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Monday, November 05, 2012

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Give all you can edition...

November 11
I would say that the first item to decide for the worship planner this week (at least in many places) is what to do about the fact that this Sunday is November 11--Remembrance/Veteran's/Armistice Day.  Is this a day to try and determine the line between Christian observance and Civic Religion?  Will there be flags and bugles playing somber music in your sanctuary?  Or will you let the Legions and VFW Halls etc take care of this and continue on in your own worship experience?  And what does your congregation want??????

If you are using the RCL you will be wrestling with these readings.  Not sure any of them will be helpful for those who choose/need/have to do November 11-themed worship (which is why I am not using them).

The Widow's Mite
But if you are doing a Stewardship sermon we do have the story of the widow giving her all to the temple (surely there is a non-stewardship sermon out of that pericope as well???) which is such an easy equation for trying to induce guilt-based giving [and yes, I know that true stewardship education/preaching should not be about inducing guilt-based giving but the church as a whole still needs to learn that it seems].

OR you could be continuing with Ruth, a book I really want to do a series on one of these days.  Mind you who wants to stand in the pulpit and discuss what it means to "go and uncover his feet and lie down;"?  Given that the foot uncovering results in the birth of Obed.....

Just as an aside, I want Elijah to come and bless my food stores---it would save the $1000 a month we spend on food!

So many possibilities for this week.  Please share your struggles, thoughts, brainstorms, etc with us all in the comments!

But first shall we pause for prayer?
Creating, Life-Giving, Challenging God
You have called us to the ministry of worship leadership, either every week or once in  a while.
As we sit with you and our communities to look at the shape of our worship this week we are faced with many choices.
What to read, what not to read.  What to pick out as a key point.
How do these ancient words and our current communal life interact?
Whisper in our heads and our hearts, pushing us forward, guiding us so that the worship we help facilitate would allow Your word of hope, peace, and love to be heard in the hearts and heads of the gathered community.
In your name we pray.


  1. I'm thankful for my in-person lectionary group as a place to brainstorm about Veteran's Day this morning.
    And I'm also thankful for the RevGalBlogPals Facebook group, where there is an ongoing conversation about Veteran's/Remembrance Day. Join the group by clicking here, and find the conversation there by scrolling down.

  2. I am using the Shema from Deuteronomy and last week's gospel lesson. This will be a second reading for the congregation on that gospel text. I was gone last week and it was one of the texts used.

    I am feverishly trying to get my words on paper today so they will not be swayed by the results of the election. The sermon will be "political" in that the gospel is always political...I will be using some of the images from Parker Palmer's "Healing the Heart of Democracy".

  3. As Sunday 18th is our Dedication Sunday and we give your pledge forms this week, I will be going with the Stewardship big time!

  4. I will be going over to FB in a minute to check out the Veteran's Day discussion b/c it is one the bane's of my existence. I don't think secular/military occasions belong in church except to be remembered in the prayers. But my congregation disagrees with me. And the prayer shawl ladies have a long standing tradition of making red white and blue shawls for the veteran's hospital and having them blessed on the Sunday nearest Vet's day. Which I am fine with, just not making that the CENTER of worship nor of decking the whole church in red white and blue. Sorry not going there.

    I just finished the last of four sermons on stewardship so I am not excited to see the widow's mite. And yes there are other ways to preach it, which I did three years ago...wonder if they will remember if I just use the same one. Because I am also serving at a youth retreat this weekend -- just sneaking out long enough to do services before returning -- so teh sermon needs to be done. Ugh.

    The preliminary returns for stewardship are dismal, btw. Not surprised but disappointed and frustrated.

    Maybe I'll preach Ruth. Uncovering the feet sounds simple in some respects :)

  5. I really want to do something with covenant and the Mark passage but having trouble drawing it together. Any help?

  6. Here are some resources for Veteran's/Remembrance Day in worship (and I just noticed that my worship blog is one of those listed).

  7. Some random thoughts (since I am recycling some stories from past years and do not need to create a sermon this week) on Remembrance Day and the church are here

  8. I am ducking the veterans' day question and also having to talk too much about the election by having the kids help lead worship this day - I'm hoping it will be so chaotic/fun that no one will notice too much. Not feeling brave in that way at the moment.

  9. Baptisms--one adult, one newborn, taking in the pledges, election, Elijah. It's a lot for a seven-minute homily. Leaning to Elijah and interconnectedness. No veterans' day. Too over the top. Though as I write this I'm seeing a connection to interconnectedness.

  10. I don't preach to anyone over the age of about 14, but the intersection of the widow's mite text with Veteran's Day, and some post-election conversations I've had leave me thinking about this:

    The widow gave her all. So did some veterans.

    Others gave in order to be seen, respected, or honored. So did some veterans.

    The widow gave her offering of her own volition. So did many veterans - but some gave under compulsion of draft, adjudication, family pressure or financial necessity.

    As a citizen, I benefit from the efforts of all our veterans, regardless of their motivation, but their motivation determines what they get out of the experience.

    Likewise at church, a dollar is a dollar in terms of what it can buy, but for the giver, their motivation will determine the value of that gift.

    Do all of these parallels imply or express anything? Wish one of you wise and gifted preachers could take this thought further. I am going to run it though my lunchtime study group - if we come up with anything profound I'll share it.

  11. It's remembrance day for me in Canada. We will do our remembering at the beginning of worship and at Time With Children. Then it's the Gospel of Mark We're not doing stewardship ... I know horror of horrors. I think I'm going with what's the attitude of your giving and not just of $$ but of time. I want to get away from the idea that we look up to the widow as what we need to do. She was saying quite loudly that as a poor widow she was still one of God's beloved and needed to be seen as that. What makes us beloved? It's not the long flowing gowns or the two coins ... it's our attitude, it's our response from within. Hope I'm making sense.

  12. I'm thinking about the difference between choosing to give all you have (the widow) and having it taken from you (Ruth). I'm not sure that this is where I'm going but it's on my list...


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