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.