May 10, 2009 [White]Fifth Sunday of EasterActs 8:26-40; Psalm 22:25-31 (UMH 752)1 John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8
Easter 5B is this Sunday as is Mother’s Day. Uh oh, how will you preach Sunday? How will you lead worship? Will you honor your mothers? Will you ignore Mother’s day? What will happen? How is it that Hallmark has become God or THE WORSHIP LITURGIST for our churches? Since when did they get to co-op worship and our churches? It almost seems that they have found a way to make a holiday or some kind of recognition for every day of the year now, especially Sunday? And we in the US buy into it. You could spend all your salary on cards of some kind for some one for some designated day if you weren’t careful.
So who is really God? I do like the passages that refer to God as a mothering hen or a nursing mother, or just mother. I like when Jesus said “Jerusalem, Jerusalem. . .How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing.” Luke 13:31-35
And just think of it Paul tells the Christians in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 2:6-8 (The Message)6-8Even though we had some standing as Christ's apostles, we never threw our weight around or tried to come across as important, with you or anyone else. We weren't aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did.
But here are the passages for this Sunday and I don’t see word one about mothers in them;
Acts 8:26-40. This is the strange yet wonderful tale of Phillip’s witnessing to the eunuch by helping him understand what the portion of scriptures he was reading said. This then led to the baptism of the Eunuch. I call it the unhindered gospel.
· Psalm 22:25-31 (UMH 752). From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him. 26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD. May your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him. 28 For dominion belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations. 29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, 31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it. From a Psalm of Lament we now turn to words of praise, remembrance and worship of the Lord.
1 John 4:7-21. This is more from John on Love, God, loving one another, and abiding in Christ. It can go with the Gospel lesson as well. We love because he first loved us, verse 19
John 15:1-8. Abide in Christ, the true vine, and you will bear much fruit, and even more as the Father prunes you. So how do you preach about vines, vineyards, vine growers and vine dressers to people who may not even know what you are talking about except for the wine they drink?
I’ll be saying more as we go along this week, and you are invited yourself to write something about the scriptures or about Mother’s day. In the meantime, I have included a prayer from Wild Goose publications, Iona;Loving Mother,who with perfect timingknows when to push; to nudge; to shove;and when to wait,even though panting for change.Grant us the courage to name you;and the grace of your timing.
Sister Christ,who feeds us with warm breast milkwhen the heavenly feast is too rich a fare;and in whose death our own wounds find resurrection.Teach us also to play with you,that we may know the delightof your particular freedom.
Lady Wisdom,who nurtures and wills our growing.Lead us in your wild dance,that we may tread the unfamiliar pathssinging gladly;and find fulfilment for the dreamsthat fit your knowing of us.
From Fire and Bread: Resources for Easter Day to Trinity Sunday, Ruth Burgess, Wild Goose Publications: Iona, Scotland, 2006.