How do you pray? Between last week’s persistent widow and this week’s Pharisee and tax collector, there are lots of examples of prayer in Jesus’ teachings at this point in the lectionary. Will you be exploring the topic of prayer with your community this week? Alternately, the point about the humbled being exalted (and vice versa) is counter-cultural and hopefully good news for your listeners. Maybe this is the message to focus on this week. Or perhaps you have found another sermon direction for this Sunday. Please share your ideas and insights below!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOther Revised Common Lectionary themes this week include righteousness and judgment (in 2 Timothy), beyond judgment to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2), and trust in God’s forgiveness (Jeremiah 14). If you’re in the middle of stewardship season, the alternate lesson from Sirach provides a great tie-in!

October approaches the end of the season of Pentecost, or ordinary time. It’s a good time to plan for the liturgical days and seasons that are soon to come, but also a time when other events sometimes get squeezed in because there aren’t church holidays. What is important to your congregation at this point in the year? Perhaps it’s time for a topical sermon series, a harvest festival, or a celebration of some specific ministries of the church. Wherever you find yourself in your thought process and preparation, please join in the conversation!


canoeistpastor is Katya Ouchakof, co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI. She is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, occasional hospital chaplain, freelance writer, professional canoeing instructor, and Star Wars enthusiast. She blogs occasionally at Provocative Proclamations.


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9 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Exalted and Humbled Edition

  1. I preached on prayer last week. Sometimes I think we need to talk about prayer almost every week, but this week I’m using Joel, especially verse 25 “I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten.” We are nearing the end of the process of restoring our sanctuary from an arson fire, so God’s promise of restoration fits with where we are. I’m thinking I will talk about the need for us to tell our own stories of times that God has brought us restoration in order to encourage future generations to remain faithful even in tough times. I am excited about this Sunday because our kids will be leading worship, and then at the end of the worship we get to go into our nearly completed sanctuary and sign the floor with our hopes and prayers before the carpet goes down.

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    1. Wow, what an amazing time of recovery and restoration for your congregation! I love the Joel reading because of the connection with Pentecost – moving forward with a message from God for the world connects you to the disciples as well as the prophets, and will give you all renewed purpose with the rebuilt sanctuary. Thank you for sharing, and hope it goes wonderfully!

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      1. I just had to share this tidbit I found on wikipedia about locusts: “Locusts are the swarming phase of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae. These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances become more abundant and change their behaviour and habits, becoming gregarious.” They change! Locusts are the mob form of grasshoppers. Certainly that’ll preach…just have to figure out how.

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  2. For my sermon, I am thinking about a first-person telling of the tax collector’s story. At the moment, I’m wresting with the need for confession. Once again, very close to my home and church there has been another episode of racially motivated police violence. This did not end in death as others have, but is still awful. Here are my reflections for the moment and please note the trigger warning: https://rachaelkeefe.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/god-have-mercy-trigger-warning/

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    1. Thank you for sharing these raw and honest words. Indeed, we all need confession and absolution from our participation in systems of injustice… as also those who have taken advantage of us need to confess the wrongs that they have done as well. Blessings to you!

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    1. The Pharisee who is looking up is really looking down his nose, and the tax collector looking down is really seeing God – beautiful analogy, and hopefully helpful for the struggles/identity issues that this congregation seems to have. Thank you for sharing!

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      1. Pastor Jan- I really like your sermon, and I appreciate you sharing your own story too.. I would love to quote you- about the pharisee looking up but really not seeing God and the tax collector looking down but seeing God.. Thank you so much for your taking a chance on the church again and having the courage to share the good news!

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