As I do, I often look for the common threads in each week’s RCL readings, and in this week’s readings I’m seeing a lot of encouragement toward gallantry. If we could condense the readings’ collective encouragement into one instruction, it would probably read: “Be brave!”
In the Genesis text, we have Abram being reassured of the promise God has made to him. He’s looking for a sign, some assurance that his reward is indeed on the way. In his context, progeny meant perpetuity, and children were how you knew you would continue on. The Lord takes Abram’s gaze off of what he doesn’t see to what he can see: the stars. Abram cana look at the stars and take heart, and a pretty fantastic display after Abram had offered a required sacrifice would seal the deal!
Paul encourages the Philippian church to stand firm in their ways as followers of Christ. The church is to hold fast to the example set before them, and not to worry about their enemies, who will see their own destruction.
Everyone is scared for Jesus’ life in the gospel text — except for Jesus. He fully intends to continue in his mission and ministry, knowing that it is not [yet] the appointed time for him to die. Pretty gangster of the Lord, if you ask me.
And, of course, we have the beloved 27th Psalm — a psalm of David — declaring fear of no one, thanks to the Lord’s strength and protection.
In a world in which so much intends to intrude upon peace, RCL preachers have an opportunity to shore up the hearer in hope this week. What hermeneutical applications might you find for this week’s texts? To what concerns in your congregation could these texts speak? How are they speaking to your concerns?
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