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Monday, January 28, 2013

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings -- Acts of Love?? Edition

To start our discussion on this last Tuesday of January I offer this prayer with which my congregation will start our time of worship next Sunday (posted here)
God of Jubilee, God of freedom from oppression and healing for the afflicted, 
we gather to share your Good News. We gather to be transformed as the world is changed.
In this time of worship,
may we be fed in body and soul.
As we sing and pray, as we break the bread and pour the cup,
may the Spirit of the Lord fall upon us, may we be refreshed, anointed, and empowered.
And when our time of worship is ended,
send us back out into the world to proclaim the Good News.
We pray in the name and memory of Jesus,
our Rock and Redeemer, our Teacher and Guide, in whom we find the path that leads to the Kingdom. Amen.

There are appear to be multiple options this week.  Some may be recognizing the Presentation of the Lord (which technically is marked on February 2, Groundhog Day or Candlemas Day), some are following the RCL and using the readings for Epiphany 4C, and some may be on the Narrative Lectionary.

Indeed it is not...
 And that is too many readings to comment on.  But one thing that runs through all of them is love, sort of, I think.

The Brow of the Hill
In Epiphany 4C we have Paul's hymn to love.  And I have always had a desire to preach on that outside of a wedding or funeral.  On those occasions we simply don't get to immerse ourselves in this wonderful passage.  Also in those readings we have the call to Jeremiah, which I suppose is an act of love on God's part (although Jeremiah is dubious, and with good reason as his story turns out)--love of God for God's people.  Then we have the reaction of the people of Nazareth to Jesus' homecoming sermon.  And I guess it is true that sometimes you just can't go home again.  That is the one where I am searching for the love.  Mind you I am sure that few if any of us have ever had quite that bad a reaction to one of  our sermons....

Then the Presentation readings are used to commemorate what is in itself an act of love.  Love of the child and love of God.

Which leaves us with the Narrative Lectionary and its stories of healings.  And what are the healings if not acts of love?

Where is the Love of God being revealed in your midst this week?  Where will it find itself in your worship planning and presentation this week? 

And of course we continue to send best wishes to those of our body who are off on the big white ship for BE6.


  1. RevGord, thanks for your hospitality and for your "God of Jubilee" prayer--lovely. This week, I found myself drawn to the 1 Corinthians 13 passage, wanting, like Gord, to explore it outside the context where I most often engage it. The blessing that came as I reflected on the passage ("Blessing that Opens Its Heart to You") is here at The Painted Prayerbook, along with a new piece of art:

    Epiphany 4: The Greatest of These

    Blessings to you, wherever the Spirit leads you this week!

  2. Well my sermon on 1 Cor 13 will have to wait for another time. This year I am going with Luke, reading the whole pericope (preaching and reaction) and the question I find myself wondering about is where does the conflict come from? If we read the crowd initial reaction as adoring then why does Jesus seem to pick a fight with them?

    My earliy thoughts are found here

  3. Gord - Working preacher's sermon brainwave was really helpful this week on both Luke (esp the question of "why does Jesus pick a fight") and 1 Cor 13, imo. Also, funny.

    I have adapted Richard Bott's teaching eucharist as a script for 5 kids - weaving in a tiny bit of exegesis on the Luke passage and making little more consistent with our "low" congregation's usual experience, so the kids and I will do that for the sermon. Looking forward to it and then REALLY looking forward to a week away next week which is sort of combo post-Christmas vacation and reading-prep for Lent week.

    Wow! Lent! You are coming so fast!

  4. Wow. I'm a bit dazzled by the array of possibilities, and also trying to rein myself in a bit because I really need to spend some time thinking through communion--my first with this congregation, and by intinction, which I haven't done often, with a bunch of new deacons who want a "communion script" full of specific stage directions from me before Sunday!

    My first thought is to preach on Jeremiah and Luke, looking at what happens when God's calling challenges us to live "outside the box." That's all I've got so far...

    1. I think the 1 Cor 13 is also a radical call to "live outside the box." Using the gifts Paul's been writing about, being the unified body, he's now calling the Corinthians to live out those gifts with equality, without judging value or ascribing hierarchy to their use in the Body, through love that is humbling and aware that it doesn't have all the answers or wisdom or final say.

  5. I'm thinking I'll do something that juxtaposes our inclination to judge with our responsibility to love. Jesus' neighbors move from love and pride (a hometown boy made good) to a place of judgment very quickly, don't they? Paul warns us that we have to take care that our love is really love, and not hidden personal agendas. Jeremiah tells us that we are fully known by God, and that God gives us what we need. We don't need to measure ourselves against others. We simply need to be God's voice in the world. There's a thread in there somewhere, but it hasn't completely emerged yet!

    1. If you're using Psalm 71:1-6, I think the reliance on God is the theme...that Jesus is there to not make things simpler, but to bring us to the brink of ... God's will, push us to love those outside the 'inner circle' of complacency and 'known' theology/practice.

      When you connect with the "one body, many gifts" from last week, this flows in manifestation of love, God's love. I think that's going to be my focus. to put it together... :)

  6. We're doing Candlemas and Simeon and Anna. Discovering that Candlemas has deep roots both in the Anglican and the Latino traditions. Cool. Haven't a clue where to go with all this.

  7. A question formed in my mind today while reading an article on HuffPost Religion. What would be the message(s) that would lead Jesus to be hauled to the cliff edge in our congregations today?

  8. I am doing the Presentation. No candle blessings but I want to talk about what we present to God.


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