One thing is for sure, RCL preachers: We’ve got some great preaching potential in this week’s readings.
If you want to draw from narrative, you have Solomon’s prayer in the newly-built temple after the placement of the Ark of the Covenant. You’ve also got Joshua’s rousing address to Israel’s leaders as their covenant with the LORD is renewed and they reaffirm their dedication to their God. Both make for some compelling narrative preaching.
Maybe you want to dissect Paul’s armor illustration and offer a hermeneutic relative to what’s going on in our world, as we wrestle with the “spiritual forces of evil” that show themselves as racism, sexism, queerphobia, and misanthropy, among others. Election season in the US might provide some preaching opportunities from Ephesians, but one should be careful not to electioneer from the pulpit.
If you’re like me, the Psalms normally get woven into the liturgy in the form of prayers and litanies. The 84th Psalm would be perfect for this, especially if you’re preaching from 1 Kings 8 this week, as it hearkens to Solomon’s dedication in the temple. But Psalm 34:15-22 offers some preaching gold, especially if you draw from its backstory.
And if you want to challenge yourself, look to Jesus (as always). The gospel lesson continues last week’s flesh-eating, blood-drinking teaching. This week, we deal with the disciple’s confusion, indignation, and perhaps their resignation that no matter how hard Jesus’ pill may be to swallow, they know that in it they find their life. Unless, of course, you brought in this part of the pericope last week when you preached on John to give it more context (as I did). This won’t be an easy one to tackle by any means, but it will definitely be rewarding.
As I tend to look for common threads in all the texts, I notice that this week’s lessons declare the sovereignty of God, that in no one else can we find what we find in God, and that under no circumstances is God confined by our constructs — physical or intellectual. What are you noticing as you sit with the texts this week? Where do you think you’re headed with your preaching? What is stumping you? Let’s discuss.
8 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Will God Indeed Dwell on Earth?”
I had the Whole Armor Of God last week (we’ve been messing around with the order of the RCL this summer), and I posted my sermon on my blog…I got some good feedback that made me wish I’d pressed a little harder. 🙂
I’m noticing in the John text (which I have so far avoided in previous weeks) that there are disciples who quit. I’ve never noticed that before. They walk away from Jesus because his teaching is too difficult. And I’m pairing it with Joshua. And that’s about as much as I’ve got so far.
I am finishing a 10 week sermon series on David (and Solomon)’s leadership. I think I will be going in the direction of Solomon’s public prayers, confession, etc. as well as talking about the importance of the temple then and where we encounter God now. It is our church’s 200th anniversary next month so it seems appropriate without becoming edifice worship.
I have an all-age worship, so I’m basing the service round John 6:68: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
I’ve taken “The words of eternal life” and concatenated them with the seven “I am” sayings of Jesus, which I have printed out and laminated. I propose “hiding” the laminated sheets around the sides of the church, and getting the kids (if any) to find them, and bring them up to me one at a time, whereupon I’ll say a few words about it and then move on to the next. And I’ve also concatenated the prayers of intercession and the prayers of thanksgiving, using the I Am sayings and the “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” as a response to each bit, keeping it very simple. Hope it works. Last AAW I did at that church wasn’t really a success, but….
What’s catching my attention today is that in the John text, Jesus names the fact that there are people there who don’t believe. And he doesn’t then tell them they should leave. They do, but not because Jesus kicked them out. But he also doesn’t anxiously chase them down begging them to come back. I’m not sure what I make of that yet. I’d like to think it’s entrusting them to God (no one can come unless drawn by the Father). I’m finding myself resisting this week’s texts that seem to emphasis the decision point because that seems to me to be the opposite message that is needed in my context at this point. I am wrestling with how to be faithful to this week’s texts and discerning what is the good news for my congregation this week. (That’s always the challenge, but I’m feeling it more acutely this week.)
I am doing a narrative sermon today, taking on the role of one of the disciples who left. I don’t do this often, but I felt moved to do so this week.
On my way back from an installation some 700+ miles from where I live, I received an e-mail to call someone at a church where I had done supply before. It seems they asked their pastor to resign last Wednesday, and they wanted me for three weeks of supply, starting the 23rd. (I already had a commitment for the 30th, so they’ll still need someone there,) As I’m scrambling a bit, I greatly appreciate all of the ideas above.
Right now, considering where they are in their journey, I’m thinking I Kings is the reading from which I’ll work.
My vacation will start Sunday after worship which has my thoughts more on what I need to get done before I go than what I might preach on Sunday, but I’ve noticed a kind of call in the Gospel text this week. Here are my early thoughts… https://rachaelkeefe.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/way-more-than-bread/