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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Lectionary Leanings~~MORE bread of life edition

Let us pray:

Bread of life,

you taught us to put away bitterness and anger,
and with tenderhearted kindness
to share the fruit of our labor with the needy.
Strengthen us by your grace,
that in communion with you,
we may forgive one another
and live in love as Christ loved us. Amen.

I will confess that I am in denial about it being AUGUST already--where has the summer gone!?! And if it's August, that means we are deep in that long season of Pentecost. In Year B, the compilers of the Revised Common Lectionary have seen fit to interrupt Mark's gospel with a series of readings from John, all centered around the bread of life, which many of us find challenging to say the least. Fortunately, this weeks readings  provide us not only with the bread of life but also rich stories from the old testament and as well as always timely encouragement from Paul's letter to the Ephesians. So where will you be headed?

If you have been following the David narrative in Samuel, this week will bring you to the death of Absalom and David's heart wrenching cry, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" And from Kings, we find Elijah visited by an angel who brings him break (or cake)  as he sleeps under the broom tree on his way to Mt. Horeb. 

I heard a seasoned priest opine at a clergy gathering last week that one should never say "should" in a sermon, but Paul certainly did not feel that compunction in his letters, and today's excerpt is full of "shoulds" implicitly at least, but his words speak a truth that is just as timely today as it was for Paul's original audience. 

Are any of these readings speaking to you, preachers? Perhaps you are doing a summer series, or off lectionary for a different reason....wherever you're headed this week, share your ideas, inspirations, questions and frustrations. 


  1. I'm doing the Absalom passage. I can definitely connect it with the recent violence this week.... I think my main "point" is that we as humans are children of God and thereby one family. Not sure yet though... It's a tough passage!

  2. I'm continuing with bread - did it last week as well. I think I'm headed toward something based on want and need, how we get what we need, not necessarily what we want. Jesus' neighbors wanted something different - a prophet or a king from God that looked like a warrior and conqueror. Instead, they got the neighbor's kid. Not a fancy banquet, but bread. Can we look beyond our wants and be grateful when we get what we truly need, eternal life as pure gift from our Creator? It will be interesting to see if it sounds like this on Sunday, or if I take a left turn somewhere around Thursday night in sermon prep...

    1. I used the Rolling Stones "You can't always get what you want..." to set up this theme last week :)

    2. I love your "neighbor's kid" line!

  3. I'm still in a state of post-vacation disconnection. I initially planned to preach from Ephesians this month, but then I didn't this past Sunday. So now what? I don't want to preach the "shoulds" without what came before, but the two together make a long, long reading. Giving it some more thought.

    1. Get someone who reads really well to read and go for it.

    2. Could you do excerpts from last week's pericope, or set the stage in your sermon? It is hard to just jump right in with the "shoulds" but the second half of this week's part is just really good.

    3. Or get TWO people who read well and take turns with the long reading. :)

    4. I could probably use two or multiple readers. Thanks for the suggestions. I'm trying to reach a decision this morning.

  4. A wee thought wandered through my head just now for preachers/congregations who are suffering from "bread fatigue". Might this be a good point to talk about the Israelite's "manna fatigue".

    I'm not preaching for the next few weeks, but I'm being the children's speaker at a Christian arts-camp starting Saturday. I'm basing it round the 7 signs from John, so I've been working on John 6 (among others.)

  5. I'm thinking I'm going to go with Ephesians this week...need a good way to frame it though.

    I wish we had a four year lectionary and had a year devoted to John like we do with M, M, & L. I think it would be easier to deal with if I wasn't switching back and forth.

    And only one more Sunday til two weeks of vacation....hurrah!

    1. I guess it would be hard to do, since so much of John is long stories. But I must admit to John fatigue even after preaching only one week.

  6. Something this week is speaking to me about truth-telling. Jesus is relentlessly telling a truth that people do not want to try to understand. I sometimes feel compelled to tell him, "Pick another metaphor. The people aren't getting it." But, of course, it is more than a metaphor. It is him. And we have to grapple with who he is.

    Ephesians is one big, "this is stuff you just gotta hear". Hearing the truth is hard, it's even harder to tell it, and we can only hear and tell the truth in unity.

    I'm also thinking of how pissed I would be as Jesus hearing about those murmurings. Being completely dismissed because of my birthplace and my age. That dismissal of the other, minimizing them that creates space for violence against those who are different, like what happened in the Sikh community in Wisconsin this week.

    Which, actually, leads to another piece, because of their call for peace as a response to the violence.

    Hey! I think I'm on a role!

  7. I preached on the shape of the Eucharistic life (taken, blessed, broken and given) last week. I may use the grumbling of the Jews to hearken back to those who want to be taken and blessed but refuse to be broken (i.e. stick to their own traditions and understanding). There's also something this week about God coming to us through the ordinary and why we don't expect it and often don't see it.


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