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Monday, January 21, 2013

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings--Tale of Two Sermons Edition

Good Morning (or evening, or afternoon depending on where and when you are reading this), and welcome to the week where we prepare for the 3rd Sunday After Epiphany Year C (for RCL followers anyway).  And as it happens this Tuesday lands us in the middle of the Week Of Prayer for Christian Unity.  It seems appropriate in an widely ecumenical group such as this that we hold that occasion up in prayer (prayer source --excerpted from II Praise and Thanksgiving)....
All around the world...
We praise you dear God for creating us in all our diversity.
For the gift of our many cultures, languages, diverse expressions of belief, customs, traditions, and ethnicities we thank you!
We thank you for the many church traditions which have kept our communities strong and active even in places where they are a minority.
Teach us to celebrate our different identities and traditions, so as to forge bonds of friendship and fellowship leading us to greater unity.

We praise you Holy Spirit for the gift of mutual interdependence and solidarity that has been our heritage as peoples and churches.

Teach us to treasure the bonds of unity we enjoy as we beseech your continuing presence with us.
Inspire us on our journey towards full visible unity among us, and with all those peoples and movements that engage in the struggles for life.

This week the RCL readings offer us a choice between a really long sermon in Nehemiah or a really short sermon in Luke.  Mind you given the reaction Jesus gets to his sermon maybe it is just as well it is short--but more on that next week.

It strikes me that one could tell that story from Nehemiah any time people complain about the sermon being too long.  And after that long sermon the people weep for joy!  Should we maybe promise to preach till the people weep????  More seriously, coupled with the Psalm reading this passage really makes us think about our feelings toward Scripture.

Then in our other sermon Jesus gives one simple sentence.  Mind you that simple sentence coupled with a powerful passage of scripture makes a pretty potent (and somewhat terrifying) job description.  Then again at least this job description does not contain that pesky line "Other duties as required".  That line opens too many doors....
Nepotism at the highest levels?

Many Members but One Body
Or we could avoid preaching about preaching altogether and go with Paul.  Paul who continues to wax eloquent about welcoming all into the family (or body in this case) of God.  But maybe we should not ask which part of the body (literal or metaphorical) we would want to amputate...

Then again there is the Narrative Lectionary, which takes on Luke 6  and conflict with the Pharisees this week.

Wherever worship planning is tempting you to go this week, whatever wonderings/questions you have popping into your heads, any wonderful Children's Time ideas, or maybe just space to vent about church life--the comments are waiting.

PS: and of course best wishes (and maybe a little envy) go to those of our circle who are about to head off on a big boat for the Big Event (version 6.0) this weekend.


  1. Thanks, Gord, for including the Narrative Lectionary. I'm about to get busy on my sermon from that text - any other takers?

  2. There's something calling to me about putting the Nehemiah and Luke texts together...something about the use of Scripture, reading the Bible, the Word of God...something. I'm thinking it through and trying to get an early start. We have a birthday girl this weekend (3 yrs old) and a party to get ready for, and a Daddy with an all-day Saturday meeting. An early start would be good!

  3. I am using all of 1 Corinthians 12 this week, and the using the whole Luke story (sermon and reaction) next week. I just like keeping things together sometimes.

    My sermon title this week asks What Part are you? What Gift have you? and my early thoughts can be found here

    1. Great idea. 1 Corinthians would be a good follow up to last week's sermon (and annual meeting), but I don't want to skip this week's gospel.

  4. I was able to blend I Corinthians and Luke last week...and I think I've found the link for this week. If all these body parts make something whole...then it seems that "wholeness" has a purpose. Aha...enter Luke! If our gifts are from the Divine (and they are) then our purpose is also from the Divine!

  5. preaching at a different congregation this week in my role as chairperson of our regional body. Saturday is Australia Day, and this congregation is multicultural. I am going with Nehemiah and Luke, looking at how story shapes us [biblical story, national story, congregational story] and asking which story informs our vision.

  6. Annual meeting is this week during worship--so we're going with 1 Corinthians and the whole Body of Christ business. Each ministry team will reflect on the past year and the coming year from that perspective, talking about how they have been the Body and have built up the Body. Or something. Pretty sure that means I don't have to preach!

  7. Purple, I love purpose and wholeness. I may join you.

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