Revised Common Lectionary preachers, have you seen the texts for this coming Sunday? Ouch. Beautiful, provocative, but ouch. Seasons of war and oppression, scorned and weary souls, a punishing God with no patience for hypocrisy, our mortality laid bare before the magnitude of God, and fear — ever the awe-full fear — of the One who sits with the legitimate authority to judge us.

How do you preach good news from texts that seem so dire? How do you preach good news from a parable that seems so unfair? How do you speak to good news in the context of bad news?

The preaching challenge this week serves as a stark reminder that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is unconventional … unexpected … completely overturned … in fact, utterly upside down.

(My brain reserves some of its cells solely for the purpose of remembering kids’ songs, so as soon as I typed “upside down,” Ernie was singing in my head! #earworm)

How do you answer these theological puzzles — within yourself, within your sermon? It’d be easy, I imagine, and not necessarily incorrect, to take a moralistic approach to the lectionary texts this week: “Keep your nose clean, follow every letter of God’s law, for no one knows when Jesus is coming to wag his finger at you.”

Myself, I hear the good news of letting God be God and letting ourselves be human — weary, limited, overwhelmed and scared, unable to save ourselves with gold or silver or time or righteous living — only able, at the end of it all, to lean into God and pray, “Have mercy.”

Friends, how are you approaching the texts this week? Drop a comment here, join the conversation on our RevGals’ Facebook group, offer one another some encouragement along the path toward Sunday’s sermon!

5 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Bad News Is Good News?

  1. I’m preaching to the Psalm. Talking about shame. Carrying it to God, but not just the God above as the psalmist does, but also the God within and the God among. Hoping to move toward a willingness to be vulnerable with ourselves, each other and God.

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  2. I’m preaching Psalm 90, one of the options. I couldn’t stomach another parable, I guess 🙂 I love the “thousand years in your sight are but a day.” Musing on the idea that God’s time and our time are so different. That possibility could answer a lot of the troubles we come up with: creation vs. evolution, eternal life, etc. Anyway, I almost never preach on the Psalm and decided this was the week.

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  3. My clergy bible study group met yesterday and we looked at every different way we could to preach this week’s gospel, in our city (STL), in each of our contexts, right now, and all kind of decided we just couldn’t. The pastoral thing to do is to find something else. So now I’m searching…..

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  4. I’m preaching on the Thessalonians text and about why these words were to be encouraging to them and how we can be encouraged and encouraging today. Playing beat the clock to get everything done early this week because Saturday is our regional meeting. And trying not to think about how soon advent starts! I’m still working on learning how all this stuff gets done in time.

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  5. I’m kinda liking Thomas Long’s view of the Parable of the Talents, though. What if the treasure we are given is not some ability to be used, but the Gospel itself, to be shared? And how does our perception of who God is shape the way we act? The first two servants thought their master was generous and trustworthy. The third was limited by his view of the master as “harsh.” Will let you know tomorrow if this train of thought produces anything useful…

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