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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings~Better late than never edition

So this is the note where I apologize for being late and give thanks for FB, where when I see other references to preaching this week I think, "Oh I should go over to RGBPs and see what people are thinking about for this week," and then it hits me "OMG--it's my turn!" Sorry!

And now, let us pray:

Lord, though each of us rises alone to start this new day, bind us to the faith of the saints who have gone before us, and guide us to walk with our sisters and brothers in community. AMEN.

This week's readings can be found here.

Our lectionary texts this week deal with healing...and healing. First we encounter Naaman , the mighty warrior who travels with his wealth and power to Israel seeking relief from his leprosy, and then we meet the anonymous leper who comes to Jesus saying, "If you choose, you can make me clean." How are these stories of healing, and of power and expectations and surprise speaking to you?

Along the way we also encounter Paul writing to the Corinthians and using an athletic metaphor.
One phrase of this passage has always bothered me,"...I punish my body and enslave it..." Never quite sure what to make of that, but perhaps Paul's message is resonating with some of you preachers. If so, please share your insights!

Our psalm this week is one of comfort and reassurance:

Weeping may spend the night, *
but joy comes in the morning.
You have turned my wailing into dancing; *
you have put off my sack-cloth and clothed me with joy.

Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; *
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks for ever.

So where are you headed this week?

"Agnus Day appears with the permission of"


  1. I'll work with Naaman and and the leper in Mark.
    The first thought I had yesterday reading about Naaman is that he shouldn't have held the position he held if he suffered from leprosy, right? He should have been isolated because of his disease.
    But he was a mighty warrior, a great man, in high favor with the king. So he had privilege that the guy in Mark didn't have.
    It made me think of how people in power can get away with things the rest of us can't. And sometimes they can make changes to societal norms because of their status.

    Jackie Robinson in baseball, for example.

    I also kept thinking of FDR, who hated to be seen in his wheelchair and the whole controversy over his portrayal in the memorial in DC. I don't want to second guess what it was like for him in a wheelchair in the 1930's, but I do wonder how his influence might have changed things for people.
    Anyway, that's the rabbit trail I'm headed down right now. We'll see where it leads me by the time I write on Friday.

  2. Our congregation is celebrating Boy & Girl Scout Sunday. So I am going off-lectionary and using part of the Beatitudes. I just can't deal with yet another week in a row of healings. My mom was diagnosed with cancer recently. It is too painful for me to think of all the people we know who did not get healed in this life. So instead, I am going to focus on how these youth are to not hide their light, but share the light of Christ with all they encounter.

  3. happily going with Paul and Mark this week. happily have no clue where it's headed, either.

  4. I'm captivated by the idea that being healed restores the leper to life in the community. But thanks to Marci's brilliance I see that Naaman's story makes a different point. Hmmm.
    As a longtime eczema sufferer (currently it's fine but WOW was it awful when it was bad), I get the idea of having an illness that is visible. I also live with one that is invisible, mostly. So the way people perceive us is also on my mind this week. Sometimes it makes a difference that the illness shows.

  5. The thing about Naaman for me is that he thought he could buy his healing, or that his power and authority would make a difference; when Elisha told him what to do he initially rejected it b/c it was too easy. How often do we reject something b/c it seems too simple or comes without the "proper" trappings?

  6. I am pondering the quote in UCC SAMUEL: "All the way to the cross Jesus will be trying to get those who think 'where the messiah is, there is no misery' to accept a new perspective--'where there is misery, there is the messiah'"
    I can remember times when I thought that I would not have depression, infertility etc if I was a REAL Christian.
    Maybe this is the week to mention to D word in worship.

    the other thing that always get me in this story, is that we always imagine the 'unclean' will contaminate the 'clean'. Jesus shows us the opposite - his 'clean' contaminates [and wipes out] the leper's 'unclean'. I have seen people act as if mental illness or cancer were contagious.
    Marci - a new angle I hadn't considered.

  7. Love love love Naaman, but I'm going with Mark instead. It's my last week of "God is on the loose" and this one will be about "stirring up trouble." I'll work with the leper of course, but as much or more with out the story (and chapter) ends with Jesus no longer able to go into towns openly. Some of that certainly was because the news that spread brought people to him, but I think also some of that was because the "authorities" would catch on. I'll work with the direction to not say anything to anyone. In a Bible study on the Beatitudes the other week I asked the ladies when the last time was that one of us in our church got in trouble for preaching the gospel. When was the last time the things we did or things we said caused a stir? Because, according to this story and plenty of others, the things we say should be pretty counter-cultural and could stir up trouble. If we're saying what we're supposed to say. If we're doing what we're supposed to do, like touching lepers.

  8. This week in the Narrative Lectionary we're looking at Mark 7:1-23, the passage in which Jesus tells the leaders (and the disciples) that they have made a mockery of tradition and that defilement doesn't come from what goes into the stomach, but what comes from the heart. (That may or may not be my own translation of the situation.) I'm thinking about how our own churches make a god of tradition (and history), while ignoring the idea of a living God. Having recently spent time with lovely clergy of the UCC persuasion, I'm enamored of the "Still Speaking" campaign and trying to figure out how that plays into the ideas of tradition, ritual, and mission.

  9. I am with Marci and Martha on the duel leprosy narratives.
    Not sure where I am heading just yet.
    But since I am a guest preacher I had better come up with something, so I can get it to the lady who does the bulletins. It is a small congregation with lay people doing the work.
    I had much rather be knitting my first Hershey's Kiss Cap.

  10. I'm glad I caught up with this today. I used the twin healing stories 3 years ago so am determined to use Paul (& the Psalm). Trying to re-capture the idea I had just before falling asleep. Some good ideas here, thanks.

  11. I should have mentioned this earlier in the week, but below is a link to a book they had in my last church's library. It's juvenile fiction, a story of the young taken captive who served Naaman's wife. It's a cool book! I enjoyed reading it. There's a Kindle edition and it would be a very fast read if anyone is interested in a little extra food for thought for a 2 Kings sermon.

  12. I'm using the gospel lesson. And matching it up with a Paul Simon number, "Spirit Song." Am loving The Jewish Annotated New Testament (edited by Amy Jill Levin and Marc Zvi Brettler) for the thoughts on both the nature of healing and the nature of the disease.

    By the way, they believe it probably was eczema or another disorder, not Hanson's disease. And they refute the idea that Jesus was doing something unclean by touching the person with the skin disorder.

    I'm getting to the idea that healing is a universal desire, and that all of us still have a desire to be healed, even Post-Enlightenment. I love @a pearl downunders' quote: "All the way to the cross Jesus will be trying to get those who think 'where the messiah is, there is no misery' to accept a new perspective--'where there is misery, there is the messiah'"

  13. I have been on a mini-sabbatical for a month and just now getting to sermon preparation for my first Sunday back. So naturally, I leave for Diocesan Convention this afternoon.
    I like many of the comments here and will come back to reread them later. Working Preacher talks about Jesus' anger and I may toss some of that in but not sure yet.
    It also seems to me that the two stories of healing are as radically different as they are similar. Naaman never really comes down off his high horse - read what follows our text for Sunday - and the leper in Mark is on his knees. Elisha doesn't evenn speak to Naaman let alone touch him and Jesus does both. So I am thinking that the real similarity is that both Naaman and the leper come to acknowledge God and the power of God.
    As you can read, I haven't decided what I am going to say yet. Maybe something at Convention will happen that feeds right into the texts. And maybe pigs will fly!! LOL

  14. I just found out that I am preaching this week so I am getting a late start.

    I am trying to deal with the difference between Naaman and the leper in MK. One comes without humility and the other comes with great humility. Both are healed when there is enough humility to receive God's grace.

    Might just preach to my Texans! 8>)


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