God of all the nations,
you rescued your people out of the Red Sea
and delivered Rahab from battle;
you rescue the lowly and needy from injustice and tribulation.
Surround us with so great a cloud of witnesses
that we may have faith to live by your word in our time,
courage to persevere in the race set before us,
and endurance in the time of trial. Amen.
It's that time of year: for some vacations are in full swing and for others the school year is beginning. And in the RCL, the readings are full of division and discord, warnings and judgment, interwoven with notes of faith and hope. Is this enough to get your preaching juices going?
We begin with a reading from the prophet Isaiah, who uses the analogy of a carefully planted and tended vineyard nonetheless producing wild grapes to describe what God has in store for God's chosen people if they don't mend their ways.The other OT choice comes from Jeremiah, who warns against prophets who preach word they were not commissioned to speak. Is not my [true} word like fire God asks.
The gospel passage promises fire as well as Jesus announces that he comes to bring not peace but division, setting families one against another. The NT reading from the letter to the Hebrews provides the most hopeful note, as Paul continues to rehearse God's mighty acts of salvation in response to faith.
These are not easy readings; how do you handle Jesus' hard sayings? Where do you find the Good News? Are you leaving these readings aside for the narrative lectionary or a summer series? Join the discussion and let us know where the Word is beckoning this week-- and if inspiration is yet to hit, join in anyway. Often one preacher's questions become another preacher's fodder.