Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

World Communion Sunday and Proper 22A/Ordinary 27A/Pentecost +21 October 5, 2008

I love World Communion Sunday. It invites the imagination of the worship committee, visually, liturgically and for singing. The preacher, however this week has some very difficult passages to pull together to preach on and tie in World Communion. Good luck to each of you. I would love to hear what all you all are doing.

Now on to those difficult passages:

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 The Ten Commandments are given; but don't forget those last passages that the people were afraid for God to speak to them and Moses told them to not be afraid for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin." Maybe we could use a little of the fear of God in our lives. Is it enough to have the ten commandments posted in our yard? On a wall somewhere?
Psalm 19 (UMH 750) I love this Psalm; "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork." If you don't preach on this, it is a good Psalm to read in the service.
Philippians 3:4b-14 3:7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 3:8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Would that we could say that. 3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death. What would that look like for us as Christians, how would this fit into World Communion Sunday?

Matthew 21:33-46 21:42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'? 21:43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. How have we rejected Christ in our lives? How are we producing fruit and how are we not producing fruit? How are we the messengers today or the tenants?

What other questions and thoughts are rumbling through your thoughts as you prepare for Sunday's Sermon?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday's Prayer (late edition)

Gracious God,
Thank you for this day.
Thank you for your presence in our lives.
Thank you for this day of worship and focus on you.
Thank you for your goodness to us.
Lord, forgive us when we take you for granted.
Forgive us when we take others for granted.
Forgive us when we take ourselves for granted.
Thank you for your forgiveness, may we live our lives as your forgiven people.
Lord we are grateful that our leaders care about the economic situation in our country, but Lord, can they go a little further than just Wall Street to Main Street to down the street to across the street and to those who make the street their home? Lord, may we do our part to make it so.

cross posted at my blog


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunday Prayer

Gracious God, today as we labor in your vineyard, your Kingdom, guide our work.
As we stand in the pulpit with all our labor for a sermon, may all that is said bring forth fruit.
May your vineyard flourish, may your Kingdom flourish.
May your spirit flow forth like water watering the land, may our souls be filled with your goodness, your mercy, your kindness.
Oh Lord we pray for our brothers and sisters
who were devastated by the power of hurricane Ike.
Oh Lord we pray for those who have lost their homes,
lost their jobs, lost their savings, in this economic crisis.
Lord, presently, life just doesn't seem fair.
Life seems precarious, and unsure.
Lord we turn to you to right the wrong, bring peace to war torn lives,
comfort to those who are in pain and suffering, and love to those who feel unloved.
Oh Lord the list goes on of the needs in this world.
How do we find the words, to say, except to turn to you our rock and our salvation.
And so Lord to you we turn and place our trust. Amen


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday prayer

Merciful God, we ask that your loving kindness be showered on the communities of faith we serve. We ask that where there is conflict that there is ability to speak the truth in love. We ask where there are divisions that restoration would be brought about by the power of your love. Help us to be ministers of reconciliation in a world full of hate, pain and alienation. And keep on forgiving us, so that we might learn to forgive ourselves and in turn forgive others.

We pray also for those who have already been through the devastating power of hurricanes this season and those who are in the path of those to come. Amen.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Lectionary Discussion for Sunday, Sept. 7th

I am sorry about not getting last week's lectionary done and blogged. I was at a conference where I thought I would have internet access, but didn't. Then when I got back I did not have a minute to spare. Remind me to next time ask one of you all to do it.
I also want to remind us to lift up in prayers those who have already been through the hurricanes. Then pray for those in the path of Hurricane Gustav.
I hope you have a good Monday off and be safe.

So here we go with the upcoming lectionary.
September 7, 2008
Ordinary Time/Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Exodus 12:1-14 The Passover. I wonder if we have become so accustomed to reading this from our Christian Tradition looking back with Christian eyes, what would it be like to put ourselves in this story when it happened? How will you address the deaths of the first borns?
The following comes from Worship Planning Helps of the GBOD :
"Whatever the origins of the rituals described here and elaborated over time in biblical and extra-biblical texts, our text for this week points in the direction of several emphases around this ritual and its meaning in the life of God's covenant people. The ritual described here unites families and neighbors, establishes a common meal, seeks and trusts in God's protection, and, above all, foreshadows God's intention to deliver and preserve God's people from oppression and the powers of death.

Which of these emphases do folks where you are need to focus on or to hear more about today? How are you or people among you or around you engaging in concrete practices to unite family groups and neighbors? Where are you facilitating in the sharing of common meals with neighbors? How are these meals functioning as signs of trust in God's protection and proclaiming God's intention to deliver from whatever forces of oppression and death you may be facing together?" Now these will preach!

Psalm 149:1 or Psalm 148 (UMH 861) Sing praises to the Lord I don't know about you, but singing praises to the Lord while preparing for war just makes me uncomfortable. At the same time this passage addresses justice issues.

Romans 13:8-14 How to live in the Love of Jesus Romans 13 continues the "house rules for Christian living" begun in Romans 12. The Romans and Matthew passage fit each other well. Verse 8 reads "Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." Has debt taking over your members lives; the debt of the country, the church's debt, and their personal debt? Is it coloring how they look at everything else, the way they think and live their lives? How will you address this so they can "love one another?"

Matthew 18:15-20 Dealing with conflict in the church And yet both of these passages may make it look like you are getting on to your members, and judging them. And maybe they need to hear some of this, but how will proclaim this to them? This passage deals with reconciliation. Perhaps in the larger context of a world in conflict the church has something to offer in the terms of reconciliation. What does it mean to bind and loose?
And again from worship planning by the GBOD:
"Where are the living examples of people and processes that follow what Jesus taught and trust in God's support for working through conflict where you are? Do you have mediators in your congregation? Persons involved with VORP (Victim Offender Reconciliation Process)? Diplomats? Arbitrators? Contract negotiators? Labor representatives involved in resolving disputes? How might you invite their input and participation in your worship planning team as you design worship for today?

To what degree do you have teaching and processes in place in your congregation to live out Jesus' teaching in this week's text? Who is teaching these principles? Who is reminding folks how to live them and of ways the congregation is ready to help that happen?

How does the celebration of Holy Communion where you are take seriously acts of reconciliation? How does the Peace work where you are? Is it just a greeting time? Or is it, as our ritual intends, an opportunity to seek peace or, at a minimum, declare an intention to seek peace with those with whom one may be in conflict?"

I also wonder if we can draw attention to the sacraments, the things we do in worship live out these scriptures?

Just my thoughts for this Sunday, what are yours? The questions are to help stimulate conversation and thinking. Perhaps you are focusing on something else or going a different way, let us know.