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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings - Whose Coin Is It Anyway Edition

I rarely try to preach on more than one, or - on a really ambitious day - two scripture lessons. Sometimes, though, I try to discern a common thread, imagining preaching on several of them. This week is as challenging as any I can imagine for the how-do-those-lectionary-scriptures-hang-together game.

And, anyway, any one of these scriptures is rich enough for at least one, if not several, sermons. You could, for example, kick off your mini-series on Thessalonians. Thessalonians! You don't get to travel down THAT road very often if you are a lectionary follower.

Or, you could visit the God of Isaiah, smashing bars of solid metal with one hand and doling out hidden riches with the other.

Or, you and Moses could continue your conversation with a God too awe-some (in the original sense) to be seen from the front.

Or, is it the Good News for you this week? How do you preach the Matthew text during what, for many of us, is Stewardship time? What did Jesus really mean - should we pay taxes or not? Or, is this really more about power than money anyway? On a first reading, and maybe on a 4th or a 40th, this scripture sure raises more questions than there are answers. How comfortable are you, as a preacher, asking questions and letting them hang in the air? This might be the week to test that comfort level!

Check in, the comments are open for questions AND for answers. You can find this week's readings and lots of other helpful resources at Working Preacher.


  1. I'm preaching on monarchy and empire using Matthew.

  2. How comfortable am I leaving questions hanging in the air? I don't know - what do you think?

  3. Still not sure where I'm going for Sunday. Off to my pericope group for a first look right now. But this week I have discovered good news in proclaiming that God is a single parent.

  4. I'm leaning toward Isaiah for some reason. I am pretty certain I did Matthew the last time around and the only idea that has been swirling around in my head about it is the same idea I had last time.

    Isaiah gives me a chance to teach some OT history in the sermon which I LOVE LOVE LOVE. They would need some background to even get to who Cyrus is. Then I like the complete twist of how the one who saves them is probably one who is the least expected - - a king of Persia not a good ol' boy from back home. The FOTW preaching direction sort of tapped into what I was thinking about - - how God sometimes uses the ones we consider enemies for our own good. I'm thinking about this in relation to both our denominational and national political situations. I hear a call to be much, much slower to judge those who we think of as enemies.

    Still thinking, but that's where I think I'm heading. I'm trying to stay ahead of my usual game because we have a woman in hospice care who death I am expecting this week or next. I'm also preaching, presiding, and leading some discussion at the presbytery PW gathering on Saturday. I'm going the sustainable sermon route with Woman Wisdom for that, but still will require some tweaking. It's a first person narrative (the only one I've every done), but needs a re-look before it's ready.

  5. Lsat Sunday was THnaksgiving for those of us in Canada. However we were having a special service to celebrate the Congregation's 100th and so the music Director and I decided to move our Thanksgiving service to this Sunday.

    I am using a rewrite of my Thanksgiving service from 2008--one that interweaves a re-write of the song Dayeinu into the sermon. The difference between now and then though is that now I am in a place where we can actually sing the verses as they come up!

  6. I'm excited about the Matthew text--particularly in light of the questions I'm finding raised in reading Scott Bader-Saye's FOLLOWING JESUS IN A CULTURE OF FEAR.

  7. I think I'm going to do something with faces seen and unseen, recognized and unrecognized, and recognized in strange places too perhaps. Singing "O God unseen yet ever near" for our communion hymn. Baptism lots to think about. And I'm planning to gently dispense with the Thessalonians at least for this week.

  8. It will likely be Isaiah and MT for me. The debates in the news about who is Christian and who is not, who is acceptably religious and who is not have intrigued me. Especially in stewardship season when we are declaring that all that we have and are already belongs to God, this splitting of hairs is a challenge.
    I like the surprise in God's once again using someone who doesn't even know who God is to free Israel. I like the fact that the Pharisees, holy men, were also secular members of a Roman territory. Let's face it, you have to carry the coin of the realm even if you do your very best to be completely in sync with the Creator.
    Anyway, I think this has possibilities.

  9. Going with the Matthew, which is what I preached three years ago. I don't have that much different an idea than then, but not wanting to re-use that sermon. There is something rattling around in my head about a connection with the Occupy movements, but I can't quite put a finger on it. And if I could, I'm not sure it would fly in this particular (supply) congregation.

    Crazy week in the preacher's wife realm, so I imagine I'll be a NightOwl on Saturday.

  10. We have Ex 33 with God passing by and only being seen in hind sight and MT with the image of god Caeser on it. It is a good day to preach on the image of God--or Imago Dei. And I think that will hit all three lessons fairly well.

  11. I'm an OT kind of gal, so I'm using the Exodus 33 passage and talking about prayer, arguing with God and the result is not necessarily what we want but is about seeing more of God. I'm calling it "God's Shiny Backside."

  12. I have been using these skits from the Gospel of Matthew written by John L. Bell and Graham Maule, "Jesus and Peter: Off the Record Conversations." This will be my final in the series where Peter and Jesus take the story to the next degree with Peter pushing Jesus about what he meant. In "What is Caesar's?" Judas and Simon join the argument reflecting our different responses to Jesus parable. I am hoping then to use my sermon to talk about what belongs to God and what we should give.

  13. Elsewhere, as I recall, Jesus is pretty tough with those who seek to evade what is "owing" to other human beings by claiming a prior religious


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