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Monday, April 30, 2012

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: What's a Eunuch? Edition

Let us pray (prayer source)
Living God,
long ago, faithful women
proclaimed the good news
of Jesus' resurrection,
and the world was changed forever.
Teach us to keep faith with them,
that our witness may be as bold,
our love as deep,
and our faith as true. Amen.

The readings for Easter 5B can be found here

The Ethiopian Eunuch
So who wants to take on the challenge of creating a children's time with the Acts passage?  Can't you just hear the question "what is a eunuch?" coming loudly in the midst of such a story????

Actually, I find lots of sermonic possibilities int the story of Phillip and the Eunuch.  IF nothing else it shows the value of inviting someone to Bible study -- they might actually take up the mantle of Christian and seek baptism!

OR then there is 1 John (this is a dangerous week for Scripture readers.  More than once have I had a reader miss the "1" and read from the Gospel of John instead of the epistle.  Or maybe that is a comment on Biblical literacy...) and the love talk.  Must be a sermon in there.

In the Vineyard
And of course we can talk about vine and branches.  The church of my childhood used this passage for its' "motto".  A great way to encourage growing out in mission.  They did not do that all that well in practice.  But to see themselves as branches bearing fruit through the power of the Root had promise.

OR maybe you are off-lectionary this week.

Wherever the winds of the Spirit are blowing your worship planning this week please share with us all in the comments.

And does anyone want to take on the Eunuch in children's time?


  1. Ha! I was just reading about the eunuch in FotW this morning...I don't even want to go there with some of the ADULTS in my congregation.

    I did a sermon on vines three years ago that I really liked. It's not really applicable to my current congregation because the illustration woven through it was very local, but it's so firmly planted in my head that I'm going to have to work hard to come up with a different approach. Or else preach on 1 John. Not sure at this point.

    I will add for those who were at the Preacher Party Saturday that my Madeleine L'Engle sermon went over really well, tbtG!

    Rainy day here and I'm having trouble getting energized...

  2. Not preaching this week, but regularly preach the eunuch as a queer body, signifying the earliest expansion of the church to a queer black soul. Now ain't that good news!

    1. Alison-in-FranceMay 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Wil (or anyone),

      Any chance someone can post a reading list on the "queer" aspects of this ? This is just starting to become a discussible topic where I am, but is generating way more heat than light. Received wisdom is my denomination says one thing, straightforward common-sense would appear to say another... So I feel like its time for some serious study.

    2. I always preach this text about inclusion, about listening for the Spirit to change what we understand about God. So I don't explicitly talk about GLBT inclusion in the church. But if you don't get the connection, you aren't paying attention.
      I pair this text with Isaiah 56:3-8. And I make reference to Deuteronomy 23:1.
      If Philip can baptize someone that Deuteronomy wants to exclude, and if Isaiah can promise God's welcome to people Deuteronomy wants to exclude, then surely we can do the same. Good luck, Alison.

    3. Out in Scripture is a great on line resource (apparently I wrote part of this week's - I didn't remember):

    4. Alison-in-FranceMay 2, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Thanks - also for the sermon :-)

  3. I am working in an OFFICE for the first time in several years - yea! I feel so much more disciplined. I am using 1 John and the Gospel, but know not where I am going, yet.

  4. I am really sweating already about Sunday. We don't usually do a children's time but this Sunday is the Sunday School one - Sunday School do the singing, readings, prayers etc. This means I have to do something special for them. I am not good with this sort of thing and had thought of inviting a school teacher to do it, but that felt like cowardice and now it's too late. I have been thinking and thinking and, even without the eunuch, have no idea of how to approach it. Our parish doesn't have things like data projectors so it all has to be old fashioned do it yourself!

    1. Pat,

      if you are on lectionary, has a couple of ideas.

      a few years ago we put a 'vine' across the front of the church and attached leaves - but I can't remember how it was introduced.

    2. I am trying to figure out a good way to make just such a vine and attach did you do that?

      A number of years ago, I took in both a couple of branches that I had cut from a grape vine over a period of a few days (showing that each day off the vine was harder on the branch) and a small live plant (to show what a healthy one looked like). Made for a very clear object lesson for the kids!

    3. Thanks pearl and Besty. I am thinking of doing something with the vine in our back yard, only trouble is that it is just about finished. Good example of a vine that needs pruning! This is grape growing country but I suspect most of the children in this parish have never been out of town or seen a vineyard. I like some of the ideas in the link too.

    4. Now I see the specific suggestions; thanks for the link. I will keep muddling around with my ideas, but those helped!

    5. from memory I used string or twine for the vine, and stapled the leaves onto eat. just make sure the leaves have a little stem you can fold over the string and staple. or you could use cardboard and draw on the vine and blu-tack the leaves on.

  5. Wil,
    that is Gospel indeed!

    I am pretty much off-lectionary this Easter season, doing a series on stewardship related issues. April 22 was Earth Day/Creation, last week was Abundance, this week is about Sabbath. At a recent ConEd event it was suggested that Sabbath, besides being a health issue, is an economic statement. If I were at the church instead of home sick I would be re-reading the chapter on Sabbath in PRacticing Our Faith.

    I remember a quote (possibly from that chapter) that pointed out that Sabbath command is one of the few commandments we often seem almost proud of violating. I tend to agree with that sentiment.

    My early thoughts can be read here.

  6. I'm interested in the word 'abide' in both the John & the 1 John readings. We must abide in Christ and abide in Christ's love: that is the only way to health and strength as the body.

    I've just started reading Kenda Dean's "Almost Christian" - & have been very struck by her assertion that it is not that our generation has failed to teach the next about the faith, it's just that we have taught them a wishy-washy, watered down faith which basically tells people to be nice. If we abide in Christ we are light-years away from this sort of luke-warm faith, & instead inhabit a living faith and allow it to inhabit us. Then we can teach our children what real faith is.

    I'm tempted to link this to the idea of the eunuch as being taught real faith that has balls...but can just hear the "la-la-la, we're not listening" that might ensue. Never try to shock, or else people stop listening....don't want to be a bad pastor (but enjoyed the wicked thought).

  7. I found my old sermon:

    1. Thanks Wil - enjoyed reading that sermon.

  8. I'm feeling very drawn to 1 John which is driving me crazy. I hate preaching from epistles. I know where I want to end up, but have a HORRIBLE time trying to put something illustrative on the bones of the sermon to give interest, creativity, life. Nothing to add really. Just thought I'd share.

  9. Yesterday I said (at least partly tongue in cheek) that I didn't want to touch the Acts reading, but this morning I was reading the commentary in FotW and one part of it really spoke to me. The truth is the parish I am currently serving has struggled with the issue of being open and affirming (and their previous long-time rector actually taught them NOT to be); they've heard me say more than once that God's love includes everyone, etc. and include LGBT in my "laundry list", but I've never addressed issues of sexuality/orientation head on as the main topic, and I'm wondering if now might be the time. (Also wondering if I'm *crazy* because I sometimes feel like I push them really hard and the resistance to change of any sort is HUGE).

    Now off to read Wil's stuff.


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