For Sunday, October 26, 2008
Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

In the reading from Deuteronomy, Moses sees the promised land, and then he dies.  He does not get to live in the land which God has promised God’s people.

Is the promised land a place or a condition?  Is Jesus living in the promised land?

In the reading from Matthew, Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees.  He’s already been questioned by the Sadducees and won that round, but the Pharisees aren’t ready to concede defeat.  And so they ask him some questions specifically designed to trick him into saying something damaging.

The questions don’t trick him, and Jesus comes back with an answer that has become one of the central verses of our faith.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39and a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

And then, the tables turn and Jesus asks the people some questions, questions so well designed that Matthew tells us they end this kind of “gotcha” questioning.

And that’s really the point of this passage, the questioning and Jesus’ inability to be out-smarted.

Is Jesus living in the promised land?

What does it mean to live in the promised land?

I’m also thinking about the election, and how many supper tables have declared politics off-limits-  too decisive and a topic too difficult to navigate safely.

Are we like the Sadducees in our questioning and taking answers out of context when it serves our beliefs and chosen candidate?

Is being able to talk and listen connected to neighborly-ness?

Are our enemies our neighbors?  How are we doing on that count?

Paul Tillich wrote, “The saint is not a saint because he is good, but because he is transparent for something that is more than himself.”

Just some thoughts for this week.  What are you thinking?

23 thoughts on “Tuesday Lectionary Leanings- are we in the promised land yet?

  1. I am planning to focus on matthew, but only verses 34-40. I’m not entirely sure how this is going to go, but I think this might turn out to be a week where I preach about what loving your neighbor, and allowing your neighbor to love you, has to do with being part of a Christian community. How do we love one another? what are the walls we build that don’t allow others to love us? I’ve had a number of “don’t tell anyone” conversations in the past few weeks and I’m feeling sad that we don’t have the opportunity to love these people through their time of need. I think this Sunday I might address that somehow.And, of course, it’s Reformation Sunday which means we get to sing I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art!!

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  2. I thougth about callign mine “Obituary”and making it totally his obit read, and turned into a sermon based on his life…uh, but got nowhere with that one…so i am back to square one.Maybe do soemthign about Promised Land mentality…or you know how the football players are always “Going to Disneylnad” after they win the Super Bowl?Might do soemthing on that vein…I ahve no idea and I am late for the senior citizen monthly metting club.I am not “there” yet but as pastor get invited andit is a free meal,and yes, we play Bingo!

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  3. Ooh..I like the Tillich quote!My sermon title is “Deathbed Promises.” I know I am focusing on Exodus, but that’s as far as I am today.But for me, a Title and aText on Tuesday is pretty Typical.

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  4. We have our stewardship dinner following worship, so this needs to be connected somehow with stewardship. I also had the obit reading idea wiht the exodus text! I’m also thinking about leadership changes, and might tie that in with stewardship. how we don’t get to see all the results that we laid the groundwork for, and how the next generation or group of members need to take the reins and lead from here. I also really like the epistle reading…

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  5. Ooh, I like the obituary idea for Moses. Maybe I can remember that the next time I’m preaching that…In a departure for me, I’ve decided to preach on the Psalm. The day and thousand years bit has always intrigued me, and I think I’m focusing on the idea of time and eternity. Our stewardship bit isn’t for a couple of Sundays yet, but I’m sure I’ll be struggling to connect that too.

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  6. Going with Matthew and Lennon here (All You Need is Love).I was tempted to use Moses obit/death as a launching point to talk about end-of-life issues, funeral planning etc. It just seems that this is something we don’t talk enough about as a culture or as church.But no, Love it is. Back to basics I guess. Maybe if we get a handle on the basics we can try the harder stuff. My very preliminsary opening thoughts are on the church blog

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  7. Am doing Reformation Sunday and looking at the difference between Quietism and Pelagianism and looking at Justification in between. Is that confusing? I hope so. It is my Anglicanism coming face to face with the Lutheranism of the congregation. Hmmmm

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  8. I preached on Moses’ death last Sunday, and did a variation on the obituary theme…I talked about epitaphs, and a little thing on “what do you want on your tombstone?”I also made reference to MLK’s use of this passage in the last sermon he ever preached, and focused on the endurance of the promise, and how it gets passed down through flawed human beings (like Moses, like MLK, like us!).This coming Sunday, I’m going with the Reformation texts, and at this point all I know is that I will talk about Scripture. (Not just the Scripture for that day, but the very idea of Scripture and what that meant to the Reformation.)

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  9. The obit idea for Moses is a great one! That is where I expected to go when I first sat down to reflect on the readings, but it’s not where I ended up.Looking forward to reading everyone’s ideas!

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  10. I did a bit of reading around the Thessalonians & came up with a good question 'who do we say that we are?' – would fit with Reformation Sunday, too. But I'm not sure yet how to address the question:People of God, of course – not just following Moses, but following whoever God sendPeople of Love – for God & neighbourPeople of the way – loving one another, forming a new community who follows Jesus…other thoughts as they come at http://www.thinkingaboutpreaching.blogspot.comLovely to be part of this community – thanks!

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  11. I think my initial thoughts when I put together my preaching plan for the fall pull from 1 Thess, but frankly, I don’t really remember how. I unexpectedly preached an epistle a couple of weeks ago and it was agony for me. The sermon ended up GREAT, but the process was really hard. I’m not good without a narrative. I’m dreading doing it again, but I see my plan said something about having a time of sharing. I like that idea!! Now I need to go figure out what the heck I was thinking!!!

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  12. OK. I’ve wasted too much time trying to figure out what I meant to do. If it’s not coming to me it must not have been that good. Or maybe it was good at the time, but the need and times have changed. Now it’s on to a new plan.I LOVE how after everyone’s been firing questions at Jesus, he takes his turn, asks one, and shuts them all up.I have no idea where to go with that, if anywhere, but I love it!Ron White, an irreverant, but often HYSTERICAL comedian says of the “Diamonds: Render her speechless” ad campaign – – “What they really mean is ‘Diamonds: that’ll shut ‘er up!'”Not the most flattering or PC joke around, but it keeps coming to mind when I read “nor from that day did ANYONE dare to ask him ANY more questions.” Love it!Wonder if there’s a sermon in here anywhere? Not the diamond joke, but the Jesus part.

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  13. I have until Friday morning to come up with a sermon title…uh, Moses….The Death of a Prophet….Moses, Dead -n- Gone…His vision was still good, so.20-20 of the Promised Land.I dont know….somebody make up somethign brilliant….fast!

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  14. OK, NEW TO THIS BLOG AND LOVE TO SEE THE QUICK AND FUNNY CHICKS OUT THERE:-) SERMON TITLE – VOTING FROM EXILEGONNA TALK ABOUT BEING ON THE EDGE AND WHAT THAT MEANS. REALLY ALL ABOUT THE FACT THAT WHAT WE MAY SEE AS ENDINGS ARE ALSO BEGINNINGS AND THAT THE CHOICES WE MAKE/FACE ARE ALL ABOUT HOW WE SEE THE FUTURE, WITH OR WITHOUT US! MOSES SAW THE FUTURE TOTALLY COLORED BY HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH YHWH. JESUS DID TOO AND WAS ASKING, DARE I SAY COMPELLING HIS FOLLOWERS AND THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF HIS DAY TO DO THE SAME. HOW MUCH MORE TIMELY COULD THIS BE BASED ON THE “CRASH” OF TODAY’S MARKET. FEAR WILL NEVER SET YOU FREE!AND YEAH, ALL WE NEED IS LOVE – LOVE FOR GOD AND LOVE FOR EACH OTHER. WE WILL MAKE IT THOUGHT THIS MESS IF WE KEEP OUR EYES ON THE PRIZE. (OK, THAT WAS A LOT OF CONDENSING FROM ALL OF THESE POSTS:-)THANKS! SEE YOU NEXT WEEK I HOPE.

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  15. I’m way behind this week, but hoping to have the sermon done before tomorrow so I can be with my family all day… and i’m battling a cold (boo)I’m doing Matthew 34-40 and keeping it simple: Love God, Love Neighbor, and Wesley’s Works of Piety and Works of Mercy. It’ll be more of a teaching sermon, but I don’t have the energy this week for anything too thought provoking or challenging. Prayers for my cold to go away so I can think are definately requested!!!

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  16. Ladies, I so appreciate the “thinking out loud” that happens here. Typically I prefer to just read but my take this week is a little different so I thought I’d add it to the food for thought. Using the entire Matt passage I’m talking about the requirement of trinitarian Christians (my congregation is) to live in a state of multiplicity loving our diverse God for each of it’s characters. This is symbolic of how we love our diverse community -so many different characters and yet, together, we are ONE community in Christ. Sermon title -admittedly not too original- is “One Love”. Plan to quote Bono once or twice throughout. God bless us all in our prayer and reflection.

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