You have heard it said,
“Words don’t matter.
Locker room words.
Political words.
Loud words.
Behind-closed-door words.”
But I tell you:
Words matter.

Words of belonging matter:
“I will be their God, and they shall be
my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

Words of naming matter:
“You shall be called Israel, because
you have striven with God and with humans
and you have prevailed. (Genesis 32:28)

Words of commitment matter:
“Your law is my meditation
all day long.” (Psalm 119:97)

Words of assurance matter:
“The LORD will not let your foot be moved.
The One who keeps you will not rest.” (Psalm 121:3)

Words of persistence and protest matter:
“Grant me justice against my opponent!” (Luke 18:3)

Words of integrity matter:
“Proclaim the message with
the utmost patience in teaching.
While others wander away to myths and
chase their desires, carry out your ministry fully.”
(2 Timothy 4:2-5)

So then teach and preach words with integrity,
honor one another’s name and naming,
support protest and add your own persistence,
be faithful in your commitments and
be quick with the comfort of assurance;
and above all — marry word & deed
so that all people belong.

  • What words of good news are you finding in this coming Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary texts — for yourself, for your faith community, for this world?
  • How are you shaping this Sunday’s sermonic words to demonstrate and invite deepening commitment to God and to all God’s people?
  • Does your faith community/preaching context need room to wrestle with words & life & faith? This Sunday’s texts raise many hard questions: “Are we living in a season of plucking or planting?” (Jeremiah 31:28) “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8) “From where does our help come?” (Psalm 121:1) … and before you reply too quickly that “Our help comes from God,” consider the problem of theodicy: “Does God delay in helping those who cry out day & night?” (Luke 18:7)

Add your preaching notes, your sermonic struggles, your blogpost links, and more in the comments. Join the conversation to support & inspire your fellow preachers toward Sunday!


Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ (US) minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her book Sacred Pause plays with words to refresh our relationship with The Word.

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.

12 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Words Matter

  1. Don’t know where I am going yet with the gospel, but I have been thinking about the fact that we might feel as though at times in our lives that God is like the unjust judge. However, that is not the character of God. Could God be more like the Persistent Widow who never gives up on us? And like the Widow who persists in with grace upon grace and also persists in bothering us and moving us and calling us to work for a just world? Psalm 121 affirms such a character of God from whom our help comes…just some thoughts!


  2. I’m working with the gospel lesson and Psalm 121. The congregation I serve as interim will be having a conversation the following Sunday about two options: to use money left to them last year to fund a new/parallel ministry (whether a new worshipping community or a ministry to the community via the building or …), or to move toward dissolving the congregation. I want to make the point, and I think it’s there in the texts, that no matter which direction they move, God will be with them. I have an idea about tracing the fictional widow through a lifetime of goings out and comings in – where does her help come from? The church is 62 years old, so I think I can create a story that resonates without being an absolute allegory. Unfortunately, we have a family wedding tomorrow, so my time is limited, and due to visiting family, so is my head space this week.


We hope you'll join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.