Philemon! This is the week we get to hear Philemon, the only time this letter shows up in the 3-year lectionary cycle! Given this letter’s history of being used to justify slavery, and considering racial and socioeconomic conflicts that seem to be ever-increasing in our society, a re-interpretation of Philemon for the modern-day Christian could be a wonderful sermon path. You might visit Eric Barreto’s excellent commentary on Working Preacher for additional ideas. Even if you don’t use Philemon as your sermon text, I hope you consider re-reading it as you prepare your sermon for this week, and reading in its entirety in worship on Sunday. It’s the shortest book in the Bible, it won’t take you long. 🙂

Philemon word cloud
Philemon word cloud

Psalm 1 and Psalm 139 are both beautiful, and could be used as a litany to begin worship, to stand in for a confession, or as a prayer during the service sometime. Most preachers shy away from sermons on the Psalms, which means that many worshippers have never heard a sermon on a Psalm. I love using Psalm 139 for the children’s sermon, bringing a knitting project and explaining how each stitch takes effort, and that’s the level of care that God used when creating us! What will you do with the Psalm this week?

For the Old Testament lesson, there are choices from Jeremiah or Deuteronomy. Which lesson will you use – if any? Have you been following one track or the other through the summer for a lectionary preaching series? If so, please share your themes and insights! If not, this might be something to consider for future years in ordinary time.

This week’s Gospel from Luke doesn’t sound much like good news at first blush. Thankfully, this is also the only time this passage shows up in the three-year lectionary cycle! (There is a partial parallel in Matthew 10 that the lectionary gives us in year A, but that passage has a different theme overall.) In Luke 14, Jesus tells his followers that they must hate their families and life itself if they’re going to be his disciples. Moreover, being a disciple is pricey work, and you had better count the cost and be willing to sacrifice all your possessions if you want to follow Jesus. Give up family and possessions and life itself to follow Jesus? It’s a tough sell. How can you translate Jesus’ extreme call to discipleship for your congregation?

If you’re in the USA, you may be expecting small crowds since it’s Labor Day weekend and many folks will be traveling or simply doing other things over the long weekend. A quick Google search tells me that Australia and New Zealand are celebrating Father’s Day this Sunday, and Vietnam’s Independence Day is Sept 2! What is going on in your community? Where are the RCL texts leading you? Which Bible passages and what theme will your sermon address? Please share questions, brainstorms, blog posts and resources below. Happy writing!

 

*Note: this post was scheduled a few days early, as I am currently on vacation and offline. Many thanks to Monica Thompson Smith for following up to comments in my absence. And apologies if I have missed some relevant current events due to advance scheduling this post. I trust you all to discuss as needed below!

 

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canoeistpastor is Katya Ouchakof, co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI, part-time hospital chaplain, and certified canoeing instructor. She is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, and has recently given her blog a facelift: Provocative Proclamation.

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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4 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Once Every Three Years!

  1. i looked at this week’s readings and wondered if i could spread them out over the next month.
    This Sunday we are starting 5 weeks on stewardship – a 5 minute spot each week and a handout, not preaching on stewardship.
    I am planning on putting the Luke reading with the stewardship spot; showing a DVD of Psalm 139 , and a short reflection on Jeremiah reading. it is Fathers Day here in Australia, but that won’t rate much of a mention, and it is communion Sunday. I am thinking of preparing a PowerPoint of Gungor’s song ” Beautiful things” to show during communion; here are the Lyrics

    All this pain
    I wonder if I’ll ever find my way?
    I wonder if my life could really change at all?
    All this earth
    Could all that is lost ever be found?
    Could a garden come up from this ground at all?

    You make beautiful things
    You make beautiful things out of the dust
    You make beautiful things
    You make beautiful things out of us

    All around
    Hope is springing up from this old ground
    Out of chaos life is being found in You

    You make beautiful things
    You make beautiful things out of the dust
    You make beautiful things
    You make beautiful things out of us

    Oh, you make beautiful things
    You make beautiful things out of the dust
    You make beautiful things
    You make beautiful things out of us

    You make me new, You are making me new
    You make me new, You are making me new
    Making me new

    You make beautiful things
    (You make me new)
    You make beautiful things out of the dust
    (You are making me new, making me new)

    You make beautiful things
    (You make me new)
    You make beautiful things out of us
    (You are making me new, making me new)

    Oh, you make beautiful things
    (You make me new)
    You make beautiful things out of the dust
    (You are making me new, making me new)

    You make beautiful things
    You make beautiful things out of the dust

    You make me new, You are making me new
    You make me new, You are making me new

    Written by Brian Johnson, Christa Black, Jeremy Riddle • Copyright © Music Services, Inc

    Liked by 1 person

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