For Sunday, October 12
Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23
For this week, it’s hard not to love the Philippians passage.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 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. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
How do we practice (rehearse) our faith? How do we “keep on doing the things that you have learned and received?”
It is a beautiful passage, but I’m not sure I’d want to build a sermon there.
I do think, however, that this might be a week to talk about the “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”
The wedding story, on the other hand, is a dicey tale that seems to cry out for a careful reading. What about those guests? Why don’t the original guests go? Are they taking a stand? Are they too busy?
And maybe it’s a little bit of isogesis, but are we too busy to go to the banquet?
“Busy, well meaning Christians often complain about how hard it is to balance church activities with everything else. We want to do it all rather than select certain activities as top priority and let other activities go. We do not want to sacrifice ‘alone time,’ family time, travel time, or shopping time for corporate worship. So we forgo worship. We give God the balance left over when everything else has been accomplished. God however, does not belong on an equal par with work or recreation. God deserves to take first place in our lives. This may involve sacrifice, a seemingly harsh word that comfort-loving, convenience seeking people do not like.
My nine year old daughter was invited to a Saturday afternoon birthday party which was to end at 4 P.M.. Then plans changed, and the party was set to extend through Sunday morning. ‘The girls won’t sleep all night, of course,’ the mother told me. My husband and I were left with a dilemma. Should we let our daughter spend the night, knowing we would need to pick her up before worship and she would be in a foul mood from lack of sleep? Should we let her spend the night and skip worship just this once? Or should we risk her displeasure with us and interrupt the fun by picking her up just before bedtime? In the end we decided to pick her up before bedtime. Ours wasn’t a monumental decision, yet our lives consist of small choices like these, choices that add up over time….
When we place our schedules in God’s hands, however, we are given one day in seven to hold as holy. How liberating it is to be able to say, ‘No, we can’t attend. We’ll be at church.’”
Judith Johnson-Siebold in “The Christian Century.” October 4, 2005, page 19.
Of course, this tale has a rather rough ending. How does that communicate? Do we talk about God’s judgment?
Or…given the goings on of this week, are you considering journeying outside of the lectionary?
What are your thoughts?