Wherever in the world you are, hopefully times changes are past, seasons have decided to behave themselves appropriately, and holiday madness hasn’t taken over yet! In my home in the upper Midwest of the USA, I was doing yardwork in shorts and a tank top this past week! Somehow that doesn’t make me believe that Advent is a mere three weeks away. And yet it is, so our Scripture readings for worship are starting to point the way towards the coming of God’s Messiah.
If you’re following the Revised Common Lectionary, you have a Gospel lesson that lends itself well to the season of stewardship. Or does it? Is the widow giving her last few coins an example of faithful giving, or of an oppressive system? And if the latter, is Jesus playing within the rules of the system or challenging them by calling out the gift of the widow?
If you’re using RCL but don’t feel led to preach on the Gospel reading, there is plenty of inspiration in 1 Kings 17 (Elijah and the widow at Zarephath are fed by God’s miracle) or Ruth 3-4 (Ruth and Naomi proposition Boaz, who chooses to marry Ruth and be the provider for their family). Hebrews addresses the issues of Christ dying for our sins, while Psalm 126 gives us many reasons to praise God! Which text speaks to you? Discussion from earlier this week can be found here.
If you’re using the Narrative Lectionary, you are given Elijah and the prophets of Baal on the mountaintop this week. The Hebrew people have divided loyalties, but Elijah calls them back to faith in YHWH. You may find inspiration in the discussion on this blog earlier this week. Here’s my deep thought on the passage: if they were in the middle of a drought, where did Elijah get all that water? Perhaps the miracle begins with people bringing water to douse Elijah’s sacrifice – they wouldn’t give up their water for drinking, cooking and washing in the middle of a drought unless they had some faith that Elijah could pull this thing off.
Wherever you are in your sermon prep, whatever your focus this weekend, welcome to the 11th Hour Preacher Party! I just opened the first pomegranate of the season, so help yourself to a handful. Please share your thoughts below, and blessings on your writing!
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