For Sunday, November 2
Joshua 3:7-17


Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37


1 Thessalonians 2:9-13



Matthew 23:1-12

Once upon a time, I thought it would be a great idea to preach a sermon series on “Bible Stories we should all know.”  I thought it was a great idea.  Noah, Jericho, Job, David, Jonah…  All of these stories that we should know.


Except, most of these stories contain major chunks that I struggled with how to tell.  The Battle of Jericho?  A huge bloodbath with little concern for the innocent.  Seriously?  How do you preach that?


I could go on, but you know the stories. 


As we enter this passage from Joshua, maybe it is a good Sunday to talk about the privilege and responsibility of dominance/leadership/1st world-ness?  What about the people/families/communities who lived in the promised land?


Or in Matthew, there is a little diatribe about the religious leaders of the day.  Are we any different?  How? 


How do we love our “phylacteries broad and their fringes long.”  Christians?  Ministers?


What role does humility play in the life of faith?


And how much of it makes it into the sermon?  Maybe none of it?


What are you thinking?

27 thoughts on “Tuesday Lectionary Leanings- "What’s my #1 strength? My humility, of course" edition

  1. This Sunday… we are celebrating All Saints… and have Revelation 7:9-17… Psalm 34:1-10, 22… 1 John 3:1-3… and Matthew 5:1-12… as our textsThe liturgy will follow the funeral rite, with one exception. After the creed and prior to the prayers… we will commend the saints (usually at the end of the funeral service) using candles. I think that I will be preaching with a head nod to the 1 John text… but primarily talking about All Saints (baptism, community during life and death, what saints do). This week… I think I’m using a visual. I have a framed 5 foot piece of quilt top… that my nearly blind great-grandmomma put together. There’s an All Saints sermon in that quilt top somewhere… with its crooked stitching… uneven squares… unruly rows… and no pattern whatsoever with the color scheme. God binds us together in baptism… at the table… and in service… and while we can’t see the pattern (the big picture)… God can.


  2. We are also celebrating All Saints Day on Sunday. I’m going with the Matthew text and John text … and wondering if anyone has any resources to share with this pastor who has never done such a service … ?


  3. All Saints here as well. My favorite tradition in my previous congregation was our way of remembering the saints, living and dead, in our lives: as they entered the sanctuary, each person was given a white ribbon on a floral stick about 2 feet long, and asked to write the names of their saints on the ribbon. Then, during our opening hymn (usually “For All the Saints…shockingly), everyone processed up to the front and placed their ribbon in a vase. By the time 200+ people had done that, it was a really striking visual; the cloud of witnesses!


  4. I, too, am lifting up All Saints Day in worship on Sunday. We’re Presbyterian so it’s not a usual thing for us, but I hope to start a new tradition in this congregation (and potentially for this community) of All Saints Day worship on the real All Saints Day each year. This being our first try, I decided to just do it in our regular worship to plant the seed. Next year I’ll pitch at separate service all together.I plan to include times of remembrance of those in the congregation who died in that last year, and also give an opportunity for an “offering of names” for others that worshipers want to lift up in thanksgiving in our Prayers of the People.We’ll read Rev. 7 for sure, and I’ll probably use 1 John in liturgy, but I think I’ll probably preach from Hebrews, the cloud of witnesses, in a sort of explanatory sermon about who the saints and witnesses are in our Presbyterian understanding.Beach walkin – – I love the quilt top imagery. I like “take homes” when there are creative images like that. You could cut some fabric pieces into squares and hand them out. Guess it depends somewhat on your congregation and your own style!On a completely different note – – I think I’m about ready to go public/non-anonymous on my blog. I think it might help me to be more regular and add a new dimension to my ministry. I’d like to do some more devotional/spiritual leadership in my call, and I think that’s one small way I could do this on a regular basis. I’m not expected to teach an on-going Bible study or lead a regular class, and really there isn’t time carved out in my duties to do that, so this might be one way to fill that desire and call that I feel. I’m spending time cleaning up some of my posts a little to make them more public-friendly. I got through March yesterday and hope to read through June today. We’ll see!


  5. Along the lines of All Saints: I made a banner a few years ago out of a dowel with multiple white ribbons hanging the length of a tall banner, then sewed (glued?) a jingle bell to the end of each ribbon. Every year during all Saints, I invite those who have lost loved ones to write the person’s name on the banner. It’s beautiful and simple. The banner looks almost like a curtain between heaven and earth. Also for All Saints, one of my friends used the song “Gathering of Spirits” by Carrie Newcomer last year in worship — beautiful.I am actually going to use Matthew this year and approach it more in lines with the election that will be held next week. I want to remind myself and my congregation that while we in the US may be electing a president, the ultimate authority should be given to God. Still working out the details . . .


  6. I’m mixing All Saints and Pentecost +25 readings. We will start with the Revelation reading and sing For all the Saints. Then I’m preaching on crossing the Jordan and the lectionary text from Matthew – my sermom title: How NOT to be a Saint. And I’m going to talk about what it takes to cross the Jordan and what will keep us on the bank. We are just doing a lighting of candles and reading of names during the remembrance part. This is the first year that we have done All Saints at this church and they are excited about it, but it also feels weird to only uplift the names of those who died this year, so we’ll probably also do a large candle for all of the saints in our midst and ask people to all together say those names outloud.


  7. Well, as one who has just switched her scripture from Thess to Matt,I am trying to think through this one. Wish we had a big celebration for All Saints Day. Beach Walkin, sounds great.Anyhow, I am struggling with the Matt and trying to decide what to do.Added problem is the sermon will need to be shortened because of communion.And today I have a bad cough despite use of inhaler.


  8. Well…at our place we’re celebrating All Saints’ Day, with the Revelation, 1 John and Matthew 5:12 readings.Beginning last Sunday we began a register in the narthex where people can list the names of their beloved dead, and we plan to read them aloud. Which led to a “things that make you go hmmm” moment” on my part: What do you, on days like this, when your family’s list of departed saints includes domestic abusers? I know: We’re saints and sinners both. But I found myself cherrypicking through my family tree and writing down some names, not others. Hmmm.


  9. Going with Joshua here. Well sort of combining Joshua and Exodus from September. Crossing water is crossing water is crossing water after all.I am working with the idea that there are always floods in the path and how do we find the strength to Wade in the Water.My opening thoughts (which got pre-empted with many visitors in the office this morning are at the church blogIn other news, I have a plan for Advent (unless I toss it out of course)


  10. This Sunday is our interim’s first Sunday…I have no idea what’s going on except that we’re off lectionary (pulling the banquet from a few weeks ago) because it’s Stewardship Commitment Sunday Number 1 (of 2). And communion. Beyond that, I’ve got nothin’. I’m interested (and a little scared) to see how this will go. (BIG SIGH)


  11. For All Saints’ Day, we (Presbies) have a quiet and solemn reading of the names of those who have died in the past year, puncuated by the ringing of a bell after each one. My son’s is, sadly, not the only name of a young person to be read this Sunday. I think I am going to go, my first Sunday back — going late and leaving early, though. For thise of you in a position for whom this is relevant, I was very grateful for the letter from our pastor telling us that his name will be read (he was not a member) and assuring me that he understood if it was too early for a return to church.


  12. Gord, looks like we’re the lonely ones at the Jordan River, though Katie Z is dipping her toes in. Yeah. That’s all I’ve got, that I’m preaching on the Joshua text. Not doing All Saints this time around. Listing Straight asks What are you thinking? Answer: I have no idea. And what was I thinking when I chose the OT text? No idea there either. Sigh. Going to be a long week around here.


  13. Thanks for the All Saints ideas! We’ve not done one since I’ve been here, and my understanding is that if we’ve ever done one, it hasn’t been for about 15 years or so. But I’m thinking that it would be nice to do something this year, since we’ve said good-bye to several saints over the past couple of years and some of the elderly are having a hard time looking around during worship and not seeing faces with whom they’ve worshiped for 30, 40, 50 years. Gannett Girl, I’m so sorry for your loss. May you feel God’s peace and comfort as you return to church this Sunday. The reading of names is what I think might fit most with my congregation. Thanks for the suggestion to let people know that the names of their loved ones will be read. (((Gannett Girl)))


  14. My children’s message will probably focus on what All Saints is all about. I tend to do a lot of teaching moments for the whole church during Children’s time and I might ask them what they dressed up as for Halloween, what their favorite candy was, and then tell them about how All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day are related. I know I personally need to do a bit more reading myself about the connection, but that’s where I’m heading


  15. I am also celebrating All Saint’s, but I am thinking about going back and using the Deuteronomy text from last week. The idea that Moses started something that he didn’t get to see to completion and passing the mantle on to Joshua, etc. The way I look at it, we are the Saints of the church and we may not always see to completion what we begin, but we pass on our legacy to the next generation and continue God’s work in the world. That’s kinda where I’m starting from. It works since the majority of my congregation is retired and beyond.


  16. We’re doing something about Everyday Saints, the people who make the life of the church go through their efforts. I’m going to use last week’s Deuteronomy passage paired with this week’s Joshua and speak about carrying the weight of responsibility (not power) for bringing the living God into new places. Or something like that. So I’m not using the All Saints passages, but we will sing some favorite saints-related hymns and both remember some who’ve gone on ahead and recognize some special people in the congregation, too.Sound like a dog and pony show? That’s what I’m hoping to avoid.


  17. Another All Saints preacher here. I got a childrens time and that’s about all I got – luckily it’s the music director’s birthday on Sunday, so we’ll talk about how we celebrate people at all different stages of life (birth, death, graducations, birthdays, ask the kids for other times we celebrate). And then “god blesses all those celebrations” and then sing happy birthday. It sounds kind of lame-o written out like this, but I think it will actuallly work. Revelation and beatitudes – so lovely and so much to say but cant say much because of communion.Does anyone have a REALLY GREAT PRAYER to send us off into election week? I’m also opening the church for prayer on Nov 4 and would appreciate any ideas about what structure to offer, if any….


  18. Juniper–from the methoblogA Prayer for the United States Presidential ElectionCreator of us all:you are the source of every blessing,the judge of every nation and the hope of earth and heaven:We pray to you on the eve of this important and historic election.We call to mind the best that is within us:That we live under God,that we are indivisible,that liberty and justice extend to all.We acknowledge the sin that runs through our history as a nation:The displacement of native peoples,racial injustice, economic inequity, regional separation.And yet we profess a deep and abiding gratitudefor the goodness of ordinary people who have made sacrifices,who have sought opportunities,who have journeyed to this land as immigrantsstrengthening its promise in successive generations,who have found freedom on these shores,and defended this freedom at tremendous cost.Be with us in the days that are near.Remind us that your ways are not our ways,that your power and might transcend the plans of every nation,that you are not mocked.Let those who follow your Son Jesus Christbe a peaceable people in the midst of division.Send your Spirit of peace,justice and freedom upon us,break down the walls of political partisanship, and make us one.Give us wisdom to walk in your ways,courage to speak in your name,and humility to trust in your providence.Amen.


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