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.