How often does glory change your life? When is the last time you were convicted by beauty, inspired by awe to live in new ways?

The Revised Common Lectionary readings for this coming Sunday tell a wide variety of stories about God’s glory and power, yet they all share the perspective that the magnificence of God is earth-shattering, perspective-altering, and life-changing.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t often hear (or preach) sermons lauding the beauty of God as a convicting characteristic of the Divine. We preach grace, we preach forgiveness, we preach right living, we preach salvation, we preach justice. Do we preach the immense, unimaginable, indescribable glory of God?

Do we call out our habits of pride
with the truth of God’s power?
“Can you send forth lightening or
tilt the waterskins of heaven?”
(Job 38)

Do we evoke awe and imagination
over the wonder of God’s works?
“You make the clouds your chariot,
fire and flame your ministers;
the waters flee before you.”
(Psalm 104)

Do we tiptoe together to pray over
the terrible beauty of God’s anguish?
“Surely he has borne our sins and
been wounded for our sins.”
(Isaiah 53:4-12)

Do we hold onto God’s glory
to surround and save us?
“God’s angels will guard you and
God’s tent will be your sanctuary.”
(Psalm 91:9-16)

Do we revere Christ our priest — or have we given
our own pastors/priests (or asked for ourselves)
that platform of mystery & prestige?
“Christ is gentle in his power,
holding our tears by his prayers,
working for the reconciliation of all.”
(Hebrews 5:1-10)

Do we extol God’s glory by
calling one another to humility?
“Whoever wishes to become great
must serve others.”
(Mark 10:35-45)

How often does glory change your life? How often (and how) does it change the lives of those to whom you preach?

What are you preaching this Sunday? Which direction are you sensing from the Spirit? What activities of church life need to be incorporated into your sermon? Have an idea, a question, a musing? Please share in the comments!

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16 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Glory, Glory

  1. i was planning on focussing on the Mark reading, but you have prompted me to think about a break from the ‘hard readings’ and focus on the glory of God. and with extra meetings this week, the psalm is an easier option.

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    1. “Hard readings” often provide such rich material for a sermon or sermon series! Perhaps both Mark and glory? James & John demonstrate how unnecessarily hard we sometimes make faith/life for ourselves, struggling for the very best, trying to guarantee all of this life and the next, when really we are called simply to love & serve one another and to leave the glory to God rather than trying to gobble it up for ourselves. The hard reading becomes an easy teaching: love & serve. … Now I’m pondering and sermonizing on your plans. 🙂 So many possibilities, and definitely good to give yourself grace as you plow through extra meetings!

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  2. I’ve got Mark and Isaiah in the lineup, pondering about servant-hood and suffering. I’m not real sure where that’s going to end up.

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    1. A great pairing, although sometimes so hard to attend to all of the fine lines & pastoral concerns when suffering and servanthood are sermonic topics. Prayers for the prep, and keep us posted.

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      1. yes. I’m having a thought this morning that I might try to figure out if Jesus was saying that the *church* is called to be a servant community. (I’m pretty convinced that Isaiah was saying Israel was called to be a community of servanthood, rather than putting that all on to an individual). If I can make that claim, then hopefully I can avoid some of the pitfalls, especially in a congregation that’s not my own.

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  3. I have to admit I’m not sure where I’m going this week, and the office where I’m doing supply needs the call, confession, etc. by tomorrow morning. Here’s hoping I find time to work on it.

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    1. Just read this, Rachael — beautiful! The glory is there, but the caution against skipping too easily to glory without putting in the hard work is an important one.

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  4. Thanks for the reflections! I am using Mark, Hebrews, Psalm 91, and the first half of the Isaiah reading. (I just couldn’t make myself delve into the long description of suffering, so shortened it but still kept the point.) I am planning on doing something with the various roles of Christ – teacher, sacrifice, priest, what else? But not sure how to start or how to apply to daily life. Hoping that something comes together since it’s now Friday afternoon and I’d like to take at least some time tomorrow for family/friends!

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  5. Rachel, your words, “the magnificence of God is earth-shattering, perspective-altering, and life-changing.” will be a great summation of my teaching on Mark tomorrow night. May I quote you?

    I lead our Sunday evening contemporary worship service, and the ‘sermon’ is really more like a bible study teaching. I spend more time exploring the text than a typical sermon, and the crowd there comes from a diverse, but more evangelical backgrounds, so they prefer a teaching model. Tomorrow I am going to simply show that we are ‘ransomed’ from our ties to earthly desires for glory into God’s realm, and how we can then ‘ransom’ others too through our witness of our own changed lives.

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