-TAN).

    I suspect the greek is much the same, or perhaps even borrowed from the ancient hebrew word.

  12. Juniper,
    The only translation I know is "adversary."
    However (and this might be a stretch) the Portuguese word for lawyer is advogado. There may be some latin root that I am missing. But a lawyer functions as the adversary of the other attorney.
    Makes a big difference to him not actually saying Peter was evil or "the devil" And, how much fun could that be for the lawyers in the cong?


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