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Monday, October 24, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings - Reformation Sunday Edition

My husband helped me photoshop this goofy picture years ago when I was in seminary. At the time, I badly needed a laugh. I was six months pregnant for one thing -- can I get a witness? And, I was taking a class on reformation history which I loved but which at the same time filled me with dismay. I could feel the baby moving inside, as my classmates and I talked about men so filled with self righteousness that they ripped at the flesh of their opponents with hot tongs. How, I wondered, could I bring a new life into a world so filled with hypocrisy and violence?

Since then, I've taken a more nuanced view of things. Turns out, however, I'm unsurprisingly not the first person in history to question the hypocrisy of religious leaders. Today's texts might lead you in that direction if you are preaching either from the gospel, or from the prophet.

Or, perhaps you are preaching from the Reformation texts themselves.

Whichever way you are headed, chime in. The comments are open. This week's texts and commentary found here.

(BTW, I've been on a pretty regular Lectionary Leanings rotation for a while, so I'm bowing out for now. This will be my last Tuesday post. Gord will keep on as your every-other-month host, and he'll be joined by Rev. Dr. Mom who will begin in December. I would say I'll miss you, but I'm sure I'll see you in the comments! Many blessings, Juniper)


  1. Thank you for you faithful work, Juniper. I will be preaching on the Jeremiah 31 text for Reformation Sunday.
    Having a tough act to follow after a very powerful sermon for healing and wholeness. And also in hopes that we are only going to keep moving forward now.
    Waiting to hear from a church this week or maybe next? Just a little tense at this time. How long does it take these people to meet anyhow??
    And I am in the trenches with prep for Fall Festival. It seems everyone keeps adding stuff to the mix. This is great, but we also need more volunteers, so I need to make some phone calls.
    Breathe, two three, four...

  2. Juniper - Thanks so much. You always get Tuesdays off to a good start. Enjoy your break. And I love your Calvin pic.

  3. Thanks Juniper - especially for the cartoon!
    I'm very struck by Micah & by the gospel (Matthew 23: 1-10). I want to preach Reformation but not as a historical 'hoorah' - but a challenge to all of us to never forget that we need to keep our eyes on God's gracious working among us. Our 'religious' lives are not just what we do in church, but how we treat others. I hope we can celebrate but also have our hearts set on fire to get out there & live God's way...

  4. I guess as an Episcopalian I am "semi-reformed" (reformed but still catholic) -- at any rate we don't observe "Reformation Sunday." In fact I had never heard of it until I started hanging out here. So it's interesting to see what y'all come up with.

    I am in the fortunate (and highly unusual!) position of having already written my sermon for Sunday, and it even has a title:"Practice What You Preach." The reason for this anomaly is that I am the featured preacher on this coming week, and I had to write it and record it in August. I need to get it out and read it again, and I hope I still like it!

    Juniper thanks for all your great posts here; you leave big footsteps to follow in!

  5. I don't know where I'm going this week yet. Off to pericope study shortly. As you all start your pondering, here is a sermon I preached a couple of years ago for the day.
    The Pursuit of God

    Thanks, Juniper, for your hosting of this conversation!

  6. OK folks, I need some Scripture suggestions. On THursday evening I am doing a service for one of the 4 teenage victims of a traffic accident last weekend (story here) This is a first of a type for me. And my the building will be full.

    [nevermind that we are also filling the building on Saturday for the memorial of a long-time community builder, and I am off on Presbytery work all day tomorrow (Oversight Visit). ANyone want to send me a Sunday sermon?

  7. Oh and I do actually have a starting point for sunday. I posted it here yesterday

  8. Prayers ascending, RevGord. I have preached far too many of those tragic funerals, they are never easy.

    I recently preached following a suicide. I used portions of the Lazarus story, focusing on the "If you had been here" accusations from Mary and Martha.

    Sermon text is here.

    Again, prayers for your ministry in this important time.

  9. Thanks for all the kind comments, folks.

    I'm actually not preaching this week - grateful hurrah for a just-graduated seminary student!

    Prayers are with you Gord, - that is a tough one. And, with 1-4 G in your search.

    I'll check in later today. Keep the ideas coming!

  10. Thank you for all you do, Juniper! Enjoy the break.

    I think I am preaching grace (what else for a Lutheran on Reformation!), but I'm still playing around with the text a bit. I thought about going with Luther's "sola's" - we're doing third grade Bible presentation, so it might tie things together.

    On the other hand, I'm pondering my Anabaptist upbringing with it's emphasis on repentance and holy living in juxtaposition with the Lutheran focus on grace alone. Toss in last week's readings on the greatest commandment and the mission speaker we had - and I find myself in a rich place pondering how these texts speak to God's grace and how we respond.

    I know, fairly doctrinial - but I do tend to get that way on Reformation Sunday.

  11. I'm a happily unreformed 'Piskie and neither my home parish in Philly nor my sabbatical parish pay any never-mind to the reformers. It's All Saints Sunday and we're going to rock it in style. Dressed as our favorite biblical characters and/or saints.

  12. Gord, you might want to do something with Job as he is informed about the death of his children (Job 1:18-22). We used that in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings and it spoke powerfully to the devastation of such a moment and the quest for faith in the midst of it. Praying for you as you prepare for what will no doubt be a difficult service.

    Re Sunday, we are Episcopalians and so we do not focus on Reformation Sunday. I will be with the parish at our annual parish retreat up in the mountains (where there may actually be some snow) and will be talking about God not existing in solitude but in relationship...and that we are all in it together. Not much yet, but it is coming slowly. The chapel is outdoors so it should be (hmmmm) interesting.

  13. I was struck by the line in Matthew about those who hand off their burdens for others to carry. It got me thinking about the other side of that, which is the tendency of many of us to take on the burdens others lay on us without questioning whether that is an act of service/ministry or simply foolishness that weighs us down inappropriately. How much weight some of us carry around that really is not our responsibility! Not quite sure where I want to go with it, but I think there is something there.

    Prayers for you, Gord.


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