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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Healing Leprosy or Travelling Evangelist--which is More of a Challenge? Edition

In this week of National holidays for both Canada and the US, I found this prayer rather apt:
Beckoning God,
as you moved in the lives of Elijah and Elisha,
move in our lives,
inviting us to journey to unknown territory,
to listen for your voice,
and to speak your prophetic word
in a world that does not want to hear.
empowered by your Spirit,
grant us the courage we need
to journey, trust, listen, speak,
and accept your commission
to be your faithful servant people. Amen.

So what are we all reading this week?  Some of us are using the RCL Readings for Proper 9C, which you can read here.  Seeing as we are in Ordinary Time, those readings give us some choices (at least when it comes to the readings from the Hebrew Scriptures).

THe Slave Girl...the real heroine?
We could explore Naaman washing his leprosy off in the Jordan.  And apparently being a little ticked that he does not warrant some grandiose cure instead.  Or maybe focus on the courage of a slave girl that started the whole ball rolling?

Or maybe Isaiah is speaking to you this week with his promise of comfort for Jerusalem?

Turning to the Epistle reading we continue along in Galatians, where we have been for a couple weeks now.  I have a struggle with Paul some (most) of the time, but I have to (and sort of hate to) admit that I like much of Galatians.  Mind you as one with poor fine motor control and horrible (almost illegible) handwriting I have to wonder what sort of a sermon there is in verse 11 "See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand!".......

And then there is the Gospel reading.  12 years ago, in my first sermon in my settlement charge, I preached on this text about the sending out of the 70.  I wonder what I said??? For those of us in traditions that have not spent a great deal of time talking about being sent out or evangelism, much less going 2x2 from town to town, what is the message for us here?  Is it a challenge we need to hear anew?

Is this what Evangelism feels like?
But of course I know not everyone in on the RCL.  Some of our group are using the Narrative Lectionary and it appears they would be reading Proverbs 3:1-8 or 1-18 and Luke 12:29-31this week.

Or maybe some of our USan members will feel pressure to do something patriotically themed this weekend?  (Or was that this past Sunday like some Canadian churches did?)

Or maybe you are off on your own path for worship this summer.  A sermon series perhaps?  I know of some colleagues who are doing "Sermon by Request" during the summer.

Wherever you are headed, whatever questions you have, any wisdom to share, any ranting you need to vent...share them in the comments.


  1. I used the idea of journey/pilgrimage as found in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales---on foot and with people who are very different, but have a common goal. How can we all get along well enough to make a united front on spreading the gospel?

  2. I'm definitely going to go with Naaman but that is all I know at this stage!

  3. Since we are baptizing a baby this Sunday, I think I'm going with the sending out...not sure where, but we shall see!

  4. I was not inspired with any of the reading this week. But I was inspired (in separate directions) by two of the readings for next week. SO I made a command decision and chose to use the Amos reading from Proper 10C (along with some other selections from Amos) this week to leave the Good Samaritan able to stand on its own next week.

    Amos is likely my favourite prophet. NOt sure why but I have always had an affinity for him. The passages I am using this week not only have that wonderful image of the plumb line but also the piece about justice rolling down like waters and righteousness like and ever flowing stream.

    My sermon title this week is Evaluation Time... and I am wondering what standards the evaluation will use and whether we are ready for it....not to mention how we talk about it without ending up sounding like Pat Robertson blaming natural disasters on God's anger at our misdeeds.

  5. I may go with the sending out: The good and the bad, the hospitable and the preoccupied, all received the message preparing the way for the kingdom. Whether we're open to it or not, God’s kingdom has come near and will come near to us, in kindness or in judgment, but always in love.

    I also like David Lose's take that working together and relying on hospitality were as critical as the healing/proclaiming task. "We need each other/together we can do more" might be a good angle for growing our outreach.

    But Naaman's fun too...

  6. Ooh, but to go the hospitality/vulnerability route (what it does for us and those we ask), this adds some great fodder: Amanda Palmer's TED talk, The Art of Asking.

  7. I am also focusing on the Gospel and Evangelism and how to resurrect this concept in a main stream denomination where evangelism is a nasty word - I am wondering if I can link to the hospitality piece that David Lose talks about. Still early enough in the week that anything is possible including an out and out bail to Namaan.

  8. I'm tired of Namaan--doesn't he appear in the lectionary at another time of year?

    Going, reluctantly, with Galatians. "Do not grow weary in doing what is right" caught hold of me for some reason. Not sure where I'll end up with that. I rarely preach on the epistle, so I guess it will be good for me, like eating vegetables.

    1. Yes, in Epiphany in Year B, with Peter's mother-in-law, which is a much better fit.
      The trouble with Galatians is I don't want to waste a lot of time talking about circumcision, but we do three readings every week, so I have to choose whether it's Naaman or Paul for the win.

    2. For what it's worth, Naaman is my daughter's favorite story. If you have kids in the service Naaman's a better story than Galatians.

  9. The reading from 2 Kings for Sunday - the things and people we think of as insignificant can have a major impact. will have some water to make ripples. It Is winter school holidays, but likely some children, so I will use the Seasons of the Spirit resources for an in church activity with them.

    Aged Care service this afternoon, Gospel, teamwork and community - caring, praying, encouraging one another.

  10. Thanks for posting "The Art of Asking." What a great speech.

  11. Naaman fascinates me. Well, I should say God fascinates me, especially the way God outwaits him. I don't get to preach on the 2 Kings text this Sunday, though, because I'm doing an off-lectionary guest gig, so I offer an older reflection for whatever it's worth. It's the long version of the short piece by the same title ("Muddling Through") at Textweek. Sorry I haven't learned to be successful at posting links here; you'll have to cut and paste:

  12. I'm finishing my series on Elijah/Elisha. I have a baptism this week, and during my initial reading it occurred to me that the Naaman story has baptismal elements (FOTW, pastoral commentary picks up on this). Naaman wanted a spectacular show,not simple grace. There's something about his comment about the water too - how is this water different? Just some early thoughts.


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