Hello! This week is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Passages can be found here.

Deuteronomy speaks of the importance of listening to God’s prophets, and the warning not to listen to false prophets.

Psalm 111 is a psalm of praise that reminds us: ” The works of God’s hands are faithful and just; all the Lord’s precepts are trustworthy.”

The passage from 1st Corinthians speaks about food sacrificed to idols, including Paul’s admonition: “But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” I confess I’ve not, historically, been a fan of this passage. People have tended to use it to “keep me in my place”. Maybe I should re-claim Paul’s text.

And in the passage from Mark’s gospel, Jesus heals an unclean man at the synagogue in Capernaum, and the demonic realm makes one of the first proclamations of Jesus’ identity. Mark makes sure we know this is a story to which the entire cosmos is paying attention.

What are your questions and struggles with these texts? Which direction do you think your sermon may head?

15 thoughts on “Tuesday Revised Common Lectionary Leanings

  1. From the Corinthians text. Working in a little Wesleyan Quadrilateral – seeking to keep reason, experience, tradition and scripture in the proper balance. Challenging them to not grasp so tightly to any single tenet or understanding of God that their faith could be destroyed by a single new revelation, like the ability to eat sacrificed meat… Bringing it around to the “unreasoned” act of communion.

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  2. Focusing on Mark and Jesus’s authority. And now that you remind me about the false prophet bit, I may add in some Deuteronomy. I am preaching at my husband’s church, which is always a bit more pressure than usual!

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    1. I’ve just spent the last two days in hearings at the Idaho state house about some human rights legislation. Pastors on both sides of the issue were speaking about their authority. It was interesting who the people who actually seemed to have authority were, though.

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      1. How do we claim our own authority? How do we point to Jesus’ authority? what about false prophets–are they ones who claim authority where they have none? And how can we tell? Thanks…you have helped me get my brain moving!

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  3. Preaching on Mark and Jesus’ authority. Not sure where this is going yet, but as I ponder this morning am reminded of one of the scriptures I used last week in my sermon about fishing: How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news – Isaiah 52:7. My sermon title (chosen weeks ago) is “Who’s got the power?” Maybe there’s power in beautiful feet.

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    1. Reminds me I need a pedicure before the Big Event!
      But seriously, yes. I think part of the surprise in the crowds at Capernaum at Jesus authority might arise because their own leaders had not been bringing the “good news” with any authority. When we are lukewarm, are we living into our call? I think there is a lot of lukewarm out there today.

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  4. What a great discussion! I’m working with the idea that even someone who counted as “No one” had the chance to get up close and personal with Jesus. In this world of hierarchy, how hard do we have to work to be heard when we are perceived as being no one?

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  5. I cannot help but preach from Mark. Just two weeks ago, I was standing in the ruins of that synagogue in Capernaum (where the women climbed up an outside stairway to enter the gallery above the main floor, getting a better view of Jesus as he taught than the men in the back of the room!). A week ago, I was standing at the feet of a man who died in my driveway from hypothermia after an apparently disoriented attempt to walk through the privacy fence surrounding my back yard. There was much evidence of a struggle, but it seems the struggle was within the man himself, not with another person. Is this what an unclean spirit looks like in our day and age? A homeless man who loses his way in an unfamiliar alley, bangs his head on a fence, and finally lies down in the driveway to gaze at the stars as his breathing stops? It’s notable that, when Jesus sent out his disciples, he gave them authority over unclean spirits (Mark 6:7). What authority has Christ given to us, and how are we using it?

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