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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings~~Labor Day edition

Blessed are you, O Lord and Lover,
source of beauty and depth of passion.
Strengthen and inspire us to do the word we hear
and live the faith we confess. Amen                

Here we are preachers, the last real Sunday of summer (sigh...) and finally, a return to the Gospel of Mark. For many of us it will be a "low" Sunday as our parishioners grab one last summer weekend. And for others our fall schedules may be getting underway. At my own parish it will be a mixed bag as we return to a schedule  of two services, but hold the second in a nearby park with neighboring Episcopal congregations.

So what does our lectionary have to offer? First up we have a beautiful and evocative passage from the Song of Solomon. As RGBP Wil Gafney writes at Working Preacher, this passages "is unique in the scriptures for its passionate lyrics extolling the physical love between a woman and a man, and for the dominance of the woman -- in voice and agency -- in the composition..As a part of the larger Christian canon, this passage is also available for an incarnational reading, focusing on the humanity in which Jesus of Nazareth was clothed. That humanity was not just miserable unredeemed flesh, but also joyful, loving, touching, sexually mature flesh."

Alternatively, in our reading from Deuteronomy we find Moses instructing the Israelites as they prepare to, at long last, enter the promised land. Moses reminds them that they must diligently follow God's laws and, "...make them known to your children and your children's children." In our epistle, the letter of James reminds us to, " let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness," apt advice in this contentious election year. 

Finally, in the gospel reading taken from Mark, Jesus responds to criticism that his disciples "eat with defiled hands,"  and the underlying implication that they do not adequately follow the letter of the law. 

Agnus Day
Where are you headed on this last summer Sunday, preachers? Join the discussion and share your thoughts, inspirations, questions, and frustrations as we "labor on." 

Prayer and readings found here.


  1. Good morning, y'all. Here are the things on my mind as I ponder Sunday.
    (1) My girlfriend will be in worship, so the Song of Songs seems a bit provocative. Or provoking.
    (2) I wrote a sermon on the Mark passage for Lectionary Homiletics, so that's the one I'm using.
    (3) If you don't subscribe to LH or the Good Preacher website and want to read it, let me know ( and I'll sent it to you. Sharing is the whole point.
    (4) I also wrote a little poem for the bulletin cover, on Mark: Dirty Hands. Email if you would like to use that.
    (5) Really, all I'm thinking about is Hurricane Isaac, our friends on the Gulf Coast, and my son, who was there for a music thing and is now riding out the storm with a blogging friend some of our RevGals met before BE 1. She assures me this one is no big deal, but...still worried. So prayers going out and up and around for all in the path of the storm, including founding ring member St. Casserole.

  2. I love the lightness of Labor Day Weekend and so am planning a light-hearted Love Song to God weaving together the Song of Songs and James and love songs we play in our heads and love songs we sing with our hearts and lives. Reworking one I've done before but not in this congregation and not with so many people so much younger than I. So I wondering young ones amongst us, "What love songs spin in your head?"

  3. I am just barely back from vacation (not going in to work until tomorrow) and can't quite get my head around preaching yet. This is our first Sunday back to two services, and as I mentioned, our "main" service will be outside with other churches in our Deanery. I'm a little concerned about attendance--it seemed like a good idea when we planned it but I've not felt much enthusiasm for it since. Ugh.

    I might actually go with James....must do some more reading and thinking.

  4. I was going to go with Song of Songs. But when looking at the month as a whole I decided to read a chapter of James each week. So this week we read Chapter 1, and I will do some introduction to the book. Now I just have to learn something about the book........

    My sermon title this week is Someone I would like you to meet....

    1. I am doing James for most of the month. I like the idea about always doing our faith - my congregation is going to be looking for a way to help widows and orphans (they just don't know it yet) this will be my spring board.

    2. In my last Pastoral Charge several of the board members when I arrived were widows (and not really in need of looking after btw). They always appreciated when the Scripture lessons talekd about caring for the widows and the orphans,

    3. Glad to know some others will be tackling James. When I saw the 5 Sundays in September coincided with the 5 lectionarary readings, a study on James sounded like a good idea. As Lutherans, we don't really spend much time with this book.

      Now that I've read through it in prep for some sermon writing, I'm wondering what I was thinking! It will definately be a stretch for me and my congregations.

  5. We have had three weeks of "heavy thinking". So, I am doing a mini-riff like Holy Humor Sunday on the Bible. We are going to sing some of the childhood "bible songs" thanks to the wonderful help via the FB group. Our call to worship is a responsive litany of funny answers to actual bible quizzes.

    I prepped them a bit this last Sunday by asking them to being thinking about their favorite bible story. I think I'll add the one which challenges them as well.

    Mostly...I want them to be able to laugh a little at the way we sometimes come to read the Bible...and gain perhaps some perspectives on reading it.

  6. started back yesterday after 4 weeks annual leave, and I think my brain may still be on holidays.
    we are using some new [to us] Sunday School material, and it is celebrating the Season of Creation. So this Sunday is Genesis 1 and Planet Earth Sunday.

  7. James for me. Last week I talked about the two metaphors of "Bread of Life" and "Put on the Whole Armor of God" as the transition from the struggle to understand who Jesus is to the struggle to respond in action to Jesus. So it only makes sense for us to talk about James' call to be "doers of the Word." That gives me the opportunity to talk about doing in response to the beauty and gift of Jesus in our lives rather than doing because we feel obligated, or because of misplaced works righteousness. I'm enjoying playing with a thread of meaning through a whole series of Sundays...we shall see how long I can play it it.

  8. I am on the third week of the David series I'm doing (pulling in lectionary readings from earlier in the summer). We had fun with Goliath story last week (kids acted it out - did great!), but I also got challenged afterwards about the violence and that whole concept of God being on "our" side. So my thoughts this week have been on the serious side. I was meaning to tell David's story from MIchals point of view in a monologue this week, but I might try to tackle the whole violence question instead. It's a big one, it turns out!!

  9. Am doing Mark and James.
    The Mark passage is what I worked on at Big Event. Thankful for good conversation with Muthah and Kelley about this passage.

  10. James here. Thinking about the ways in which we live out our faith in everyday situations like the workplace, and about what it means to be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to anger. sermon title is "Extreme Makeover: Inside Edition". What needs to change inside us to help us become the people God created us to be daily ... hourly?


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