It is the most pressing question of discipleship:
How should we live?  What should we do?  Who should we be?

My, just typing those words makes me want to pray… (prayer source)

God our deliverer,
you walk with the meek and the poor,
the compassionate and those who mourn,
and you call us to walk humbly with you.
When we are foolish, be our wisdom;
when we are weak, be our strength;
that, as we learn to do justice
and to love mercy,
your rule may come as blessing. Amen.


This week there is actually a possible choice to be made and remain in the RCL fold.  We could go with the readings for the 4th Sunday Of/After Epiphany or we could celebrate Candlemas/The Presentation of the Lord with these readings.

And since Candlemas is also known as Groundhog Day I am sure, given the way this winter has gone in places, there will be those offering ardent prayers that the local rodent does NOT see its shadow.  (As I recall if the shadow is seen it is six more weeks of winter, if not it is only a month and a half)

Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount

In Epiphany 4 we have lots of ways to answer the title query up above.  Micah and Paul and Matthew all give us suggestions: Be peacemakers, love justice, be a fool, walk humbly with God, be merciful….

Presentation in the Temple
Presentation in the Temple

And the Candlemas readings.  What do they have to offer?

  • Malachi with the Refiners Fire and Fullers soap — in case we need to be cleansed I guess.
  • Hebrews and some musings about the high priest.  Am I the only one who often finds passages from Hebrews almost indecipherable?
  • Or Luke telling us of Simeon and Anna speaking of who the babe in arms will become.


What direction are you headed this Sunday?  Are you including a prayer for an early spring?  Are you ignoring all these options and going a different direction?  I know that for many places it is Annual Meeting season.  Do you alter your worship on Annual Meeting day?

Let us know your thoughts, hopes, fears, questions, and ponderings in the comments.

And remember that if you are going with the Narrative LEctionary there is a post about that passage here



7 thoughts on “Tuesday Lectionary Leanings — How Shall We Live? Edition

  1. I’m thinking about the themes, through the Epiphany4A readings, of Blessed Foolishness and Subversion…and I’m thinking of Pete Seeger and his legacy, as I reflect on his 94 years of music-making and trouble-making for the best of all possible causes. (One remembrance notes the statement written on the head of his banjo: “this machine surrounds fascists and forces them to surrender.” [It was meant as a counterpoint to his friend Woody’s guitar, which stated, “this machine kills fascists.”] That creative subversion is very much in keeping with this week’s RCL readings.)
    It occurs to me that, often, being A Good Christian can feel exhausting and overwhelming to folks, yet this week’s passages affirm that God is not impressed by mighty efforts and gigantic displays, but by authentic engagement in the midst of our weakness and foolishness. I think my exhausted, anxious congregants need this affirmation…as do I.


  2. Oh, I got the quote wrong, and the correct words are even better. Seeger’s banjo has the following inscription: “this machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”


    1. MaineCelt, thanks for this – I think you’ve just given me a way in the Epiphany 4. I was thinking of going with Simon and Garfunkel’s blessed but Seeger will be much more topical. What a wonderful quote!


  3. Going with Anna and Simeon but really going with voice. Know that Pete Seeger will be in there as will MLK and maybe Obama. Definitely Micah. Who knows who else will join in the choir. Have to go to Minnesota tomorrow for a memorial service. Hard to wrap my head around -12 after having been in Hawaii last week and leaving from New Mexico where it’s in the 50’s. The voices in my head are screaming, “Are you nuts?” Wish I could hear Wil’s talk on Friday night but suspect that will be family time for me.


  4. Preaching it on Wed for chapel. It’s been a while since I’ve done sermon prep with y’all. I’m sorting out the mangling of Torah-proscribed practice and Lukan innovation to find the faithful Judaism of the BVM, Hannah (Anna) and Shimon (Simeon).


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