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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lectionary Leanings~~Mustard seed edition



  • As we begin to think about this week's readings, let us pray,
  • Mighty God,
    to you belong the mysteries of the universe.
    You transform shepherds into kings,
    the smallest seeds into magnificent trees,
    and hardened hearts into loving ones.
    Bless us with your life-giving Spirit,
    re-create us in your image,
    and shape us to your purposes,
    through Jesus Christ. Amen.
  • Today's readings bring us into familiar territory, with stories that even drop-ins are likely to have at least heard of. We begin with a reading from Samuel that tells of how the young and beautiful and unlikely David was chosen to become king instead of his older and more formidable (in appearance at least) brothers. The alternate Old Testament reading comes from the prophet Ezekiel who gives us poetic imagery likening God to a planter of trees, trees bearing the hope of salvation. The epistle taken from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians expresses his faith that "in Christ all things are made new." And our gospel reading contains the familiar parable of the mustard seed.

    • Where is the spirit leading your this week, preachers? Are you drawn to David, soon to be king? Or does the imagery used by Ezekiel speak to you? Paul's vision of new life in Christ is compelling as always, and then there's the mustard seed, that smallest of all seeds...or is it?
    • Perhaps you are off-lectionary; if so share with us where you are headed...a summer series? Sermons by request? Are you working on a children's message? Join the discussion--it's always fruitful!

    21 comments:

    1. I am continuing to follow the Saul-David-Solomon thread, as I will for all the summer Sundays I am present for. My early thoughts can be read here

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    2. IT'S TUESDAY AND I CANNOT MAKE UP MY MIND!!!! As you were.

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    3. I am thinking about growth. Those who plant trees do so not knowing who will enjoy them in maturity. Thus when we plant seeds.... small as they may be we cannot know when or how they will fruit.
      Ezekiel and Mark speak so much about what we see and what Gods vision is....
      It's a start!

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    4. Tuesday evening, and not sure where to go - maybe something with Samuel and seeds and reaching our potential.
      last week I was at Retreat for 4 days, a wonderful time, dealt wiht some of the negative messages I carry around; then a weekend off.
      Back at work today, clearing a back-log of e-mails, a quick look at the readings, and off to a Presbytery meeting tonight. Presbytery is a regional body, in our case about 30 congregations, and I have been nominated as chairperson.

      I'll be back tomorrow, hoping for some inspiration for preaching on Sunday.

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    5. Alison-in-FranceJune 12, 2012 at 6:00 AM

      Its our end of school year service on Sunday, led by the Sunday school team, (I'm coordinator), and with participation by the children. Our them is prayer (children's idea). We asked them for "words" to summarize things we can say to God. They came up with Hello, Sorry, Please, and Thankyou, so we are going to articulate our service around these ideas. We don't want a traditional sermon, but my idea is to do a short "meditation" <5 minutes around each theme. Current idea is to find a short text that makes the theme visible - read it, and comment briefly.

      Whole service will probably run at around 1 hour - which is short for us, and will be followed by a picnic.

      We had a great team-meeting last night - and I now have the job of pulling all the elements together and finding something coherent to say for each theme. (We're trying to avoid being too cutesy-pie as well.) Aiming for all-age and not just a children's service.

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    6. My search for a sustainable sermon came up empty. I guess that's a message in itself!

      I'm thinking Ezekiel, Mark, and 2 Corinthians.

      Beyond that, it's still germinating.

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    7. I'm not preaching this weekend ...I will be in another church in another state baptizing my one-year-old granddaughter (joy!!) and my (now former) wonderful seminarian will be here as a newly ordained (transitional) deacon to preach and preside at Morning Prayer. If I were preaching, I might consider doing something with Ezekiel and Mark...love Ezekiel's imagery and it goes with Mark's sowing parables..I think. Maybe.

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    8. I'm doing an "it takes a village" and "where/who are you in David's story" theme. Talking about all of the people missing from the story who are in other parts of the scriptures: David's mother, sisters Abigail and Zeruiah, eventually his nephews and one of his brothers-in-law is an Ishmaelite. Even with God/Samuel tapping him on the head/shoulder David was a part of a community. They all matter even when the biblical authors erase their names. We can't all be David - I wouldn't want to. But we all have a role in the community. (And me being me, I'm going to have to mention the dozen or so women with whom he had children...)

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      1. Wil-- thanks. That's a really helpful angle of approach. As I prepare for a short sermon in the midst of Youth Sunday, I'm especially mindful of the quiet girl who claimed to have no thoughts, no contributions during our service-planning meeting. I've been asking myself ever since, "How can my own actions/words/witness help her find her own voice?" I want Sunday to be as much about her as anyone.

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      2. Sadly, she's probably been trained that her voice doesn't matter or that she doesn't have one by multiple persons, systems and institutions.

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      3. Ah, Wil - I'm so tempted to preach here about the "biblical view" of marriage - using David as our example. Just so fed up of people who are so sure of what the Christian View of marriage should be. *sigh* . But maybe I'll go with the 'safer' option of seed-sowing: except that in God's field sometimes we get something really surprising that pushes up where we least expected it - and we don't know what to do until it reaches fruition - in fact there is nothing FOR us to do until it reaches fruition.

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    9. I've skipped ahead with David's story to write an unconventional reflection on "boundary-breaking, risk-taking friendships." I preach in a racially & culturally mixed congregation in Germany, so this is a very relevant topic for us. As I will be away at my in-laws until Sunday, my sermon is actually DONE! Woah. I know. If anyone is interested, it's posted on my blog.

      The sermon was inspired by a wonderful book I just read called "Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission"... very highly recommended!! (the book, not my sermon. :))

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    10. I'm doing the next three weeks on 2 Corinthians and Community, which I chose to be sort of a long infomercial for a visioning process we are conducting this summer. Hopefully it will have more to it than that. Will also glance at Mark. Didnt even read Ezek, because it is Just Too Good and I don't want to to be tempted to wander... So true what yo say here, rev dr mom, about familiar texts and yet I read the mustard seed thing thinking I really knew it, and then was surprised by the bit before with the sower who sleeps and wakes and it grows and he doesn't know how. I must have read that before, but it really struck me this time.
      And then, everyone in the bible study asked, "where does it say that faith like a mustard seed can move mountains? "

      So, I'm thinking about what we think we know, and how we know it, and what that has to do with what the CEB translation calls being "part of the new creation."

      LOVE the CEB translation, btw! You gals and pals have probably all seen it, but it's new to me and I'm really appreciating both it's simplicity and it's smartness. You don't get that combination very often, I find.

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      1. I can't get behind the CEB. Do not like.

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      2. the Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D. Just curious..I haven't looked at it that much...why are you not a fan of the CEB?

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      3. Wil - I would like to know more too.

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    11. A few years ago I wrote a hymn (sung to the same tune as Amazing Grace) for the mustard seed parable, and if you're interested it's on my blog here: Mustard Seed.
      Truthfully, when I glanced ahead a few weeks ago I thought the verses for this week were the parable of the sower, so other than the hymn, I've got nothing. Since I'm just back from vacation tomorrow, I have to get on it. More when I have more!

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    12. I'm pondering the Samuel passage. So God doesn't see like human beings see, and so doesn't pick the so-called likely candidate. But then what's up with that sentence about how handsome David was? Harumph. I clearly have some more thinking to do.

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    13. I'm doing the mustard seed. We are baptizing three little ones...who knows what they will become? What is their potential? In God's reign, their gifts and possibilities are enormous. And it all happens sometimes despite all of our wayward efforts to "grow" them. It's a mirror of Jesus himself - a child born in less-then-auspicious circumstances, of modest parentage despite the Davidic lineage - who grows beyond what we could imagine. If we try to predict what God has in mind for the children whom we baptize, we will underestimate their possibilities, just as those who couldn't imagine what was ahead for that little boy who was the son of Joseph and Mary. God is in the remarkable scope of the possibilities that we bless when we baptize...

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      1. I'm going much the same way, Mary. The readings with David and the Mustard Seed are perfect. This weekend ends our VBS week (>150 kids each day) - so it will be short and we will use a modified Children's Eucharistic Prayer from Wales for communion at the Saturday night wrap-up party. Then I have to use that basis for the sermons on Sunday to more adults.

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      2. Sounds cool, Amy!! Hope all goes well. I am tired just thinking of 150 kids in VBS,

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