Visit our new site at

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lectionary Leanings~~Loving your neighbor and all the saints edition

Many of us are beginning our sermon prep as we sit out Hurricane Sandy (aka Frankenstorm); as we begin with prayer, may we remember all those in the storm's path, and all those touched by her fury, that they may be held safe in God's loving care.

  • Eternal God,
    teach us to love you not only in mind and heart
    but also in purpose and action,
    that we may love the children of the earth,
    in Jesus Christ. Amen.

This week we again have choices. Will you be celebrating All Saints on Sunday? If so your readings may be found here; if you are sticking with the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 26, you'll find them here instead. 

I love All Saints Day--it's one of my favorite church days, dating back to childhood and learning to sing  "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God." (Do you know this wonderful picture book? When I was in seminary I did my field placement at the parish that is the setting for the book; the church suffered a devastating fire around the time the book was published and donated part of her profits to the rebuilding effort; while I was there the book was reissued and she came and spoke...but I digress.) The Episcopal Lectionary used a passage from Matthew's Sermon on the Mount (another one of my favorite things) every year for All Saints, so I was a bit jarred to find John as this week's gospel (never mind that I've been on the RCL for five years now!) ANYWHO...(can you tell I am distracted by Sandy as I write, and by my flickering electricity?) In the gospel we hear the familiar story of the raising of Lazarus. On a day given to celebrating all those saints who have entered God's nearer presence ahead of us, the story of Lazarus offers us hope that death does not have the last word and ....well, I'll leave making that connection to you (and please share your inspiration!)

The All Saints' lections also give the preacher a choice between the Wisdom of Solomon and Isaiah. Both of these readings are among the selection suggested for funerals in the (Episcopal) prayer book, and both offer a wonderful vision of life eternal with God, also apt for the day. Finally we might chose Revelation and a vision of the new Jerusalem.

If you are going with Proper 26, you might choose to preach on the first of two selections from the book of Ruth, in which Ruth demonstrates her unfailing loyalty to her mother-in-law Naomi and sets off with her as Naomi returns to the land of her birth. Or you might go with Deuteronomy and the Shema, that wonderful affirmation of faith that is at the heart of Judaism. This reading goes well with the gospel from Mark, in which a scribe challenges Jesus about which law is the first.

Lots and lots of choices, preachers. Where is the Spirit calling you?


  1. All Saints here, and I am not sure where I will go with it yet. We have lost several older people in the past year who were truly saints in their service to the church, and I might go there. I'll check back in when I have more ideas!

  2. I would imagine that we will be doing SS. But I am not preaching. So I am meditating on Ruth.

  3. Doing the Shema and Mark here. Indeed my sermon title is Shema Yisroel

  4. Hi there - I think @martha spong recommended that great book a couple of years ago - thanks for the reminder. I will go and dig it out. I LOVE that hymn also, so we are singing it of course.

    Going big into all saints/souls here - cherry picking the lectionary from both days. NOT doing John - I love that passage but dont want to preach a big sermon this week, and I think it requires one. I'm planning on some time to think/pray/write about those saints and souls who have been the face of Christ for us.

    People are bringing pictures of loved ones, and are invited to light candles in their memory/honor as well. And we will have a time to say names, too.

    Full day, I think. :)

  5. All Saints here, but all the deaths associated with this church in the last year have been young people. It feels different this year. This isn't simply honoring those old saints who touched our lives and guided our steps and that have gone before. So I'm working off of something someone in my grief group said, "I feel so broken." I'm using Isaiah 61: 1-4 and my title is Beauty from Brokenness. Our grief group did some mosaic artwork after that comment to help us see that beauty can come from brokenness. I will use mine to talk to the children.

    So here is where I need your help - I'm looking for stories of how God has made something beautiful out of hurt/brokenness/grief. If any of you have any you would like to share, my email is revmoen at g mail dot com.
    Liz Moen

    1. Liz - I'm sorry for your losses. I'm not sure if this is too goofy for you, considering the theme, but I wonder if you have ever seen Zach Anner? He is a comedian with cerebral palsy This one is a couple years old, but I think he has a new youtube show, too.

  6. Have you seen Dark Elegy, Liz? It's a work of art created after the Lockerbie tragedy. Pictures and story here.
    I love that book, JJ and RDM! I cannot find my copy. :-(
    But as it is, we are in week 4 of Stewardship, and I'll be wringing one more service out of Hebrews 12:1-2, this time with an emphasis on the future and keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. We have already addressed the cloud of witnesses, both those gone on before us and those who are the quiet, everyday saints in our church family. I've got the song "Stayed on Jesus" running through my head and may use that somehow. But it's also the day we're turning in pledge cards, and using theme music from Chariots of Fire, and it's Communion, and basically it all sounds like a lot of stuff and hard to keep it in any kind of time frame. Oy.

  7. We are doing All Saints and stewardship with baptisms, too. It's the last of four Sundays for stewardship; people are to return their pledge cards and afterwards we're having a catered lunch. I'm using the gospel from Year C, Luke 6:20-31 (blessed are you...) and right this minute, I have no idea what I was thinking when I chose that. Ugh. At least I can keep it short with everything else that is happening.

  8. I am working with Mark and Ruth, thinking about love and what that means in practice. the song in my head is the Beatles song " all you need is love" which is in the movie Love Actually. see if I can slip in a film clip somewhere :)
    yesterday I was at the Induction of the Director of Mission for our caring and justice programs in the state, and that has given me some ideas, which I hope will coalesce in the next few days;
    something like Loving others is the same as loving God, or we love God through loving others. the reading was the one from Matthew about sheep and goats.

  9. Thank you for your insights - you have helped me greatly as my service this week on All Saints is our 'Fun Family worship'. Mosaic sounds great. I just lost my Mum recently and also want the congregataion to remember any loved one however long ago they passed. How wonderful to express beauty from brokenness.

  10. Ruth. Oh what have I signed up for? the scripture is just so beautiful. it seems like there is not much else to say.


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.