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Showing posts from March, 2013

Lectionary Notes for Easter, Year C

Readings for Easter Sunday, 4/8/07:
Acts 10:34-43, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, John 20:1-18, or Luke 24:1-12

Acts 10:34-43:
Peter is speaking to Cornelius and his friends and relatives in Caesarea. Cornelius had been visited by a messenger from God telling him to invite Peter to his home and here him speak."God shows no partiality". Do we get that? Believe it? Preach it? Live and practice it?"preaching peace by Jesus Christ" Ah, the gospel message is a message of peace. Too much of our Christian history works to counter that claim. We struggle on!A mini-sermon, all the facts needed to share the good news packed into one little blurb - this is Peter's quick pitch, at the opportunity he's been given.Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24:Note that this is virtually the same selection from Psalms as on Palm Sunday, with slightly different verses. Included in Easter's reading, but not in Palm Sunday's: "the Lord has punished me severely, but he did no…

Lectionary Notes for Good Friday

Readings for Good Friday, 3/29/13:
Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1-19:42

Isaiah 52:13-53:12:
Here Isaiah describes the suffering servant, and no surprise, we easily see Jesus reflected in this image. Isaiah seems to focus on the theme of how this servant will be what no one is looking for, but what everyone will give attention to when revealed."by a perversion of justice he was taken away." This sentence particularly strikes - if we apply this to Jesus, we read that it is an act of injustice that takes Jesus away to death. Do we remember to think of it that way? We get so caught up in his sacrifice, in God's plan laid out, that I think we forget that what happened to Jesus, even if it worked for our good,was wrong!"It was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain." Eek! I hope not. I'm not sure that this is ever God's will, exactly, or that way that God would hope and desire for things to turn out. I think God works through huma…

Lectionary Notes for Maundy Thursday, Year C

Readings for Maundy Thursday, 3/28/13:
Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10), 11-14, Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10), 11-14
God describes to Moses and Aaron the Passover, which is the festival that centers Jesus' meal with his disciples as we celebrate Maundy Thursday."this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly" Ready to go. Ready to move. Prepared. Imagine if this was always the way we were, in terms of readiness to respond to God's call.The Passover is a hard one to stomach (no pun intended.) It is hard to imagine a plague of killing firstborns all through the land, isn't it? But it is a festival, a "remembrance" that becomes so crucial in the identity of Judaism, and even in the events that shape Christ's last days. Death, blood, lamb, sacrifice. The ways the symbolism of the Old Testament events and New Testament event…

Lectionary Notes for Palm/Passion Sunday, Year C

Oops - late again!

Readings for Palm/Passion Sunday, 3/24/13:
Palm: Luke 19:28-40, Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 22:14-23:56

** A Special Note: Some churches choose to focus on one or other set of texts on this Sunday that begins Holy Week: either Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday texts. Personally, I combine both passages into one service: Palm/Passion Sunday. My homiletics professor at DrewCharles Rice, suggested reading the Palm Sunday gospel text very early in the service, and placing the sermon very early as well. Then, toward the very end of the service, the Passion gospel is read, without comment/preaching, dramatically or otherwise. I have found this very moving and effective. **

Luke 19:28-40:
"He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.'" At General Conference 1996, this is the verse printed on the banner in the witness of the GLBT advocacy groups in seeking for inclusion in the…

Sermon for Fifth Sunday in Lent, "New Arrangements: O Sacred Head Now Wounded"

Sermon 3/17/13 Isaiah 53:1-7
New Arrangements: O Sacred Head Now Wounded

            O Sacred Head Now Wounded is a very old hymn, the oldest of any that we’ve looked at during this season of Lent. The hymn is based on an ancient poem – written in probably the 13th century, possibly by Arnulf of Leuven, a medieval poet, abbot of a Cistercian Abbey in Belgium, ascetic, although the poem’s authorship is not totally clear. The original poem, called Salve Mundi Salutare, Hail, Salvation of the World, in Latin, was a tribute to the parts of the body of Christ – starting with his feet, then knees, hands, side, breast, heart, and finally, his face. The poem was divided into seven cantos, or sections, with each section focusing on a different part, ending with the head of Christ. This last section became the inspiration for the hymn we know today. Listen to the translation of the Latin of this canto: Hail, bleeding Head of Jesus, hail to Thee! Thou thorn-crowned Head, I humbly worship Thee! O wo…

Lectionary Notes for Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C

Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent, 3/25/07:
Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-8

Isaiah 43:1-7:
"I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" - Such words of hope! I think that verses about things being made new are usually among people's favorites in the Bible. Why? We as humans are so faulty, we need to hold on to the hope that God can do something new out of the messes we're creating."The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches." Picture Lion King? Seriously, envision a God who is so awesome that even the wildness, the out-of-control, will honor this God."so that they might declare my praise." I don't know if I like the image of God creating humans simply so there could be someone to praise and worship God. Even for God, that sounds a little cocky, doesn't it? I don't know - I guess I was always more struck by the idea that God created us out of love, and the desir…

Lectionary Notes for Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C

Oops - sorry these are being posted after-the-fact!

Readings for 4th Sunday in Lent, 3/10/013:
Joshua 5:9-12, Psalm 32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Joshua 5:9-12:
"Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt." Wow - just like that - tabula rasa - a clean slate. What is on your slate that you want to have wiped clean? On the one hand, I'm a firm believer that it's not healthy to live life with regrets over the past. Our choices, even bad ones, effect our lives in ways we can't possibly know - to change one think would be to change everything, sort of like the Back to the Future movies. But on the other hand, what can be wiped clean, what can be changed over time is our feelings about the past, the emotions, those parts that linger with us. Note that God does not say here that God wipes their experience of Egypt from them. No, God wipes their disgrace, their emotional damage from the experience.Joshua finds the people finally coming into the …

Sermon for Fourth Sunday in Lent, "New Arrangements: Beneath the Cross of Jesus," 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Sermon 3/10/13 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

New Arrangements: Beneath the Cross of Jesus
            Elizabeth Clephane was born in Scotland, in 1830, and grew up in the village of Melrose. Her parents died when she was rather young, and Elizabeth, one of three sisters, was known to be frail and sickly most of her life. Despite this, she and her siblings worked hard to care for others who were less fortunate in their village, and Elizabeth was known as “one of those cheerful people who brighten every corner.” She and her sister tried to give away everything they did not absolutely need to live one, and she was nicknamed “Sunbeam” for the light she brought into the lives of others. Clephane’s hymn Beneath the Cross of Jesus was not published until after her death, in 1872. None of her hymns were, actually. It appeared, along with a handful of others, in a Scottish Presbyterian Magazine called Family Treasury, as a poem titled, “Breathing on the Border.” The magazine editor, W. Arnot, wrote, “The…