That’s what this Sunday lectionary lessons are all about. It’s not quite Advent yet, but we’re beginning to hear about “the end of days.” Malachi talks of God’s ultimate condemnation of the wicked and vindication of the righteous. The 2 Thessalonians reading warns about idleness and its attendant ills — perhaps because members of that community, expecting an imminent Second Coming, were so heavenly minded that they became no earthly good? — and encourages members of the faith community to perservere in good works and strive for self-sufficiency. In the Gospel lesson Jesus, while cautioning his followers against false Messiahs and premature reports of the end, talks about its coming, and reassures them that they will be able to endure what persecutions lie ahead.

What will you be preaching/praying about this coming week? And how do you tackle the eschatological themes in these lessons in the face of pop Christianity’s sometimes excessive fascination with the topic? Feel free to share your ideas and questions!

14 thoughts on “Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Judgment and Hope

  1. I am preaching this week (it’s my one Sunday a month), and since the secretary has already come up with a Thanksgiving bulletin design, I guess that’s going to be my theme. Thinking about maybe Luke and keeping all things in perspective…a real reason for gratitude. Will be back later to see what others are pondering. I can use all the help I can get!

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  2. Sunday is “Stewardship Sunday” for one of the congregations that I serve–it’s their first ever organized effort at this. The Council is hosting a dinner in thanks for the congregation, and I’m giving a presentation on “Thanksgiving AND Thanksliving.” The verse we’re using is Malachi 3:10: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”We’ll be discussing tithing not just in monetary terms, but also in terms of giving the first fruits of ourselves to God–time, resources, and talents. How do we “spend” our time–do we give 10% to God and to faith practices and mission and worship? Are we willing to take the challenge of Malachi 3:10 and indeed put God to the test?I have no clue how this will go! But for the sermon, I think I’m going to follow up on last week’s focus of living in the present moment, of focusing on our Christian discipleship journey and keeping our focus on the enduring things that matter. At least that’s what I’m working on now…

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  3. Since I know I will be utilizing the thanksgiving theme Nov 25, my last Sunday at one of my churches, I’m trying to decide whether to do this week’s “standard” lections or go for “Reign of Christ,” next week’s lections.Right now, both sets are leaving me kind of cold. I really don’t want to discuss the destruction of the temple at the church I’m leaving since that is exactly what some of them are fearful of.

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  4. Since it’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving here in rural OH as everywhere else, I’ll be using the Thanksgiving Day texts.Already have my sermon title, “How Hard Can It Be To Spot an Elephant?” based on my safari in South Africa!!! It never dawned on me that it could be so difficult to see the largest mammal walking around in the bush!(Sometimes it’s very hard to spot an elephant amongst the trees and bush- sometimes it’s hard to spot the blessings amongst the hardships, challenges, stresses and pains in our lives. But when we stop to really see and reflect, we find much for which we can give thanks.)So, that’s where I’m headed this week.

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  5. I ditched the assigned readings for Sunday and went with the Thanksgiving day readings as well…so it’s Deuteronomy, Philippians, and John for me (specifically the “bread of life” texts in the latter).Some vague thoughts swirling around the food that lasts forever vs. the food that is all eaten up on TG…

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  6. Though I rarely blend texts I am considering it for this Sunday. We are in Iowa in the midst of politcal speech that somewhat echoes the themes of Isaiah and Luke. What if I took the fear of Luke 21 and contrasted it to the strong message of hope in Isaiah 65? Both communities had seen the destruction of the Temple and were at a loss– one community sees a New Earth as possible— one sees dreadful portents that must be endured to save the soul. Isaiah 12 offers a theme: “I will trust, and not be afraid.” Is Thankgiving possible even in the midst of uncertainty and worry about the future? Yes, not only possible but probable with trust in the promises of God.

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  7. I’m going with the Thanksgiving texts, in particular Philippians 4:4-9. In a congregation where there is a lot of enthusiasm for criticizing small mistakes, it seems like a gentle corrective to preach the following:Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

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  8. I am confirming 5 young people this week. Four at the small church that has seen little growth until this year (these four will represent a 13% increase in membership), and one at the larger church which has also been stagnant for some time. We’re starting to turn it around. I chose Isaiah and Thessalonians, but it’s gonna be more about confirmation than anything.

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  9. I will be preaching this week. Our church is having a Thanksgiving dinner after the service, so I’ve decided to go with the Thanksgiving Day readings too. I was thinking of combining the Deuteronomy and John passages. At the end of the Deut. passage, there is big emphasis that this is a communal thing. I want to bring that communal aspect to Jesus being the bread of life, not just personally, but corporately as well.

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  10. i’ve put off the sermon writing this week… really put it off. the assigned texts are tough… so i’m noticing many have gone with Thanksgiving Day texts instead ah! not sure yet where to go…but looking at v.13 in Luke “this will give you an opportunity to testify”… and thinking when’s the last time folks testified, shared the good things Jesus is doing within them? or for them in the last week even? mmmm…

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  11. Okay, here’s where I’m going: I’m preaching on the Thanksgiving John 6 text and an idea I had several weeks ago: that we live at the intersection of Unending Need (ours, and Christ’s for us) and Inexhaustible Gift. I’m forcing it a little right now but I’ve got this idea about Thanksgiving meals and living bread…

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