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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings~~Low Sunday edition

O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that we, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and pr
aise for ever and ever. Amen. Collect for Tuesday in Easter Week

Have you had a nap yet, preachers? I haven't, at least not a long one, because I spent Easter afternoon at a homeless ministry and Easter Monday doing taxes and other assorted and put-off-until-after-Easter-tasks. Nonetheless, it's time to start thinking about what comes next. For many of us it will be "low Sunday." I mean, after showing up on Palm Sunday and Easter, folks need a day off, right? (snark off).

After all the excitement of the empty tomb, this week we get John's version of Pentecost and good ol' Doubting Thomas. Thomas gets a bum rap in my book; I think his reaction is exactly what many of us would feel in his place, and in fact, may feel now. Show me the evidence. It's actually a great springboard for a discussion of faith and doubt and belief and unbelief if we can get beyond the overfamiliarity with the story.

If Thomas is old hat, you might choose Acts, where the apostles are hauled in front of the authorities because they have "filled Jerusalem with [Jesus'] teaching." Would we supply such strength of conviction today? Or perhaps you're inspired by the opening verses of the Revelation to John. Is an Eastertide series on Revelation or Acts in your future?

Wherever you're headed (even if it's back for another nap) share your thoughts, questions, doubts, or inspirations with us. We're all tired, no doubt, but we're all in this together.

Alleluia, alleluia!

Readings found here or here


  1. I posted some preaching prompts for the Easter 2B gospel text at, for what they're worth.

    1. Alison-in-FranceApril 2, 2013 at 5:03 AM

      Thank you so much for this food for thought.

      I'm in an odd position for next Sunday. I'm involved in organizing a regional "gathering" for the Alpha course in our area. Likely around 200 attendees. We're in France and this is inter-denominational, so the vast majority will be Catholic and with a "mixed protestant" minority (potentially ranging from Pentecostal to Bretheren and all points in between).

      Sunday morning there will be a Catholic Mass and Protestant service in parallel. However, currently, we don't know of any pastors/ministers planning to be there on Sunday. So as the only protestant on the organising committee it is my job either to round someone up or do it myself.

      So I don't want to spend ages planning a service and writing a sermon that may not be used, but on the other hand I don't want to get to Saturday evening and realise that I'm IT and that I have nothing available. (Also, I'm giving the plenary session talk immediately after worship - though that is a reprise of last year and is 95% ready).

      Part of my reluctance to just say "I'll just do it" is that I'm not ordained. I'm a lay preacher in my local church - but there will be people attending from traditions where women don't preach, and there will definately be people attending from traditions where women don't preside at Communion... I don't want to cause offence needlessly - but I also don't want to round up "some guy" to do it just because he has a Y chromasone. (Have discussed with my pastor who is of the Just Do It persuasion). Meanwhile Catholic collegues on team are just mystified by protestant flakiness on such issues. (They need a priest for the occasion, so have requested one from the Diocese and been assigned one - they're having trouble understanding that I can't just do the equivalent)

      At least I've been assured that there will be a musician !

      Sorry - this turned into a vent ! I love the community aspect of the Thomas story that you point out - its bang on appropriate for Alpha, so if I need to I will muse around that. (Thomas is my favourite disciple, because I'm definately of the "oh yeah - wanna prove that ?" tendancy.)

    2. Don't let other traditions balk you from speaking the Gospel when you are called upon. Be prepared and everyone will be amazed that a lay person has such depth. ;>D

  2. I am getting ready for my oldest son to be baptized this Sunday. I loved the comment last week (two weeks ago?) about Thomas possibly being the Beloved Disciple. It has piqued my curiosity. I'm thinking about that today. Blessings on your Alpha gathering. It is amazing how much we share and how much separates denominations.

    1. Megan - don't forget to lay in some waterproof mascara !

  3. In the grand tradition of associate/intern Sunday, I and and the other two people who have been working in the church this year (one a seminary intern, the other two of us lay interns of sorts) are planning the service and each giving a brief reflection. I chose Acts with the idea that my even stepping into the pulpit is based on an insistent call from God in defiance of the human (ecclesiastical) authority with which I grew up, that said women couldn't do that. I don't know that I will say exactly that in my reflection, but it is in the background nonetheless.

    I am intrigued by this quote from The Daily Feast (the Feasting on the Word daily devotional book, and I will probably look at the Feasting essays in their entirety when I go to the church office: "Faithfulness requires discernment, wisdom, and risk. Learning how to 'obey God rather than human authority' may demand a hard look at the witness of Christians at the margins, rather than our own assumptions of higher Christian order and law."

  4. We'll see what I'm in the mood for after my lectionary group this afternoon. Hard to believe Sunday's a comin' again!

  5. I don't have to preach this week. My turn on the rota comes on Easter IV--have to preach about the danged sheep again!

  6. Anyone out there doing Holy Humour? And if so, what do you do for the sermon time???

  7. I am picking up the Emmaus story from the Easter evening lectionary.
    Gord, doing a bit with the Holy Humour...right now the sermon title is "God Continues to Have the Last Laugh"

  8. Having a blessed vacation weekend, courtesy of our local PBS radio station, from whom we won a trip to a lovely grand hotel. My fabulous deacon is preaching, and there's a piece of me that really wishes I could be there to hear him!

  9. I think that I'm going to wed Thomas and the Acts passage together, talking about how God gives us what we need to do what we are called to do..belief, courage, strength, sight...I'm in a new call, but I've preached on Thomas alone just about every year in ministry, so I'm leaning towards leaning heavily on Acts this year.

  10. Thanks to Rev. Dr. Mom I'm going with the Acts passage. We are going to combine Low Sunday with the optional MLK Feast Day and the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Acts will do just fine. Am now feeling excited about it. Will be a busy week--meeting with the Bishop about our Mission to the Homeless; celebrating the eucharist at the blessing of our good friends' union blessing and all that goes along with a wedding; catching up on the work I didn't do last week. Needed a kick-start today.

    1. I really love this idea!

      Busy week here, too. Some people didn't get the memo about clergy being tired...just sayin'

  11. This week we are looking at the John reading, and offering options for reflecting on it. mainly thinking about peace, so we are looking at making a banner, making paper cranes or being part of a discussion group - all while eating morning tea. this Sunday is when we get an extra hour's sleep courtesy of the end of daylight savings.
    The call to worship will be Psalm 50 with instruments, so it could be a crazy morning, but hopefully fun.

  12. I am doing my first baptism ever (a baby) and it's communion Sunday, so we are reading from Matthew 28 and Emmaus and I am preaching the world's shortest sermon ever about the sacraments.

  13. This Sunday will probably be the last where I'm leading the whole service at my field placement. (I'm preaching May 19th, but - as it's also Pentecost and a goodbye-to-Cindi Sunday, I'm going to suggest we leave it at that.)

    I'm using the Gospel reading and addressing Thomas with the children's moment.

    For the sermon, I'm focusing on two verses:

    20:21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

    As a church that claims "the priesthood of all believers," we can think of all the believers as sent by Jesus as Jesus was sent by God. Then we can think about how Jesus was sent by God - it's no one-morning-a-week thing. We are priests every day, in every place.

    20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

    Sure, this is often interpreted as the ability of ordained ministers to forgive sins, passed through apostolic succession. But I'm challenging us to think of this in terms of a warning. When we think of the forgiving example of Jesus, we can look at this a different way:

    When you forgive, people experience forgiveness.

    When you don't forgive, people experience unforgiveness.

    And, just in case it seems like a good idea to make someone feel unforgiven, remember that people experience Christ in the way Christians live. As the priesthood of all believers, we are all priests representing Jesus - we are the body of Christ - and we are the way people understand Christianity.

    All believers are priests - so do not think too little of yourself
    All our priestly words and actions have consequences, so speak and act with care and prayer.

    That's where I'm at on Wednesday morning. We'll see where we are Saturday night. ::grin::

  14. I love Thomas, and every time he comes up I refine my thoughts a little further. Here's the latest: Risking Thomas.

  15. My years as an intern and an associate have left me a little blah on Thomas. So I'm going in another direction and have chosen the Psalm, which I almost never do. A vague idea of what is "victory" in the Psalm, to Jesus, to us. And that's about it.

    A day off after Easter, and then a tummy bug for the kids has left me behind. Somehow it's almost Thursday already, and I've got squat.


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