Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Collect for Proper 28, Episcopal BCP*)

Readings for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 27) can be found here.

He, Qi. Clever Bridesmaids, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN
He, Qi. Clever Bridesmaids, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN

As we wind down the season after Pentecost (only 3 more Sundays until Advent!) we come to the first of a series eschatological readings in Matthew – the parable of the wise and foolish maids (or bridesmaids or virgins…take your pick!) This is another of those stories that can be taken simply on face value – be prepared, for we know not the day or hour of His coming – or peeled back, layer by layer. When you do that you find notes of judgment and worthiness. All the maids are there waiting; couldn’t the more prepared ones have shared with the others? What does this mean for the faithful – how much preparation is enough? What about grace? Lots to work with there.

I, however, am always drawn to this particular reading from Amos. “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream,” has been my hashtag over the last few


weeks as I’ve worried and fretted and prayed over a situation close to me, but it applies in SO many areas of our lives today. How can we understand the role of the prophet crying out for justice? Who are the prophetic voices in our midst today? Or is the role of prophets and prophetic voices truly over? Examining Amos, the simple dresser of sycamore trees, in his own context and exploring his call to God’s people may give us some perspective on how to think about these issues. And Amos calls us to question the relationship between our liturgical lives and what we do out in the world. Is our worship disconnected from everyday life? How do we relate the cry for justice to the Eucharist?

Do you know where your sermon ponderings are leading this week, preachers? Do you have questions? Inspirations? Share your thoughts with us here!

*Yes, this is the Collect for NEXT week; I just happen to really like it and think it’s a great prayer for preaching prep!

4 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary~~Give me oil in my lamp edition

  1. I’m working on the parable and I’m fascinated by the fact that both wise and foolish sleep and then the NRSV (and others) choose to translate the last verse “keep awake”… Not the best translation, IMHO. I’m hoping to write a sermon with the focus “in the longhaul of kingdom waiting we ALL have work to do, and we ALL require rest.” This in response to recurrent conversations with burnt out lay leaders in this first month of ministry… And awareness that in this community, as in many… There are both the hyper vigilant sleep resisters and the sluggish and disconnected. Thinking the sermon title might be something like “avoiding burnout in the long wait” or just “avoiding burnout”.

    Will preach this sermon two weeks in a row… But first for the emergent service. Would love to use video clips, but am drawing a blank. Any ideas for me??


  2. I’m working on the parable too. Lo these many years ago, it was the text I had to use to preach for approval for ordination by my Presbytery. And for some silly reason, I chose it this week. I’m floundering at this point, doing lots of reading.


  3. I am using this Amos text with the Joshua text which I know sounds strange but I saw a connection between “who” we serve and “how” we serve. Not fully developed but working on it!


  4. When I was planning sermons weeks ago, the Joshua text and the 1 Thessalonians text seemed like they fit together well with Veteran’s Day–giving thanks for those who’ve gone before, dealing with the challenges of the present, choosing to serve God and look forward with hope. Having trouble figuring out what the flesh of those bones will look like today. I must confess that I am greatly distracted by the constant rumble of motorcycles that are cruising into town for a huge bike rally happening here these weekend with all kinds of booths, concerts, etc…and instead of Joshua’s choice challenge, I’m hearing Moses’ from Deuteronomy: “Choose life!” Life sounds like a motorcycle rally packed with people!


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