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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings -- Risin' Up Edition

Happy Tuesday Y'all!

Shall we pray??? (prayer source)
God of boundless grace,
you call us to drink freely of the well of life
and to share the love of your holy being.
May the glory of your love,
made known in the victory of Jesus Christ, our Savior,
transform our lives and the world he lived and died to save.
We ask this in his name and for his sake. Amen.

Bristol Cross
So this week are you going with the Ascension readings or with the readings for Easter 7C?  Jesus rising up toward Jupiter and the outer planets of the solar system (a story the writer of Luke-Acts liked so
much he had to tell 2 versions of it).  Then again, it is possible that imposing modern cosmology on the story is not so great an idea.

John Lennon was a prophet
Jesus praying that his followers would not be divided?

For those of us in the UCCan this Gospel reading has a special place as we took our denominational motto Ut Onmnes Unum Sint--That All May Be One (or is that maybe one?) from it.  Mind you I think that phrase has a very different resonance now than it did decades ago.

Or maybe Paul caring so much about the health and safety of his jailor he chooses not to break out of the newly opened prison?  Or the Paul who got into prison for healing in the first place?

Or the last few verses of the Canon? (it always amuses me that in building that reading the RCL omits the verse that calls curses on any who would omit words from the book...even more amusing was the mis-print of the NRSV that was available [for free] at the local Bible Society bookstore when I started seminary that had omitted that verse)
Agnus Day

And then there is the potential landmine of Mother's Day to step on, or avoid, or dismantle...

Wherever worship planning is taking you, whatever questions the text raise for you, however the Spirit is singing to your heart, feel free to share in the comments.


  1. Good morning! I still have to get through 3 other sermons this week (we have a special service on Ascension Day, plus our normal 2 weekday services) before I think of Sunday, but I'm considering looking at our experience of being mothered. Jesus as mother. Still mulling over it.

  2. We're finishing up a series on virtues this week. I get to preach on philios and agape. Should be fun. My reflects on the Acts 16 scripture from a few years ago are up on my blog. Blessings on your thinking, praying, writing.

  3. Hello! I'm back in the pulpit with a summer job covering a colleague's sabbatical. I am feeling rusty! We are doing Ascension this Sunday, and I'm (thanks to a thought from kathrynzj) planning to explore the idea of having a "long-distance relationship" with Jesus. Do we put in the effort required to make it work? Is he always waiting and never hearing from us? What do we do when it feels like it's the other way around?
    Or something like that.
    I look forward to hearing more about what others are doing. I'll find out this afternoon what the congregation's expectations are around Mother's Day. (Hopefully not much, because I can't stand it in church.)

  4. I am struggling with do I preach on the Ascension again this year or do I tackle Easter 7? The reason I am struggling is because someone posted on FB (so not helpfully) that if one goes from Easter 7 to Pentecost without acknowledging the Ascension, it is like going from Palm Sunday to Easter without the rest of Holy Week. So now I feel guilt-ed into Ascension Sunday... Our Capital Campaign is over on Pentecost, so one more week of hoping people come inspired to give their biggest gift ever. Praying this does not fall flat and we are forced to not move forward with the much needed repairs.

    1. Wow, seriously? Because there are lots of us who *never* preach Ascension, and many who observe it but don't ever do so on Sunday. Nice way to guilt others! Ugh. I think you do whatever is the most encouraging to your congregation, whatever will galvanize them to be Christ's body in this time and their place. That's much more important than the liturgical calendar. Where is the Spirit tugging you? (Guilting doesn't count as tugging. My two cents worth.)

    2. Ascension is a minor festival in the Christian Year. I would suggest that there are whole congregations who do not even know there IS such a festival. TO equate it with Holy Week is wholly unrealistic IMO. (mind you in there are living people who know of a time when the UCCan rarely had Holy Week or Christmas Eve services so what do we know?)

    3. Actually, Ascension is one of the seven principle feasts of the Church.

    4. Actually, Ascension is one of the seven principle feasts of the Church.

    5. What feasts? Which church?
      This is not to be argumentative, but only to highlight that there are vast differences in the way our denominations understand and celebrate a day such as Ascension.

  5. I am preaching on the Ascension gospel for a couple of reasons: I've only ever done it once, and it was a midweek service at my previous church. I have a sustainable sermon, therefore, to work from, and I am weary of John's farewell discourse.Also doing Ascension gives me a good way to avoid Mother's Day, which I have strong feelings about (to be blunt, I won't make it the focus of our worship to the dismay of some.)

    1. gives me a chance to use, "Beam me up, Scottie." ;)

    2. Love it!

      I, too, am sick of John's farewell discourse, especially as I have preached on various parts of it before. But I also have done Ascension sermons. Maybe the psalm...

  6. I am going with John and John (Gospel and Revelation) and pondering what it means to take seriously those words of Jesus "That All May Be One". Like everything else Jesus hoped for us I am of the belief that it has less to do with seeking a false sense of unity and everything to do with how we treat and respond to each other.

    My early thoughts are here

  7. I am going with Ascension Sunday and pondering whether or not to hang a cutout of Jesus' feet from the ceiling. Just kidding! Actually, I am adding the few verses after the official lectionary Acts passage that talk about prayer as what the disciples did during the 10 days between Lift-Off and Wow. That sounds like a bra commercial - from lift-off to wow. I've had too much caffeine.

  8. Acts for my first Sunday back preaching after 4 out of teh pulpit for various reasons. thinking about ways in which people are bound. and tying that in with the Bangladeshi clothing building collapse last week, and maybe the 3 young women who were 'found' this week after being abducted years before.
    as usual, not much mention of Mothers Day.
    the local paper [twice a month] has an article this week about a local church that is offering free flower and family photos if you bring your Mum to church on Sunday.

  9. I'm not sure anyone will see this before posts begin on Saturday preacher party. ;) We're using Easter 7, last week I did Acts (Paul & Lydia). I love the Acts reading this week, and am leaning toward that.

    Lots of thoughts.
    One is, this might work as a 1st person sermon from the perspective of one or more of the people.

    There's something about Paul getting annoyed that brings it down to earth for me, he's human, not perfect. I wonder why he didn't heal her sooner, I wonder about her exploitation - owners made money off her rather than get her help. Why didn't she seek healing (or maybe she had)? I also think sometimes people who are loudest are sometimes the ones most in pain & in need of healing.

    The story at the Jail has good stuff/possibilities too. If I'd been beaten and thrown in jail I think I'd want to get the heck out of there, the fact that they don't do the expected and it keeps him out of trouble creates an opening with the Jailer they might not have had. There's something touching about his cleaning them up & feeding them.

    We'll have a prayer about mothers at the end of our prayers of the people, but at the moment I don't plan on it being part of the sermon.


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